One of the most exciting aspects of being part of the Up to Low ensemble cast, for Carp’s Megan Carty, is that much of the story takes place in the Ottawa Valley.
“It’s a story about here, about Ottawa and Gatineau; the people are real,” said Carty, who lives near Marathon Village. “I think people in the Ottawa Valley can relate to this story; this is a story about the kind of people who live in West Carleton.”
Up to Low, written by Brian Doyle and adapted for the stage by Janet Irwin, is a story set in the 1950s of Tommy and his father’s journey from the Ottawa Valley to Low, Quebec. It’s about love, loss and courage, and a number of the characters may be “strangely familiar – you may even be related to some of them,” says the show’s synopsis.
This is the first time Up to Low will be performed on stage, and for Carty, it’s exhilarating to be part of the process from the ground up – even though that means eight-hour rehearsals, six days a week for three weeks before it hits the theatre.
“When it’s this intense, you can’t really ease into it,” said the 22-year-old, who plays Baby Bridget. “It’s actually a really, really fun role. She’s the girl of the love story, between her and Tommy.”
The production takes place in a “down-home Valley pub,” which the theatre will be staged as with a cat-walk-type stage in the middle, surrounded by the audience sitting at tables. The show is scored to live fiddle music, and the actors have various roles aside from their main characters.
“There’s all these layers to the piece. It really is a dynamic experimental process,” she said. “It’s something that really celebrates storytelling.”
Up to Low will premiere at the Studio at Arts Court Theatre, running from May 21 to June 6, and is part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival, Canada’s only national theatre festival.
“I still can’t believe I’m performing in (the festival); it’s still surreal for me,” said Carty. “I’m very, very excited to be in it.”
Carty has travelled the globe, having just returned from Europe before delving into her latest stage role. She’s studied at Studio 58 in Vancouver, One Yellow Rabbit in Calgary, and The Movement Theatre Studio in New York City.
Carty was recently awarded a Spirit of the Capital Youth Award for her portrayal of Braidie in The Shape of a Girl and has two pieces of her own currently in development.
But there’s nothing like the feeling of coming home, of being back in the community where she grew up, said Carty.
“I have my hands on a project that’s just so close to home; it’s a gift,” she said. “It’s relevant to our community, to rural life.”
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit uptolow.com.