Saturday night was a joyous few hours of ridiculous laughter brought to me by the Saskatoon theatre community. Much of the time I had no idea why I was laughing, or why anyone else was, but it made for a delightful and celebratory season kick-off. This is Live Five‘s eleventh season and it is beginning some new projects that hopefully will expand our theatrical experiences.
The new projects that I refer to are called Beforeplay and Afterplay. Beforeplay is a little breakfast gathering on the Saturday prior to opening night where the cast and crew discuss the themes of the play with a few community members. These pre-play chats will be recorded and presented as podcasts via the Live Five website. Afterplay will be a discussion that takes place in the theatre after every performance, hosted by a mediator to facilitate conversation with the artists and audience members alike. This project is something our community is hungry for and it is something I look forward to enjoying and participating in.
In addition to the five shows this season, Live Five is again participating in the Chef’s Gala Fundraiser on February 7th. Tickets will be available in the near future.
The first of the five, Reasons to be Pretty by Neil LaBute opens September 25th. The preview that was presented on Saturday was funny and full of F-bombs. It is being presented by Fire in the Hole productions, who have recently produced The December Man and Dying City at Live Five. The play will force us to look at the role that beauty plays in our lives. You can find the crowdfunding campaign for this production here.
The second production of the season is My Rabbi, written by and starring Joel Bernbaum and Kayvon Kelly. The show is currently on tour, so only Bernbaum was available to talk about the play Saturday night. He said he has had some interesting reactions to the plays tagline- especially given the ongoing Israel-Gaza conflict. The play is about a Muslim and a Jew trying to connect to their roots and navigate their friendship as they grow older. It has already had a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and will run in Vancouver and Victoria before it makes its way to Saskatoon for October 30th. The play is produced by Sum Theatre, which has both a Saskatoon and a Vancouver base. For more information, follow @myrabbiplay on Twitter or visit their website.
Third, in January, we have The Clockmaker presented by Neverending Highway Productions and Embrace Theatre. Graeme Kent, founder of Neverending Highway was unavailable on Saturday night as well, but we were able to watch a video of him being interviewed by Live Five board member Kristina Hughes. The Clockmaker is a metaphysical play that asks two very interesting questions: “Who are you?” and “Is it possible to be guilty of being about to commit a crime?” To learn more, check out the Embrace Theatre website.
For round four of season eleven we have Two Corpses Go Dancing presented by Two Unruly Gentlemen. Based on a Yiddish folk tale, Two Corpses is an original musical by Saskatchewan artists Donovan Scheirer and Andrew Taylor. It promises to be dark, funny and, after that preview song, haunting and beautiful. You may be familiar with the show already- it has been presented at the Saskatoon Fringe in 2011 and it did a small tour in 2012.
Finally, at the end of the Live Five season we have Willow Road, a play by Saskatchewan artist Wendy Lockman and presented by Paper Cranes for Charlotte Productions. The preview showed a very interesting interaction between an author and his super fan, and the playwright promised us that though some of the subject matter will be heavy, there will be many moments of lightness as well.
The presentation of all of these plays was filled with so much laughter that at some points we could barely make it through. The energy in the room was flying high and Saskatoon is clearly excited to see what the year will hold for us. Thanks to the Live Five board for organizing the event and everyone who helped with providing food, drink, photo stations, and more!