Isolation Work



Read about the creation and development of Nasty new original work by the Shadows.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions — discussion is welcome.



… developed into …

~ Distending an Earlier Work ~

by Scott Shannon


Writer / Director – Scott Shannon

~ Distending an Earlier Work ~

Notes – Feb 25/2023 AM

Well … this has been a humbling experience thus far, these “4 FREE Fridays for Freddy” that I’m currently running over several months, playing until May … but I’m now off for March and back in Memorial Hall on April 21st … I guess … feeling fairly deflated after two months of two different Fridays and zero audience … I sometimes feel I’ve played this “solo thing” too much, that it’s overplayed and that I’m running on a confidence I shouldn’t really have. I’m trying to create/write plays I would personally find intriguing, stories I hope would relate to any person sitting in the room, adventures of being human in a world I don’t quite understand … I want to share these projects with others, other people, in real-time in a room together, but as ‘X’/’JONES’ says in the play, “I still want those listeners, but I don’t have a clear picture of what should be important, so … what tale can I tell?” It’s deflating …

But of course (I think) these are all the thoughts and emotions you have to deal with when you try to create something, something very personal, opening yourself to others (at least that’s what it feels like) – you want people to *see* it, experience it – and then you are on some level rejected. Having zero audience is different than feeling an audience might not be with you — neither is a great feeling, but at least one situation provides the opportunity to still make the connection with an audience; the other finds you alone with your thoughts. That’s a hard hit and it does hit me hard. When I was packing up my lights and boxes and such after another empty night in the Hall, it made me wonder why I bother, “why am I doing this … ?” I know I’m not doing a stellar publicity campaign, and that what I’m offering is for a niche crowd, I just always think I should be reaching that crowd, that there’s more of that crowd out there … and yet …

That said, this is how it works, right? I was feeling blue and texted a musician buddy to mention I had no crowd so was heading home, and his reply was, “Oh I’ve had those gigs.” It was exactly what I needed to hear. Anyone trying to offer something for the public faces the fear of rejection, and I’m sure just like me, most creators believe they are offering something of value and can’t understand why folks can’t see that and participate in the art.

Oh life! It’s hard sometimes … thank god there’s art and the option to make it …


Notes – Nov 8/2020

Yesterday, I began thinking back on this project from the summer’s engaging co-production with Herbert the Cow Productions, THE FIFTH WALL; an evening of short plays created specifically for the event, a way to create theatre during these uncertain times. I had the wonderful opportunity to work closely with Corenski Nowlan in planning the event with he and his Cows, got re-associate with some folks, and met some other new theatre folks. It was a welcome experience at the time and in retrospect it was certainly one of my favourite large group efforts, with all the folks involved in the 4 shows we staged.

For practical purposes during the pandemic, I decided to create a solo piece on my own that I would perform. Easy to schedule rehearsals and plan the process, and being no stranger to performing other one-man shows I thought it was time to force myself to make this happen in some fashion.

Scott Shannon in 'ISOLATION JONES' @ THE FIFTH WALL (Aug 2020)

Scott Shannon in ‘ISOLATION JONES’ @ THE FIFTH WALL (Aug 2020)

The idea for the play came after Corenski pitched THE FIFTH WALL idea to me — I wanted to create something that would echo the current situation, and lo and behold I’d already created a world through some other related plays that take place during a time when folks do not leave their homes. At this time in human history/futurosity, humans huddle(d) in their homes, ever since The Great Seclusion.

As I think back, I remember how wild it was to create something entirely from scratch, and then rehearse and bring it to the stage alone – and in such a short period of time – this was my first endeavour where I would say I was responsible for what the audience soaked up. I wrote the text and workshopped it myself, with my amazing wife Alicia providing me some input and critique along the way (so, not entirely alone, but it was up to me to take or disregard Alicia’s input at any point with what I shared, so in the end I was responsible). There were no sound or light cues, just me and three boxes under the sun. Each box held an item: a book/pencil; a basin of water and cloth; a set of chains that were set by the performer, me. This was a new approach for me to try, and I felt good about the end result and the varying feedback and comments I heard afterwards.

It felt so good to create and share something with people in a live environment again … and I’m thinking it might be fun to let this piece resurface in the near future in some interesting outdoor pop-up performances in our usual Nasty NB cities …


* I seem most interested in exploring this unknown future as the world where my plays occur – everything I’ve completed or am currently working on ties into “The Great Seclusion”.

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