Friday 8 August 2014

Summerworks Play - Tragedy: a tragedy

Teena and I plan to go to a few Summerworks Festival plays in the coming weeks.

The festival has been going since 1991 but for some reason we haven't gone to any since 2008. The festival is a combination of plays, music and performance art. Last year The Wooden Sky Travelling Adventure Show performance piece made a stop on our street which we went to, but as for purposely attending, it has been 6 years. We plan to make up for that this year!

SummerWorks supports work that has a clear artistic vision and explores a specific theatrical aesthetic. It encourages risk, questions, and creative exploration while insisting on accessibility, integrity and professionalism. SummerWorks is the place where dedicated, professional artists are free to explore new territory and take artistic risks. Rather than getting larger, we strive to get better. We look to introduce professional artists from diverse communities to each other and be inspired by our similarities and differences. 

As the largest juried and curated festival in Canada featuring predominantly New Canadian works, SummerWorks looks to program a festival that uniquely reflects Toronto and Canada’s cultural zeitgeist.

Tonight we saw Tragedy: a tragedy, which is part of their Juried Series of plays at the Lower Ossington Theater.

The sun has set and may never rise again. The dark hangs over the cities and suburbs and countryside of a nation, and the government is ill-equipped to save the day. Three reporters in the field and an anchorman are doing their best to shed some light on the situation, but as the mystery deepens with the darkness, they begin to lose their grip, and the nakedly personal breaks through their practiced personas. There is a witness: can he tell us what happened? 

A witty, mournful and slyly absurd meditation on apocalypse in a world only a hair’s breadth from our own. By American playwright Will Eno, whom the NY Times has called “a Samuel Beckett for the Jon Stewart generation”.

Performed by Don Allison, Benjamin Clost, Miranda Edwards, Cyrus Lane and Christopher Stanton 

I enjoy end of the world stories and had expected a very serious piece but despite the content, the play was quite comical, with some very hilarious lines. The story keeps the audience guessing as to what calamity the world might be facing. Three reporters in the field and Frank the anchorman are obviously from a small town station, complete with its on air miscues (not actor miscues). It's was quite humorous to watch.

The cast did an very good job, but just as a news broadcast needs a great anchorperson to be great, so does this play and Don Allison as Frank did a great job of anchoring the show. Not only did he make the role believable, he even looked and sounded the part.

This is a great tip of the hat to the Theater of the Absurb and I really enjoyed it. It was a great way to start the festival.

The play is on 'til August 16 and it is one I recommend.

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