Theatre Preview: The beginning is Nigh

By Fiona McLay

After the success of last year’s play Zastrozzi, 8-0-8 Productions hopes to bring delight back into the lives of Calgary theatregoers with Nigh, their latest production.

“8-0-8 Productions makes a conscious effort to create unique productions that feature Canadian writers and appeal to a dedicated community of theatergoers,” Operations Manager and Auteur Mike Rogers explains.

For their latest production 8-0-8 accepted one act submissions from all over Canada centered around the theme of “The Gates of Heaven and Hell.” As a collaborative work Nigh offers truly imaginative and diverse visions of the afterlife.

“We had some excellent submissions” states Rogers. “We finally narrowed it down to 10 and then were finally able to cut four.”

The resultant Nigh presents a particularly ambitious concept. “The play consists of six separate acts with four different directors [A. P. Downey, Whitney Huget-Penner, Bradley James Alto and Meg Wilkie] injecting their own ideas into the script,” says Rogers.

The six acts chronicle the lives of six different people and their views about the afterlife. Each act features the character of the Gate Keeper who takes on different characteristics depending on the individual’s version of how he should be.

“The Gate Keeper is a creation of each individual,” Rogers says. “He facilitates understanding through examination of their own lives.”

Mixing theology and pop culture can be a difficult task but then again, mixing six distinctly different concepts in one unified play isn’t simple either. In such a complicated production the task of retaining cohesiveness has been entrusted to Rogers.

“I’m responsible for making sure [the plays] are all going toward the same point,” he explains. “Although it has been challenging to keep everyone organized our Gate Keeper has had the toughest task of all. He has been rehearsing four to six times a week.”

Nigh promises to challenge your traditionally held beliefs about the afterlife while offering a fresh bouquet of possibilities.


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