The Freestanding Room’s Third Annual Shortstanding Festival is underway and worth checking out. The concept is rather fantastic. You go to a series of short shows, that range anywhere between 10-30 minutes each with a short break in between. You get to see five complete works that are in various stages of development. You get to see finished work and process. It’s a great time for a theatre nerd like me.
Last night I saw series D last night. Subtraction, a workshop production of a supernatural family drama, was a great start, but felt a lot too short to be considered a complete piece. I look forward to a fringe length offering of this one. It was followed by Swimming Lesson, which will be remounted at the Journee de la Culture. This is a powerful complete short piece dealing with the erasure of the homeless and what it takes for people to wake up to the misery that surround us. Even as a staged reading, it was great and provoking.
After intermission, we were treated to A is for Arsenic, which was so well done, so well performed, and so much fun to watch. It’s a period piece about three women who are being duped and therefore conspire to poison their suitor and the rapid-fire interplay was a challenge and a delight to follow. Origin followed, a song theatre piece about love and loss. It was beautiful in a way, and felt painfully intimate. I would cut the length a bit, to strengthen it. We ended the night with boKa, an excerpt from the hit Fringe show, and it was super fun. There is always room for a cute clown with a buzzer in my world.
Shout to our MCs, Nic and Matt from ReStage Reviews that were trying to get a discussion going about the shows in between the works. You tried. Perhaps stick to keeping the action moving right along with a minimum of chat next time. It felt a bit like being in a classroom round table and for most of us, those days are happily over.
There are many stand alone events programmed in the context of the festival and you should look up their website to check it all out. The Freestanding Room is intimate to say the least and I highly recommend that you call in advance to reserve your tickets, and also check out the pricing specials if you want to see more than one lineup right here (www.freestandingroom.com/upcoming/the3rdannualshortstandingfestivalofshortperformances).
The Shortstanding Festival plays at The Freestanding Room (4324 St-Laurent, 3rd floor) until February 28 at 8 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday (extra shows on the weekends). Lineup rotates. $18/15 or $25 for two nights and $33 for three. For tickets click HERE.