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King Arthur's Night and Peter Panties

King Arthur's Night and Peter Panties
Your Price: $18.95 CDN
Author: Niall McNeil and Marcus Youssef
Introduction by: Al Etmanski
Publisher: Talonbooks
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 160
Pub. Date: 2018
ISBN-10: 1772012033
ISBN-13: 9781772012033

About the Play:

King Arthur's Night and Peter Panties contains two plays with music by Niall McNeil and Marcus Youssef. Among the first by a writer with Down syndrome, these two plays demonstrate an ability to riff and shift perspective, with disarming, hilarious, and occasionally heart-stopping results. Based on the iconic stories of King Arthur and Peter Pan, they are modern-day mash-ups that meld the fictional, the meta-fictional, and the real in ways that are counter-intuitive and absurd. And both feature songs by beloved Vancouver indie-singer-songwriter Veda Hille, with lyrics by the playwrights.

King Arthur's Night is an epic extravaganza in which the legendary medieval hero King Arthur banters with a magician called Merlin and romances a queen named Guinevere. An upside-down world. A sword in a stone. A betrayed love. An unwanted child. Animals learning to walk and talk. A revolt by the subjugated masses. A kingdom come undone. It leaves one pondering mysteries both absurd (how did the Round Table get to Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia?) and profound (what is the link between the soul and intelligence?). This isn't the King Arthur you know. Featuring an inclusive cast of actors with and without Down syndrome, King Arthur's Night delightfully redefines what is possible in theatre, in language, and in the stories that define our world.

King Arthur's Night premiered in 2017 at the Berkeley Street Theatre in Toronto during the Luminato Festival. Since then the play has also toured to the National Arts Centre and was staged at UBC's Frederic Wood Theatre as part of the 2018 PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

Peter Panties is an unconventional adaptation of the Peter Pan story in which Peter Pan and Captain Hook (or is he Macbeth?) drink lattes, the Lost Boys hang with detectives Grissom and Willows from CSI, and Tinkerbell and Wendy duke it out at Skull Rock. Peter is conflicted about growing up, but he also desperately wants to have sex with Wendy and make a baby. The situation is funny, but aching; sexual exclusion and the denial of full adulthood are no laughing matters for people whose lives include Down syndrome. Peter Panties is a ground-breaking examination of the creative process, an interrogation of what it means to grow up with difference, and a wildly imagined world where fairytales, myth, pop culture and everyday life intertwine.

Peter Panties premiered in 2011 at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre during the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

What people say:

"The tale of King Arthur and the Holy Grail has been told for hundreds of years, but perhaps never in as radically inclusive a way as in [this] adaptation. One of the writers and several of the actors in the acclaimed King Arthur's Night have Down syndrome.." — CBC News

About the Playwright:

Niall McNeil is an accomplished Vancouver-based actor and theatre-maker whose life includes Down Syndrome. He has a distinguished professional pedigree, acting and making theatre as a child with the storied Caravan Farm Theatre in the British Columbia Interior, and appearing in several shows created by Leaky Heaven Circus. He also teaches the "Act Up" classes at the Down Syndrome Research Foundation.

Marcus Youssef is a Canadian playwright, artistic director, and author. Born in Montreal to Egyptian parents, he has often made diversity and the ideas of difference and diversity themes in his work, some of which were co-written with friends and colleagues. His works have been performed at theatres and festivals (and school gyms) across Canada, the US, Australia and Europe. He was named the 2017 recipient of the Siminovitch Prize, Canada's most prestigious prize in Theatre. He currently lives in Vancouver British Columbia, where he continues his work with community-based advocacy programs that use writing and/or theatre as tools for effecting political and social change.