I think I had a really weird dream last night. I remember sitting there in a dimly lit room while Windsor’s Mitch Snaden sat naked in a claw foot bathtub telling stories about growing up in Riverside. It’s not the type of dream a happily married man should be having, but I remember it clear as a bell. The dream was so real, it actually felt like I was attending a masterfully-written world-premiere of a new play.
Snaden was the sole actor in the brilliantly written show, May The Good Lord Take a Liking to You, written by award-winning Windsor poet and author Marty Gervais and currently playing nightly in Studio A at Sho Studios.
The biographical story was written by Gervais who told of his childhood growing up Catholic in 1950s Riverside neighbourhood. The one-man show is set in a bathtub (as all good writing sessions are), as a poet composing his latest work thinks back on his experiences as an altar boy during the Cold War. There are a few local references to Riversidian memories, such as local places and factories, the Windsor hum and drinking Vernors Ginger Soda, so for Windsorites this a pure treat of local sights and sounds.
In terms of a one-man play, this one is absolutely brilliant. It not only told a story, but was beautifully poetic and interesting at the same time. Gervais crafted a work that not only showed the creative process of writing a poem, but also tells a great story at the same time.
The character’s memories were cleverly crafted into a fun and entertaining tale of a young boy struggling with the strict regime of a Catholic upbringing, all while trying to be a normal lad growing up in Windsor.
The humour in the show is placed appropriately throughout, and despite the naked man in the tub, there was only one or two subtle references to it, it was all about storytelling. The majority of the humour rested in the nuances of religion and a juvenile fear of hell. From being the “first” to get circumcised to making a deal with the devil for better marks, it’s all here, bared for all to witness (so to speak).
Actor Mitch Snaden has the tough job of putting it all together in one coherent and believable character, all while being butt naked in a tub. One-man plays are difficult enough, but a one-man show in a tub is something completely original. His presentation was awesome, with subtle pauses and exaggerations as he told the stories. Especially captivating is the recollection of a stern-faced nun from the Sisters of St. Joseph who always seemed to pester him – it felt as if Snaden had experienced those odd remarks himself. Even a brief snafu with his lines felt real and honest, and the whole scene could have easily been rubbed off as part of the presentation itself. Snaden is a wonderful actor and a class act, even without clothes.
Over the years Windsor playwrights have written fun musicals, fictional works and other great tales, but this one really hits home. It speaks beautifully of Windsor; it talks passionately of Windsor; and it just feels like Windsor.
May The Good Lord Take a Liking to You is a brilliantly written play from local word wizard Marty Gervais, and this world-premiere presentation with Mitch Snaden should almost be essential theatre for Windsorites. Directed by UWindsor drama instructor Barry Brodie, it runs Sept. 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 at 8 p.m. in Sho Art’s Studio A, located at 628 Monmouth Rd. Tickets are $25, available at the door or by texting or phoning 519-977-4525.