is proud to present
THE GOOD THIEF
by Connor McPherson
Featuring Frank Zotter
Directed by Wayne Paquette
The Serca Festival
The Theatre at the Alberta Community Centre
9210 118 Avenue
The Good Thief
by Conor McPherson
Presented at the Edmonton Fringe Festival
Directed by Wayne Paquette
Stage Managed by Jenn Best
Photographs and Program Design by Martijn Magill
Nominated for 1 Elizabeth Sterling Haynes Award
Outstanding Actor in a Fringe Play (Frank Zotter)
Edmonton Journal “You Can’t Miss These Top Fringe Picks
by Liz Nicholls – Excerpt
Respected Stage Manager Wayne Paquette is a director of exceptional thoughtfulness and finese. He has an appetite for intricate, serious drama: Lee Blessing’s mysterious 2005 A Body of Water amply qualifies, with its couple in existential limbo. So does The Good Thief, a solo show starring a regretful ruffian (Frank Zotter) who has botched a job.
VUE WEEKLY – Dave Berry
Feeling at times like a good bar story, others like one man relating his role in an action movie and still others like a haunted confession, Wayne Paquette’s brilliant production treads the tightropes of Conor McPherson’s script perfectly. Frank Zotter is simply amazing, making wild tonal shifts both natural and impactful. Zotter is called upon to bring out one character’s black comedy, sneering thuggishness, touching sweetness and overall helplessness, often in the space of mere moments, and the way he pulls it off feels as often like a tug of the heart strings as a punch in the gut.
5 out of 5 Stars.
EDMONTON JOURNAL – Liz Nicholls
It starts with a certain sinister simplicity. A man seated under a bare lightbulb refers to “an incident.” Then he looks appraisingly at us and explains about his job: “paid thug.”
As in so much of the work of Irish playwright Conor McPherson (The Weir, Shining City), this quiet gambit leads us into a story of fascinating complication — and, even more seductively into the conflicted mind of the storyteller himself. Something has gone bad with a hit job, and our man, a denizen of the Dublin underground, is no longer consistently confident about his assumptions. “I hate people with skills who can do stuff,” he says, resentful of the real pros in the thuggery world, but slightly in awe, too.
The disconcerting rhythm of inadvertent revelations, tangents and casual asides gives Wayne Paquette’s production a sort of oblique black comedy. All this is embedded in Frank Zotter’s compelling performance: part of the story is the telling of it.
The protagonist relives his own haplessness in the face of mounting calamity. Sometimes his memory is coloured by regret; sometimes he shrugs. He is, after all, a career hit man. “I shot people,” he explains impassively, but returns again and again to his breakup with his girlfriend. Surprising both us and the character are moments that approach the lyrical. And director Paquette gives them spaciousness.
Occasionally, you get a disconcerting glimpse of an actor inviting, just a wee bit obviously, our sympathy. Mostly, though, heart is something that sneaks up on us, and on the man we see before us.
4 out of 5 Stars.
SEE MAGAZINE – Caitlin Fulton
The biggest challenge of Conor McPherson’s one-man show in which a “paid thug” tells the story of a job gone very wrong, is to find a way to keep the nameless protagonist from falling into a sentimental pit of despair over the crimes he’s committed (and dragging the audience down with him). You also have to convince the audience that this man would never deliberately set out to commit cold-bloodedly murder, but that he is the kind of low-life who could easily “make a mess”. This is the type of man who will call his ex-girlfriend a slut one menute and wonder if he’s “at the centre of her thoughts” the next.
This production succeeds beautifully on all fronts. Frank Zotter (who was nominated for a Sterling last season for playing a different sort of lowlife in Stuck at Workshop West) resolves all the character`s apparent contradictions, drawing us into his pool of light as if it`s an intimate confessional. There are no extraneous characters here, no mimed re-enactments, not even a set. Instead, director Wayne Paquette wisely trusts McPherson`s words and Zotter`s impeccably distilled performance.
4 out of 5 Stars.
CBC Review – Gilbert Bouchard
Irish playwright Conor McPherson`s one act play, The Good Thief, is a perfect Fringe offering.
Like other McPherson texts we`ve seen mounted in Edmonton, The Weir and Shining City, this is an ever so-familiar, accessible storytelling/conversational piece of theatre that typically rules Edmonton`s venerable theatre festival.
This is a playwright who knows language and how to deploy it: always high-veracity, always emotionally-correct, and profoundly poetic in a rough `from the streets`kind of way.
For the more theatrically daring Fringe attenders, McPherson`s prose also offers up a high level of narrative, socio-political and emotional deconstruction.
A tip of my metaphoric hat to Frank Zotter`s deft occupation of the sad-sack protagonist of the piece. This engaging actor walks a thespian tightrope playing an Irish thug longing for romantic warmth and normalcy, but is endlessly betrayed by his own nasty nature.