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Rhode Island performer brings unique play to Island Fringe Festival

Stuart Wilson will be launching himself into space as part of his one-man play at the Island Fringe Festival.

Comedy explores relationship between father and son while wearing a spacesuit

Stuart Wilson of Rhode Island will be performing his play It's a Spaceship Now at the Island Fringe Festival. (Matt Rainnie/CBC)

Stuart Wilson will be launching himself into space as part of his one-man play at the Island Fringe Festival.

Wilson, who is from Rhode Island, told CBC Radio's Island Morning the idea for It's a Spaceship Now came from a discussion with his girlfriend over coffee.

"I had a lot of stories I guess I wanted to tell and I needed something to connect them," he said.

"Building a spaceship out of an old nuclear missile was a story that felt right somehow, it felt like a real good analogy for what I wanted to do with my life and how I generally did things."

The play, Wison explained, is about having a feeling he hadn't done anything significant with his life.

"The more I wrote the show and edited it, I found out I was also talking about my dad and my relationship with my dad and how we don't always communicate as well as we could," he said.

"So that ended up being a really big part of the story."

A better understanding

Wilson said he found himself talking about his father a lot as he worked to develop the show because his father helped him build things.

I don't want people to think it's about a bunch of overwrought things about my dad. That's what it is underneath, for me, but it's a comedy after all.- Stuart Wilson

The performer, who will be a new father soon, added his father has seen the show and it's helped the two of them talk about their relationship.

"I wouldn't call what we have a problem — it's not like our dynamic has changed drastically but we understand each other a lot better."

Since finding out he'll become a father, Wilson said he understands the parent-child relationship more.

"The emotional toll it takes even just to be pregnant — how much time you spend worrying and hoping and trying not to have specific expectations — it gives me a lot of new respect and love for my parents."

'A silly show'

But Wilson said the show is meant to be fun — he performs in a spacesuit for part of the show and wears the helmet as well.

"It is kind of a silly show," he said.

"I don't want people to think it's about a bunch of overwrought things about my dad. That's what it is underneath, for me, but it's a comedy after all."

Wilson said he enjoys performing fringe festivals and found about the fringe festival by searching online.

"I have always heard about good things about the Island in general and the festival looked pretty cool the way they wrote about it and I thought it would be really fun."

Wilson will be performing at the Kirk of St. James tonight at 9 p.m. and at other times over the weekend.

The festival begins Thursday in Charlottetown and allows people to see theatre in unconventional places in Charlottetown.

With files from Island Morning

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