TRU alumni to feature in new local play “Mockus”

 

Todd Sullivan (as Juan Antonio) and Brittany McCarthy (as Mockus Aurelius). (Diana Igumnova/Ω)

Mockus is a new play being put on for Chimera Theatre this February, featuring various TRU alumni and current students.

George Johnson, the chair of the English and Modern Languages department is the playwright behind Mockus. The play focuses on a politician who finds creative ways to tackle serious problems. The inspiration for this production came after Johnson heard activist Mary Wynne Ashford give a speech on Antanas Mockus, the real-life mayor of Bogotá, Colombia.

“The way she described him made me think ‘Wow he’s a really amazing, cool person. He took a city that was crime-ridden, drug-ridden and transformed it in very few years and he used clown antics. He replaced corrupt traffic cops with mimes,’” Johnson said.

The play uses magic realism as a commentary on this character and his sanity.

“This clown… you’re never sure if it’s a projection of the mayor’s psyche or if the clown actually exists,” Johnson said.

Andrew G. Cooper, a TRU alumni and the play’s director said the play is inventive and a lot of fun, but is also dealing with some serious issues.

“It is about a mayor who has recently come into his mayorship, in the fictional city of Gobota. He’s trying to find a way to fix all of the problems in this city that’s plagued with corruption, pollution, drug use, murder and just terrible, terrible things. He meets this clown named Mockus who inspires him to use playful and imaginative measures to fix the city’s problems,” Cooper said.

Cooper was a student in one of Johnson’s playwriting classes before graduating from TRU. Then when Cooper’s company Chimera theatre put on a new play series inviting playwrights to submit scripts for a workshop, Johnson submitted his script for Mockus. They liked it so much they decided to produce it for an audience.

“We’ve been working for a year and it’s been really splendid working with him in so many different capacities. It’s really exciting producing his work locally,” Cooper said.

Although not intentionally planned, Cooper said the timing of this play corresponds nicely with the political tension happening in the United States.

“The play’s theme is about using the arts and using the imagination, specifically from someone in a government position. With everything that’s happening in the United States right now, it seems like a really timely piece to be offering to Kamloops. It really speaks about why the arts are important and what a government can do for its people,” Cooper said.

Cooper adds that everyone in the production is local and that TRU is well represented in this production.

“Almost everyone is either a TRU student or graduated from TRU. We’re all local, we’re all Kamloops-based artists,” Cooper said.

Mockus runs for one week from Feb. 8 to 11 at the Pavilion Theatre. The shows start at 7:30 p.m. and student tickets are $15 each.

At 2 p.m. on Feb. 11 there will be a pay-what-you-can matinee.

Tickets for the show are available through the Kamloops Live! Box Office at www.kamloopslive.ca or 250-374-5483.