Tag Archives: dramaturgy

Big Ideas 2017: FREE readings of full-length plays, May 11-1

The “official” season of Alumnae Theatre Company is over, but the playwrights of Alumnae’s New Play Development group (the NPD) have a bonus treat for you:  this year’s edition of Big Ideas.  Over the course of a week, Thursday May 11 – Thursday May 18, head up to the 3rd floor Studio in Alumnae Theatre to see staged readings of 5 full-length plays-in-progress that are being dramaturged in the group.

These readings are FREE (but donations much appreciated!); no reservations required.  Give your feedback on these developing works, and you may see these titles show up in the company’s New Ideas Festival (March) or FireWorks (November) in a year or two.

Here’s the lineup of Big Ideas 2017 – all events start at 8pm in the Studio.   Enter via the front door (70 Berkeley Street) as usual.

Thursday, May 11:     THE BAY, by Liz Best, directed by Ramona Baillie.

Synopsis: Two high school students spend a few months at a seniors’ residence to complete their community service hours.

CAST:

Kathleen Allamby – Claire

Lucy Brennan – Tessie

Razie Brownstone – Hannah

Daryn Dewalt  – Pat

Seanna Kennedy – Felice

Carol McLennan – Barbara

Ian Orr – Morris

Robert Ouellette – Jed

Steven Pereira – Daniel

Kate Shroder – Emilia

Susan Q Wilson – Helen

 

Friday, May 12:         VERITAS, by Lynda Martens, directed by Kelsey Laine Jacobson.

Synopsis:  The dramatic true story of a Father’s quest for the truth after his son died under mysterious circumstances at the Royal Military College of Canada in 2003.  With an ensemble cast of nine actors playing over thirty characters, the play features actual text from a public inquest into the death.

CAST:

Adam Bonney

Chris Coculuzzi

Roxanne Deans

Nick Eddie

Melinda Jordan

Amy Meyers

Steven Pereira

Rob Prince

Mike Vitorovich

 

Saturday, May 13:     KILL WOMAN, by Judith Fiore, directed by Pat McCarthy.

Synopsis:  On a beautiful Spring afternoon, a professor of poetry and English literature is out for a walk. She is facing a serious and life-threatening situation, and she happens to come upon an unkempt woman who is also dealing with a terrible problem. With humour and compassion, they explore what their lives have amounted to.

CAST:

Lisa Lenihan – Unkempt Woman

Clara Matheson – Professor

 

Wednesday, May 17:    I AM AWAKE, by Anne MacMillan, directed by Ara Glenn-Johanson.

Synopsis:  A gothic paranormal story in early mid-19th century of a young Irish girl who has to escape her traumatic first employment as a lady’s maid through a forest with wolves, is thrown out by her parents who feel disgraced, saved by her grandmother and the nuns, is sent to Canada for a new beginning again as a lady’s maid, only to run into an evil other-worldly master, a helpful ghost who tries to save her and a young man who is keen to take her fishing…

CAST:

Lucy Brennan – Grannie

Michael-David Blostein – Elgin

Sheila Charleton – Apparition Mary

Claire Keating – Mary

Emmet Leahy – Harry

Frans Robinow – Wagoner

Ronak Singh – Gatekeeper

Morna Wales – Nun

 

Thursday, May 18:     WHERE TRUTH LIES, by Carol Libman, directed by Claren Grosz.

Synopsis:  What happens when a long-held family secret is secret no longer?  Does anyone really know where truth lies?

CAST:

Kathleen Allamby – Martha

Martha Breen – Cathy

Paquito Hernaci – John

Jamie Johnson – Peter

Tina McCulloch – Karen

Mike Vitorovich – Andre.

 

Check out Alumnae Theatre Company’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/AlumnaeTheatre/, and also our website at http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/  for news of our upcoming 100th season starting in October!

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FireWorks 2016 – background stories of the plays

This year’s FireWorks series features three full-length plays, all developed by/through Alumnae Theatre Company.  They’ve all been significantly dramaturged, revised/re-worked, and expanded since their first appearances on our stage.  Themes explored include cultural influences, political unrest, family dynamics, and the nature of art.

