Matthew Gorman on Cart/Horse Theatre’s Fishskin Trousers


Lucy Powis 

Staff Writer

Cart/Horse Theatre has been working since 2006 with the formula “Actor, Audience, Story.” The emphasis in their productions is on simplicity and storytelling, although artistic director Matthew Gorman emphasized that this does not mean that their shows are ordinary. “We’re not particularly interested in your day-to-day bedroom comedy stuff, or your kitchen sink family dramas.… We’re looking for something that requires a little more imagination for the audience,” Gorman noted.  

Cart/Horse’s latest storytelling venture is a production of Fishskin Trousersdirected by Gorman, now playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. In Fishskin Trousers, playwright Elizabeth Kuti weaves together three stories from different eras, all united by the common setting of a fishing village called Orford. “It’s not just that (Kuti) has written three different monologues, she’s written in three very different styles,” says Gorman of the piece. “I mean, even they way they’re laid out on the page is very different. The character who’s coming from the mid 12th century speaks in a very different way and it’s written and structured very differently than the character who is in 2003.” 

When these three different stories are brought together, what is created is a haunting tale spanning the ages. “I hope people leave feeling like they witnessed something strange,” says Gorman. “It’s not a scary story, but it’s the fun thrill of being in a haunted house.… It’s the idea of stepping out of the everyday, and there’s something in this old place that carries a lot of baggage with it.” 

Fishskin Trousers invites audiences to find the truth and honesty in a world of magic and intrigue. How these three contrasting narratives weave together to form the story of Orford will certainly be exciting to see. 

 Fishskin Trousers is playing at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace until December 7. Tickets $20, or PWYC on Sundays. For more information,