#379 – Deborah Shaw and David Agro

On this episode, we bring you playwright and performer, Deborah Shaw, and director and dramaturg, David Agro. Together, they are the dynamic duo behind the production of her, shedding light on how they navigated the choppy waters of the pandemic to bring their creative vision to life.
From a casual chat about their first experiences in theatre to a captivating discussion about how audience feedback and critical reviews helped shape their production, this talk is a rollercoaster ride. Deborah heartwarmingly recounts her return to the stage after a long hiatus, crediting an encouraging Grade 8 teacher for sparking her public speaking confidence which eventually led her to craft her own play. On the other side, David speaks passionately about his vision for the show and how his knee-jerk reaction to the script was instrumental in shaping the final production.
Finally, we pull back the curtain on the making of her, scheduled to run at the Red Sand Castle Theatre from September 6th to 10th. Discover how Deborah’s personal inspirations breathed life into the script, and how David finessed his directorial magic to bring Her to the stage. Be prepared to be swept off your feet as we navigate through the meticulous and iterative process of creating a play. So take a seat, get comfortable, and prepare to be captivated by these brilliant minds of the Canadian theatre scene. It’s a performance you won’t want to miss!

Deborah Shaw
Since graduating from Theatre Humber, Deborah has been involved in many productions in Toronto as an actor, stage manager and costumier. Creating and performing in her own work has been a particular joy. She was a founding member of Carpe Dinero (commedia dell’arte), as co-director, co-writer and performer. Deborah has also been the Entertainment Director for the Pirate Festival, and she debuted the role of Susan in the world premiere of the Samuel French Inc. Canadian Play Contest winner, A Year In The Death Of Eddie Jester, by T. Gregory Argall. Always expanding her performing interests, Deborah launched into bellydancing with Arabesque Academy, where she regularly performed as one of the Arabesque Earthshakers. She was also the costumier and backstage manager for Arabesque Canada under Artistic Director Yasmina Ramzy. Deborah recently created her own unique style of dance fusion in her show Raqs Macabre, for which she is the producer, writer, choreographer, costumier and dance artist. The Fringe Festival made it possible for her.—Deborah’s second completed playscript—to receive a full staging while other works and ideas have impatiently waited their turn.

Instagram: hertheplay

David Agro
David and one-person plays have a history together. His professional debut performance, for Heresy 3 Productions at Brock Centre for the Arts, was as Andrei Vukhov in Judgement— the first Canadian production of Barry Collins’ harrowing full-length solo drama. David continued to develop his acting and directing skills at the Shaw and Stratford Festivals, where he had the immense good fortune of learning from many of his theatre heroes. A diverse range of experiences in the Toronto area eventually led to his most recent projects— adapting, directing and performing condensed solo versions of plays which have made a lasting impression on him, including Judgement, The Dresser, Bent, Hosanna and The Elephant Man. Exploring the possibilities in solo pieces has become a consuming interest. When presented with the opportunity to make his first foray into The Toronto Fringe Festival as dramaturg and director of Deborah Shaw’s original one-actor drama, David felt right at home being part of the company of two that breathed life into her. He recently presented a newly-revised version of his own one-person show, Bedrooms of the Nation.

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