An evening of storytelling, laughter and beer with your favourite people – if they were tear-jerking comedians and best friends themselves. That’s what audience members can expect from SHIFT Theatre’s Nate and Troy: The Next Big Things at Granville Island’s Carousel Theatre on January 25, 26 and February 1.
Written by and starring local actors and real-life best friends Nathan Kelly and Troy Cherkowski, the show is an informal evening of sharing poignant and humorous tales, revolving around their own lives. As the stories of personal growth, teenage awkwardness, and the loss of loved ones unfold, it slowly becomes clear how common and shared these experiences are.
Partly improvised and partly scripted, the show develops with each performance, as the actors interact with, and respond to, the audience.
The duo experience strong reactions from theatregoers following each show: their own honesty, and the destruction of the ‘fourth wall’, is often met with audience members’ own emotional walls coming down, too.
“After shows I’ve had several people share their own experiences with me because they felt the freedom of our expression quite liberating,” explained Cherkowski.
“Once we had someone tell a story during the show, and we’ve had many people tell us they almost yelled something out or told their own tale,” added Nate.
Nate and Troy first met doing community theatre in Coquitlam more than a decade ago. Despite the age difference, with Nate barely a teenager and Troy in his early 20s, the pair became fast friends. Years later, the two became inseparable while collaborating in the local improv comedy group, The Missed Takes. Invited to create a show together for SHIFT’s 1-Act Festival, the duo decided to take this novel and raw approach to develop their two-man play.
Since then, their reflections have impacted their everyday lives. “It has made me re- focus on an idea of the truth: that has surprised me,” said Kelly. “It has led to a ‘lean into the curve’ mentality.”
Cherkowski agrees with the power of exploring stories on stage: “I have found that opening up and talking about different parts of my life has given me a sense of control over them; now that they exist in my words I own them on another level.”
They are ambitious and optimistic about the role of their work in the future. “Our desire is that the audience takes away the honesty that we try to portray and apply it to their own experiences. Live your life to the best of your abilities and share it with people you love.”
A powerful message to take from an evening of theatre, but one the pair are now expert in sharing.
SHIFT Theatre’s Nate and Troy: The Next Big Things returns for another round of dynamic, heartfelt storytelling at Granville Island’s Carousel Theatre on Jan. 25, 26 & Feb. 1, 2013 at 8pm. Tickets are $15 at SHIFTtheatre.ca.