An ‘alternative history of St. John’s’

Tara
Tara Bradbury
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‘3 Dogs Barking’ being remounted this week at LSPU Hall

A gritty police drama with an unusual storyline, “3 Dogs Barking” will be restaged at the LSPU Hall’s Second Space in St. John’s this week, with acclaimed filmmaker Justin Simms at the helm.

Ruth Lawrence, Frank Barry (centre) and Mike Daley star in a production of Barry’s play “3 Dogs Barking,” directed by Justin Simms and running at the LSPU Hall tonight until Friday. — Submitted photo

The play is a one-act exploration of wrongful conviction, written by Frank Barry and first produced at the Masonic Hall in 2003. It was remounted for a 10-day run a year later, starring Joel Thomas Hynes, Steve O’Connell and Frank Holden, with Barry directing.

This time around, Barry has asked Simms to direct; it’ll be the first time Simms — director of films such as “Down to the Dirt,” “Hard Light” and “Hold Fast,” which will be released soon in cinemas — has directed a play.

“The thing that’s the most different, that I’ve enjoyed the most, is having the opportunity to rehearse for so long, because in the film world you don’t usually have a lot of time to rehearse because of schedules and cost and things like that,” Simms, who writes plays, explained.

“We’ve been rehearsing for two solid weeks and I find you can really work through a lot of minute things, so it’s pretty fascinating. It’s very addictive. Unlike film, where there are so many things that have to happen in between the idea and the execution of the idea, … (with theatre) it can be a clearer path from what you have in your head to what you see in front of you. That isn’t to say I’m going to give up film, or anything.”

The current production stars Barry as Jimmy Larkin, a petty thief from Shea Heights who has confessed to a murder he didn’t commit; Mike Daly as resisting officer Const. Coveyduck; and Ruth Lawrence as a forensic pyschiatrist assigned to assess Jimmy.

The production takes place in the round, surrounded by the audience on all four sides, and the set is an examination room under renovation.

“It’s kind of like a game of psychological cat and mouse, as we learn that Jimmy’s family and Coveyduck’s family have this dark, intertwined history,” Simms said.

“3 Dogs Barking” is a dark comedy and, Simms said, an “alternative history of St. John’s.” It contains graphic violence and strong language and is not intended for a younger audience.

Tickets are $20 and are available at the LSPU Hall, online at www.rca.nf.ca or by calling the Hall at 753-4531.

tbradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Geographic location: Shea Heights

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