Bloggergal took in the Week Two lineup at the Saturday matinee performance, March 18, which was followed by a Talkback with playwrights and directors – bonus!
The plays in Week Two are:
The Red Lacquered Box, written by Burke Campbell; directed by Lynn Weintraub.
Parallax, written by Michelle Glennie; directed by Ara Glenn-Johanson.
Y, written by Rosemary Doyle; directed by Sandra Cardinal.
Professionally Ethnic, written by Bobby Del Rio; directed by Rouvan Silogix.
One of the New Ideas Festival’s Artistic Directors, Carolyn Zapf, fielded questions at the Talkback, and primed the audience by asking the playwrights to talk about the genesis or inspiration for their plays.
Michelle Glennie (who made the trip to
Toronto from Montreal) shared that her funny time-travel piece Parallax grew out of her fascination for “Les filles du roi” (‘the daughters of the king”: young French women sponsored by their government to come to Canada, starting in the 1660s), and for the more recent lottery for astronauts to colonize Mars! The 30-minute version of Parallax presented at New Ideas is cut down from a full-length play, which Michelle has plans to revise, based on changes that came out of the rehearsal process here.
The Festival producers called on the prolific Rosemary Doyle to replace a selected play that had dropped out of New Ideas.
She got the call on a Wednesday, talked to director Sandra Cardinal about the already-cast actors, and came up with a delightful twisty-turny plot – Y – on Thursday. The actors were rehearsing the play by Friday. When asked the question “where do you want to take it?”, Rosemary told us that she’s polled the cast, to get their ideas about what happens to their characters, or if there’s anything they think needs to be explained in a more fleshed-out version! Y currently runs about 15 minutes.
Burke Campbell admits to hearing the voices of his characters, and screening “an ongoing movie in my head”. He wrote his solo period piece The Red Lacquered Box “some time ago, and I don’t recall my state of mind at the time!” His director Lynn Weintraub notes that the original script was more like a piece of literature (Ed. Note: some really beautiful turns of phrase remain) than a play , so she and dramaturge Rosemary Doyle (yes, again!) worked with actor Aleksandra Maslennikova to make it more active and theatrical. The director has a background in dance, and it showed subtly in Aleksandra’s graceful performance.
The playwright of Professionally Ethnic, Bobby Del Rio, could not make the Talkback, but director Rouvan Silogix guessed that the subject matter was inspired by real life. On directing it, he concentrated on working fine details of the physical comedy to make the script even funnier. I’m guessing there were many rehearsals with Rob Candy as pompous theatre company figurehead Gerrard, condescending mightily to “ethnic” actor William (Ronak Singh), as well as with Chantel McDonald as William’s girlfriend Tracey, and Simon Bennett as his basketball-playing friend Kyle.
The final week of New Ideas Festival runs Wednesday to Sunday, March 22-26, and it’s a whole different lineup of short plays. More info here: http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/2017-week-3.html Performances are Wed – Sat at 8pm, plus matinees Sat & Sun at 2:30pm. Saturday’s matinee is followed by a Talkback. Tickets are $15, and admit you to all 4 plays. Purchase online (https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=atc13), or reserve in advance (phone 416-364-4170 Box 1 / e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) and pay cash* at the door.
There is also a one-time staged reading of a longer play, Thistlepatch by Catherine Frid, at noon on Saturday March 25. The reading is PWYC, no reservations required.
*Box Office does not accept credit or debit cards for in-person sales.