A poster from a past show catches my eye– from behind the door — behind the counter.
The room slowly fills with people who look “oh, so familiar” but cannot be placed – maybe from Fringe Festivals of yesteryear. This is the Shortstanding Festival of plays.
Grapefruit by Alastair Mackay (Bazooka Theatre)
“Being a victim of one’s own convictions… human thumbs are opposable.”
As people continue to file in, a man and woman sit at a table set for tea at the centre of the room. Florence and The Machine’s Breaking Down plays. In a very period setting, Diane (Katherine Turnball) sits still with her feet crossed, as any girl would have learned to do by watching The Princess Diaries. Maxim (Alastair Mackay) does a mots-croisés in a suit, hair slicked in that greasy manner. After a long while, he acknowledges her and waits to be acknowledged in return. They grin oddly at one another, he takes a sip of tea and returns to his newspaper. She returns to staring out. People continue filing in and talking.
They speak in British accents– many spectators may be sold on this alone. They pose questions on happiness.
“Aren’t you happy?”
Sterling Mawhinney enters as butler, Archie, and earns himself an immediate laugh.
Lemons, grapefruit, and other citric fruits represent “things that need to be out in the open.”
Curtis (Nic Turcotte) does a fine job of shaking things up for this couple. He probes about what truly matters in life and attempts to force Diane in confronting her finding solace in citrus infused teas. Priorities. In a short amount of time, this production’s metaphors do a fine job of raising simple questions that we all have and exploring them through comedy.
“Take a chance and TASTE THE GRAPEFRUIT”
The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service
Sarah Stupar enters through the cabinet holding a beer, in a coat and rain boots.
She recites the poem, as she sits with us. It is simple and moving. The connection between her and the writer, Robert W. Service, is clear. She ends by telling us more about him. This is something that I’m a sucker for.
Trixie Parker Finds a Boyfriend: The Musical
(a musical in the making) by Alexis Diamond (words) and Nick Carpenter (music)
“A satire about the commodification of love.”
A work in progress…
“Act I – Scene III”
Trixie, late 20s is depressed but keen to impress
Charles, early 30s, Clark Kent handsome (love the suity-man on bike with panda head and music notes baby blue t-shirt and music notes).
This show appears to explore the troubles in dating within the online world. A world that supposedly facilitates all and aids in time management — “from data to date”. Flaws in skipping the “get to know you” part and trusting the online profile are put into question, as Charles’ wedding box hinge appears to be quite worn.
The songs are clever and fun. Trixie’s punny tune about her glasses plays on being blind both literally and by love.
A preview worth exploring. Looking forward to the finished product!
by Ned Cox
Apologies: slight repair to the table about to be used. Audience jokes in genuine “awe” about how, “It’s a real screwdriver!”
Fixer announces: “That’s as good as it’s gonna get”
And on with the show! (Love these moments!)
I always appreciate when a space is used in a real way, in that the actual entrance is the entrance in the play, and the kitchen is the kitchen. The show questions intention versus intention. You’ll get it, if you see it.
Cox writes with many twists and surprises. Nearing the end, the audience became quite torn between emotions. Some were laughing, other were shocked. This piece definitely disturbs in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons. — Funny, and really not.
If just for Paul Van Dyke, this is worth getting to.
Tea and coffee, with option for spiking are on the menu.
ShortStanding runs until February 23 at the Espace Freestanding Room (4324 St. Laurent suite 300). Catch Line Up A February 22 at 2pm and February 23 at 8pm.