by Sam Mooney
The weather almost convinced me not to go to the opening of Week 3 of the New Ideas Festival at the Alumnae Theatre last night. My play partner didn’t make it but I did, and am so glad that I did. It was a wonderful evening.
New Ideas is a juried festival and I had been wondering whether the jury was presented with ideas or with scripts. Tonight I was sitting next to Brenda Darling, one of the Artisitc Producers and asked her. And the answer? Usually scripts although occasionally they will choose a concept.
Some of the shows have had more work done on them than others, some of them are close to perfect and some of them still need a fair amount of work.
Tonight’s shows were all close to perfect. Week Three (March 23 to 26, 2011) features:
- LETTING GO by Neale Kimmel
- FROM HERE TO THERE AND BACK AGAIN by Rosemary Doyle
- ELEGY FOR A LOST BOOKMARK by Nicholas Sgouros
- TWO WEEKS IN NORMANDY by David Nicholson
LETTING GO by Neale Kimmel
What can I say about a 15 minute play that made me laugh and made me cry? Amazing. A gem. Fabulous. Playwright Neale Kimmel has captured and distilled the emotion of losing someone you love and presented it in a funny, touching, poignant vignette with an unexpected twist.
The performances by Sarah Cody, Robin Cunningham and Razie Brownstone were excellent, their timing was impeccable.
FROM HERE TO THERE AND BACK AGAIN by Rosemary Doyle
At the New Ideas Festival there is a piece of paper folded inside of the program. On the paper is the name of each play and a space for comments and feedback. At the end of the show the audience hands back the paper. (I actually use it for my notes so I don’t hand it back.) Tonight a couple of the playwrights had included a question.
Rosemary Doyle’s question was “Does enough happen on this trip to merit a play? I’d say yes.
The characters were well developed. It’s an interesting idea, we get to hear what people are thinking as they ride the streetcar. And they’re the people we see all the time on the TTC. The gorgeous young thing talking and texting on her cell, oblivious to everyone and everything around her, the defeated looking middle-aged woman holding her shopping bag, the 30 something woman writing in ajournal and watching the other passengers, the young man looking up from his book to check out the young woman and the woman writing in her journal, and the crazy guy.
Doyle even managed to get two acts into a 15 minute play. It left me wanting to know more.
ELEGY FOR A LOST BOOKMARK by Nicholas Sgouros
This is a sweet story about a connection that almost happened. The dialogues is great, you can really feel the connection developing between the characters. It amazes me the way that a playwright can develop a character so fully that you feel as if you know the back story, that you know the characters. All all in 15 minutes.
TWO WEEKS IN NORMANDY by David Nicholson
David Nicholson also had a question about his play – “The play you’ve seen is set in France, 1959. Can you imagine it in any other time and place?” I know why he asked. This is a translation of a French play Villegiature that was written in 1894. So yes, it could be set in another time and place.
The premise is a bit ridiculous but it’s funny. Two couples on vacation together. One of the women leaves her husband and asks the other woman to tell the first woman’s husband. At the same time the second woman’s husband leave her and asks the first woman’s husband to tell the second woman. Are you still with me?
The two of them individually figure out how they’re going to manage it. They talk to the audience, telling them their plans and ideas when they’re alone on stage. When they’re both onstage they still talk to the audience in asides.
Lucie is an adorable flirty character and Jacques is a perfect foil, very serious.
This made me want to see more French comedies. Fluffy and entertaining.
And my aside – Linzee Barclay’s dress is gorgeous.
– New Ideas Festival Week Three is playing at Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley Street, on the SouthWest corner of Berkeley and Adelaide Street East)
– Week Two runs until March 26
– Performances are at 8 pm with a matinee at 2.30 on Saturday
– Ticket prices are: Wednesday to Saturday: $15, Saturday Reading: PWYC, Saturday Matinee: $15
– For reservations or questions, please leave a message at: Phone: 416-364-4170, Box 1, or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org