The weather looked bleak.Last week, the outlook for the first week
of the show looked awful.Cold.Rainy.Something shifted.After a cold
– rainy dress rehearsal on Tuesday, where I had the cast perform Yes-No,
Genes and Back to Back in the space we use for a dressing room.
So last night, we went ahead,
without having to actually perform these pieces in the spaces they were going
to be.Such is theatre.And Back to Back requires more props than
any other play, and two of the actors in that play, are in the play
previous to it.
At , we lead the unsuspecting audience
through a huge old tannery, that houses the Yoga studio.I’ve gotten lost several times in this
building, in spite of the purple stamps on the wall that lead you to some
kind of enlightenment, while twisting your body into unlikely positions.
There is a nice big space to hover
for the audience.Many of the
‘audience’ were actually actors, ready for action.I set up the ‘box office’ on a lovely
heavy wooden table covered with a purple sparkly cloth (which was somehow
snagged by the second week).Naturally.Much to my feigned
chagrin, some yoga girl plunks herself onto the table, sitting in the lotus
position for the fifteen minutes before the show started.I pretend to be annoyed...confining my
ticket taking area to about two square feet.
by Catharine Frid
by David Antscherl
by Carol Lewis & Katharine Mills
The Tannery District
At , the audience is disturbed by a
very loud, almost marching footfall coming around the corner.I look up to see a grinny faced mime –
are there any others?I say, “Did
you want a ticket?”She indicates
she can’t hear me.Embarrassed, I
repeat it, louder.Everyone is
watching.She shakes her head now,
and does an “at your service” salute.I look to the Stage Manager.“What is this?”He
smiles.Afraid.“This is the person I hired to lead the
people around.”“A mime?You hired a mime??!!!I said actor!”“She is an actor.”“She’s not an actor – she’s a mime!We’ll be talking later.”
The mime gives me a pretend
flower.I toss it over my shoulder
and tell her to go with the stage manager.
I begin packing up the box office,
when a women starts talking to different audience members about her sorry
life as a librarian.The show is
afoot.After boring the audience with
her stories, she tries the yoga girl, still meditating on the table.Within a few minutes, the yoga girl has
the librarian tied up in knots and groaning with pain looking for a scarf
to sling her arm.That would be part
I of Quests, by Catharine Frid of Toronto.
Pieces of Mime, which happens in
several parts, was written by Lee H. Grant of California.Lee was absolutely wonderful in revising this play to work for this
by Lee H. Grant
by Tracey Kenyon
by Tracey Kenyon & Bruce Wolff
all over the place.
The mime lead the audience down the
several flights of rickety stairs.A
mouse decided to join the fray.An
audience member screams and a glass shattering falsetto,“A Mouse!”I think it was a guy.The poor thing was bouncing down the
stairs like a kangaroo, bouncing up the walls.Finally, he made his escape running right
over one of the actors shoes. I swear we didn’t put him in the show.
Once outside...beautiful sun
starting to set, there’s a street guitar player, playing badly and wailing
out some romantic song in an angry voice.The mime imitates him.He
scowls.She pretends to take out a
bill to put in his hat – changes her mind, and puts in a pretend
penny.They have words.He starts to walk away, and two floors
up, a women, one foot out of a large window, starts accosting the
crowd.“Just walk on by!They always do.Go on!”This is Francesca Sanders piece, A Big Front Porch.It’sreally thoughtful piece about a maybe jumper.
It was really interesting to watch
the crowd – completely engaged by this woman and her story.It’s one of the two very poignant pieces
in the show.After she moves everyone
on, the mime following the guitar player, the audience is lead to a corner,
then up a half a block to the KW Bookstore.A wonderful big bookstore where last year we started the show. Note
– this location was changed, as was the order, and ended up on the balcony
of the City Hall, where the pictures were taken.
BIG FRONT PORCH
by Francesca Sanders
by Gary Kirkham
by Arlene Thomas
The Tannery District – then Kitchener’s City Hall.
By the time they arrive, the guitar
player has set up there, playing his very bad music.The mime, starts to ‘play’ guitar beside
him.He’s not thrilled.Finally, after having had enough, he
watches in disgust as the mime builds a wall between them, grinning
When he finally lunges for the
mime, he is thwarted by the imaginary wall.He tried to get through, hurting himself of the imagined stone.No to be out done by a goofy mime, he
feels his way along the wall to the edge, and moves his hand around the
edge of the wall.The mime takes off
into the store.The audience, being
very smart by now, follows.
