MacIvor play makes a splash

Swim team does it together

Will Taylor, Marnie McCourty and Jacob James star in Daniel MacIvor’s Never Swim Alone.
Will Taylor, Marnie McCourty and Jacob James star in Daniel MacIvor’s Never Swim Alone.
Photo courtesy of Playerking Productions

For PlayerKing Productions, the brain child of two twenty-something Kingstonians, Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor’s Never Swim Alone is no ordinary play. “This play is absolutely perfect for the three of us,” says Jacob James.

Will Taylor and James, PlayerKing’s artistic directors and two of the show’s stars, have known each other since nursery school. They met third actor Marnie McCourty at Theatre Five drama class when they were 12.

“If Will and I were going to do this play, Marnie’s the only person who could play the role,” James says.

That’s because MacIvor’s one-act play revolves around three characters, two of whom are childhood pals who, having grown-up, duke it out in round after round of macho competition. The referee is, appropriately, a girl the boys once saw on a beach, back when they were kids.

“There’s only been one girl that could come between us, and that would be Marnie.” Never Swim Alone’s significance doesn’t end there. A performance of the same play compelled Taylor and James to transfer to KCVI for its drama programs. Now that Player- King is in its second season, they decided to come back to a play that hearkens back to old times.

“We’ve all been away for school, doing our own thing,” James continues. “But when we came back and started working, things just clicked.”

All three actors have been involved in theatre since an early age. With PlayerKing they’ve taken the reins, running the company as well as performing. They’ve doubled up on duties, designing their own programme and overseeing publicity.

For them, their company is, in James’s words, “a playground to experiment in.”

“That’s why we created our own company, to do what we want to do,” Taylor adds. “Most of the stuff going on [in Kingston] is classical plays or musicals, with large casts.”

Certainly, Never Swim Alone is a fresh alternative to the rest of the live theatre fare that’s typical of Kingston. The play lasts only an hour and tells its story in a void of time, rather than a linear narrative.

Despite PlayerKing’s modest roots, the actors find Kingston very nurturing. Venues such as the Baby Grand and the Earl Street Theatre are just the size for small companies and intimate shows, they said.

“We want to perform theatre we would enjoy watching.”

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