Infinitheatre Presents THE PIPELINE
Every year Infinithéâtre proudly presents Québec's newest discoveries in The Pipeline, an annual series of free public play readings where the audience takes centre stage, offering valuable feedback that furthers script development and helps choose future seasons. Guy Sprung, Infinithéâtre's artistic director, invites the public to be part of the excitement and share their views from Friday, November 30 - Sunday, December 2 at Espace Knox. The Pipeline is three plays in three days-including The Kevin, first place winner from Infinithéâtre's annual Write-On-Q! script writing competition, boasting the largest English literary prize in Québec. The playwrights will be in attendance.
This marks the 13th year for The Pipeline reading series. In its ongoing mandate, Infinithéâtre seeks innovative and challenging new works by Québec and Indigenous playwrights to bring to the stage. The Write-On-Q! competition feeds much of the series. Submitting their work are not only produced playwrights, but also unknown writers including students in writing programs at universities and the National Theatre School, along with plays coming from CEGEP & university professors, journalists, editors, actors, screenwriters, directors, novelists and various literary award-winners. The winning and runner-up scripts are selected by an independent jury, chaired this year by playwright/actor Alexandria Haber, along with Gerry Lipnowski, Patricia Saxton and Terry Smiley.
Write-On-Q!'s first prize has been renamed The Kevin, in memory of Kevin Tierney, renowned Canadian film producer, Gazette columnist & Infinithéâtre Board Member and tremendous supporter. Sponsored by Gabriel Safdie in conjunction with Infinithéâtre, the inaugural Quebec Writers' Federation (QWF) Awards' Playwriting Prize will also be read as part of the series.
Artistic Director Guy Sprung is very pleased with the 30 high-quality entries this year and invites audiences to hear some of Montreal's finest actors read scripts that could become future local productions, adding relevant, Québécois theatre to the landscape. "Infinithéâtre is extremely pleased that an ever-widening circle of Québec's English-language playwrights now set their creative clocks to conform to the application deadline of the annual Write-On-Q! competition. This year, all prizes are going to first-time winners. To minimize any inadvertent preference and prejudice, the jury receives their copies with the names of the playwrights redacted. The winner this year is, in his own words, 'A passionate Quebecker living in Toronto.' The runner up is an equally ardent Quebecker living in New York. For the first time as part of The Pipeline, we are proud to be co-operating with the QWF to offer a public reading of the inaugural Playwriting Prize," confirmed Sprung.
The Pipeline professional readings include the winner of Write-On-Q!'s First Place $3000 The Kevin Prize-Alex Poch Goldin for Make Up; the Second Place prize, $1500-Chained Woman by Lorne Svarc; and the QWF Playwriting Prize-Paradise Lost by Erin Shields. Please see below for details about each play and its author.
The Pipeline gives the public a unique opportunity to voice their opinions through lively talkback discussions following each reading-an important part of any play development. Providing invaluable input for the playwrights, talkbacks allow the audience to address questions or issues that the text generates, in a relaxed, open forum with the authors, directors and actors. The Pipeline successes include Battered and Book of Bob by Arthur Holden; Oren Safdie's Unseamly and Mr. Goldberg Goes to Tel Aviv; Michael Milech's Honesty Rents by the Hour; Conversion, Progress! and Trench Patterns by Alyson Grant; and Marianne Ackerman's Triplex Nervosa. Noted Montreal actors and directors for the readings have included: Leni Parker, Shawn Campbell, Ellen David, Carlo Mestroni, Eda Holmes, Michaela Di Cesare, Kathleen Stavert, Alexandra Petrachuk, Joanna Noyes, Patricia Summersett, Quincy Armorer, Brett Watson, Howard Rosenstein and Lucinda Davis, among others.
Fri. November 30, 2018, 7pm-QWF Playwriting Prize winner, Sponsored by Gabriel Safdie, in conjunction with Infinithéâtre
Paradise Lost, by Erin Shields, directed by Guy Sprung
The 17th century and present day are seamlessly intertwined as Satan vents to an audience about her frustration at being cast out of heaven and her thoughts on oppression. When she finds out that God has created delicate new creatures called 'humans', she crafts a plan for revenge and betrayal on the Almighty. Erin Shields turns heaven and hell upside down in this witty, modern, feminist retelling of John Milton's epic poem about the first battle between good and evil. Shields's wickedly smart and funny script questions the reasons of the universe, the slow process of evolution, and the freedom of knowledge. The debate over right and wrong has never been so satisfying.
