New theatre is the life blood of our art. New theatre gives artists the opportunity to be recognized and be better known in the community. New theatre is ridiculously hard to do in Toronto due to the enormous expenses involved with staging a show. Thanks to Why Not Theatre with their most recent initiative – The RISER Project; new works, emerging and indie artists are being given the chance to showcase and perform in spaces that would have otherwise been too expensive to use.
As Part of the project, companies are given the opportunity to share resources, whether they be technical, mentorship or otherwise, to bolster their new works. The new works are then presented in a six week series split into two parts, where production tools are offered communally by the Project.
I had the opportunity to see the first 2 shows in the series, Mouthpiece by Amy Nostbakken and Norah Sadava of Quote Unquote Collective, and Little Death by Daniel Karasik of The Little Death Collective. The first show, Mouthpiece, was interesting to say the least; and beautifully harmonic and dynamic to say the best. The entire show revolves around the playwrights playing a single woman as she deals with her inner turmoil about her life the and the very recent death of her mother. There were some harmonies made by both women that just left me in awe, but the general theme left me feeling somewhat uncomfortable being in the same room as such strong opinions. Overall, even as I sit writing this I am not entirely sure what to make of it. But I suspect that’s what they were aiming for in the first place. Perhaps just to have people start to question, think, and start discussions in secluded corners of dimly-lit cafes.
Next that evening was Little Death. The whole show is about a man who is dying of some unknown disease (probably cancer) who cheats on his wife because he’s only ever been with her for his entire life. Honestly, it was not my cup of tea. There will always be new plays that work; and some that don’t work for audiences.
New theatre will be what we will eventually be considering classics. It is forever growing and will have stumbling blocks, but should be supported by its own community and everyone around them… no matter what opinion is offered by a reviewer!