July 17, 2021

The Show Must Go On

Created in response to the cancellations and shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shows about to open or in rehearsal in March of 2020 were given another life through our digital theatre.

 


 

Carried away on the crest of a wave (Part 1)

In 2004, the deadliest tsunami in recorded history tore through over a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean. In a series of vignettes, David Yee imagines the people left behind in disaster’s wake. In Australia, a scientist notes that the planet got smaller the day of the disaster. In Malaysia, two brothers toss family treasures to save their house from descending into the sea. In India, a priest tries to prove that his parishioners were saved by divine intervention.

 

Carried away on the crest of a wave (Part 2)

The tragedy travels all the way to Toronto where a radio DJ defies his bosses to perform a parody of Tears for Fears. In Sri Lanka, a man speaks frankly to a child orphaned by the tsunami. And in Thailand, a man mourns his beloved wife in the company of an highly-specialized escort.

 

Carried away on the crest of a wave (Part 3)

The ripples extend far below the surface of the earth as two men endlessly fall down a hole. In Salt Lake City, an FBI agent questions a bereaved mother about the child she lost in the tsunami. And on a sandy beach in Ko Phi Phi Island, Thailand, two men sit together deciding who is responsible for the tragedy.

 

Carried away on the crest of a wave (Interview with David Yee)

Chris talks to Governor General Award-winning playwright David Yee, who is currently isolating from home and workshopping a new play over Zoom. Yee reflects on why “underused” actors of colour often resort to writing their own stories, and why he wanted “Carried away on the crest of a wave” to be too big for small theatres. He also shares where he was when he first heard about the devastating 2004 Tsunami, and why he felt compelled to write an anthological play about “the lives that it touched, brought together and destroyed.”

 


 

Take d Milk, Nah? (Part 1)

Jiv is Canadian. Jiv is Indian. And Hindu. And West Indian. And Trinidadian too. Or maybe he is just colonized. In order to explore all these hyphenated identities, he creates the first-ever Hindu-Caribbean-Canadian identity play — even though he hates identity plays. He starts with a brief history of indentured servitude in Trinidad, and his family.

 

Take d Milk, Nah? (Part 2)

Jiv is the first in his family to be born in Canada and raised in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. Here some people call him black, while his own family calls him “white boy”. Jiv goes on a teenage quest to Trinidad to untangle his roots and become more legitimately “third world”. Things do not go as planned.

 

Take d Milk, Nah? (Part 3)

Jiv shapeshifts again to prove identity is pretty trippy. Maybe we are all “Jiv”. Maybe this is all an illusion. But then a memory from Junior High brings him crashing back down to earth. Disaster strikes on 9/11 and Jiv feels forced to choose an “identity raft”. He’s not proud of his choice. He asks certain “Jivs” to skip to the next episode.

 

Take d Milk, Nah? (Part 4: Epilogue)

We all meet again for one final thought from our multi-hyphenated hero. Here’s why it matters how we choose to define the divides between us, and within us.

 

Take d Milk, Nah? (Interview with Jivesh Parasram)

Laura talks to playwright and performer Jiv Parasram, who is currently quarantining at home in Vancouver and getting ready to take a play online. Parasram reflects on being the first in his family to grow up in Nova Scotia, his complicated feelings about identity plays, and why he made the bold request for some audience members to skip part of the story.


 

Secret Life of a Mother (Part 1)

Two months after giving birth to her son, a mothering app sends Hannah Moscovitch a tip: “Consider getting back in the sack with your husband, even if you don’t feel ready!”(Let’s just say it didn’t find her in the mood.) Together with friend and performer Maev Beaty, Hannah sets out to write the antithesis to the chirpy notification: the untold realities of motherhood and the taboo subjects that moms don’t openly share … starting with miscarriage.

 

Secret Life of a Mother (Part 2)

Hannah, played by Maev, confides her fear that she — someone who can tune out oncoming traffic — won’t be a good mother. Also, would the pain of labour expose something ugly at the bottom of her psyche? After hours of contractions, gas to relieve the pain, and a team of doctors staring at her, she finds out.

 

Secret Life of a Mother (Part 3)

After her son Elijah’s birth, Hannah is struck by the urge to sing him traditional Hebrew songs mixed with a smattering of Céline Dion. Both Hannah and Maev reveal their birthing war wounds before they agree that labour isn’t even the hard part. They wrestle with guilt and shame for having ambitions beyond raising babies. Then one boozy summer in Stratford, they give each other a special kind of permission they both need.

 

Secret Life of a Mother (Interview with Hannah Moscovitch, Maev Beaty, and Ann-Marie Kerr)

Laura talks with Hannah, Maev, and Ann-Marie who are all working from home and mothering during isolation in Halifax, Toronto, and Lunenburg, N.S. The three women share how they wrote (and re-wrote and re-wrote) the story, why they wanted to complicate cheerful talk about motherhood and how damaging it is to keep women in the dark. “No one tells birth stories publicly or honestly.”


 

The Runner (Part 1)

Where is Jacob? He doesn’t know. All he does know is that he is a volunteer for Z.A.K.A, an Israeli organization responsible for putting the bodies of Jews back together following accidents or terror attacks. And he is cold and wet. As he grapples with the memory of an attack, he starts to piece together the moment when he rushed to a scene of violence to find a dead Israeli soldier and a dying Arab girl clinging to life. He makes a life-altering decision.

 

The Runner (Part 2)

The Arab girl haunts Jacob’s every thought. He thinks of her when he is sent to Ukraine to unearth remains from a mass grave. And when he slips through the door into a crowded nightclub in Tel Aviv on a hot and humid night. He wonders if God is punishing him for what he does in the dark. Then the head of Z.A.K.A calls him in and breaks some bad news.

