Lucas Myers was a newly graduated itinerant actor out of National Theatre School who looked vaguely like Zach Braff and hadn’t yet decided exactly what type of performer he wanted to become when he first came up with the idea for an audacious one-man show called Dress.
One of his first shows in the Nelson area, it was the genesis of his popular redneck character Randy from Creston, as well as Torvald the Sex Machine and Lego Johnson, among others.
And it provided the template for his future work.
“The fact that it was my very first show is kind of insane. It had a lot going on. I threw a lot at the wall,” said the former Nelson cultural ambassador, who has since become an established name throughout the Kootenays.
Myers recently decided to remount Dress in time for it’s 10-year anniversary, and to introduce fans to earlier work they may have missed. It will play for two nights, October 3 and 4, at the Capitol Theatre.
Myers said he originally came up with the idea in a flurry of creative activity, working on a three-day deadline. He asked a close friend “Okay, I’m going to be up on stage for an hour. What do you want to see?”
According to Myers, the friend didn’t even hesitate.
“‘I want to see you in a dress’, she said. That’s where the idea came from. And then I had to figure out how to make that dramatically interesting.”
Myers created an unnamed, everyman protagonist who falls in love with a woman at the local health food store.
“He falls instantly, and he doesn’t want to be in love with the girl. He’s in a relationship. And she’s this vibrant person and she inevitably dares him to put on a dress and go to performance night at the Capitol to sing a song. Really, it’s about taking risks. I decided that’s what the theme was, it was advice for someone being suddenly in love with this person and not wanting to be.”
The members of the real audience at the Capitol will, in a way, become a part of the production, as they’re expected to stand in for the fictional audience watching the performance art show.
There will be two 3-5 minute cameos from Bessie Wapp and high school music group Swing Theory, who will appear as fictional attendees of the event.
“Bessie’s an old friend and I knew she’d come through for me. I told her go to town, you’ve got 3 to 5 minutes, indulge yourself. Every night is different, I don’t know what they’re going to do. They come in and do whatever,” he said.
But their carefully calculated time on stage will give him the opportunity to sprint around the venue changing costume. Myers said he had to come up with some interesting solutions when he realized the variety of characters he was going to play, and he ultimately ended up using transitionary videos to link the narrative, working with videographer Peter Schramm.
“It’s all shot in Nelson 10 years ago, so the character goes for coffee, pulls up and goes to the old Oso,” he said.
“It’s exactly like a time capsule. I didn’t realize that until I watched the video. It’s neat to revisit old work and kind of see where you were at,” he said.
And though he plans to source the costumes to match the original outfits he wore, he will not be re-piercing his ears, he said.
“I don’t want to go there.”
Tickets for Dress are $20 for adults and $15 for students and are available at 250-352-6363 or online at capitoltheatre.ca.