Cul-de-sac by Daniel MacIvor


425189In his latest collaboration with director Daniel Brooks, MacIvor plays the role of Leonard, who narrates the events leading up to his murder while trying to understand them himself. Through the course of the play, we peer behind the curtains of his neighbourhood as MacIvor transforms into the multiple characters who bear witness to Leonard’s life and death. Yet each of their stories, while internally consistent, tells a subtly different version of what happened, progressively colouring and transforming our understanding of the characters as we think we had come to know them. In a headlong rush we understand that everyone’s story inevitably dead-ends at precisely the bottom of the preconceptions they brought to its telling.

Punctuated by brilliant lighting and a mood-setting soundscape, this dazzling one-man show is storytelling of the highest order.


I don’t think I’ve read a single play since my theatre classes in college, but it all came back to me – analyzing parts, coming up with different readings for the same line, imagining what this play must have looked like on stage.

I bet it was interesting. A one man show, Cul-de-sac slowly takes you through a series of character studies of people who all live on the same dead end street. They’re all talking, more or less directly, about an event that happened recently. I’ll just leave it there to avoid spoiling anything.

There are some downright beautiful lines and interesting insights sprinkled throughout. One of my favorites, from a 14 year old girl:

I wish I could be a lesbian. It would be easier. Girls are easier. I mean girls can be bitchy but so can boys just when boys are bitchy they call it highly motivated.

A short read even with the lengthy introduction, this play reminded me that there’s a whole world of drama out there waiting for me.