World’s end is a ‘kooky’ party in Neptune Theatre’s latest play

The Last Show on Earth (TM)! brings a wild dance of joy and regret at Scotiabank Stage

4 min read
Two actors on stage, on smiling while the other places his hands on his chest
caption Wayne Burns as Ayo and Elm Reyes as Eli in Neptune's new play The Last Show on Earth (TM)!
Neptune Theatre

Would your choices change if the world around you was counting down the days to the end? A new play at Neptune Theatre explores a roller-coaster of emotions as its characters decide whether they want to go out quietly or boldly.    

“It’s like the last 10 seconds in someone’s mind before the end of their life,” said Anne-Marie Saheb, who plays Lina, the CEO of a fruit rollup factory committed to serving its customers to the very end.

The Last Show on Earth (TM)! is delivering a unique, eye-opening performance set during Earth’s final days.

Eli, played by Elm Reyes, gets a job at the factory hoping to save up for an escape from the planet’s end. But as time goes on, the end of the world seems inevitable.

Eli is soon forced to face reality when Ayo, played by Wayne Burns, prepares for Earth’s final moments.

One actor looks at his phone while the other holds their hand out
caption Eli, played by Elm Reyes, is saving up for an escape from the world’s end while Ayo, played by Wayne Burns, is preparing for an end-of-world party.
Neptune Theatre

Ayo, Burns said, is like “a bringer of the end times.” While the world is collapsing, Ayo is preparing for an “end-of-world party, like the Super Bowl of the end times,” he said.

Burns has been acting professionally for 15 years, with Neptune Theatre the first place he had training for acting. This is Burns’ second show with Neptune’s main season and said it has been a challenge.

He describes his character as having a ravishing, all-eyes-on-me personality. Early in the production, Burns said it was complicated to take on this role, but that it has become refreshing.

“Once I felt sturdy in what I was doing … I could be like ‘Oh right, this is why I love being a performer … I love people waiting on bated breath with what I’m going to say,’ ” he said.

Actor sits with a painted face in the spotlight on stage.
caption Wayne Burns said his role as Ayo has been complicated, but refreshing.
Neptune Theatre

With flashing costumes and contagious dancing, Ayo guides the world through to its last day, generating feelings of joy and regret as the audience is made to reflect on what they want most in the world.

“Because what matters to you when nothing matters anymore?” asked Saheb. As the CEO of a successful company, her character discovers the value of her family legacy and chooses not to leave it behind.

For Saheb, The Last Show has been a “first for so many things,” she said. Along with being her first show at the Neptune Theatre, her role also includes stripping and singing, which she was not used to.

“As an actor I am very, very nervous about and self conscious about (this) … for me those two were definitely challenges,” she said. Saheb also had the chance to be a part of the playwright process for the first time. With all this in mind, she said the show is very special to her.

A woman holds a glass of wine and looks up
caption Anne-Marie Saheb says the show includes many firsts for her.
Neptune Theatre

Christin Roper saw the play Wednesday night and said the realization of discovering yourself and what you want when it’s too late was “hard-hitting.”

“It’s interesting, there’s like a paradigm about having to keep going when there’s no real point in it or when shit’s going really crazy,” she said.

When Roper told Niki Warren about the show, Warren thought “what in the world are we going to see?”

When asked what she expected from the show, Warren said, “I had no idea besides it was queer and fruit roll ups, and it delivered.”

“It’s gonzo, kooky, wack-doo,” Burns said about the show. “Do you want to go out shaking your ass (or) do you want to be just quiet?” he asked.

Saheb and Burns explained there were challenges in casting for the show, as director Annie Valentina felt she couldn’t find the right people to embody the essence of the play’s characters.

Luckily, Burns had helped the play’s writer, Breton Lalama, with early drafting of the show. Once casting proved difficult, Burns was asked to read for the play. A week later, he was called back.

“Not to toot our own horns (but) I think the casting is really dead on,” Burns said.

The show’s final act at the Scotiabank Theatre will be this Sunday.

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About the author

Andie Mollins

Andie is from Shediac, a small but lively beach town in New Brunswick. She studied history and sociology at the University of New Brunswick and...

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