Curtains open for Cloudburst

Thom Fitzgerald's new play opens tonight.


“I don’t know what form something will take when I start to write,” says Thom Fitzgerald, the award-winning filmmaker of movies such as The Hanging Garden, The Event and 3 Needles. “I start with a thought, and it usually becomes a bunch of dialogue…I just seem to write in dialogue.”

This may explain why his latest work, Cloudburst, is being born as both a play and a movie. The play opens this week at Plutonium Playhouse, a new theatre company that makes its home at Common Ground Studios (2315 Hunter Street). The movie, which will star Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker, is slated to go to camera in and around Halifax this summer.

Cloudburst is the story of Dotty and Stella, two elderly women who have been a couple for over 30 years. After Dotty takes a fall, her granddaughter decides it’s time to move her to a nursing home. In a move reminiscent of Thelma and Louise, the duo makes their escape. They head for Nova Scotia with a view to tying the knot, but when they hit some bumps in the road along the way, Stella begins to wonder if she really has what it takes to look after Dotty.

“Doing Cloudburst as a play before it becomes a film allows me to get inside it and all around it. It’s a wonderful chance to delve into the material,” says Fitzgerald.

He says the intimate, flexible confines of the Plutonium Playhouse (which seats 40) will be a great venue for staging the work.

“This play is dramatic and funny and I really hope people will come out and see it…It’s not everyday you get to see a play about geriatric lesbians, with a foul-mouthed old dyke as the protagonist.”

Cloudburst runs April 8-May 8, 8pm with 2pm Sunday matinees. Tickets are $20, call 423-4653 to reserve.

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