"The Creases In My Sari" playwright Sindhuri Nandhakumar.

“The Creases In My Sari” playwright Sindhuri Nandhakumar.

The Creases In My Sari by Sindhuri Nandhakumar, directed by Kimberley Radmacher (ran Nov 9 -13).  An earlier version was presented as a staged reading in New Ideas Festival 2015.

Inked Heart by D.J. Sylvis, directed by Pamela Redfern (ran Nov 16 – 20).  A one-act version – then titled “An Inked Heart” – was presented in New Ideas Festival 2010.

"Inked Heart" playwright D.J. Sylvis.

“Inked Heart” playwright D.J. Sylvis.

Motherland by Kristine Greenaway, directed by Andreja Kovac (runs Nov 23 – 27).   It was developed in Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Play Development group, and an earlier version appeared as a staged reading in the company’s Big Ideas Festival in 2015.

"Motherland" playwright Kristine Greenaway (centre) talks to some of the cast.

“Motherland” playwright Kristine Greenaway (centre) talks to some of the cast.

Each of the playwrights has published fascinating articles on the background of their play, and how they came to write that particular story.

Sindhuri Nandhakumar on The Creases In My Sari: https://lankareporter.com/blog/theater-show-creases-sari-opens-toronto-follows-path-two-young-sri-lankan-immigrants-opposing-factions-fall-love/

D.J. Sylvis on Inked Heart:  http://www.djsylvis.com/?p=282

Kristine Greenaway on Motherlandhttp://intermissionmagazine.ca/artist-perspective/hovercraft-full-eels-translation/

Inked Heart and The Creases In My Sari have now closed, but you can still catch Motherland – it opens on Wednesday, and runs to Sunday Nov 27.  See https://www.facebook.com/events/2078801852345406/  for details.

 

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New Ideas Festival 2017: Call for Directors

Never-before-produced short scripts have been submitted, and 15 selected for Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival in March.  new-ideas-2017-imageNow it’s time for interested directors to apply!  Once you’ve submitted your application (and the deadline is next Friday, Oct 14), you’ll be given access to read the scripts.

Here’s the official notice:

CALL FOR DIRECTORS

Alumnae Theatre Company invites non-union directors to apply to direct one of the 15 plays (running time 10 to 40 minutes) for New Ideas Festival (NIF) 2017, our 29th annual three-week juried festival of new plays, works-in-progress, and experimental theatre to be held from March 8 to 26, 2017.

 

Important dates:

  • Oct. 14, 2016: Deadline to apply to direct one of the New Ideas Festival plays
  • Nov. 5, 2016: (MANDATORY) Creative Exchange: directors meet playwrights
  • 6, 7, 8, or 9, 2016: (MANDATORY) Attend your play’s cold reading on one of these dates
  • Jan 4-8, 2017: (MANDATORY) Attend Festival auditions according to casting needs
  • , Jan. 30, 2017: Rehearsals begin
  • March 8 – Sun. March 26, 2017: New Ideas Festival. Each show runs one week.

 

NIF provides the following:

  • Stage managers, technical crew, and front of house staff
  • Festival auditions presenting a large pool of actors
  • Rehearsal space, performance space
  • Promotional materials and publicity
  • Access to Alumnae Theatre’s wardrobe, props, and sets
  • A collaborative process with the playwright to continue developing a new work with actors and a dramaturge (if requested)
  • A supportive place for directors to experiment and hone their skills
  • Production guidelines and mentorship that get all the plays and dozens of performers successfully from audition to rehearsal to stage.

 

New Ideas Festival does not pay fees, royalties, or a box office share to participants.

Alumnae Theatre Company retains creative discretion over the festival as a whole. The focus of the festival is script development, so technical requirements for the plays are kept to a minimum. NIF is an exciting opportunity to work one-on-one with a playwright to develop a new work.

 

If you are interested in directing a play in the New Ideas Festival, email newideasfestival@gmail.com by Oct 14, 2016.  Please make the subject line “Director Application (your name)” and provide a directing CV or paragraph description of your experience. You will receive further details once you have submitted your application.

