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Photo: Brian MacKinnon

Fringe Review: LIGHTS! CAMERA! ODD JOBS?

By Barbara Popel on June 17, 2019

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LIGHTS! CAMERA! ODD JOBS?
by Arthur MacKinnon
65 min / PG / Solo

In LIGHTS! CAMERA! ODD JOBS?, Arthur MacKinnon takes the audience through his working life. He has had some acting jobs but most of his working life he’s done a variety of low-paying, low-skill jobs such as cherry picking, mowing lawns, moving furniture, working in a call centre, and bussing in restaurants. Lots of restaurants.

He got the acting bug as a young boy when his father, a high school teacher in Winnipeg, took him to a “Shakespeare’s birthday” celebration where he met a real live thespian. He decided then and there that he wanted to be an actor.

Soon he had several well-paying jobs as a teen actor at the prestigious Manitoba Theatre Centre’s Main Stage—roughly equivalent to working at the GCTC or the NAC in Ottawa—but acting work dried up when he reached young adulthood, so he started working on a long string of menial jobs.

Meanwhile, he went to three years of theatre school, where he says he learned how to breathe and how to act like a crow. He also practiced doing impressions. (Yes, he did a Jimmy Stewart impression for us. Why does every male impressionist feel he must do Jimmy Stewart?)

He moved to Vancouver in search of those elusive acting gigs. He eventually got a role. Then his part was cut. More restaurant work.

He moved back to Winnipeg. Still no acting work. He moved to the Okanagan to pick cherries for a summer. He enjoyed that!

MacKinnon got a job in a call centre. He quit to act in a play. Then he had a series of jobs cutting lawns, bussing tables, and moving furniture. Finally he got a secondary role on the TV series Riverdale (based on the Archie comics). That lasted almost three seasons.

With all his acting training, I was a little surprised by several things happening on stage.

If this litany of false starts sounds tedious, imagine what it was like to live it. But MacKinnon puts on a cheery face: “The end is our beginning. The end is where we start!”

With all his acting training, I was a little surprised by several things happening on stage. Whenever there were sound effects, they drowned out MacKinnon’s words. Was this a technical glitch in the sound booth? I found MacKinnon’s frequent pauses to sip from his water bottle quite distracting. His nervous tugging at the back of his pants belt also distracted me.

Acting is a tough profession. This show did not convince me that MacKinnon could have a professional acting career.

WARNING: Strobe light effects are used several times during this show.


LIGHTS! CAMERA! ODD JOBS? by Arthur MacKinnon is playing at Arts Court Theatre (2 Daly Ave) until Sunday June 23, 2019. Tickets cost $12 online (plus a $2 processing fee) and at the door. Visit ottawafringe.com for the schedule and box office info. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe.


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