After a whirlwind visit to Chapel Perilous over the night, involving a half-litre of rum and a comfort-spree of dvd shopping this afternoon (got me Fuller’s NAKED KISS and SHOCK CORRIDOR, and ICE PIRATES, among others), it was that special time again…time to head out to the GCTC for my third day of the UNDERCURRENTS festival. It’s technically the seventh day of plays in the festival itself, but only my third time out. At least it was a double-bill kinda day, tho.
After convincing the GCTC gang that, no, I was NOT there for a volunteer shift, I got upstairs, avoided accosting by the terribly cute The Lab crew (why, exactly..?), and queued up for the first show of the nite. There was a particularly fun moment for me when, waiting in line to get in, critic Alvina Ruprecht spotted me and briefly mistook me for Chris Bedford of Evolution Theatre. Shit, I’ll take it.
But in I marched, for MY PREGNANT BROTHER, the brainchild of writer/performer Johanna Nutter, who was already on stage merrily greeting people as we entered. The space was totally empty, but as the joint filled up, Johanna started creating her set with chalk, a beautifully simple and childlike black and white map of the story she was about to tell. The story, as far as I know a true one, concerns her brother (born her sister) becoming, obviously, pregnant, and the chaos that ensues. Johanna, positively radiant throughout, tells the story with an almost painful simplicity that’s just beautiful to watch. She, along with her sister/brother and Mother, all seem to be struggling to grow up, and the pregnancy is like a lit match to the oil of the already considerable troubles.
I really loved this show. It’s joyous, harrowing, strong, and genuinely inspiring. I am officially a member of Johanna Nutter’s fan club. Shoutout to director and dramaturge Jeremy Taylor for his own work in this wondrous piece. Major thanks to the both of you.
Down time then, and after a quick run to the Oak for a between-periods beer, I was back again for the second show, SPENT from Toronto’s Why Not Theatre. and Theatre Smith Gilmour, and starring Ravi Jain and Adam Paolazza. A comic piece and crowd-pleaser centered around the global financial crisis, SPENT is really more useful as a showcase for the obviously insane physical comedy talents of Jain and Paolazza, who are on a Peter’nChris level of manic. Their timing, originality and sheer balls are something to see, and they pretty much had the audience in the palms of their hands. The story itself was fairly disjointed, ranging from BBC updates to Dante-esque Hellscapes, but the duo still pulled it off and left us smiling. I had a blast.
From there, I ended up at the Wood with Nadine Thornhill, Kate Smith, Sterling Lynch, Wayne C and Evan Thornton for a few too many beers, some cool stories,and some AWESOME tidbits from K-Smith about upcoming stuffs, about which I will remain silent for now. And at least now we know the truth about Soft Kitty.
So…fuck! Now I only have one day, and one show left. That ain’t hardly enough! Undercurrents has TOTALLY gotten me into a Fringe kinda mood…thank goodness I at least have a lotta shows to see this month! And I’m already looking forward to next year’s version. Never too early, right..?
Peace, love and soul,
The Visitor (and Winston)