The Play and Playwright:
by Rachelle Stein-Wotten
Brad Poulsen has been working on a script on and off for four years now. Finally, after much dedication and support, he is finally seeing it performed onstage. Poulsen's play, The Engineers, will be presented by Western Edge Theatre beginning Mar. 28. The creative writing and theatre student has been plugging away at his degree for a few years and is excited and grateful for the chance to have his work performed onstage.
Poulsen is no stranger to the stage, however. A one-act play that he wrote and directed was shown at the student One Act Festival recently. Poulsen also played Macbeth in the Theatre department's fall production. The Engineers will be different for him though, says Poulsen.
"The Engineers will be special for me because it's been a lot of work over a long period of time. And it's particularly special because I'm getting paid for my work. That's a good thing," he says. Poulsen started writing The Engineers in one of his classes for VIU professor Frank Moher. Moher is also artistic producer for Western Edge Theatre. He encouraged Poulsen to finish the play so that he could produce it.
"I guess he liked what I was doing. I am very grateful for his help along the way and for the faith he has put in me," says Poulsen. The Engineers takes place in a futuristic setting 200 years from now and follows the aftermath of a global meltdown at the peak of the information age. The human race is subsequently forced to consider an alternative way of life. Everyone agrees that help is required to keep from self-destructing -- enter The Engineers.
"You could relate it to city planning, but on a human level, where the results of failure are a little heavier than rush hour gridlock," says Poulsen. "The subject matter has always been on my mind," continues Poulsen. "I'm a bit obsessed with the post-apocalyptic, which this play is a variation of. I've also wondered what life must have been like when my grandparents and great grandparents were growing up. I wonder if life would have been better with fewer choices in the world. The Engineers limit the choices available in order to limit incorrect decisions. As you can imagine, that doesn't go over well with everyone. Also, most of the science in the play is relative to stuff going on today."
The play consists of a large cast for today's standards, twelve, and mainly takes place in the Vatican. Among the characters in the play is the Pope, who is played by veteran actor Adrian Hough. Hough was in the movie X-Men: The Last Stand and runs the prestigious Spotlight Acting Academy.
Poulsen describes the play as having a deeply eclesiastic and political vein. "Despite the Sci-Fi elements, the play is more of a political/religious thriller with big dramatic stakes," says Poulsen.
The fast-paced play follows a young rebel who infiltrates the Vatican, set on confronting its leaders for their role in genetically manipulating humanity. The rebel gains an unexpected supporter in the Pope once he gets inside.
Poulsen says he thinks his play will appeal to a wide-ranging audience. "I really think it's relevant to people of all ages and all backgrounds. Even the misfits out there will find a connection to the The Chaotics, who are the antithesis to The Engineers, and are really the catalyst for all of the action in the play," he says.
The Engineers runs Mar. 28 and April 3, 4 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee on April 5 at 2 p.m. and plays at the Nanaimo Entertainment Centre on Nicol Street. Tickets cost $18 for adults, $15 for seniors (65+) and $10 for students and are available at Falconer Books and Gabriola Artworks, or call 325-7777 or visit www.westernedge.org