If you have been to any of the major theatre festivals in Canada in recent years, you will most likely recognize the face of much awarded and much celebrated Canadian Actor Shawn Wright. From playing Matthew Cuthbert in Canada’s longest running musical ‘Anne of Green Gables’ at the Charlottetown Festival for the past two seasons, to a lead role in the Toronto Production of ‘Jersey Boys’ and in the original company of ‘Mamma Mia’, or his ten years at the renowned Stratford Festival, Wright’s resume is as long as his arm (perhaps longer). He is also the recipient of Toronto’s prestigious Dora Award for his appearance in the 2014 Canadian Stage production of ‘London Road’, and was a recurring character on ‘Murdoch Mysteries’ and ‘Due South’. But we think you get the point, he is an incredible actor, and a Canadian Treasure, and this spring, he will be bringing his much lauded one man show ‘Ghost Light’ to the Marble Arts Centre in Tweed with Tweed & Company Theatre.
“To say we are excited about this show is a massive understatement.” Says Tweed & Co Artistic Director Tim Porter. “This is such a special show, and Shawn is such an amazing performer, we are just overjoyed to be one of the first theatre companies in the Country to get this production for our season.” At this point, Ghost Light has only played in select major centres, St. John New Brunswick (where the show was created with Theatre New Brunswick), as part of the Charlottetown Festival’s Season last summer, and a SOLD OUT run in Toronto last year where multiple shows were added, along with a few other venues. “We consider this a real coup for Tweed, we are incredibly lucky to get the show, and we were just fortunate that we had reached out very far in advance, and were able to arrange the production for a date when Shawn was available before he returns to Charlottetown for the summer.” The show has since been announced as part of major Canadian Theatre Seasons at Neptune Theatre, the Prairie Theatre Exchange, and more, in 2020.
Ghost Light tells the hilarious and heartwarming story of his relationship with his late mother, and how she inspired his passion for theatre and his love of life. Starting from his mother’s birth and carrying through all the way until her passing, topics range from religion and sexuality, to country music and Meryl Streep. As a one-man show, Ghost Light is driven by Wright’s powerful stage presence. One minute animated and fully in character, the next conversational and down-to-earth. His performance is both entrancing and humanizing.
Shawn spent the final months of his mother’s life travelling from Toronto to her nursing home in the Maritimes to spend as much time with her as he could before she passed. On these visits, she would spin stories of her life during the commercial breaks of her favourite TV show, Murder She Wrote. Wright chronicled these stories and developed a comedic, poignant story about the relationship between mother and son. Growing up in New Brunswick, the youngest of seven children, Shawn developed a love of life that he attributes to his mother. “She is the reason that I am an actor,” says Wright. “She used acting in community theatre as a break from motherhood. Since I was the youngest, I got to go with her to rehearsals. I was basically raised in the wings by a host of colourful theatrical personalities.” Wright plays every character in the play, including his mother during different stages of her life. A blessed cross necklace, given to him by her to wear on stage, never leaves his neck. “I love playing my mother,” says Wright. “For 80 minutes during the show I know that she is with me on stage.”
A “ghost light” is a theatrical term referring to a light that is left energized on stage when the theatre is unoccupied and would otherwise be completely dark. Superstition has it that the light is meant to provide a warm welcome to the ghosts of the theatre to congregate on stage all night and recreate the best performances they played in life. Wright says it was the perfect title for his play. “My mother told me that story when I was a kid and looking back now, I remember her being at her most beautiful as she told it to me.”
GHOST LIGHT plays for two performances only, Saturday, April 13th at 7:30 PM, and Sunday, April 14th at 2:00 PM at the Marble Arts Centre in Tweed, 13 Bridgewater Road. All tickets are $20.00 and are available in person at the Tweed News, or online at tweedandcompany.com. With only 2 shows, and a capacity of 120, it is highly recommended that you get your tickets well in advance. “We expect that this show will sell out, and really hope that it does”, says Porter, “this is one of those shows that comes along so rarely, and really needs to be seen. Book early, arrive early, sit close, and get ready to be moved.” Ghost Light is the third production in a full season of live professional theatre from Tweed & Company Theatre. For full season details and to book tickets visit www.tweedandcompany.com.