Directors Call for FireWorks 2016

The last production of Alumnae Theatre Company’s  2015/16 season, August: Osage County, winds up its  run tomorrow.   FireWorks 2016 imageAnd already plans are underway for the 2016/17 season:  the scripts have been selected for FireWorks series in November, and now it’s time for directors to apply!  Deadline is April 27 – read on.

 

FireWorks, born in 2013, is Alumnae Theatre Company’s annual festival of new full-length plays which were developed at Alumnae – either through the company’s New Play Development group of playwrights (the NPD) or having received dramaturgy in Alumnae’s New Ideas Festival.  FireWorks is a collaborative process where playwrights and directors work in partnership throughout the design, audition, and rehearsal stages.

 

 Deadline for director submissions:  April 27, 2016

Director interviews: May 16, 18, 19

Auditions: September 6-10, 2016

FireWorks 2016 production dates: November 9 – 27, 2016

 Interested directors – please send your resume and a note of which play or plays you wish to apply for to:

fireworksATC@gmail.com with subject line FW16 call for directors. Those selected for interviews will be provided with the link to the scripts and asked to prepare a detailed proposal.

 

There are 3 plays in this year’s lineup – here are the details:

 The Creases in My Sari by Sindhuri Nandhakumar

Mahesh and her mother Rani are Tamil refugees who have been living in Toronto since Mahesh was a child – she has no memory of Sri Lanka, is thoroughly westernized. She meets Chanaka, a Sinhalese post-doc student, here to complete his studies. They fall in love, plan to marry despite the conflict between Tamils and Sinhalese in their native land. Praveen, a Tamil, is a lifelong friend of Mahesh – she regards him as a brother.

 

None of these young people is political – initially. But Praveen becomes increasingly radicalized as the increasing violence in Sri Lanka affects them all. Rani learns of Chanaka’s military family, and it would appear the marriage is impossible. But Rani has her own story of guilt and lost love. Praveen, by now committed to violence, goes to Sri Lanka on a mission, where his fate is unknown. Mahesh and Chanaka recognize the dire implications of the extremism around them, and that their love is too important to them to give up.

A moving, often funny tale, full of vivid, nuanced characters with a timely, powerful story.  The immigrant experience of the Sri Lankan in Toronto, in all its variety and contradictions – “What’s the real capital of Sri Lanka?  Scarborough” – is explored with humour and sensitivity.  An earlier version of this play was presented as a staged reading in New Ideas Festival 2015.

Characters:  3m, 2f, all Sri Lankan. Multiple settings

 

Inked Heart by D.J. Sylvis

Everybody has secrets.

Ed’s a gifted tattoo artist who runs a successful parlour. He also has aspirations of being a successful painter, and is busy preparing for an upcoming show in a local gallery. He puts on a brave face and tells no one that his marriage is disintegrating.

Josie, his smart-mouth goth-girl apprentice, has dreams of her own: to be a tattoo artist in her own right.  But Ed limits her to looking after the shop and the equipment, rarely lets her wield the needle, and refuses to give her a tattoo himself. Their relationship is spiky – it only emerges slowly how much they care about each other.

Bette, a customer whom Josie calls “hippie grandma”, has her own agenda. Turns out she is a grandma – Josie’s – and after hanging around the parlour on the pretext of acquiring an elaborate tattoo, Bette finally comes clean to Josie, hoping thereby to reconnect with her alienated daughter, Josie’s mother. The gallery curator, Angela, is deeply invested in the success of Ed’s show. She bolsters his confidence and offers sympathy and support as his marriage crumbles, all the while battling her own demons. And then there’s Guy, the drunken frat boy who’s won a tattoo on a bet.  He lurches and stumbles through the events that surround him, with little understanding of what’s going on, and no interest in anything outside himself.

Snappy dialogue, irresistibly engaging characters, a plot full of surprises, slapstick humour, and some surprising insights into the complexities of human nature – and the art of the tattoo. An earlier (and shorter) version of this play – then titled An Inked Heart – was presented in New Ideas Festival 2010.

