By Michael Duncan
James Macdonald, fourth-year theatre student, paces back and forth, spouting a feverish monologue through the eyes of his character Zac Zackerman. As one of the main characters in Ryerson’s newest production, Macdonald’s acting skills adds intensity to the play, Serious Money.
The show is strikingly relevant in the midst of a global economic recession. The script by Caryl Churchill comes to life with Ryerson’s theatre school and runs from Oct. 15 to Nov. 7 at Ryerson’s Abrams Studio Theatre.
The play will also make a first in Ryerson Theatre School history as it moves to Theatre Passe Muraille, as a part of Nightwood Theatre’s 4×4 Festival from Nov. 20-22.
Serious Money got off the ground before most students were even thinking about the end of summer.
“We had auditions before school started and got our lines the first day of school and have been rehearsing since then,” said Macdonald.
The cast is made up of students in the final year of Ryerson’s theatre program.
Serious Money is inspired by the deregulation of the British financial establishment in 1986, known as the “Big Bang,” which opened British markets to the world.
The poignant satire delves into a world of international finance, laying bare the human need for excess with humorous results.
“I would hope the audience can laugh at the satire and be disgusted at the truth,” said Macdonald.
Characters fly on and off stage living out their lives’ dramatic highs and lows as the plot follows two main stories.
Not just a political satire, Serious Money also involves murder mystery as the high-stakes of big money and life in the upper class lead the characters to extremes that reveal ugly truths in human fallibility.
“In terms of major obstacles in the play’s process, the main thing has been getting the lines right,” said Macdonald.
Serious Money’s language style features rhyming couplets and obscene humor designed to emulate the chaos of stock market trading floors.
“The way the show is done is pretty chaotic, it’s like a roller coaster,” said Macdonald.
Macdonald’s character possesses a revelatory perspective and his brilliant monologue in the play includes the indicative line, “money buys freedom.”
“My character acts as almost a narrator but not telling the story in order as he weaves in his own moral structure,” said Macdonald.
Based on their rehearsals, Serious Money is both spot on with its critical eye and hilarious with its take on the financial world.
Tickets are on sale now at the Ryerson Theatre box office and can be picked up in person or reserved over the phone by calling 416-979-5118.