Monster Theatre
Repackaging History and Mythology for todays audiences

Many of the shows we have developed over the years can be categorized as biographical plays. Here they are!


or, How an illiterate son of a Glover became the Greatest Playwright in the World

How did an illiterate son of a Glover become the Greatest Playwright in the World?  He got someone else to write the plays!

Based on the greatest theatrical academic debate of all time, THE SHAKESPEARE SHOW takes an irreverent look at the number one candidate The Earl of Oxford.  Just like one of his own tragic heroes, Oxford sets his own tragedy in motion by using Shakespeare, the boy who holds the horses outside the theatre, as a ‘front’ for his playwriting ventures.

The result?  Another “relentlessly clever, action-packed and intellectually satisfying” Monster Theatre adventure complete with puppets, songs, satire and swordfights!

Along the way we meet the Ghost of Christopher Marlowe, the Three Witches from Mac… The Scottish Play, Anne Hathaway, Richard Burbage, the Bubonic Plague and Queen Elizabeth!

Written by Ryan Gladstone
Directed by Karen Hamm
Featuring Tara Travis and Ryan Gladstone
Original Score by Drew Jurecka
Fight Choreography by Kevin James
Musical Direction by Jeff Gladstone

“Wildly funny, wonderfully crafted, and brilliantly acted!  Flawless!” -CBC

“Gladstone’s script is a lesson in crowd-pleasing wit!” -SEE Magazine

“Composed of equal parts absolute fact and utter nonsense, The Shakespeare Show is a laugh-filled treat for scholar and squire alike”-Peter Birnie, Vancouver Sun

“Brings the Bawdy world of Shakespeare to life!” 5 Stars -Winnipeg Free Press

The idea for this play was brewing in my mind for about ten years.  It is loosely based on a Woody Allen movie called ‘The Front’ which takes place during the Hollywood blacklist, where a series of writers find themselves on the blacklist and use some idiot to Front for them.  I wrote the play in Iambic Pentameter, which, once started, was way easier than I thought.
As far as the authorship question itself goes – when I started researching it, I was convinced that Shakespeare wrote the play, now I am on the fence.  I believe it is possible Shakespeare wrote the plays… I just think Oxford is more likely!

The Seven Lives of Louis Riel (2009)

The story of Canada’s most famous rebel told 7 times, from 7 different points of view, in 7 different genres.
No one in the history of Canada (Perhaps the history of the world!) has generated more debate than Riel.  Even supposedly verifiable facts elude consensus.  He has somehow come to symbolize almost every group in Canada; French Canadians, the West, the First Nations, the Metis, and even his sworn enemy, Canada itself!  His incredible story is shown here like never before – betrayal, insanity, stand-offs, murder, espionage, prophecy, and John A. MacDonald!

Written by Ryan Gladstone
Directed by Karen Hamm
Featuring Ryan Gladstone
Original Score by Drew Jurecka

“Historians will riot when they hear Gladstone’s interpretations of the tales of Louis Riel!” -Winnipeg Sun

“Oh, and it’s totally hilarious too!” -Westender

“The idea is as brilliant as the execution is funny.” -CBC

This was by far the most difficult play I have ever researched or written.  There is just something about Louis.  Even what should be ‘historically verifiable facts’ somehow elude consensus when it comes to Louis.  Who can really say if he was a hero, and outlaw, a murderer, a madman, a traitor, a prophet… or all of the above!


Take a trip inside the mind of Sigmund Freud with Monster Theatre!

He’s got one hour left to live, his psyche has split in two – can the ‘inventor of the modern mind’ become a complete person before time runs out?

Find out in this brand new, hilarious Penis…(I mean)…Comedy!

Completely sold-out runs in Winnipeg and Edmonton!  Held-over in Vancouver!

Written by Ryan Gladstone
Starring Bruce Horak and Ryan Gladstone
Dramaturgy by Bruce Horak

Original Score by Drew Jurecka

Check out FREUD 4000 the video game here!!It’s the year 4000, the Evil Gigantic Overlord (E.G.O.) has taken over the planet, there’s only one man who can stop it.  Scientists travel back to 1921 and bring back the Inventor of the Modern Mind – Sigmund Freud!

