Wednesday, 14 September 2016


Nick May is the Artistic Director of Theatre Topikos. He is also an out gay actor that passionately works within LGBT film and theatre. In 2007 Nick starred in the LGBT film, The Houseboy, released by TLA Entertainment. In 2013, he appeared as Watson opposite Nathaniel Bacon as Sherlock in the Toronto production of Sherlock & Watson: Behind Closed Doors, a short play that portrays the world's greatest detective and his sidekick as more than just friends. Nick's one act play, Wordplay, was co-written with friend and writing partner Jess Bryson. The play began its life a few years back at Toronto's Gay Play Day LGBTQ theatre festival and was performed at the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival in Ireland earlier this year. Wordplay appears at The Commons Theatre as part of  The One More Night Festival this upcoming Saturday night. I had the pleasure of speaking with Nick about the play's progress thus far. 

Gay Theatre Toronto

Where did the idea for Wordplay come from? 

Nick May 

Wordplay is based on real conversations that I've had with my co-writer, Jess Bryson. We would get together for drinks and often find ourselves embroiled in disputes about words and why our unique experiences affected our opinions. Appropriate word use is very topical, and always changing. It's something that the both of us are very passionate about and sometimes that passion (along with a few bottles of wine) inspired some pretty heated debate. Years later, we've found humour in how ridiculous these conversations were. But also, we recognize the importance these conversations have on helping to form personal and popular opinion. Words can be so powerful, they can move us, hurt us, or make us laugh. 


You took the show to the Dublin Gay Theatre Festival in Ireland earlier this year. What was that experience like? 


The experience was absolutely incredible. The show was tweaked slightly in performing for a European audience, but it was a great learning experience, as words affect people differently there. There is less taboo behind a lot of the more 'shocking' words that we address in the show. Because the audience didn't get lost in the outrageous language, they were able to focus on the importance of the friendship and the dynamic shared between a gay man and his straight girl friend. Also, it's a very exciting time for Ireland. We attended the festival one year after their referendum on marriage equality, and as a result the festival was buzzing with excitement. Audience members commented that the show was a great example of the types of conversations that they're excited to be having post-referendum.


The play actually began its life at Toronto's Gay Play Day LGBTQ theatre festival a few years back. Has the piece changed much since its initial performance? 


Absolutely! The show started off as a 20 minute short at Gay Play Day. We received great feedback which drove us to write more and we've since developed it into a 50 minute one-act. We added a third character and really developed the relationship between the characters of Nick and Jess. When we decided to write the play, we based the characters on dramatized versions of ourselves and our first draft was much more dramatic. We've made a big shift though and the show now lives in a world of comedic realism. This was important to us because we believe that the subject matter can still be important without hitting the audience over the head with how heavy it is. With each new iteration of the show we are allowing ourselves the opportunity to add pieces that are topical and current; letting the show live in the present moment despite the venue, festival, or country that it is being performed in. 


Time for some word play. What are your 5 favourite synonyms for "gay"? 



Wordplay plays The One More Night Festival on September 17 at 9pm at The Commons Theatre – 190 Richmond St East, Toronto. Tickets are $15.

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