Erin Shields is a Montréal-based playwright and actor. She won the 2011 Governor General's Award Literary Award for Drama for her play If We Were Birds, which has been widely produced and translated into French, German, Italian, and Albanian. Erin's version of Henrik Ibsen's The Lady from the Sea was part of the Shaw Festival's 2015 season. Erin is Co-Artistic Director of the independent theatre company Groundwater Productions.
"The biggest mistake any of us could make would be to underestimate Satan."
Erin Shields turns heaven and hell upside down in this witty, modern, feminist retelling of John Milton's epic poem about the first battle between good and evil. Shields's wickedly smart and funny script questions the reasons of the universe, the slow process of evolution, and the freedom of knowledge.
Sat. December 1, 2018, 7pm- Write-On-Q! second place prize
Chained Woman, by Lorne Svarc, directed by Ellen David
With: Alex Poch Goldin, Michelle Heisler, Joanna Caplan, Janis Kirshner and others
Sarah Kandelshein is an ultra-Orthodox Jewish woman who runs a kosher butcher shop with her widowed mother in the insular community of Passaic, New Jersey. When her abusive husband refuses to grant her a religious divorce, she must choose between her freedom and her faith-that is until a 'gangster' rabbi offers his services to help "change her husband's mind." Her decision is complicated by the romantic interest of two men from different worlds-one a stern rabbi from Alaska and the other a nerdy artist from New Jersey. Sarah navigates the advances of these men, while trying not to be distracted from her life's goal of butchering the only kosher filet mignon in the United States.
Lorne Svarc is a Montréal born writer/producer/educator living in New York City, who enjoys exploring all forms of narrative expression, including theatre, film and interactive media. He has an MFA in playwriting from the New School for Drama. His work has appeared on stage in Canada and The United States and his short film Sapiosexual had its worldwide broadcast premiere in the fall of 2018 on ShortsTV. He is the founder and artistic director of Technodramatists, a theatre and technology company that integrates emerging technologies into live performance. "Even though I've being living in New York City for the last few years, I am and will forever be a Montrealer. The city exudes elegance and edge at the same time and I'd like to think that this beautiful contradiction has informed who I am both as an artist and a human being. I couldn't be more excited to hear my work in front of a Montreal audience again as part of The Pipeline."
Sun. December 2, 2018, 2pm-Write-On-Q! first place winner, The Kevin
Make Up, by Alex Poch Goldin, directed by Eda Holmes
With: Al Goulem, Howard Rosenstein, Lucinda Davis, Leni Parker and Manouchka Elinor
Make Up is about the pursuit of happiness. When are we happy with what we have and why doesn't it ever last. We are always hoping for that perfect relationship, for the greatest sex, that dream job, or a path to enlightenment, always searching. In that pursuit for happiness, the mainstays of life become disposable and we live in a state and flux. Technology co-opts the human experience offering solutions and distractions from all life's problems. Often, it is only after we have lost the thing we most value that we realize how happy it actually made us.
Alex Poch Goldin is a Canadian playwright whose work has been produced nationally and internationally. He has developed work for The Canadian Stage Co., Tarragon Theatre, Factory Theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Buddies in Bad Times, Winnipeg Jewish Theatre and Cahoots as well as Theater Gastpiele-Kempt in Germany. Poch Goldin has also created opera/dance hybrids of Edith Wharton's The House of Mirth and Joris-Karl Huysman's Against Nature with the Coleman/Lemieux Dance Co. Awards and nominations include: Yahrzeit (Toronto Jewish Playwriting Award/German national tour); Cringeworthy and This Hotel (both nominated for Toronto Dora Awards for Outstanding New Plays); and nomination for the prestigious Siminovitch Prize for playwriting. He has also developed projects for CBC Radio and Bravo! Television, and is an acclaimed actor working extensively across the country.
"I am excited to share this unique and difficult play with the intelligence of savvy Montrealers. It is an experiment with content and form and should feel like an exquisite punch in the stomach. As a born and bred Montrealer and proud Quebecker, I am honoured to receive this award. Though I don't live here anymore, Montreal is one of the biggest imprints on my personality, as much as my being Jewish and being an artist."
For more information about Infinithéâtre's playwrights' programs, their line-up of plays or the 6Pack season pass, visit www.infinitheatre.com or call 514 987-1774.