Characters:  2m, 3f. One major set – the tattoo parlour. One minor set – the art gallery

 

Motherland by Kristine Greenaway

Davit (late 20s) is a young Armenian, striving to make a living in his economically depressed country. Genuinely talented as a musician, he earns a precarious living with a string of small jobs – radio jingle-writer, voice-over artist, singer-songwriter, usher. He lives with his mother, Ana, and he longs for financial independence, and freedom to be a man.

Ana (50s) his mother, is charming, witty, intelligent. She is also terrified of being left alone. Though she was once a librarian, she lost her job some time ago and has never taken another one. Now she never leaves the apartment. The relationship with her son is close, teasing, affectionate. But when he finds love and the prospect of making it on his own, she becomes increasingly desperate to keep him with her.

Line (early 20s) is an extremely competent project manager at a film bureau. Colourful, free-spirited and ambitious, she is impressed by Davit’s talent, and wants to manage his career as an actor-musician. She’s working for a renowned German film director who would almost certainly cast Davit. The future looks bright – romantically and professionally. The problem is that he’d have to leave Armenia.

The battle lines are drawn: Ana vs. Line for Davit. The battlefield: the cramped apartment that Ana and Davit share. Ana knows his vulnerabilities and plays on them skillfully, invoking history, tradition, Line’s sketchy past, her own desperate fear, and of course, guilt. The action reaches a climax that is both horrific and inevitable.

Arman (25) is Line’s friend, who allows them to use his apartment to be together. He’s gay, perceptive, sardonic. Also observing the action is Haroun, an aspiring television producer and Davit’s confidant.

A powerful story, with vivid, complex characters against a background of struggle between tradition and progress. Full of music, traditional and contemporary.   This play was developed through Alumnae Theatre Company’s NPD group.

Characters:  3m, 2f. Set:  Ana’s apartment, and a space where Davit works and plays – offices, bars, etc.

 

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Casual cruelty & family secrets in ferociously funny, devastatingly poignant August: Osage County

Review of “August” – running to April 23.

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_DSC5303 Marie Carriere Gleason (foreground), with Paul Cotton, Kelly-Marie Murtha, Melinda Jordan, Pearl Ho & Andrew Batten – photos by Bruce Peters

Alumnae Theatre Company cordially invites you to attend a family gathering at the home of Beverly and Violet Weston in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Alumnae opened its production of Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County on the mainstage last night. Directed by Victoria Shepherd and featuring a talented ensemble, this is family dysfunction at its grittiest, no holds barred best.

When the Weston family patriarch (Thomas Gough) goes missing, middle daughter Ivy (Andrea Lyons) – the only child who stayed in town – rallies the family around her ailing mother Violet (Marie Carriere Gleason). Violet’s sister Mattie Fae (Carol McLennan) and husband Charlie (Rob Candy) are the first to arrive, and we get a sense of the estrangement that underpins the family dynamic. The Weston’s oldest daughter Barbara (Kelly-Marie Murtha) is the…

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Community, conflict & discovery in New Ideas funny & poignant Week 3 program

Review of the Week Three lineup.

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NIF 2016It’s the final week of Alumnae Theatre’sNew Ideas Festival (NIF),  and the Week 3 program features an extra bonus show: a lobby play. So get to the theatre early (around 7:30 p.m. to get a good spot in the lobby near the staircase to the mainstage) for this extra NIF treat.

The Nurse (lobby playby Francine Dick, directed by Mandy Roveda and featuring actor Margaret Rose Keery). A delightful short solo piece, and very meta as actor Keery plays an actor reluctantly preparing for a callback for Romeo and Juliet. She starts out being certain she’s not right for the part, but as enlists assistance from the audience to read with her as she prepares – against her will – she learns something about the part and possibly about herself. Strong, engaging work from Keery.

Provenance (by Linda McCready, directed by Pam Redfern). Disillusioned chef…

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Passion, perception & revolution in New Ideas thoughtful Week 2 program

Review of New Ideas Festival’s Week Two lineup. Playing to Sun March 20.
A different lineup runs March 23-27 for Week Three!
http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/new-ideas-festival-2016.html

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NIF 2016Alumnae Theatre continues its 2016 programming for its annual New Ideas Festival (NIF) of short new works with an engaging Week 2 program in the Studio space this week. Here’s what’s happening this week:

