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Daniel Maslany: The Man Behind Dean in O.C.Dean

April 17, 2013

Sometimes less is more. Presumably that’s what Anthony Black was thinking a couple of weeks ago when during cue-to-cue rehearsal, only days before opening night, he suggested to Daniel Maslany that the sound and lighting designs be modified in order to find a comfortable middle ground in O.C.Dean between the two extremes of a technically complex show and a slightly slimmed down version.

“He said, what about Dean just telling the story?” Maslany recalls, and so at his director’s urging the local writer and actor applied a second makeover to the one-man show he isDaniel Maslany performing in the Templeton Studio Cabaret as part of the Shumiatcher Sandbox Series. I say “second makeover” because earlier on in its development it had been decided that O.C.Dean would be a relatively props-free presentation as well. “It’s pretty much me and the audience,” Maslany says with a smile.

The play, whose theme is obsessive compulsive disorder, takes place in the warehouse of a firm that sells office supplies, a location chosen for its clutter-less, neat, sterile environment. This is where Dean works part-time, and where he tells his story.

“I’m playing myself, but it’s an exaggerated version of myself,” explains Maslany, who has not been diagnosed with the condition but readily confesses to what he coyly describes as “tendencies.” More specifically, he has a thing about coins, because they are handled by so many different people, and checks repeatedly to make sure he turned the oven off even though he knows for sure he did.

“Different people will connect with different parts of it,” Maslany says of a script which is drawn from personal experience and extensive research. “I’m fascinated by people who have OCD, how they cope with it, how it affects their lives and the lives of their families.”

All of this goes back to November, 2011, when Maslany responded to a call for submissions for Globe Theatre’s second stage. Then, roughly a year later, in December of 2012, the script was workshopped for a week in Black’s home base of Halifax. The objective from the start was to make the show “tour friendly” so that its life would extend beyond the world premiere in the Sandbox Series.

“I only had a seed of an idea when I prepared it, and although it has grown since then, it is still to a great extent an experiment,” Maslany says. “I’m learning so much about the show from the reaction of the audience while I’m performing. I joke that I’m rewriting the script when I’m on the stage and I forget a line.”

O.C.Dean runs from April 11 – 20, 2013. Visit the Globe Theatre website for more details, cast information, and to purchase tickets.

Nick Miliokas is a freelance writer and editor based in Regina. You can reach him by email at

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