Connection, dissension & endurance in New Ideas compelling Week 1 program

NIF 2016Alumnae Theatre opened its annual New Ideas Festival (NIF) of short new works with a strong Week 1 program in the Studio space last night. Here’s what’s on the menu this week:

Stuck (by Stacey Iseman, directed by Kelsey Laine Jacobson). Polar opposites Joanne (Cathie Nichols) and Alice (Glenda Romano) get stuck in the elevator of their apartment building and make an unexpected connection. A funny and poignant two-hander, with some lovely comic and dramatic work from Nichols and Romano.

Prayers to St. George (by Andrew Lee, directed by Meg Moran). A mother (Anne Shepherd) loses her daughter (Lindsey Middleton) at St. George subway station, a broken piece of memory that returns again and again. Lovingly rendered storytelling using physical theatre, spoken word and flashbacks, featuring beautiful, moving performances from Shepherd and Middleton.

The Council (by Deanna Kruger, directed by Claren Grosz). An elementary school principle and parent council meet to decide the theme of the school’s upcoming Family Fun Night. Pitches and hilarity ensue. Spot on work on the cluelessness, ambition and political correctness of the situation. Excellent comedic work from this ensemble cast: Nora Jane Williams, Barbara Salsberg, Amanda Jane Smith, Martha Breen, Adam Bonney, Nicole Hrgetic and J. Todd Colley.

This Will Be My Last Transmission (by Natalie Frijia, directed by Zita Nyarady). When a storm traps three climbers just below the summit, the lead climber (Stacey Iseman) is faced with some hard decisions as she must work out a plan to get herself, Mira and Tina down safely. A remarkable piece of storytelling using monologue, memory and shadow play. Breaking gender stereotypes, bravery, endurance and camaraderie, featuring outstanding performances from Iseman as the stoic, conflicted lead climber Ella; Laura Piccinin as the tough-talking, retired ballerina Mira; and Laura Meadows as the optimistic, kick-ass adventurer mom Tina. With lovely supporting work from Francesco de Francesco, as Ella’s husband John, who beyond wanting her home safe, must hold it together as their Base Camp contact; and Katharine Stanbridge as Olivia, representing the next driven, fearless generation of climbers.

Connection, dissension and endurance in New Ideas compelling Week 1 program.

The Week 1 program continues to March 13, with talkbacks following the Saturday matinée performance. Also on Sat, Mar 12 is the noon reading: A Better Place (by Ramona Baillie, directed by Chelsea Dab Hilke). Following the Week 1 program are two more weeks of NIF programming: Week 2 (Mar 16-20) and Week 3 (Mar 23-27).

For ticket info, visit the website. Tickets can also be reserved by calling the box office at 416-364-4170 (press 1) or in-person one hour before show time (cash only). Advance booking strongly recommended; this is a popular festival and the Studio is an intimate space.

Check out the Week 1 trailer and you’ll see what I mean:


Published by life with more cowbell

Multidisciplinary storyteller. Out & proud. Torontonian. Likes playing with words. A lot.

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