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The Island Fringe Festival ~ Malcolm Murray’s “The Abettor”

Story by Meghan Lafferty

The Island Fringe Festival in PEI is quickly approaching! From August 29th to the 31st, you will have the chance to witness independent and alternative theatre, comedy, dance and more, all from local Island artists! In addition to this, the Island Fringe Festival also gives Canadian and International theatre companies a chance to bring their shows to PEI and make connections with Island artists.  Shows can be found all over downtown Charlottetown in some very unconventional venues. Show venues include coffee shops, the wharf, and town square! 

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to speak with one of the playwrights, Malcolm Murray. Malcolm wrote The Abettor; a ‘creepy’ play which will be shown at several points during the festival. The Abettor is described as a play about ‘murder and corpse disposal’ – a very interesting and dark description that caught my attention almost instantly. Thankfully, I had the chance to ask Malcolm a few questions about the festival, himself, and his play, which allowed me to gain a little insight to share. 

Is this your first year participating in the Fringe Festival?
MM: Yes.

How did the idea come along to write The Abettor?
MM: I saw one of those reality cold-case TV shows. I was surprised (and intrigued) by how one individual seemed to so blithely follow another into crime.

I understand that you’re a philosophy professor at UPEI. Do you think your discipline had any impact on the outcome of your writing?
MM: Definitely. My ideas for stories/plays tend to be centred on some conceptual question.  The bigger challenge, however, is to not pontificate. It’s fiction, not lecture.

Do you believe that anyone can ‘fall from grace’ with ease? Do you think this ‘fall’ from grace’ is more prevalent in today’s society?
MM: People can fall from grace with ease, absolutely.  Such a tumble is probably not more prevalent today than at any time in human history. While one’s culture and environment are obviously huge influences in one’s life path, I have too dim a view of human nature to suppose we can get any worse as time wears on.

Your play is described as “a bit comedic, but a bit creepy, too”. Was that the mood you were going for?
MM: I wanted creepy, and as hard as I try, I find I can’t look at much without a bit of wry humour.

Does your writing tend to take a darker tone? If so, why do you think that is?
MM: When I was in elementary school, my mother complained that all my stories were depressing.  My themes are definitely dark – death, meaninglessness – but like any good existentialist, I don’t actually find that depressing. I find it exhilarating, inspiring.  We’re alive only a short time. Shouldn’t we do something about that? It’s boredom I find depressing. It’s a willing shutting of our eyes to our precarious state that I find depressing.

What do you hope your audience takes away from your story?
MM: A good pithy yarn.  Some laughs.  A great director. Superb actors.  A desire for more live theatre. You know…the usual.

Are there plans for any future plays?
MM: Well, I constantly write. Since The Abettor, I’ve written at least three others, two of which I think are pretty good, and I am currently struggling with a fourth, which may not work out. We’ll see.  The difficult part is finding the right people to take it from its uni-dimensional state to the stage. Any interested readers out there?

The Abettor
Thursday, August 29 ~ 7:30pm
Friday, August 30 ~ 9pm
Saturday, August 31 ~ 6pm
Venue: Island Dance Academy

For more information on this year’s Island Fringe Fest productions, visit:

Meghan Lafferty is a creative writer, born and bred in Charlottetown, PEI, who spends her days writing and discussing story ideas with her cat, Sailor Soupie.

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