Housekeeping (by Jean Koppen, directed by Anne MacMillan). Three cleaners find something unexpected in a wealthy client’s home and their everyday routine is thrown into disarray as they debate the moral and ethical implications of their discover and what to do about it. At times darkly funny, the play highlights the stark realities of class, precarious work and distrust of a justice system that treats the rich differently from the rest of society. Really nice work from the cast: Morna Wales is tough, but fair and circumspect as Arlene, the veteran on the team; Aleksandra Maslennikova’s Jo is sharp, wary and cunningly resourceful; and Behiwot Degefu does a great job with the wide-eyed, irreverent and strong-willed…

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New Ideas Festival – Week One & Daylight Saving reminder

Alumnae Theatre Company’s annual New Ideas Festival is wrapping up its first week tomorrow.  Week Two begins Wednesday March 16, and Week Three begins Wednesday March 23.  Each week features a completely different slate of brand-new short plays, and audiences pay $15 for an evening (or matinee) of entertainment.   The 4 short plays programmed each week have a total running time of 90 – 120 mins, plus a 15-minute intermission.  Even if you come to see one particular play, audience members are expected to stay for the whole program.

Performances of the weekly lineup are Wed – Sat at 8pm, with 2:30 matinees on both Saturday and Sunday.  Each Saturday’s matinee is followed by a Talkback with writers and directors of that week.

New Ideas Festival also includes Saturday staged readings at noon: a longer play (approx. 50 minutes) followed by a Talkback with writer and director.  Admission to the readings is PWYC; no reservations necessary. Week Two reading (March 19) is Curved by Kristin Shepherd, directed by Rebecca Ballarin.  Week Three reading (March 26) is Omission by Alice Abracen, directed by Michela Sisti.

Here’s a sample of the plays and performers from Week One:

Cathie Nichols and Glenda Romano in Stuck by Stacey Iseman, directed by Kelsey Laine Jacobson.  New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13).  Photo:  Bruce Peters.

Cathie Nichols and Glenda Romano in Stuck by Stacey Iseman, directed by Kelsey Laine Jacobson. New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13). Photo: Bruce Peters.

Lindsey Middleton and Anne Shepherd in Prayers to St. George by Andrew Lee, directed by Meg Moran.  New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13).  Photo:  Bruce Peters.

Lindsey Middleton and Anne Shepherd in Prayers to St. George by Andrew Lee, directed by Meg Moran. New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13). Photo: Bruce Peters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

J. Todd Colley, Adam Bonney, Martha Breen, Amanda Jane Smith, Barbara Salsberg, and Nora Jane Williams in The Council by Deanna Kruger, directed by Claren Grosz. New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13).  Photo:  Bruce Peters.

J. Todd Colley, Adam Bonney, Martha Breen, Amanda Jane Smith, Barbara Salsberg, and Nora Jane Williams in The Council by Deanna Kruger, directed by Claren Grosz. New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13). Photo: Bruce Peters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stacey Iseman, Laura Piccinin, and Laura Meadows in This Will Be My Last Transmission by Natalie Frijia, directed by Zita Nyarady.  New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13).  Photo:  Bruce Peters.

Stacey Iseman, Laura Piccinin, and Laura Meadows in This Will Be My Last Transmission by Natalie Frijia, directed by Zita Nyarady. New Ideas Festival 2016 – Week One (March 9-13). Photo: Bruce Peters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And in case you haven’t seen it, here’s a review of the Week One shows from the most excellent Life With More Cowbell:  https://lifewithmorecowbell.wordpress.com/2016/03/10/connection-dissension-and-endurance-in-new-ideas-compelling-week-1-program/

You’ve heard of “How To Fringe”?  Well, here’s How To New Ideas:  Hold seats and pay cash ($15 each) on arrival by e-mailing  reservations@alumnaetheatre.com or by phoning 416-364-4170 Box 1 .  OR purchase your tickets online at https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=atc13 for a small service charge.

Remember, if you’re planning to attend tomorrow’s 2:30 matinee, the clocks SPRING FORWARD one hour tonight.

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New Ideas Festival 2016 opens next week! Plus some etiquette notes…

Week One of the New Ideas Festival opens in the Studio next Wednesday, March 9. It will feature the world premieres of short plays submitted by writers from just about everywhere, runs for 3 weeks, and each week there’s a totally different lineup.    New Ideas 2016 postcard

Unlike the Fringe Festival or SummerWorks, the New Ideas Festival is part of a company’s season of productions – it’s been a highlight of Alumnae Theatre Company’s seasons for 28 years now.

