So now that we’re all recovering from St. Patrick’s Day festivities, here’s a run-down of Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival Week One reading and program from yesterday afternoon.
In the noon reading, Eating Pomegranates Naked, by Andrea Scott and directed by Kimberly Radmacher, a group of 30-something friends talk about life, and in the process unearth personal loss, sins of omission and secrets. The title was inspired by friends of Scott, a couple who eat pomegranates naked for easy clean-up/stain avoidance – plus its colourful, erotic, and even biblical, reference (was an apple or a pomegranate that figured in Adam and Eve’s downfall?) and in French, it’s grenade, a fitting word for the bomb that gets dropped during the opening scene’s dinner party. Lovely cast for this reading: Janine John, Roselyn Keladra-Sedra, Cameron Laurie, Khalil Abdul Malik and Jinny Wong. Stripping down the self takes courage and often reveals that what we thought we wanted most, even as it slips through our fingers, is maybe not what we needed – or wanted – after all.
The Week One program included four new plays:
The Man with the Butterfly Hat (by Donna Langevin, dir. by Anne MacMillan) tells the story of how the near theft of a rare Piano Key Butterfly by an old widower (Donald G. Baker) visiting a butterfly park is foiled by park guard April (Cheyenne Scott). Over the course of her delayed phone call to the police, the two bond over mutual loneliness and a love of music and the piano. A very sweet, short and magical play.
In Our Eliza (by Megan Coles, dir. by Andrew Freund), the middle-aged title character (Lavetta Griffin) takes us on the journey of her life in a Newfoundland fishing village through a series of flashback scenes with her husband (Elias Campbell) and father (Douglas McLauchlan) as she nears the end of her life. Really nice work from the cast in bringing the flavour and character of these people and this place to life.
After the intermission was a beautifully choreographed movement-based piece Let My Mind Run Dry (by Cassidy Sadler, dir. by Mairin Smit), in which the audience views the world through the eyes of Edward, a schizophrenic teenager who hallucinates an eerie old man (Erin Reznick) and young woman (Lauren MacKinley) as he witnesses with the day-to-day struggles of his farming parents (Jenna Turk & Ryan Kotack) and navigates the attentions of schoolmate Jane (Michelle Jedrzejewski), all who have no idea what’s wrong with him or how to help him. The cast did a lovely job, drawing the audience into the story – we became Edward – and into the troubled, frightened mind of a mentally ill young man as he struggles to cope with his daily challenges, both real and imagined.
Lover’s Flight (by Joel Fishbane, dir. by Jonathan Heppner) is a hilarious short comedy about what happens when a married couple’s (Bil Antoniou & Danielle Capretti) fantasy lovers (his secretary, Lauren Vandenbrook, and an athletic hunk she saw in the park, Andrew Piggott) go AWOL and start a relationship of their own. The couple must now face each other as they are – aging and not quite as beautiful as they were when they were younger – with interesting results, especially for the fantasy couple. Big, big fun – with the added bonus of a hunky actor with cheese-grating abs.
The Week One program closes this afternoon and the Week Two program opens on Wed, Mar 21 with a whole new set of plays and a new noon reading on Saturday – all up in the studio.
Here’s a peak at what’s in store for Week Two: http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/ideas2012-2.html
Reservations strongly recommended – New Ideas is a very popular festival.