The prolific playwright, whose work With Bated Breath was performed at the Centaur Theatre in Montreal last year, received a note of congratulations on his wall. The message was left by a fellow well-established writer, and former Cape Bretoner, Daniel MacIvor, who called the show’s six nominations “not too shabby!”
With Bated Breath was nominated for a total of six MECCA’s (Montreal English Critic Circle Awards) including Best Text, Ensemble, Lights, Sound, Set and Director. These awards are presented in recognition for outstanding work in English-language theatre in Montreal.
Artistic Director Roy Surette added MacDonald’s play to Centaur’s season, partly because had been a long time fan of what he describes as Bryden’s “bold” writing.
“I love how he pushed boundaries with poetic panache, and enbraces the fringes; the play excited the community.”
With Bated Breath is the story of Willy, a gay boy from Cape Breton, who escapes to Montreal in hopes of healing his broken heart. Set against the musical backdrop of old hurtin’ country tunes, Willy disappears without a trace, leaving a profound effect on the lives of the other characters.
In this play, MacDonald uses flashes of memory to show how “time affects it, how it fractures and is often reinvented depending on the situation…”
As the author of such other plays as The Weekend Healer and Whale Riding Weather, Bryden MacDonald has always been known for his edgy writing, his wit, and shocking content. With Bated Breath is no exception to these perceptions, as the show contains full frontal nudity.
Surette, who co-directed the piece along with MacDonald, says that even in cosmopolitan Montreal there were some awestruck audience members.
“We were proud of the production, even though it disturbed a few subscribers. They don’t expect males stripping to Dolly Parton, “9 to 5”! T’was cheeky fun. And powerful.”
The show was called courageous by critics, and it is that courage and bravado that prompted the nominations.
And probably the wins as well.
On Tuesday night, March 8th, the awards were handed out in Montreal, and out of its six nominations, With Bated Breath was honoured with five. It received Best Text and Best Ensemble, as well as awards for Best Lights, Sound and Set Design.
Bryden MacDonald, having now relocated to Halifax, found out about the wins on Facebook.