 

The Runner (Part 3)

Reeling from the loss of his job at Z.A.K.A, Jacob flees to his brother Ari’s home in an Israeli settlement. The two brothers, on opposite sides of an ideological argument, get into a dispute and Ari tells Jacob he doesn’t belong in Israel. Jacob decides he must see the Arab girl once again. He finds her home and bangs on her door. Not long later, he realizes exactly where he is.

 

The Runner (Interview with Christopher Morris)

Chris talks to playwright Christopher who is self-isolating at home in Toronto, about how he first became interested in the Jewish volunteer force ZAKA when he was just a teen growing up in Markham. He also shares why it took almost a decade and several trips to Israel to write The Runner, and why he is compelled to write characters who are pushed to extremes.

 


 

Cowgirl Up (Part 1)

The crowd goes wild as cowgirl Cassidy and her trusty horse Starbright successfully qualify for the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer Alberta, but first-time jitters make for a disastrous first run. Just as Cassidy considers calling it quits, the rookie pair catch the attention of three cowgirl goddesses who miss the crackle and the hustle of barrel racing. Joyce, Effie and BB have returned to Earth from their skybox above to mix with the mortals. They pledge to teach Cassidy how to cowgirl up.

 

Cowgirl Up (Part 2)

After a huge win at the Canadian Finals Rodeo, fledgling cowgirl Cassidy wants a little time away from her horse and the Goddesses to celebrate. She saddles over to the bar and meets Jed, a Cowboy who doesn’t think much of Cowgirls or “can chasing.” After some whiskey and a two-step on the dance floor, Cassidy leaves her beloved horse out in the pen until the wee hours. Neither she nor her horse feel great the next day. Has she already blown the big race that will lead them all the way to the Calgary Stampede?

 

Cowgirl Up (Part 3)

With the stakes as high as ever, Cassidy and her horse Starbright enter the ring for the next barrel race, but something isn’t right with her mare. After a nail-biting ride, they manage to win but Cassidy knows her horse. Starbright won’t’ be up for the next competition and it’s all Cassidy’s fault. The Goddesses try to comfort her and encourage her to work with a new horse for the next race. But after coming all this way with Starbright, can she really compete without her trusted friend?

 

Cowgirl Up (Interview with Anna Chatterton)

Laura talks to Anna Chatterton who is physically distancing at home in Hamilton with her family. The Cowgirl Up playwright explains how she got interested in rodeo culture, the parallels she’s discovered between artists and cowgirls, and reveals which real-life women inspired some of her characters.


 

Three Women of Swatow (Part 1)

Grandmother is drinking gin naked while reading the Bible when she hears an anxious voicemail from Mother. The message says she wants to know how to make drunken chicken, which is odd because she is a vegetarian. Only her abusive husband eats meat at their home. Grandma keeps her worries to herself when Daughter comes home and the two quarrel over alcohol, weight, and life in general. Grandmother decides to go to Mother’s apartment. There she makes a grim discovery.

 

Three Women of Swatow (Part 2)

After arriving at Mother’s home, Grandmother is confronted with a grisly mess in the bathtub that she must help clean up. The two generations of women argue over tea, emojis, and who is responsible for the bloody crime scene that has unfolded. They try to scrub the bathroom of evidence when the Daughter unexpectedly arrives. Dark family secrets are revealed.

 

Three Women of Swatow (Part 3)

The women flash back through a history of abuse. Grandmother has had to watch Mother repeat her mistakes and is determined to keep Daughter from following in the same footsteps. Three generations of Swatow women discover they are bound by more than blood.

 

Three Women of Swatow (Interview with Chloe Hung)

Chris talks to Chloe Hung who is currently living and working in LA. The Three Women of Swatow playwright shares why her relationship with her two grandmothers inspired her to write about family lore, how she likes to subvert people’s expectations about demure Asian women, and the differences she has learned between writing for the stage versus the screen.


 

Sir John A: Acts of A Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion (Part 1)

Bobby Rabbit has some unfinished business with Canada’s first prime minister. When he finds out his grandfather’s medicine bundle has been rotting away in a British museum, he talks his buddy Hugh into taking a road trip with him all the way to Kingston. There they plan to pull off the ultimate heist. At a roadside McDonald’s they meet a university student named Anya who is licking her wounds after a nasty breakup. She joins them on their journey.

 

Sir John A: Acts of A Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion (Part 2)

Back on the road, tensions in the car mount between Bobby and Anya as they square off about everything from racism to colonialism to the lingering effects of residential schools. They both know their fair share of history but see it from different perspectives. Hugh borrows Anya’s knife to makes some peanut butter road trip snacks, but when he accidentally lets slip their plans, she pulls it and a can of bear spray on them and demands answers.

 

Sir John A: Acts of A Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion (Part 3)

At a bar on a break from the road, Bobby and Hugh share the real reason they are heading to Kingston with Anya. She storms off after a heated debate and Hugh warns Bobby that he has to stop making smart women angry. Hugh convinces her to continue on the journey to Kingston as he doesn’t want to leave her alone in the middle of nowhere. Anya reveals she has secrets of her own. In Kingston, Bobby is confronted with an unexpected presence.

 

Sir John A: Acts of A Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion (Interview with Drew Hayden Taylor)

Laura talks to Drew Hayden Taylor, who was visiting Toronto from Curve Lake First Nations. They talk about why he decided to tackle the daunting task of writing a comedy about Sir John A MacDonald, how he went from self-taught to nationally celebrated and why he’s actually feeling quite good in these uncertain times. (Hint: he’s been quite busy!)


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