Heads up for interesting stuff and some gratitude.

by Lynn on January 10, 2021

in The Passionate Playgoer

There is a lot of potentially wonderful theatre on line coming up in the near future. But first, some gratitude.

As we know theatres are closed and live performances are not taking place in the regular way.

You can tell the companies that are able to adapt to the challenges. I’m not using the word “pivot” because we aren’t talking about basketball. We’re talking about people who are constantly shifting and adapting to whatever challenges get in the way of a smooth result.

This past year we saw innovative productions from Outside the March that involved the audience with The Ministry of Mundane Mysteries.

An audience member created a mystery that was personal to them and in a series of six phone calls over six days with that audience member, various characters tried to solve the mystery. The personal contact was wonderful as was the keen way each character listened for clues that would lead to the next phone call.

Julie Tepperman of Convergence Theatre created and directed The Corona Variations. These were various scenes and vignettes dealing with isolation, loneliness, strained relationships and coping that were delivered in six telephone calls in an evening to an audience member.

I also heard various monologues from past plays of 4th Line Theatre—27 monologues in all. A list of the monologues was provided on the website, then the ‘audience’ member called the box office with the date(s), time(s) and monologues the person wanted to hear. On the appointed day and time an actor would call the person and then deliver the monologue with a little introduction. It brought back fond memories of the plays from which these monologues came.

Canadian Stage delivered A Thousand Ways (Part 1) via a phone call with a stranger with a computer-generated voice asking questions—this was created by the wonderful American ‘company’, 600 Highwaymen. Again, the phone calls tried to create a connection between people.

Nina Lee Aquino, the Artistic Director of Factory Theatre has planned completely digital programming for what she calls the Satellite Season.  Aquino directed two plays specifically for digital technology for the Factory Theatre audience: House by Daniel MacIvor and acts of faith by David Yee.

TO LIVE-Living Rooms—100 artists of created short videos focusing on their art involving dance, theatre, singing, music, art instillations, storytelling etc. A wonderful cross-section of arts, culture, and ethnicity and still available on line.


All of it was terrific. Other theatres are getting into the act as well.

  • I’m looking forward to Orestes by Rick Roberts, that takes the Greek myth and gives it a modern twist for Tarragon Theatre, in February.


  • Factory Theatre will continue with its series of plays in its Satellite Season.

They will begin in March with a series of podcasts and after that will continue with various plays. https://www.factorytheatre.ca

  • The always inventive Talk is Free Theatre will begin a Monday series of talks called In Good Company on line Jan. 11 at 7:00 pm in which various actors, directors etc. will talk about the theatre and gossip.

Artistic Producer Arkady Spivak is a great proponent of gossip and who are we to object since that theatre creates some of the most inventive theatre I see in a year. To sigh up for the webinar https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_UoH99xW_QbC0JD0IIlkQ4Q

And elsewhere…..

Over last year I was able to see glorious theatre on line from various American and British Theatres. I’m looking forward to several productions coming up.

  • The Mint Theatre in New York is dedicated to producing lost plays.

They are streaming Days to Come a little-known play by Lillian Hellman which she wrote before The Little Foxes. It streams on the Mint Theatre Website until Feb. 21.

  • Last year I raved about a production of American Moor by Red Bull Theatre.

On Monday, Jan. 11 at 7:30 it streams The African Company’s Production of Richard III.

It will be available after that as well.


  • I’ve also praised a four play series of plays by Black American playwright Adrienne Kennedy from the Roundhouse Theatre.

Three of them that I’ve talked about last year were earlier works of hers.  The last in the series will be the world premiere of Etta & Ella On the Upper West Side.

It streams on Saturday, Jan. 9 at 7:00 pm. and will continue to stream into February. https://www.roundhousetheatre.org

  • The Public Theatre in New York has a festival of edgy offerings on line in its UNDER THE RADAR Festival because these are shows, that would normally fall under the radar.

Part of Under the Radar is Capsule which I’m calling a play with music, by Whitney White and Peter Mark Kendall who wrote the work and also perform it. It’s a wonderful, sensitive piece about race, loneliness, relationships, acceptance and giving space. Whitney White is a Black woman and Peter Mark Kendall is white.

I’m looking forward to a play called Borders and Crossings that plays today (Friday and other dates). It’s written by Inua Ellams, a wonderful British-Nigerian playwright who wrote Barbershop Chronicles and an adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters set in Nigeria. Brilliant.

The Festival continues until Jan. 17.


Another festival to check out is the Prototype Festival and in particular The Planet—A Lament created and directed by Garin Nugroho. “It merges film with live dance and a 14 voice choir to impart a moving story of creation set against the back drop of environmental disaster. The work is grounded in lament traditions of Melanes Papuan. Beautiful. Moving and exquisitely theatrical.

This on-line stuff, also gives us a glimpse into playwrights and other talent to watch.

  • Ali Joy Richardson is a young playwright who is a firecracker of talent. I saw her play A Bear Awake in Winter a few years ago about bullying in a high school orchestra that was stunning. Recently I saw a reading of her play Dad that is being developed through Studio 180 and again, it’s stunning. It’s about a University Professor whose behaviour towards a student is inappropriate and he just doesn’t get it. It’s not a rehash of other plays that deal with this subject. It’s more nuanced and elegantly written and through out.  It will be streamed beginning Jan. 13 on the INTERMISSION website.  https://www.intermissionmagazine.ca
  • I don’t review these readings because of course the plays are still being developed, but you might be interested in the works coming up from Studio 180.  I’ve really been impressed with what I’ve seen so far.

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