I was getting pretty hungry, I gotta tell ya. After a little too much drinking, no eating, and the premiere show of the 2013 Undercurrents festival SKIN, my appetite was shouting at me something fierce. There was about an hour to go between shows, which would have been plenty of time to grab a quick spot of nosh from the GCTC’s newly arrived lobby coffee concern, Cafe Michel-Ange. Except, whoops, it wasn’t as long to the next show as I thought…it turns out that, without actually realizing it, I had successfully signed up to be in the extremely limited audience (10 per show, tho anyone can crane their neck and watch) of the sneaky extra show of this year’s festival.
The show is BREAD from the newly birthed THUNK! Theatre, and it takes place right beside the lobby cafe all during the festival. Lasting a scant fifteen minutes, stars and creators Geoff McBride and Karen Balcome (with director extraordinaire miss Emily Pearlman) pack a lot of heart into the short running time. Telling a brief and endearing story about local bakers Seth and Ruby on their bittersweet last day in the neighbourhood, the duo have invited ten of their closest friends (that’s you, audience) for a final bout of bread-baking as they alternate between dreamy reminiscing and angry remonstrating. The participating audience members really, truly are guided through the prepping of their very own personal loaf of bread during the show, even as Geoff McBride’s Seth lets his emotions get the better of him, and Karen Balcome’s endlessly supportive Ruby tries to talk him down. And of course, there’s always the bread to remember.
It’s a terribly fun and sweet show, lots of fun, and I apologize to Geoff and Karen if my attention wandered once or twice during the performance, but I was really, REALLY hungry and it was starting to get the better of me. Granted, the baking members of the audience ARE promised a special reward…their loaves get baked during the following studio show, and when the get out they have their very own delicious homebaked bread waiting for them. It’s maybe the best audience participation idea I’ve ever encountered, and works so beautifully and organically (thanks in large part to the easy charm of our hosts) that it never once feels like a gimmick. I just didn’t want to wait a whole hour before eating…thank goodness Little Orange Man‘s Ingrid Hansen showed up, and saved the day by tossing me a blueberry protein bar (seriously, that woman’s a miracle).
BREAD has 13 performances left, and you can sign up to bake at the box office…HIGHLY recommended, folks, I had mine for breakfast today and DAMN. I can bake, yo. And the kids at Thunk! can and do put on a helluva fun show. But as mentioned, it was time now to race off to one more show for the evening, once I washed the flour off my hands. Next up…THE PUBLIC SERVANT! Peace, love and soul,
Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)