John Cusack at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival 

Written and Directed by Michelle Kennedy 

Starring Lana Hughes and Jessica Peverett 

BYOV #13 Strathcona Public Library 8331 104 Street NW

Tickets $12.50/$11 Students & Seniors ( 

August 15:  John Cusack 8pm

August 16: John Cusack 1:15pm

August 17: John Cusack 6:30pm

August 18: John Cusack 12:15pm 

August 19: John Cusack 8pm

August 20: John Cusack 2pm

August 21: John Cusack 6:30pm

August 22: John Cusack 3:45pm

August 23: John Cusack 11:30am 

So come, won't you? 


What a week it's been at Camp Cusack! 

No one doing fringe is without exhaustion, elation and all the feelings in between. I took quick break at the lake with a friend and Jessica and Lana both had brief sojourns to the Edmonton Folk Music Festival this past weekend. Breaks are necessary. More than necessary, essential to well being. 

It's funny, when I was younger and stupider self-care was not an option. Too many hours, too long to-do lists and all having to be done in that moment. Now, breaks, coffee, time with friends, snuggles with cats, breaks to the lake and sing-a-longs with Blue Rodeo... These are the things that keep us sane. 

Friday was the toughest. The show had to be cut by 10 minutes, lines were a bit of a mess and it was a rough rehearsal. I cut, lines were learned and all feels a bit better. Somehow we all flipped a switch and it works so much better than before. 

These changes are hard. This play was so hard to write and while I am always thrilled to cut and am rarely precious about my work it stung. 

Today, during our tech run, I didn't miss those moment. Moments that translated into 5 full pages of text. I thought I might but it was as if they didn't exist. A tightening, a loss of an organ that does nothing for the body; less traumatic than an appendectomy... 

Show opens in 4 sleeps. Come, won't you? 


So we snapped some pics before rehearsal the other day and I love them quite a bit... Here they all are because why not! I'll share them selectively on Facebook and Twitter but why not share them all here too? NO REASON! (ps: I took these so if you wanna use them after you see the show to talk about how awesome it was please do but give me credit by linking them back to my website won'tcha?) 

FOR THE PRESS! (And fans!)

One of the elements of I love about producing is the writing of the press release! I mull it over and fantasize about doing interviews but more importantly it really forces me to think succinctly about my play and what I want the public (i.e.: you) to know about it. Is it catchy, quirky, an oddball, screwball romantic romp? Those are the things I have to figure out and then quote myself and find all the right adjectives to demonstrate confidence but not arrogance, showmanship with hamming it up and style WITH substance. I hope I did that here: 

John Cusack comes to the Edmonton International Fringe Festival

 The 2014 Fringe heralds the arrival of one of the world's most famous romantic comedy actors, John Cusack…

While writer/director Michelle Kennedy can't promise the actor himself will arrive she can promise that John Cusack (the play) "will appeal to fans and haters alike."

John Cusack is the first time collaboration between three long-time Edmonton Fringe vets and old friends: writer/director Michelle Kennedy and performers Jessica Peverett and Lana Hughes. With an impressive number of Sterling Nominations and various accolades between them the three women longed for a project that was equal part laughs and challenges. They found such a balance in Kennedy’s comical oddity “John Cusack”.

John Cusack is the tale of an unlikely friendship between two women who sit on either side of a love for romantic comedies. JC (played by Lana Hughes) believes that John Cusack, a rather famous actor, can sense when women are in romantic crisis and will rescue them. JC, herself in the throws of a romantic crisis, holes up in a hotel room waiting for Cusack to rescue her. Madeline (played by Jessica Peverett), a romantic unbeliever, encounters JC tied to a chair in her hotel. What follows is a hilarious rollercoaster track of friendship, love, sex and whether or not John Cusack really can save the day.

Developed over the course of 5 years (most of them dormant in a laptop) John Cusack was originally developed as a 10-minute solo piece performed by Kennedy at the 2009 One Yellow Rabbit Summer Lab Intensive. Meant to debut at the 2012 Fringe with Andrea Beça at the helm as Dramaturg and Director the show was shelved due to unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances. Two years later Kennedy picked it up again with the goal of a more well-rounded and well-grounded story. A second character was added and the trajectory of the story telling was altered significantly leading to what will be on offer at the 2014 Edmonton Fringe. “I make changes daily,” says Kennedy, “and I’m so grateful to Lana and Jessica for diving in with open hearts and total trust. They are fantastic collaborators and are helping to beautifully shape the story of these two women.”

John Cusack is part romantic comedy, part buddy movie and part cynical rant about love. Mix in a hint of the beautiful absurdity of Waiting for Godot and you’ve got what hopes to be a fun 60 min at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival.

John Cusack will play in BYOV 13: Strathcona Library (8331 104 St NW). Tickets are $12.50/$11 (Students and Seniors). More info:


Dear Humans on the Internet, 

The weird thing about playwriting is that sometimes you write a play and you write some stuff for it that you really love but you have to cut it because it no longer fits into the play you're writing. I'm right there right now and it's totally making me mental! I wrote this monologue on a plane and I am cutting it from JOHN CUSACK but I want to share it with you all. 

