- Main Street on parade in Tale of a Town
I'm feeling pretty pleased with my theatre choices today. The immersive experiences of seeing a play in an elevator and a play that transformed The Bus Stop Theatre into a rural General Store (with such attention to detail!) really complimented each other.
I loved the intensity of being inches from the two actors in Catherine Banks' elevator play The Tip of Things. I loved how the story unfolded, slowly at first and then suddenly —-snap!—-like a sheet in the wind. I loved that in five minutes, I had a picture of the lives of the two women before me, some of it written and the rest self-conjured.
Edmonton's Yes Theatre has commissioned 16 five-minute plays from across the country. Four of them our being performed at Mag North. Today's the last day to take one in. The experience will move you.
Tale of a Town - Nova Scotia: Directed by Lisa DiLiberto
Created and Produced by FIXT POINT Theatre (Toronto, ON)
For the past couple of months, Charles Ketchabaw and Lisa Marie Diliberto have traveled across Nova Scotia collecting oral histories about our province's main streets. These stories have been woven together to create a unique theatre experience that may well prove to be my favourite in the whole festival.
The play is set in a generic "small town Nova Scotia" that references different specific places as stories are told. Recordings of first-person accounts launch different vignettes, and actors take over the roles of the recorded voices. The various stories all come together in the frame of one specific store, peopled by a cast of characters who are fighting to preserve their rural way of life.
None of this description captures the sheer charm of Tale of a Town. The performers bring the voices on the recordings to life with broad strokes, but with a sensitivity that never crosses over into parody. The stories themselves beautifully evoke a by-gone era, yet the show itself does not remain in the past. It's end-note is a kind of road map for community.
You know you've enjoyed a theatre experience when you have to wipe tears from your eyes, but you can't wipe the goofy grin from your face.