Alumnae Theatre Company’s third annual FireWorks series opens Wed Nov 4, and runs to Nov 22. Haven’t heard of it? Like our popular New Ideas Festival, it takes place in the Studio Theatre and runs for 3 weeks. But FireWorks takes full-length plays that had their beginnings at an Alumnae event (like New Ideas or Big Ideas), or in the company’s New Play Development Group and runs them in conjunction with Talkbacks, workshops and other events. Each week, there will be a different play.
This year’s FireWorks kicks off with Chloë Whitehorn’s Divine Wrecks (Nov 4 – 8), directed by Pamela Redfern. Bloggergal asked them some questions; here are Chloe’s responses.
Q: What inspired you to tell this story? What was the germ of the idea?
A (Playwright Chloë Whitehorn): I am fascinated by love. There’s something about the intensity of the emotions connected to loving someone and how viscerally we feel them. A lot of my work is about someone finding their soulmate, the one person they want to be with, and then for some reason not being able to be with them. I think that’s tragic. I imagine the hardest thing is loving someone you’re not supposed to love. And then I wonder who society thinks it is telling people who they can and cannot love. The “rules” are always changing. Think back through history (even the last few years) and things like race, social standing, gender… These things used to dictate who you were ALLOWED to love. I don’t think you can really control who you fall in love with. Maybe it’s fate.
So that’s where my head is always at, and a few years ago I started seeing all these news stories popping up about female teachers being fired or imprisoned for having relationships with their students and it got me thinking about the prominent love stories that have been told and retold throughout time about lovers who are ripped apart because society deemed their relationship inappropriate. I really wanted to include society’s imposing opinions (with different viewpoints for audiences to see themselves represented in the story) on the stage and the role of a traditional theatre chorus does that, and I thought who better than a group of gossiping high school teenagers to represent that.
Q: FireWorks is a showcase for full-length plays which have been workshopped and/or dramaturged through Alumnae Theatre Company. What’s the history of your play?
A: Two years ago I brought a scene from Divine Wrecks to the Alumnae Theatre New Play Development Group thinking that is was totally not the sort of thing the ladies would like but I wanted to hear it read so I could see if the dialogue was working. And it went over pretty well. So I submitted it to Big Ideas for a staged reading and the response there was overwhelmingly positive and I was encouraged to submit the play to FireWorks for the following year. And here we are.
Q: Anything specific you would like the audience to know, or to watch out for in the production?
A: An earlier draft was a more vague, romantic version of the story, because who doesn’t love a good romance right? Well, I did a reading with some actors and asked for feedback and the room basically said a) it wasn’t dark and disturbing enough to have been written by me because, hey have you read my other plays? and b) I wasn’t doing the source material justice. Essentially, “Don’t be afraid of the darkness. If you’re going to go there, GO THERE!” So I have. So, if you’re offended know it’s because you’re supposed to be. But think about WHY you’re disturbed and learn from that.
Q: Do you have future plans for your play?
A: I think there are many many different ways to do this play. Except maybe Children’s Theatre. That really wouldn’t go over well. So, obviously I’d like to see it produced again, and often.
Watch this space for interviews with the other FireWorks playwrights and directors!
FIREWORKS SHOWTIMES: 8pm Wed – Sat; 2pm Sat & Sun.
TICKETS: $15 except Sun – PWYC.
Purchase tickets online (except for Sunday PWYC matinees) or reserve seats and pay cash at Box Office.
No credit or debit cards accepted for in-person sales.
You might want to consider a 6-play Flex Pass – for $75, you get 6 admissions to be used however you wish. So one person could see 6 plays, or share the tickets with friends and all 6 of you come to one play.
RESERVATIONS: E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 416-364-4170 Box 1.
POST-SHOW TALKBACKS – “Behind The Curtain”:
Thursdays: Directors Pamela Redfern, Julia Haist or Neil Affleck with their Assistant Directors Melissa Chetty, Lisa Alves, Ingryd Pleitez.
Fridays: Lighting Designer Gabrielle D’Angelo and Sound Designer Bill Scott.
Saturday Matinees: Costume Designers Peter DeFreitas, Toni Hanson, Trish Worrall.
Saturday Evenings: Set Designers Marysia Bucholc, Mark Cope.
Sunday Matinees: Playwrights Chloe Whitehorn, Taylor Marie Graham or Charles Hayter.
For more into, and to purchase tickets online to Divine Wrecks and the other FireWorks plays – Taylor Marie Graham’s Cottage Radio (Nov 11-15) and Charles Hayter’s Radical (Nov 18-22) – please go to http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/fireworks.html