And also unlike Fringe or SummerWorks, which consist of individually-ticketed plays, the New Ideas audiences pay ONE ticket price ($15), and see four short plays.

Poster image for This Will Be My Last Transmission – last show in Week One lineup.

So yes:  even if you really only came to see your cousin’s brother-in-law’s stage debut, please stay for the WHOLE evening (or matinee) – it’s only polite to the other performers, writers, and directors.  And nobody wants to piss off the stage manager!  Plus, it might be a wee bit hazardous trying to exit during the dim scene-change lighting between plays.

During the show, please turn off all electronic devices that emit noise or light, and refrain from texting or e-mailing. Taking photos or audio/video recording is prohibited.

 

Here’s the Week One lineup (Wed March 9 – Sun March 13):

STUCK by Stacey Iseman, directed by Kelsey Laine Jacobson.
Prayers to St. George by Andrew Lee, directed by Meg Moran.
The Council by Deanna Kruger, directed by Claren Grosz.
This Will Be My Last Transmission by Natalie Frijia, directed by Zita Nyarady.
Performances of this lineup are 8pm Wed – Sat, with 2:30 matinees on Sat and Sunday. There is a Talkback following the Saturday matinee.

Each week also includes a staged reading of one longer play (approx. 60 mins) followed by a Talkback. The staged readings are on Saturdays at noon – no reservations necessary; admission is PWYC. The Week One reading is A Better Place by Ramona Baillie, directed by Chelsea Dab Hilke.

 

This year’s Festival also features what the producers have dubbed “a lobby play” – a short piece to entertain audiences pre-show and during intermission. It will be hard to top Brenda Somers’ innuendo-filled turn in 2014’s lobby play Polish Your Pole: she played a cleaning lady responsible for all the poles in firehalls (“This is Kevin. He’s my favourite,” she would croon, caressing the pole opposite the Box Office!) This year’s lobby play is The Nurse  by Francine Dick, directed by Mandy Roveda.

See the full Festival lineup at http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/new-ideas-festival-2016.html, and click on individual weeks to see photos and bios of the participants.

Tickets can be purchased by the week ($15 each) or a 6-ticket Flex Pass ($75) can be used for two people to attend all 3 weeks of the Festival. http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/tickets.html

If not purchasing tickets online, reservations are STRONGLY recommended! Phone or e-mail to hold seats, and pay cash on arrival – no credit or debit cards accepted for in-person sales. 416-364-4170 Box 1 or reservations@alumnaetheatre.com

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Deadline Extended: Director applications for 2016/17 season

The deadline for non-union directors who wish to apply to direct in Alumnae Theatre Company’s 2016/17 has been extended to 9am on February 24.

 

To recap, the plays are:

THIS by Melissa James Gibson

September 16 – October 1, 2016

 

The Gut Girls by Sarah Daniels

(retrospective choice, first presented in Alumnae’s 1997/98 season)

January 20 – February 4, 2017

 

The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl

April 7 – 22, 2017

 

Interviews will be scheduled in early March (exact dates TBC) in downtown Toronto (venue TBC).

Reading copies of the plays are available at the Performing Arts Desk in Toronto Reference Library, 5th floor or through the committee at theorytheplay@gmail.com.

 

To apply: Please send your CV and a brief (max. 6 sentence) letter that summarizes both your directing experience and your interest in one of the programmed plays to Program Committee Chair Joanne Williams at theorytheplay@gmail.com no later than February 24 at 9am. **SUBJECT LINE of e-mail must include your name and the play title you are interested in pitching to direct.**   Previous experience with Alumnae is not required.

 

Directors selected for an interview will be asked to prepare a proposal outlining your ideas for a full production. (A template detailing what the proposal should include will be provided.) A written version of your proposal will be due 48 hours before your scheduled interview.

 

Please note that Alumnae Theatre Company is a non-union organization (volunteer-run and non-profit), and this is a non-paying engagement. Due to budget constraints we cannot afford to hire Equity or ACTRA members .   Non-union directors of all levels of experience are encouraged to apply, as are those from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

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