Halifax’s award-winning theatre company KAZAN CO-OP returns to the stage this spring with Daniel MacIvor’s The Best Brothers – an exploration of grief, acceptance, and love.
After their mother dies in a bizarre accident at a gay pride parade, brothers Kyle (John Beale) and Hamilton Best (Daniel MacIvor) try, and often fail, to find common ground. They bicker over her obituary, Kyle’s unfortunate taste in men, and who Mom loved best – only to discover it may have been her dog.
Directed by Dean Gabourie, the complicated comedy brings two estranged brothers together to mourn and celebrate their mother’s life, and consider the fate of Enzo, her Italian Greyhound.
“The shape of the story – and the brothers’ reluctance to accept each other – mirrors my own relationship with my dog,” says MacIvor. “Early on, I thought I had made the worst mistake of my life. I believed there was a malevolent force in the universe, and it had arrived in dog form. Now, he’s my constant companion.”
In the play, Hamilton builds condos; Kyle sells them. MacIvor says: “My brothers are here too: they both worked at the same company, but one was union, the other management. At dinner, they were brothers. In the world, enemies.”
Producer Kathryn MacLellan adds: “I saw Daniel and John on stage in Stratford and fell in love. It’s theatrical and accessible – a story about family, siblings, relationships.”
This production reunites the creative team from The Best Brothers’ premiere at Stratford, including director and Dora-winner Dean Gabourie, Merritt-winner John Beale, and MacIvor, who has won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, the Siminovitch Prize for Theatre, the Obie Award, and the GLAAD Award.
During the original 2012 production, The Globe & Mail called The Best Brothers “perhaps MacIvor’s most heartwarming and crowd-pleasing comedy;” the National Post suggested “it may be the playwright’s best play” and that “under Dean Gabourie’s adroit direction, it fills its space, physically and spiritually.” The Toronto Star called it “comedy at its purest.”
The Best Brothers also features work by Janet MacLellan (set and costume design), Marc Benson (stage management), Ingrid Risk (lighting design), Louisa Adamson (production management), Bob Elliott (set construction), Heather MacLellan (marketing), and Kathryn MacLellan (producer).
The Best Brothers opens Wednesday, May 20 and runs to Sunday, June 7 at The Waiting Room, 6040 Almon Street. Pay-what-you-can preview Tuesday, May 19. Show begins at 7:30PM (doors open at 7:00PM, cash bar). Runtime: 85 minutes without intermission. No show Mondays. For tickets: tickethalifax.com (search “Best Brothers”).
KAZAN is grateful to BMO Financial Group, Harvey and Marie Crowell, Zephyr, and Steve Meiklejohn, Halifax Lighting Solutions for their support.