Lo (or Dear Mr. Wells)

Until February 24, Neptune Theatre in Halifax presents Lo (or Dear Mr. Wells), Rose Napoli’s gripping exploration of sex, power and control between a high-school teacher and his protégé-turned-lover. Recently we spoke with Assistant Director (Chrysalis Apprentice) Andrew Chandler about what audiences can expect.

When and why did you first become interested in theater?
I adapted, directed and starred in a grade 5 production of "Sylvester and the Magic Pebble" at lunch time, but after that, it took until mid-way through a music degree at Mount Allison to discover that theatre was calling. I was playing percussion in the pit band for the school musical, and found myself thinking "those folks on stage sure look like they're having a lot of fun"... the following year, I auditioned for the show, and shortly thereafter, I moved away from classical percussion, and more towards theatre.  

Are they the same reasons that you continue to be involved today?
I think I was drawn to theatre because it was a poetic, imaginative mirror that reflected the highest highs, the biggest questions, and the deepest thoughts of real life. That's what draws me still. 

What are the challenges of the vocation?
The biggest challenge is always finding work that sustains you, and finding ways to keep living in the lean times. I've been very lucky to have been working steadily for some time, but it's a hustle, always.

What are the rewards?
So many; the joy of getting to face new challenges every day, have new adventures, and learn more about and from fellow creative explorers.  

How, when & why did you get involved with Lo?
I'm a grateful member of Neptune's Chrysalis Project, which supports emerging artists, by allowing them the opportunity to work on shows throughout this season. Lo was one of the shows I was most hoping to get to assist on, and I've been blessed to be able to work on this challenging, exciting, powerful show.  

From your perspective, why has the story struck such a strong chord with audiences?
I think the story is so powerful because it asks big questions around love, sex and consent in a way that is deeply, powerfully human. While the relationship depicted in Lo is unlawful, neither character is a one-dimensional predator nor prey. They're both complex, nuanced people, who make mistakes as they search for love and connection in each other. To me, it depicts a profoundly human capacity to hope, to love, and to err.  

What can audiences expect to experience during the Halifax run?
Audiences should expect to be challenged to think, to feel, and to question their assumptions. Lo invites questions and discussion, and it does so with laughter, with love, with hope, and with grace.  

What are your thoughts on the current state of theater in Halifax & Atlantic Canada?
This is a really exciting time for theatre in Nova Scotia. Neptune, under new artistic director Jeremy Webb, has shown a really exciting new energy, for new plays, new ideas, and new artists. I feel that change has already impacted so many in the community, and I feel newly inspired to create great work with the many talented artists here at home. I hope that audiences are as excited, and as inspired to find theatre that is off-the-beaten-path, to try out an independent theatre show, and to be adventurous and generous in their support.  

What's next on your creative agenda? 
I'll be appearing on stage with Eastern Front Theatre's production of Catherine Banks' "Miss N Me," playing on Neptune’s Scotiabank Studio Stage March 14-24th.  

Lo (or Dear Mr. Wells)
Until February 24, 2019
Neptune Theatre, Halifax

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