Once inside, a couple are reading
magazines.He starts to rattle on
about who in his screen play he should name what and why.She’s barely listening.It’s a fast paced piece written by Henry
W. Kimmel of AtlantaGA.Mis==Characterization is a short piece where the author tries to
second guess what his friends will think if he uses their names in his
script, or names that begin with the same letter.
What he’s really trying to tell his
friend, is he loves her.But she has
become lost in a magazine, and when he spills his love to the carpeted
floor of the book store, she does not reply.Thinking she is ignoring him – he couldn’t
look at her when he confessed, he exits in a hurry.Finally, finding something amusing in the
magazine, she turns around to find he’s gone.
by Henry W. Kimmel
by Nicholas Cumming
by Douglas Morton & Katharine Mills
in KW Bookstore.
The mime then leads the audience
along the sidewalk on King St.Out
main street.Walking by a bit of a
seedy bar called Frankies, three smokers outside began yelling greetings...waving
their arms, covered in tattoos with studded bands.One lovely lady, lifted her shirt as she
yelled,“Show me your tits!”No one did, to the best of my knowledge...but
it got a good laugh.I have to say
by this time, a camera man from CTV news was following the audience, filming
as he went.According to people who
saw the footage, it included a bit of Mis==Characterization and the
Once we crossed the street and
turned the corner, werebeside the
City Hall on the sidewalk.The mime
stopped on a very large grate there....maybe twelve by fifteen feet, maybe
bigger, to do some bad mime tricks...juggling, etc.One of the audience members’ wacky
girlfriend had gone ahead, and he takes that moment to show the audience
the engagement ring he’s bought.Asking
for advice regarding asking her the big question, etc.
The audience was very forthcoming
with suggestions that ranged from hide it in a fortune cookie, to hide it
in ravioli.The guitar player, makes
some cynical comments about marriage, and why don’t you ask her tonight so
we can all witness this wondrous occasion – sarcasm dripping like
venom.Gord, the guy, is confused,
and then realizes what the guitar guy has misunderstood.“Why would I... (looking back to where the girl has gone)...ah.You see she isn’t...”He stops.Everyone is watching him and he’s suddenly embarrassed.He whispers in the guitar players ear,
the ring is for his girlfriend – the one he’s with...well, only a sex
thing...you know?No one, or one
person would hear this whisper.Then, while still waving the ring around, he drops it down the
grate.NOooooooooooooo.With his face pressed against the metal,
the girl returns asking what he’s doing.“Dropped ri...key ring.....my car keys....yeah.”She says they should go to the security
desk in the City Hall.He doesn’t
want her help, of course.He sees
the grinning face of the guitar player, and hauls her along to go see what
they can do.This is Ring Tone,
written by myself.The audience
continues their journey, while the guitar player tells anyone who will
listen that the guy didn’t buy the ring for the girl he’s with, but for
another girl.It is the new
by Paddy Gillard-Bentley
by Tracey Kenyon
by Roger Sumner, Arlene Thomas & Bruce Wolff
Kitchener’s City Hall
The audience reaches the back
ofthe City Hall to a stone bench,
in between two sconces.Really nice
setting.To the right and up a few stairs
is a green space.Totem, written by
Yohanan Kaldi of Israel, is a surreal play where a blind
woman and her seeing eye dog have an interesting and intellectual
conversation about life, theatre and peeing.
“I need to leak.”Says, Stomp, the dog.And he bounds up the stairs to find a
good place, not the same pole as the last time.Swanky, the blind women feels the same
need, and squats in her long skirt.
It was such fun to see the audience
groan when a stream started moving away from Swanky.I haven’t seen it, but it’s some kind of
bladder thing under her skirt.The
audience groaned even louder when the dog returned from his business and
stopped to sniff the puddle, while chiding her for peeing there.I really love this piece, and the actors
are really wonderful.
The actors go back the way they
came, and once on the great, hear a noise from below.“Look!I’m a disembodied head!”Imagine the audience’s surprise when the look down to see the
‘happy’ couple about twenty feet down, searching for the ring (keys)
Of course she finds it, and squeals
with delight and makes him ask her right there....and so he does...and the
audience marches on.”
