Starring Arne MacPherson from last year's Fringe hit Candy from a Baby, in this Beckett-meets-Eeyore comedy by Morris Panych (Girl in the Goldfish Bowl, What Lies Before Us, The Overcoat).

Recommended : Mature

70 minutes



As the lights go down before the opening scene of this absurdist one-hander written by Governor General Award-winning playwright Morris Panych (Girl in the Goldfish Bowl), Diana King's I Say a Little Prayer plays softly in the background.

When the lights come up we find Nash, played by local actor Arne MacPherson, best known for his extensive work at Shakespeare in the Ruins and MTC, stuck in a mud puddle. And there he remains for 70 minutes as he contemplates how he got there and if anyone will ever find him.

As the mud puddle -- a rope and pulley apparatus that takes four unseen stage hands to manoeuvre -- rises higher and higher, you don't know whether to laugh or cry as Nash analyzes his life and his now unattainable future, all while trying to keep a cheery disposition about his extremely odd predicament.

MacPherson is very convincing as the unsuspecting victim, and you can't help but want to help pull Nash out of the puddle, or at least help him attach a note to a passing bird in the hope that some middle-school social studies teacher might find it.

Lots of laughs, a great script and a polished performance by MacPherson make this show stand out as one of the more professional acts at this year's fringe.

-- Demetra Hajidiacos


The gifted Arne MacPherson stars in Morris Panych's one-man show, literally about a man sinking into a muddy oblivion. While the philosophical point of it all may be a bit fuzzy, Panych's observations are often keen and humorous and MacPherson captures the desperation of the sinking man with an easy finesse. The production's clever stage design, which actually allows MacPherson to disappear before our eyes, is striking and the power of MacPherson's performance, coupled with Panych's strangely compelling script, gives the play a force whose power carries the audience far beyond the vagueness of its point. - BS


This funny, thoughtful one-hander opens with a startling image. Mild-mannered Nash (Arne MacPherson) is stuck ankle-deep in a mudhole. His expression of uncomprehending helplessness is amusing. He’s more embarassed by his situation than frightened by it. As the mud rises – thanks to a clever fabric quagmire that rises on poles to swallow the actor – Nash’s persistent optimism gives way to frustration and, in a truly cathartic moment, naked terror. As he inches toward doom, he wonders who might save him, who would miss him, and what he’s made of his life. Morris Panych’s script feels about ten minutes too long, but it surprises to the end and doesn’t wimp out as it ponders the value of a life barely worth living. Fringe vet MacPherson is, once again, in great form, and mines every available moment from Panych’s words. This one will stay with you.

CBC – Michael O’Brien

Company Bios

Arne MacPherson (Nash) is a Winnipeg-based director and actor. Saskatchewan- born and Edmonton-bred, he received his Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) from the University of Alberta in 1985, and moved to Winnipeg in 1991. Arne has worked as an actor extensively in Winnipeg, including at the Manitoba Theatre Centre (The Crucible, King Lear, Our Country’s Good and others), Shakespeare In the Ruins (most recently Antonio in The Merchant of Venice, and Hamlet, Richard III, Mercutio, Malvolio and others), Prairie Theatre Exchange (Unity (1918), Fox, InQuest), and the Winnipeg Jewish Theatre (Sight Unseen). At the 2006 Winnipeg Fringe, he appeared onstage with his two kids Gislina and Solmund in Candy From a Baby, penned by his partner Debbie Patterson.

Arne’s work as a freelance director includes productions for Shakespeare In the Ruins (Head, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Much Ado About Nothing, , Macbeth and The Threepenny Opera) ,Theatre Projects Manitoba (Noble Savage, Savage Noble, Cruel and Unusual Punishment), Prairie Theatre Exchange (Mmm-Munsch!, Munschapalooza), and the Manitoba Theatre for Young People (Romeo and Juliet). Upcoming this fall, he will be directing the premiere production of Stretching Hide for Theatre Projects Manitoba As an educator, he has directed four productions for PTE school’s Young Company (most recently Top Girls by Caryl Churchill) Shakespearean text workshops to professional actors and high school students, and has taught at the University of Winnipeg and MTYP school.

Christopher Brauer (Director) recently moved to Winnipeg to take a position in the Department of Theatre and Film at the University of Winnipeg, for whom he has directed La La La Dispute and King Lear. He also just wrapped up a stint as text coach for Shakespeare in the Ruins’ production of Merchant of Venice. In his pre-Manitoban existence, Christopher was one of the founders of The Georgian Theatre Festival, where he directed The Play’s the Thing, Festival Follies: A Vaudeville Review, Marion Bridge, 1837:The Farmer’s Revolt, and As You Like It. Christopher was also the Artistic Director of The Vicious Gossip Group (Rumours of Our Death, Measure for Measure, Bonjour, La, Bonjour, Emma Zunz, The Power of the Dog). Christopher was a regular instructor and director for The Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts (Pippin, The Mystery of Edwin Drood, A Chorus Line and Into the Woods). He was also an instructor at York University.

He has directed No Sugar Added Productions’ The Universal Wolf, starring Tricia Cooper, Erin McGrath and Rob McLaughlin, which is also in Fringe Venue #2 .

Suzie Martin (Assistant Director/Stage Manager) is an honours acting/directing student at the University of Winnipeg one year away from completing her degree. She has worked as an Assistant director for the Stratford Festival of Ontario's Shakespeare School and in October 2006 was asked by the University of Winnipeg Dept. of Mennonite Studies to produce, direct, and act in a production of her original work, Mi(s)placed, for their Conference "War And the Conscientious Objector: A History Conference." Suzie was last seen on stage as Mary Ann in George F Walker's Better Living. Look for her in U of W's upcoming 2007-2008 season.

Suzie is thrilled to be making her Fringe Festival debut this year as the Assistant Director and Stage Manager for both The Universal Wolf (No Sugar Added Productions) and The Story of a Sinking Man (Theatre Dirigible).

Adam Tsouras (Graphic Design)

Adam Tsouras is a 22 year-old freelance web developer, designer,consultant based in Winnipeg, Canada. Adam spends most of his daysstudying for his Computer Engineering degree at the University ofManitoba. Although he has a passion for everything web-related(particularly in the fields of design, standards, and usability) andspends his spare time using his Mac as an experimentational platformto explore and document this interest, among other things.He's a true perfectionist; sees everything as a potential photograph;has the recessive trait for tongue curling; can't do cartwheels; isproudly Canadian; and when very young, nearly drowned. Although lovesthe murky Manitoba waters now. He enjoys dismantling electronicdevices into as many pieces as possible to see how they work, themore expensive the better. Time is his biggest enemy. He can say thealphabet backwards in under 6 seconds, but reserves this uniquetalent for special occasions. He has a disturbing addiction toTetris. And he sometimes wonders why these paragraphs are written in the third person.

The "Sinking Man" team is rounded off by the technical talents of Laura Harrison, Cathy Herbert, Dhyana Justl and Lisa Nelson.