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Overcoming roadblocks with humour

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By Nancy Hyndman

What : Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear

Where: MY Place

When : Nov. 2, 8 p.m.

You can see why Lyle Victor Albert has produced another successful one-act play despite his struggles with cerebral palsy. He’s well-spoken, a playwright who takes a moment to think through his answers. The cautious writers, it seems, always choose words well.

Tonight’s theatrical performance, Objects in the Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear, presented by the Whistler Community Arts Council and Kids Entertainment Agency in Toronto, is a one-man fringe show. The play presents the struggles and triumphs facing a character – from the break up of a relationship to moving cities – as a series of anecdotes that reflect on a different kind of roadblock.

Cerebral palsy is caused by lesions on the brain which affect one’s ability to control movement

Speaking with Albert by phone from Bonnieville, Alberta, it seems the impact of his disability – his speech is drawled but clear – affects his work but in an promising way.

"I certainly won’t deny that having a disability… well, you can definitely laugh at yourself!" he says, and you can feel the sparkle in his voice.

Humour is often unpredictable in the play format, as was the case with Albert’s debut monologue, Scraping the Surface.

"I was wondering whether the humour would translate (on tour) in Edinburgh and Dublin, but what engages audiences is that I’m talking about experiences they too went through. I’m just taking them through a different door," he notes.

Now with "Objects" Albert explores more concepts familiar to people – breaking up with a sweetheart, obtaining a driver’s license, and a classic part of Canadiana, the road trip. The character’s 1986 Honda Civic starts up in the bitter winters of Edmonton, eventually parallel parking in the Vancouver rain.

Mentors or playwrights he looks to? Albert cites David Mamet and Sam Shepherd as playwriting favourites, and tells hopefuls "if you want to write… just write!"

Albert’s 1996 debut as writer-performer was with Scraping the Surface. The 15-minute monologue found an audience at the Men’s Fest in Vancouver. The show also won Edmonton’s Sterling Award for Outstanding New Play in 1996, and Vancouver’s Jessie Award for Outstanding Script and Performance for a High School Audience in 1997.

Tickets for Albert’s latest creation, Objects in the Mirror, can be purchased through Ticketmaster outlets and cost $15 for arts council members, $18 in advance for the general public, and $7 for children. For more information or to buy tickets in person contact MY Place, 4335 Blackcomb Way in Whistler, (604) 935-8418. Last minute tickets are available the day of performance for $23.

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