Written by Paddy Gillard-Bentley
Directed by Tracey Kenyon
Performed by Roger Sumner, Arlene
Thomas & Bruce Wolff
Beside Kitchener’s City Hall
feet beneath the sidewalk.
They turn into an alcove area in
the courtyard of the city hall for the mime and the guitar player
showdown.Sick of her imitating him
and making fun of him, he finally pulls out a gun to shoot the mime.Thank God.But the mime laughs at him, prancing
around...and he looks at the gun, and a smile plays upon his lips.
He puts away the ‘real’ gun, and
mimes taking out a gun, mimes putting a silencer on the gun...the audience
loved that, and the mime, looking horrified, pleads, but to no avail.The guitar player shoots the mime.The mime takes a bit of time to die, and
as her last annoying thing, throws an imaginary rope around the guitar
player and dies.Everyone
stares.Then, the guitar player
tries to walk away, jerking the arm of the dead mime.Ha.
The librarian from the first play
checks the pulse...shakes her head, not too sadly, and dons the mime’s
hat.She looks suddenly in the know,
and announces that now she knows the way to go.
And on they go.As they walk by the fountain, a guy
standing there spits into it.One of
the audience members, our actor, Jennifer, is disgusted.He tries to explain why it’s okay to spit
in the fountain.
She walks up, and lets a very log
string of spit fall into his coffee, and walks away.He looks mortified, and throws the coffee
into the garbage.
by Werner Trieschmann
by Tracey Kenyon
by Douglas Morton & Jennifer Cornish
The audience – a little greener –
heads down King St.Right at NYC
Pita Co, at an outside table and chairs, two of our actors perform a piece
called Yes-No, written by German Munoz, from near Seattle, WA.That is the dialogue.Yes
no...no...no?Yes!The subtext in this piece is
beautiful.Each time it’s performed,
it’s a completely different story.
by German Munoz
by Gary Kirkham
by Jennifer Cornish & Arlene Thomas
the Chess place in front of the City Hall
They audience crosses another
street, turns a corner, and finds a rough looking man outside the entrance
to the parking garage.He lights up
a ‘fag’.Another guy, a bit punkish
standing by looking for a light for his cigarette...
George(to Wesley) ‘Scuse me mate, can I get a light?
Wesley looks at him.
WesleyHmm… (he searches his pockets, pretending not to find a lighter) Sorry
mate, came out without one.
Pause. Wesley takes another drag from
WesleyDidn’t come out with one.
Pause. Another drag.
GeorgeYes you did.
WesleyNo I didn’t.
GeorgeYou just had one.
Wesley(Looking around) Who, me?
GeorgeYeah, you. You just lit that fag.
WesleyOh. Yeah. I did.
Seems that Wesley has upon his
person – a get out of jail free card in that it’s been scientifically
proven he has no generosity gene, and therefore is not about to share
anything.Tom, there was this lovely
moment when I realized Bruce, playing Wesley, had come out without the
expensive London newspaper I had purchased for him.He realized it, just about the time he
was to have George read a good hunk of dialogue from it.“Anyone got a paper?”he asked, hiding the desperation.Just the sound of crickets.“Ah, I know, I wrote it on my cigarette
pack!So Roger, the other actor, did
a brilliantly funny job of reading this supposed article, from a cigarette
pack, turning it in all different directions.Very fun.
by Tom Jacob-Ewles
by Paddy Gillard-Bentley
by Roger Sumner, Bruce Wolff & Tracey Kenyon
the entrance to the Duke & Ontario Streets parking garage
Around the corner the audience
comes upon a green space where two actors are tied and blind-folded to a
tree in the midst of some shrubbery...tied with bungee cords and skipping
ropes of bright colours, and any other things inept robbers might steal
while robbing a convenience store.
On the ground, are the wrappers from
these things, with price tags.Earl,
the dead cat, is duct-taped to a beef jerky box with an egg timer taped to
him.The bomb.They don’t know it’s not a bomb.They were taken from the convenience
store.They believe they are in the
country somewhere, and they only have ten minutes to live...or so.The conversation goes from what do you
look like to I could write a play...to I’m in someone else’s play!It’s lovely how this piece is layered,
and it took us a while to know when she was talking about how wonderful
this play could be...if they survive, and when she is in the moment.This play, Back to Back, was written by
J. J. Steinfeld from Charlottetown, PEI (that’s in Canada).J.J. – didn’t really know how to end it, as these pieces are less obvious
than staged pieces...so he starts singing And now, the end is near, and so
I face, the final curtain...and she joins in, and the librarian shoos the
audience away, as if worried there really is a bomb.
by J.J. Steinfeld
by Paddy Gillard-Bentley
by Bruce Wolff & Tracey Kenyon
at the Green Space at Queen & Duke Streets while tied to a tree.
