Jon Lachlan Steward’s one-man show, Big Shot, is stunning. I chose it because I thought the description sounded interesting, but I had no idea what a captivating seventy-five minutes lay in wait for me at the Factory Theatre Studio. As a lover of theatre, cinema, and fragmented narrative, this was a treat for me. If you’re considering anything from the Next Stage Festival this year, you must not miss this!
Told from the perspectives of each of the key players, this multimedia drama unfolds in a variety of cinematic and theatrical styles. With a devastating shooting at the core, Big Shot jumps between the lives of: a recovering drug addict, a struggling movie producer and his estranged wife, a embittered Japanese immigrant, a dedicated but tormented transit cop and a boy obsessed with Hollywood actions films.
First, let me applaud Jon Lachlan Steward for his beautiful script and hypnotic, gripping performance. Each of his characters is vivid and haunting. His transitions from one to another are impossibly smooth. No, more than smooth… elegant, sometimes thrilling.
I’m in awe of the production team and their abundant, well-integrated tech. This show has many sound, lighting and video projection cues that are perfectly timed to his performance. It is an intricate and graceful blend of cinema and theatre.
He even responds to the audience, and not in a hammy or gimmicky way. He is real, present and, remarkably, made me feel just as real and present. I was more than simply invested in his characters; I was immersed, completely, in their world.
There are some images from this show that are seared into my brain. And it isn’t just the imagery that is resonant. His text is full of poignant fragments. He gives us a an insightful study of the lives surrounding a life-shattering event, taking us from the immigrant experience to the overwhelming power of imagination.
Big Shot is, in one word, spellbinding.
- All Next Stage Theatre Festival performances are being held at Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst St.)
- Tickets for Mainstage and Studio shows are $15 and $10 for Ante-chamber performances
- Showtimes and ticket information are available at fringetoronto.com/next-stage-festival/
Photo of by Jon Lachlan Steward by Tanja Tiziana