 

As our industry has far fewer female directors, women directors are especially encouraged to apply.

Alumnae Theatre Company ▪ 70 Berkeley Street ▪ Toronto, ON ▪ M5A 2W6

http://www.alumnaetheatre.com

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“The Ugly”: staged reading at Nightwood Theatre, Sept 20

Alumnae Theatre Company member Tabitha Keast’s play The Ugly was originally only 10 minutes long (but every minute was economically used, to disturbing effect!), and was part of the InspiraTO Festival in 2015, on the Main Stage at Alumnae Theatre.

 

Tabitha and her script were then accepted into Nightwood Theatre’s Write From The Hip program, and she’s spent a year working with dramaturg Andrea Donaldson.  The story is now expanded, and runs approx. 45 minutes.

 

The Ugly will be presented as a staged reading on Tue Sept 20, part of Nightwood Theatre’s annual Groundswell Festival.  The full festival runs Monday Sept 19 – Saturday Sept 24.

http://www.nightwoodtheatre.net/index.php/whats_on/groundswell_festival_2016

 

The Ugly details:

PLOT SYNOPSIS:  In 2014 a provincial task force was created to review and update the laws relating to sexual misconduct by physicians. This was the third task force since 1991. The ugly truth is that doctors found criminally responsible for sexual abuse can still practice medicine in Ontario. How does a woman react to being raped by someone whom she is expected to implicitly trust?

WHEN:  7pm on Tue Sept 20

WHERE:  Ernest Balmer Studio in the Distillery District (Toronto).  9 Trinity St., 3rd floor, Studio #315.

COST:   PWYC.

 

FYI – the task force (and the frustration of its chair, Marilou McPhedran, who has been making the same recommendations for 16 years) has been in the news recently – for more info, see :

JULY 13:  https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2016/07/13/task-force-report-on-medical-regulatory-bodies-kept-secret-over-defamation-concerns.html

 

JULY 18:  https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2016/07/18/release-task-force-report-on-sexual-assaults-by-doctors-editorial.html

 

SEPT 8:  https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/09/08/task-force-calls-for-independent-body-to-probe-alleged-sex-abuse-by-doctors.html

 

SEPT 10:  https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2016/09/10/why-doesnt-province-care-about-sex-assault-of-most-vulnerable-porter.html

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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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“Divine Wrecks” in FireWorks 2015 – Director interview

Alumnae Theatre Company’s third annual FireWorks series kicks off tomorow with Chloë Whitehorn’s Divine Wrecks (Nov 4 – 8), directed by Pamela Redfern.   FireWorks 2015 - Divine WrecksDivine Wrecks is the “dark and disturbing” story of a high school jock who falls for his teacher. Bloggergal asked them some questions; here are Pam’s responses.

Q:  How did you get involved?  What drew you to this play?

A (director Pam Redfern):  I became involved with Divine Wrecks after being asked to look at another of the plays first. Fortunately Divine Wrecks was offered to me to direct and soon after a rich creative journey began.
This play speaks to the depth of feelings that lie within us all, rearing up from time to time in our lives…uncomfortable feelings including lust, desire, fixation, confusion, secrecy, realization, heartbreak and despair. Somewhere in that mix lies true, peaceful love but often only for a moment. In Chloë’s play each of these moments are operatic in scale and I was drawn to that intensity.

Q: Anything specific you would like the audience to know, or to watch out for in the production?

A:  Look for the lightness and humour that the Chorus brings to this otherwise dark drama. We chose to intensify the lighter side of the Chorus to create texture and add comic relief to the production.   We decided to set some of the writing to music and it had a doo-wop rhythm to it so a fifties sound emerged there. With more time we would love to take the musical component much further. Divine Wrecks provides endless opportunities for layering and expansion but at a certain point we needed to polish what we had discovered and solidify this production.  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10153061039792172&set=gm.1063381273714094&type=3&theater

Photo of the Chorus:  Bruce Peters.

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.

Or 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 reservations@alumnaetheatre.com 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

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“Divine Wrecks” in FireWorks 2015 – Playwright interview

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.

 

Thanks, Chloë!

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 reservations@alumnaetheatre.com 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

 

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