As the audience is leaving the
green space, a couple come through the crowd – a snatch of
conversation.She doesn’t want to
have an affair, although there is a lot of sexual attraction.He’s trying to barter, she parries, and
says,“I won’t $#@* you without your
wife’s permission.”He can barely
contain his enthusiasm for that idea, as they keep walking out of earshot.
by Jennifer Cornish
by Roger Sumner & Katharine Mills
The audience heads toward warmth
and alcohol.They reach the front
doors of the hotel where the bar is housed,
...but the librarian keeps on
walking....past the doors.Sitting
in my car was Arlene....one of the actors.Looking straight ahead, she opens all the windows (electric) and
turns on her stereo.Sugar Sugar by
the Archies blasts on the stereo, and as we neededto buy a little time for setting up the
bar, we added this music interlude, which had ever single person in the
audience dancing and singing on the busiest intersection in downtown Kitchener.It was really good.
The librarian does a short monologue
about finding her path, her true self, and informs the audience while she’s
going to call her ex, maybe they can work it out, they can all order a
drink and relax for a fifteen minute intermission.They did.
Last night, for some reason there
was a mix up, and we weren’t able to get the back room like we were
supposed to...like we rehearsed for....like we set the lights for.The show went on.
When the audience arrives, a bride,
in full regalia, is sitting at the shooter bar slinging back shots of
something.We don’t see her
face.She has maybe three before she
notices the audience and challenges...
“What are you looking at?”It was like the Ferris Bueller moment at
the end of that movie.The bride,
left at the alter, the bartender, trying to cheer her up.This was performed beautifully by
Tracey.Really funny, and sweet and
tender....all the things I’m sure you saw it as.Bride on the Rocks was written by David
Wiener from San Deigo.I especially
love when she goes on to describe how her life will end up.It was wonderful.The play ends with her losing a bet to
the bartender, and agreeing to go home, sleep it off and go on the cruise
herself.She exits, pulling a
suitcase behind her.
ON THE ROCKS
by David Wiener
by David Antscherl
by Tracey Kenyon & Mark Kochut at The Rum Runner
The bartender tidies up, then walk
to a high table with a beautiful woman sitting on a stool.Some people may have noticed her eyeing
the guy in the tie.Some, may not
have.The bartender leaves and the
shark moves in for the kill...or is it a kill?This play, Quarks, written by William
Bolden of Royse City TX., has many of the things I love.Lots of sexual innuendo and gestures,
overtly sexual moments and physics.A couple that engages in a mating ritual, but are equally
armed.She’s a theoretical physicist
and he sells the very computer that she uses.She studies quarks and he works for a
Japanese firm, although, according to her, doesnot look Japanese.For me, the play was equal, close hot,
sexy....he asks her to take off her panties, she does – quite expertly
letting them slide down her legs, and into her hands where she deftly puts
it into his jacket pocket making a pouf.There is this beautiful moment.He backs away...just a tiny bit, and she takes it and runs.
I have to go.
I don't even know your name.
Life is waiting for me.
But what about me?
You're waiting for life.
You have my tie.
You have my panties.
My wife gave me that tie.
My husband gave me those panties.
She threw the last line over her shoulder,
while exiting the bar.And that was
the first night. People had drinks in place.And everything in the world was as it
should be.And the sparks of this
very hot play, started some sparks between these two that in three years,
have not been extinguished.Quantum
by William Borden
by Paddy Gillard-Bentley
by Jennifer Cornish & Roger Sumner
Theatre like you never have!Is that woman beside you part of the show or just
Are those policemen actors who are arresting
the young man?Nope.
Fifteen plays from 45 seconds to 13 minutes
long, in places you'd never expect.
In our past events, some plays have been performed in store windows, garbage
dumpsters, back alleys and
thirty feet below street level through a
grate in the sidewalk. The line between reality and imagination becomes blurred
when you aren't sure what is a play, and what is the usual natural theatre of