Matt Grue – Gruesome Content

Matt Grue is the founding artistic director of Ignition Theatre. The Red Deer based theatre company has been known for provocative material. Grue laughs, “We used to have that reputation. Really early on we did one play, called “Red Light Winter” that had full frontal nudity, simulated sex onstage and lots of drug use, terrible language. People took that one show and said, ‘That’s what Ignition does!’ We would do edgy shows, but our programming was not exclusively edgy.

“This season is a purposeful revisiting of that kind of work. As a company of artists, especially having a small venue like the Nickel studio, we made the decision – now’s the time to do these kinds of things. This season, “Gruesome” and “Tape” are both what I think people expect from us.

“We’ve been doing the other side building our audience, introducing people to Ignition who might not come because of the edgy moniker. And now we can introduce them to work that might challenge them and keep growing theatre in central Alberta. We want to be the people that develop an audience that has appetite for rewarding, dynamic, challenging theatre.”

Grue’s latest production with Ignition is “Gruesome Playground Injuries” by playwright, Rajiv Joseph. January 17th-19th and 22nd-26th at the Nickel Studio, Erin Odell and Christopher Schulz star as Kaileen and Doug: broken lovers with histories intertwined.

“When we’re producing plays that have been produced hundreds of thousands of times, by the time it gets to indie regional theatres, I think we have a responsibility to not just regurgitate a thing that’s been going on since it’s inception. I wanted to take a deeper dive. The role of Doug to Kaileen is — he’s sort of a coping mechanism. On a surface level we’re investigating all the ways pain plays a role in our lives and relationships, whether that’s physical pain or psychological pain. The play is really about Kaileen and her journey from 8 to 38 navigating the rocky waters of her own mental illness.

“I think that ultimately where the character gets to, is a place of – not perfection! This isn’t a play where at the end she’s “better.” That doesn’t happen. I think that for those who suffer from mental-illness, the goal is management. Getting to that’s the trick. I hope that happens. Cathartic in knowing that you’re not alone in your experience, but more that there is peace and a life within mental illness.”

Tickets are available at ignitiontheatre.ca and at the door (limited seating available).

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