In Daniel MacIvor’s A Beautiful View, the relationship between its two female characters is ambiguous at best. A touching and often humorous journey of a deep bond between the two women, despite blurring the lines, it does remain a simple story of friendship and love.
Vancouver’s Naked Goddess Productions will present MacIvor’s two-hander later this month. Directed by Tamara McCarthy, A Beautiful View will be her third production for the Jessie-nominated independent theatre company.
“I just came out of directing a big musical so it’s been refreshing working with only two actors and having the luxury to check in with each other often,” says McCarthy. “It’s truly been a wonderful journey.”
It is the first time, however, McCarthy has worked on a play by the celebrated Canadian playwright.
“I am very passionate about working on pieces by Canadian playwrights,” she says. “I love how he writes for the female voice. With this play, he gives us incredible characters and some very lovely imagery to work with.”
For actor and producer, Sandra Medeiros, it is the simplicity in MacIvor’s writing in telling the story about love, friendship and our longing for connection which she found so compelling.
“The story is about two women, who are very different from each other, and how they keep finding themselves coming back together over the years,” explains Medeiros. “We experience how they face their fears, evolve and open themselves up to love on their journey through life together.
As the second half of the cast, Melissa Oei appreciates how MacIvor gets out of the way of his characters.
“I never feel like I am hearing the writer in the writing, or that he is using the characters to voice his own views,” she says. “He allows his characters to take on their own life and gives them space to be complicated and flawed people. As an actor, that is such a gift.”
Playing Elle, Oei says it is the undefinable characteristics, removing stereotypes of friendship and romance within the relationship with Medeiros’ character, Emme, which she found so interesting.
“The connection between the two characters blurs those lines, and questions whether it’s even important to know the nature of the love we feel for someone, or is it just enough that it’s there,” says Oei.
The ambiguity between the characters found its way into the rehearsal room from the start, as the actors and director first had to come to terms with what was happening on stage.
“I won’t spoil anything, but on day one we disagreed about what actually happened to the characters in the show,” says Oei. “We were split between whether the events in the play actually happened, or if they were just a metaphor for the characters’ emotional journey. It took some time to get on the same page.”
Calling it honest and raw, McCarthy says A Beautiful View remains both accessible and relatable for audiences.
“Ultimately, this show is about love and loss,” she says. “Who can’t relate to that?”
A Beautiful View plays Kitsilano Neighbourhood House (2305 West 7th Ave, Vancouver) March 16-25. Visit nakedgoddessproductions.com for tickets and information.