MAT: I work nights. By choice. I am spared the days of the strident clicking of bureaucrats visiting our provincial capital and meeting in the lobby. Spared the obviousness of no one really listening to each other. Each of them pounding the keyboards of laptops, blackberries and odd sized little blue tooth keyboards. The pinched-face women never look at me and the ruddy men with their whiskey noses never stop looking at me.

The day times are the saddest times in the hotel: people have yet to drown the desperation of their inability to please anyone in booze and anonymous sex. They have yet to sweat through the night, panting away their suffering below or on top of beautiful, blissful anonymity.

In the daytime they judge each other. Whisper about who is fucking who despite a wife and x number of kids at home; despite a rich cardiac surgeon husband. Like any of that matters. A false morality imposed on a world of too much choice to turn down.

I see it all and it turns me on. Like those socks all those years ago. Often to the point of a dull ache deep inside. Often to the point of offering myself up as the choice for those wishing to forget where they are or where they might be going.

COPYRIGHT HOMIES! Don't steal this! It's my intellectual property! 

Meet The Cusackians


I'm not sure what the right term is but either way... Here we go: 

Michelle Kennedy (Writer/Director) 

Michelle is director, writer, and producer from Edmonton. Recent writing credits include John Cusack; Apocalypse: A Period Piece (with Chris Craddock); The Tornado!: A Musical Prairie Tragicomedy (Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Mischief and Mayhem Theatre); The Flood: A Disaster Story (Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Mischief and Mayhem Theatre). Recent directing credits include: Shangri-La (The Globe Theatre); John Cusack (Edmonton Fringe); Apocalypse: A Period Piece (Edmonton Fringe); PornStar.USA (Sterling Award Nomination, Outstanding Fringe Production), The Tornado!: A Musical Prairie Tragicomedy, The Flood: A Disaster Story (Edmonton International Fringe Festival, Mischief and Mayhem Theatre); Shhhh! (Swallow-A-Bicycle) Coffee Dad, Chicken Mom and the Fabulous Buddha Boi (Guys Undisguised/Mischief and Mayhem Theatre, Sterling award for Best New Fringe Play) in both Edmonton and New York City; Willkommen in Spreepark (Mischief and Mayhem Theatre); and UBU ROI: A Grotesque Burlesque (Mischief and Mayhem Theatre). Michelle is in her sixth season at One Yellow Rabbit and had the pleasure to work with the OYR ensemble on: Munich Now, Wag!, People You May Know, SMASH CUT FREEZE, Kawasaki Exit, and Gilgamesh La-Z-Boy. Michelle holds a BA (Honours) Degree in Drama from the University of Alberta and a certificate in Arts and Cultural Management from MacEwan College. 

Here is a picture of Michelle: 

Lana Hughes (Jennifer Collins) 

Lana is an Edmonton based actor, writer, director, and sound designer. Select acting credits include: The National Elevator Project (Theatre YES), Fairy Catcher’s Companion  (Promise Productions), Love(her)/Fight(her) (Urban Curvz), The Laramie Project (Citadel Theatre), Going Down(Running In Heels Productions). Select directing credits include: Bronte Burlesque and Tudor Queens: A Burlesque (Send In the Girls Burlesque). She holds a major in Drama and a minor in Women’s & Gender Studies from the U of A – and works to create theatre that brings her two passions together. She’s also studied with One Yellow Rabbit, Punchdrunk, and Ghost River Theatre. She is the resident director and sound designer for Send In the Girls Burlesque, and a high school mentor for Nextfest. 

Here is a picture of Lana: 

Jessica Peverett (Madeline Goodwin)

Jessica is an Edmonton based actor and Sterling award winning playwright. She studied at the U of A (MA) and is the founding member of theatre. Her most recent projects include: Richard III (Media Room), Trout Stanley (Fringe), Tristan & Isolde (Serca) Pushed (Fringe), Release (Fringe).

Jessica has two cats, loves the yoga, would do (almost) anything for an iced coffee and enjoys watching cooking shows. She tastes like glitter and alt canadian country. Her heart pines for hot summer days, swimming outside and vacations with pals.

Here is a picture of Jessica.


... well, to the 2014 Edmonton International Fringe Festival. 

And he's the name of a play, not the person. I can't promise that John Cusack the human is going to come to the Fringe. I might actually bother him on twitter to the point of annoyance but I'm sure there is a very fine line between annoyance and arrest. 

I'm sure you're curious what it's about and I will do good at blogging about it this year... way better than I usually am. 

In the meantime before rehearsals start, here are 50 words: 

JC believes in love and, more importantly, she believes that John Cusack can psychically sense when love has run into the arms of another woman. Madeline thinks JC might be crazy. When JC is kidnapped both women are forced to hope John Cusack really can save them.