Actor Michael Mancini says he’s optimistic by nature — grateful for the good in his life and always striving to look on the bright side.


And he was that way long before he found himself starring in the wry comedy The Optimists, the current offering from the Great Canadian Theatre Company.

In a 15-minute chat with Mancini about his role, his busy work life — which involves a steady stream of professional acting gigs and a busy day job as an editor of a trade magazine — and his family life, he uses the words “happy” and “lucky” many times.

“My life is busy but I love every minute of it. I tend to never say no, and put my heart into everything I do, but I am lucky because the things in my life — work, acting, and especially my partner and my two kids — they all balance and make me happy,” he says.

With his current role, it’s definitely not a case of art imitating life. In The Optimists, penned by Ottawa playwright Morwyn Brebner, two couples — one about to marry and another on the verge of divorce — discover much about life and love during one night in Las Vegas. Mancini plays Doug, a character he describes as “much different” than himself, but also very interesting and challenging to play.

“He’s a bit older and his stature and status in the world is everything to him,” Mancini explains. “He and Margie are a different kind of couple because they shut themselves off emotionally from each other and the world.”

The play is directed by Charles McFarland and co-stars Kristina Watt as Margie, as well as Tony Munch as Chick and Colleen Sutton as Teenie.

Mancini has worked with McFarland before, but he says it’s the first time he’s acted with any of the other performers.

He says he has been amazed by how well they work together, and how quickly they came together to discover the subtle complexities of the play.

“I think it’s a much trickier play than it seems to be on the surface. There are some pretty deep things that people go through, so I really think there is a lot in there people will enjoy,” he says … optimistically, of course.

  • The Optimists runs at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, 1233 Wellington St. W., through Feb. 17. Tickets are $26-$36. Call 613-236-5196 to reserve.

After covering hard news for a few years, Kim discovered her real passion – writing about the wonderful world of music, theatre, visual arts and literature.