Well, Week one of the second edition of the FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL in Ottawa is over, and kick me like a yappy poodle but it was a good damn time. Where to start? I was there on Thursday and Saturday, and got to see: two mighty hilarious sets from hosting heroes GRIMPROV; Whimsimole making a solid, funny theatrical debut with TEMP (featuring Nick Wade himself, hurrah!); the ladies of Little Green Hat making potato sacks look good in the haunting WHO WILL SEPARATE US?; Mado Boyes-Manseau being freaking amazing in her one woman drama TO HELL IN A HANDBASKET; Tony and Jake getting too close for comfort in Rapscallion Diversion’s MANIMALES; Nick Amott having too much fun with lighting effects in WAKE; and Thunk! Theatre being just all beautiful and wonderful in FAR & NEAR & HERE. All this plus booze, friends, and all the ambient sound you can handle! What more could you ask for? A whole other weekend of that, perhaps? You got it. Here’s what to look forward to in the second spectacular week of the little theatre festival that just doesn’t give a fuck:
Hosting duties for part two fall, almost appropriately enough, to TWO AND A HALF WOMEN, a mighty improv trio consisting of Kristine Shadid, Brooke Cameron and Tim Anderson. Formed in 2012 as part of Crush’s ‘Bout Time series, they quickly became one of the winningest and most beloved teams ever to make merry at the Elmdale Tavern. Trust me, it will be VERY good to see them back together.
And the shows proper get underway as well, with Ottawa faves MAY CAN THEATRE, who most recently killed it at Fringe with their latest full lengther, HAPPINESS(tm), as well as a certain collaboration with BackPack Theatre (see below). Now Cory and Tony are back at Fresh Meat with MOTION PASSED, their first ever collaboration with director Tania Levy. Tania is all kinds of fantastic so this is more good news, folks, and I expect greatness from their tale of the Beautification and Improvement team of Sandy Hill.
Then there’s the company that Fresh Meat founder Jonah Allingham built, BACKPACK THEATRE. After solo shows at the Fringe and original FM fest, Backpack and May Can teamed up for THE TRAGICALL HISTORIE OF NICK WADE (AND OTHER FUCK UPS) last summer, scoring the Future of the Fringe award (and yes, I may or may not have been in that show as well). Backpack’s latest is THE B TEAM, an action-figure adventure about the unstoppable Bean Brothers, featuring Jonah, Nick Fournier, and Leslie Cserepy.
New to the Festival, but old hats at killer storytelling, OBVIOUSLY A THEATRE COMPANY are jumping in the Fresh Meat arena with their offering UNTITLED, UNPUBLISHED AND UNSETTLED, featuring three poetic performances by Fraser MacKinnon, Jean Nicolas Masson and Elizabeth McIelwain, for something a little off the usual path.
One last original Fresh Meat Team, DEAD UNICORN INK are returning, hot off the remount of their Fringe hit CHESTERFIELD with their new show SCARS, written by Sylvie Recoskie, and featuring herself along with Ted and Patrice-Ann Forbes, and directed by Aaron Lajeunesse. The story of what promises to be a terrifically uncomfortable morning after, DUI has a history of delivering some pretty cool goods, and this should be no exception.
A welcome addition to the festival lineup this year is EGODETH, aka Norah Paton (who you may remember as director of the Fringe fav’rit AROUND MISS JULIE this past summer) and Kara Crabb, who are teaming up to bring us FORSAKEN DAUGHTERS OF WINTER, a story about ‘one woman’s journey through cultural carnage at the forefront of a new scientific era’. Which, quite frankly, sounds like exactly my cuppa tea. Can’t wait.
And finally, another new company tp Fresh Meat (and even more Ottawa Theatre School power, yay!) Caitlin Corbett’s HERE BE DRAGONS returns from her Fringe debut MORNING STAR with a whole new ensemble piece, FOUNDATIONS. A story about the forgotten ghosts of the Rideau Canal, and featuring smooth Tim Oberholzer Nick Surges, and OTS alums Hannah Gibson-Fraser and Mitchel Rose, this is definitely one to look forward to.
The Festival runs for three remaining days, and costs 15$ a night or 25$ for the whole weekend. If you already bought the full festival pass LAST weekend, then just come on in! Here’s the lineup for each day (tho as before, the specific running order won’t be decided until the evening of the performances):
Thursday the 24th: Backpack, Here be Dragons, Egodeth, Obviously a Theatre Company.
Friday the 25th: Backpack, May Can, Dead unicorn Ink, Obviously a Theatre Company.
Saturday the 26th: May Can, Egodeth, Dead Unicorn Ink, Here be Dragons.
I promise, folks, you don’t want to miss a minute of this festival, even with the crumby bands occasionally bleeding through from below. It just adds to the DIY fun! Grounds up, hands on Theatre like this doesn’t happen every day, but thanks to enterprising and energetic little upstarts like the Fresh Meat gang, we’re getting closer all the time. Come on and support them, like you know you want to. See you there! Peace, love and soul,
Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)