“The Debacle restaged for short Halifax run”

Elissa Barnard talks with Sue Leblanc-Crawford about The Debacle‘s return to the stage.Read “One-woman play The Debacle restaged for short Halifax run” below or at The Chronicle Herald.

Zuppa Theatre Co. is calling its remount of The Debacle the “always-a-bridesmaid” limited run.

That’s because the one-woman play, co-written by actor Susan Leblanc-Crawford and director Ann-Marie Kerr, has been much nominated but has never won an award since its 2011 premiere at Halifax’s Plutonium Playhouse.

Most recently, The Debacle was a finalist for the $25,000, 2012 Lieutenant Governor Masterworks Arts Award for a Nova Scotia work of art, which was won by NSCAD University professor and visual artist Kim Morgan.

Being nominated was a “thrill,” says Leblanc-Crawford, who is Zuppa’s co-artistic director.

“It was amazing to be included with that group of artists. I don’t think a lot of theatre ever gets put forward.”

Leblanc-Crawford stars as Margaret, a woman desperate to freeze the memories of her dying sister following a terrible accident.

Margaret, a 37-year-old cryobiologist who studies the effects of freezing temperatures on living things, is surrounded by 100 mason jars.

“In its purest form it’s about a woman facing the sadness of being alone and trying to come to terms with how she can move on,” says Leblanc-Crawford.

It’s also about “leaving room for the impossible” in life.

This production has a new touring tower set, designed by Andrew Cull. Lighting is by technical director Ingrid Risk.

The two have driven the 100 mason jars many miles as they have taken The Debacle to Toronto as part of Nightwood’s Groundswell Festival, Saint John, N.B., and Montreal’s TransAmeriques. Kerr took over the role for Montreal while Leblanc-Crawford was on maternity leave.

They decided to restage it in Halifax because “there are still a lot of people who haven’t seen it,” says Leblanc-Crawford. “We also thought a short run would be a good way to ease me back into it.”

She’s enjoying her return.

“It’s really fun and I find it empowering to be able to jump back into this play and be exploring it again. It’s sad, it’s an emotional journey to perform but I really love it.”

Apart from The Debacle, Kerr is working on Pump Trolley by and with Rhys Bevan-John. Leblanc-Crawford is working on Zuppa’s new show The Attaining Gigantick Dimensions, set for April at the Neptune studio as part of the Open Spaces project.