Learn to mend a broken heart in Lunchbox Theatre’s Mr. Fix It

By Alicia Ward

Some people might think that the play Mr. Fix It is just another feel good romantic comedy — and they’re right.

Long time Calgary playwright Caroline Russell-King wrote Mr. Fix It for Lunchbox Theatre in the hopes that people will be able to “have a break, to have a laugh, that’s what Lunchbox is all about.”

Mr. Fix It follows Mel, a chain appliance store owner, as he encounters his ex-fiance and deals with his past. Russell-King knew she wanted to write a comedy in homage of one of her favourite playwrights: Neil Simon. Simon has had major success with his works, winning three Tony Awards and a Golden Globe.

“Neil is often dismissed in academic circles despite winning a Pulitzer prize,” says Russell-King.

“Simon has a rhythm” and, as Russell-King puts it, she “soaked [it] up.” Mr. Fix It happens in real time, as do Simon’s plays, such as California Suite, one of Russell-King’s favourites.

Even though she’s a Calgary playwright, Russell-King gained no inspiration for Mr. Fix It from the city.

While writing, Russell-King instead found inspiration from her first husband, a comedic actor.

“I had his voice in my head while writing it,” she says.

Additional inspiration came from Russell-King’s concern with the importance of confronting the past to analyze the present. Delving into the past may be enough to drive one crazy, but that doesn’t mean it should be left unexplored.

“[Did I make] a fresh mistake or an old one?” she asks.

Despite the short time slot not giving the playwright much time for crazy plots and in depth character development, Russell-King is not fazed.

“I don’t find writing one act plays any harder than writing four act plays . . . it’s the Lunchbox genre,” she exclaims.

Revelations and personal growth may be found in Mr. Fix It’s 45 minutes, but first and foremost Russell-King wants people to break from their busy days and enjoy themselves.

“I love to make people laugh,” she says, perfectly capturing what Mr. Fix It is crafted to do.

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