The Boy in the Chrysalis is a one-man, one-act play. It tells the story of a broken-hearted man—a grade school teacher by day and a drag queen by night—whose relationship has recently ended. Faced with the banality of everyday existence, this man does what he can to escape from his apartment, his routine—and his life. His story is a portrait of loneliness, compassion, and the fragile power of the imagination.
Review of “The Boy in the Chrysalis”
by Astra Crompton (Showbill Canada)
“The Boy in the Chrysalis” by Hapax Theatre is a one-man show starring Vaughn Naylor. While its runtime is a scant 38 minutes, Vaughn captivates the audience from his awkward arrival to melancholy surrender. In between, he delivers sass, punchy commentary, and queer cultural references with panache.
The story follows an unnamed grade-school teacher who has had a terrible week. To take the edge off, he strips into something more comfortable and begins a dialogue with Darling: you. He cracks a bottle of wine and talks his way through his woes, from a less-than supportive partner, dissatisfaction with his mundane existence, and poignant nostalgia for the life he could have had—if only he’d been born somewhere as glamourous as Paris.
The Boy in the Chrysalis acknowledges the changing landscape of both Canadian culture and the social expectations of the queer people navigating it. Insights are touching and painful, questioning what we still can and can’t have because of who we love—and sometimes in spite of who we are. Occasionally lines are so complex that if you’re laughing too hard at the previous joke, you’ll miss it, but Vaughn keeps you hanging on every gossipy word.
Of course, there are darker things hiding within this chrysalis, and the play does not provide any answers—much like life. There is almost no presentation of the Drag Queen that the synopsis promises, but its absence feels intentionally conspicuous as the story unfolds.
Hapax Theatre’s The Boy in the Chyrysalis will coax you out of your shell to connect with those you love, while you still can. Witty, tender, and fabulous, this one-man show takes flight.
The play premiered at the Halifax Queer Acts Festival in July of 2015. It was profiled in The Chronicle Herald.