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Thursday, March 5, 2015

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Cape Breton version of The Big Chill

Tags: Arts
Dov Mickelson

Actor Dov Mickelson makes his main stage debut at Toronto’s Factory Theatre in a play described as a Cape Breton  version of The Big Chill. Written by Governor General Award winner Daniel MacIvor, Bingo! is running until  June 1.

Bingo! had its world premiere in MacIvor’s home province of Nova Scotia and has since toured the country.

The play is about a group of 40-somethings in Nova Scotia getting together for their 30th high school reunion. Bingo is the name of the drinking game they play in their hotel room.

“I play Jeff MacInnis, but his nickname is Heffer.  We all call ourselves by our nicknames,” Mickelson says. “The other two guys are Dookie and Nurk.  Boots and Bitsi are the girls. Boots, Bitsi and Heffer have not left town. Nurk has gone out west and is very successful, and Dookie is a big real estate guy in Halifax.”

Mickelson says, tongue in cheek, that there is very little acting required because in some ways the cast is very close to the people they represent, as they are similar in age. 

“Sometimes you have these friendships that last your whole life and sometimes you are friends with people, just because you were friends in high school. At any age this happens, when you reflect back at stages of your life, it is like time travelling and sometimes when you are with old friends, it’s like picking up even though

30 years has passed between you.

 “It is certainly the way my memory of how The Big Chill was, with all these old friends getting together,” Mickelson says. “Although that movie was about the death of a friend. But, there can be comparisons for sure. The play is seemingly simple but it’s complex, there are these little layers like an onion in it that are beneath the comedy that are discovered.  It is a really beautiful script and I urge people to come see it for a great night of theatre. ”

The actor think it appeals not just to those in their 40s but to those of all ages because of the sense of looking back at our lives and where we are at. He thinks the play speaks a lot to love and friendships and to some of the quirkiness of small town living.

“Daniel MacIvor has a wonderful dark sense of humour. People who know his writing will appreciate it.  There are several versions of how he wrote this play but one of them was that his brother challenged him to write a play for him that appeals to everybody.”

Mickelson says his Judaism is part of his makeup and who he is. “I have done some playwriting and being Jewish has influenced some of the subjects that I have written about for sure.”

Before moving to Toronto 13 years ago, Mickelson worked with Catalyst Theatre in his hometown of Edmonton.  His other stage credits include On the Other Side of The World, The Winslows of Derryvore, Wizard of Oz, The Jones Boy, Dying to Be Sick and The Right Road to Pontypool.  On film and television he was in Found

Objects, The Associates and Finding Christmas for Hallmark.


The Toronto premiere of Bingo! is directed by Factory Theatre’s co-artistic director Nigel Shawn Williams and also features John Beale, Sarah Dodd, David Keeley, and Jane Spidell. Call 416-504-9971 or online at

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