Ephraim Ellis is a Toronto born and raised playwright, screenwriter, and actor. Most often recognized for his role as the troubled Rick Murray on Degrassi: The Next Generation, Ephraim was introduced to Lighthouse by his wife Meghan Speakman who is a stage manager in the summer seasons. He most recently played the role of Tom is the 2016 production of Perfect Wedding, directed by Lighthouse Artistic Director Derek Ritschel.
Ephraim first developed On The Air as a sitcom pilot but struggled to find a permanent home for it, then in the spring of 2019 it occurred to him that with some adjustments it is exactly the type of story that he has enjoyed watching and performing in at Lighthouse. Ephraim reached out to Derek to ask if he would take a look and Derek was happy to give notes and direction to sharpen the play. “It’s been really rewarding to have such a keen and seasoned eye help me stick with it and hone and sculpt the play into the best version of itself.
On The Air is the story of Matt Gibson, a Toronto marketing director who returns to his small northern Ontario home town to manage the estate of his recently deceased father; only to be roped into helping revitalize the local community radio station, which his father had been the station manager of. In the process he is forced to confront his relationship with his uncle, a rich avant garde DJ who thinks he should be in charge of the station, and develops feelings for Alice, the current station manager and his father’s chosen successor.
“It’s a show about fathers and sons and familial expectation, themes I’ve always been interested in, but it’s also about the relationship between art and commercial entertainment, and where that line is drawn.” It’s also a love story which is a first for Ephraim.
Ephraim has used the time during the pandemic to form good habits, writing most days and making progress on projects that seemed to slip through the cracks between auditions and other life commitments. He is excited for when rehearsal halls open again, and he will have the chance to workshop On The Air and hear it out loud with real actors.