An Appreciation of the Emerging Director Project Showcase.

by Lynn on June 28, 2020

in The Passionate Playgoer

An Appreciation of the Emerging Director Project Showcase from Theatre By the Bay in Barrie, Ont.

It must be something in the water.

How else to explain how the small city/town of Barrie, Ont. (an hour north of Toronto—the Centre of the Universe) could have such a bounty of theatre talent. First there is Arkady Spivak, the dynamo Artistic Producer of Talk is Free Theatre, who has been producing provocative fare for years. And now Iain Moggach, the young Artistic Director of Theatre By the Bay (TBTB) is making his own mark on the theatre there.

While Moggach had to cancel his summer season for Theatre By the Bay because of COVID-19 that has not stopped him in presenting the results of the new training program, The Emerging Director Project, using ingenuity, technology and the mysteries of youtube.

Two young women, Korol Pikulik and Valeria Bravo, received training and guidance in theatre direction from Leah Holder and Iain Moggach. Each young woman picked a play to perform, also by a young Barrie writer, and presented a one time only performance on youtube June 26. (Note: I logged onto the site tonight as well, so perhaps the site is available to watch again. The link is below. )

Korol Pikulik chose to do a 20 minute scene from The Key to Conspiracy by Lori McIntyre. It’s about a Tori, a 17 year-old women who works for minimum wage in a lost articles department and the compassion and empathy she shows to Mr. Lieutenant, a schizophrenic WWII vet.  He comes looking for a lost ‘ring’ and another item. Another customer is impatient waiting in line to be served, but Tori has time and understanding for Mr. Lieutenant who is angry, disoriented and obviously fragile-minded. Tori defends, protects and empathizes with Mr. Lieutenant.

Korol Pikulik explained that she was anxious to use the abilities of youtube to slip out of our rigid perspective into the more malleable perspective shifts offered by this technology giving us a unique viewing experience. She also said that empathy is the ability for us to understand each other no matter the differences. One celebrates such maturity. I also appreciated the performances of the cast. This is not a review because of the emerging nature of the directors’ project. Rather it’s an appreciation.

Valeria Bravo directed Missing Links by Gordon Haney. It’s a wild story of three adult brothers who go camping one day and the various and sundry mishaps that result. There is sibling rivalry, jealousy, bullying, teasing, perhaps a dangerous man, loose in the area and lots of banter about being a disappointment. Valeria Bravo liked the piece because it explored brotherly love and rivalry and she liked the goofy humour.

Valeria Bravo used the youtube technology well. Characters would pass other characters props from one panel (where the character was) to another panel (where another character was as well). So a pair of binoculars was passed from a character to another. He just hand the binoculars in one hand, leaned toward the other character reaching out with the binoculars and the other character reached over to get them and then brought them into the panel/square. We’ve seen this before, but it’s always impressive. But then Ms Bravo takes it a step further. Rather than have each actor face out speaking facing us watching, Bravo had the characters who were talking to each other, actually turn and look sideways as if actually engaging with the characters to whom they were speaking.  Loved that.

I thought both directors acquitted themselves very well as did their casts. I look forward to seeing more directing from Korol Pikulik and Valeria Bravo.

Here is the direct link to the youtube video (where it was streamed. Perhaps it’s still there):

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