Putting away childish things can be difficult, especially when those things aren’t ready or willing to be forgotten.
Hullaboo and the End of Everything, actor/writer Andrew Wade’s offering for this summer’s Theatre on the Edge festival at Shuswap Theatre, is the story of Mikaila (the Magnificent) and her imaginary friend, Hullaboo.
The two have been inseparable for as long as he can remember, sharing adventures and fighting the evil Scrowl. But now Mikaila has grown older, and doesn’t have the time to play with Hullaboo as she used to. And now Hullaboo finds himself being pursued by a new monster.
Wade describes Hullaboo, the character, as being like a puppy dog who doesn’t understand why you have to go to work instead of playing all day long.
“’It’s all about an imaginary friend who is trying not to be forgotten, who wants to remind the kid of who he is and the great times they’ve had and why don’t we have some more great times and why don’t we play again just like we used to,” said Wade. “Do imaginary friends understand that people grow up? It’s a fair amount of going through stages of grief, but in a fun way.
“At the same time, underneath all of this, there’s also a large monster who isn’t actually named in the dialogue, but in the script it’s called the Care Keeper, a giant monster who is chasing after Hullaboo right from the very get go of the show. So we’ve got a large, maybe seven-and-a-half foot tall puppet chasing after Hullaboo in various sections throughout the show and the big mystery of the show is… why is that chasing Hullaboo?”
Hullaboo and the End of Everything was written by and stars Wade, with Katie Purych as Mikaila.
This will be Wade’s second year for Theatre on the Edge. Last year he performed his one-person show, The Most Honest Man in the World.
“I had a wonderful time in Salmon Arm last year bringing The Most Honest Man in the World, the show where I built a lie detector machine on stage and put myself in, and I’m just super excited to get to share Hullaboo with Salmon Arm. I feel it’s a show that might really connect,” said Wade.
While he never had an imaginary friend of his own, Wade admits to having a rich, Calvin and Hobbes-like imagination in his youth.
“I would routinely go to the back of the school field with my friend Ian and we would play the Ian and Andrew Cybernetic Show, which was sometimes like a science fiction show where we were fighting aliens,” laughs Wade. “Sometimes we were actors in a science fiction show and fighting evil producers of the show, and we’d go dodging duties where we were running around the school during lunch hour when kids weren’t allowed to stay in the school, and all the duty monitors and such were monsters and such who were running down the halls chasing after us.”
Wade has an affinity for festivals like Shuswap Theatre’s Theatre on the Edge, that can showcase work by both seasoned professionals and newcomers alike.
“You can get in kind of like the ground floor on new work that’s trying to do something weird and different, something that it would be hard to, say, pitch to a major theatre to produce,” said Wade. “So you can get all kinds of wacky and weird material that way. It’s a chance to see shows you wouldn’t get to see anywhere else.”
Wade adds that ticket prices at such festivals can also be an incentive for audiences to try something new. To see a show by one of the seven theatre troupes/performers at this year’s Theatre on the Edge festival, tickets are $10 each, with reduced pricing for packages of three, five or seven plays.
“These aren’t big-scale, $50 musical tickets, so you can take a chance on something you’ve never heard of before… and you might see something that changes your life. Gotta say, I’ve seen some shows that have done that for me,” said Wade.
Theatre on the Edge runs July 20 to 22. For tickets and more information, visit shuswaptheatre.com.