Snow day

Whiteout provides thrills, chills and laughs

You get the feeling that playwright and actor Michael McPhee might be being modest when he describes the scares in his new horror play Whiteout as "pretty good."

"Oh, there are moments in this play when I feel scared," says Annie Valentina, one of the five actors in the play. "Not my character," she adds quietly. "It's actually me who's scared."

Whiteout, which is described as a "banter-packed ghost story with a twisting plot," is the story of four people who experienced the horror of losing a friend in an avalanche at a remote mountain cabin. When they return to the scene a year later, they discover the horror is just beginning.

McPhee first conceived of the idea for the play during the 24-Hour Theatre Project, an annual event in Halifax that challenges three playwrights to create three plays in 12 hours. Actors and directors then have just 12 hours to take the scripts to a point where an audience can see them.

McPhee calls the process a really useful creative experience that gave him a great plot to work with when it came time to put something together for this year's Fringe.

And while Whiteout is a play filled with tension and chills, it also promises moments of humour.

"I'm not sure that I'm capable of writing anything that isn't at least a little bit funny," says McPhee. "So I guess people can expect some laughter with their chills."

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