4.5 Stars – Winnipeg Free Press

Bruce Horak is Sigmund Freud.
Ryan Gladstone is Sigmund Freud.
The two actors playing one man engage in a comedic cage match inside the head of the famous shrink as they try to figure out just who Freud really is.
Utterly adept at slapstick, wordplay and sound effects, these two actors from Vancouver are hilariously in sync with each other and their audience in this quick and clever version of the “talking cure.”

4 Stars – CBC

This twisted biography of Sigmund Freud taught me more about the father of psycho-analysis than I’ve ever learned from a book or movie.

As Freud and his ego, Ryan Gladstone and Bruce Horak fire lightning-fast dialogue at each other, often in unison. There’s dancing, wrestling and some runaway penises (not real). It’s a romp!

Napoleon’s Secret Diary (2008)

What if Napoleon was the accident of history?

The Greatest Man in the History of the World – the man who conquered half the world, who tamed the wild Creole Josephine, who led the largest army to ever walk the face of the earth, who faced seven international coalitions, the man who invented canned food!  Imagine him as a low-status, bumbling fool.  A sort of cross between Bob Newhart and Inspector Clouseau!

Written by Ryan Gladstone
Directed by Jeff Gladstone, Kevin James, TJ Dawe and Jonno Katz
Featuring Ryan Gladstone
Original Score by Drew Jurecka

“Writer/performer Ryan Gladstone plays the little general with vulnerability, total charm, and dead-on comic chops… *****” – CBC Winnipeg

“It’s French History as Filtered through Chuck Jones! Brilliant!” – Glenn Sumi, NOW Magazine

“Relentlessly Clever, Action-packed and Utterly Contemporary!” -Edmonton Journal

“It’s dirty, funny, educational, well-acted, well-written, smart and silly all at the same time.  As if Will Ferrell was your social studies teacher!” -Edmonton Sun

This play is based on some of Tolstoy’s ideas in War and Peace.  He talks about the inevitability of history, about how the higher up on the scale of historical importance, the less control you actually have.  He gives the example of a low ranking soldier, he has real control over the outcome of a battle, he can charge through, or turn and run away.  Whereas someone like, say, Napoleon, marches into Russia with the biggest army ever, takes Moscow, and then, through no fault of his own, runs away as his army disintegrates before his eyes.  I took this concept a hundred times farther – what if Napoleon is the accident of history?  What is everything he accomplishes is all in spite of his best efforts?  Sounds funny.

JESUS CHRIST: The Lost Years (2006)

Ever wonder what Jesus was really up between the ages 13 and 30?  Or how Jesus reacted when told – “Joseph isn’t your real father!”  Find out in Monster Theatre’s latest “historically hilarious” extravaganza!  Puppets!  Masks!  Songs!  Sacrilege!

Written by Ryan Gladstone, Bruce Horak and Katherine Sanders
Directed by Bruce Horak (with Ryan Gladstone)
Featuring Katherine Sanders and Ryan Gladstone
Original Score by Drew Jurecka

“…let’s just say that comic acting – in the Fringe or anywhere else – doesn’t get better than this. NNNNN” – NOW Magazine

“Not only one of the most deft pieces of physical comedy I have ever seen – it is as subtle as it is funny, and as literate as it is energetic and frantic!”
5 Stars -SEE Magazine

“Nothing short of a Comic Miracle”
-National Post

Katherine and I came up with this concept about five years before we found time to create it.  The basic idea is a fill-in of the lost years of Jesus (self-explanatory, right?).
The funniest story in relation to this play… While we were finishing the play, I decided I should read the book ‘Lamb’ (A similar concept, but not as funny as ours!) just to make sure that we didn’t have anything too similar.  And we ended up having to cut our very favourite part of the show.  Incredibly we both had Buddhist Abominable Snowmen who instructed young Jesus!!!