Stage Door News

Ottawa: 2020 undercurrents lineup is announced

Monday, December 9, 2019

"After 10 years undercurrents has solidified itself as one of Canada's most important independent theatre festivals, and an indispensable platform for local theatre makers to bring their new works to stage." says Festival Director, Patrick Gauthier.  

"To celebrate, this year we looked for shows that spark joy – either through their form or content – which also serves as an antidote the current news cycle and Ottawa's dismal February weather."

The lineup:


Presented by Power Productions
Created by Paul David Power
Directed by Danielle Irvine
Performed by Pat Dempsey, Paul David Power & Matt White
Dramaturgy by Robert Chafe

St. John’s, Newfoundland
85 minutes | M

“Crippled”. That’s what the guys in Tony’s small community of Shale Harbour, NL used to call him growing up. The name stuck.

Years later, Tony finds himself on the St. John’s waterfront at a crossroad. Tired of living with a disability, of being ‘the cripple’, and still grieving the death of his same sex partner three years earlier, Tony believes there’s only one way to escape a life he no longer wants to live. His mind is made up, until a stranger appears with other plans.


a Calalou / RAFT Theatre Projects Production  
Created by Sarah Waisvisz
Directed by Rebecca Benson
Performed by Margo MacDonald, Maryse Fernandes & Scottie Irving

Ottawa, Ontario
85 minutes | M

What would you do for love?  

A journey from 1920s Paris to the occupied Channel Islands during WW2. Heartlines explores the artistic and political contributions of French-Jewish Surrealist artists Lucy Schwob and Suzanne Malherbe, also known as Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore. Partners in life and love, Cahun and Moore defy norms of art, gender, religion, and society with surrealist collages, photographs, and writing. But when Nazi Germany occupies their home, life must instead begin to imitate art. An inspiring story of overcoming hate to champion resistance and resilience.

Heartlines is a world premiere from multi-award-winning playwright Sarah Waisvisz.


An O Albatross Production
Written & Performed by Cory Thibert
Directed by Linnea Gwiazda
Dramaturgy by TJ Dawe

Vancouver, British Columbia
70 minutes | 14+

In the summer of 2009, Cory Thibert was a quiet 19-year-old living in his parents’ basement. He was working as a server to pay his college tuition, spending time with his animal-loving girlfriend, and his band was hoping to play its first ever show. When the Ottawa Affordable Housing Unit informs his parents that they have to move out of the only home Cory has ever known, it sets in motion a series of events that uncover the truth about what has set his family apart, and forces Cory to find his voice…with a scream.

With laugh-out-loud humour and heartbreaking honesty, AWKWARD HUG transports us to the discomfort of navigating adulthood for the first time. Through masterful storytelling and intimate reflection, Cory explores what constitutes “normal” in our world, and how having two parents with disabilities forces his family outside those margins.


An Aplombusrhombus Production
Created & Performed by Mitchel Rose and Madeleine Hall
Directed by Mitchel Rose
Sound Design & Composition by Julien Dussault
Featuring Julien Dussault (guitar and piano), Scottie Irving (piano and accordion), Angela Schleihauf (oboe and English horn)
Set Design by John Doucet
Artistic Associate Andy Massingham

Ottawa, Ontario
55 minutes | PG

A clown show about Alzheimer’s! No, really. Two clowns are in a tug of war over the omnipresent but invisible man. One as Memory, one as Disease, they illustrate the heartbreaking and hilarious realities at play when tug of war turns to capture the flag in a mind unraveling game at the hands of a crippling disease. Cardinal premiered at the 2016 Ottawa Fringe, where it was praised by audiences and critics alike, and won the University of Ottawa Emerging Artist Award. Taking place in the imagined space inside a person’s mind, two performers depict an intimate battle between Memory and Disease as the latter lays her claim to the space, slowly transforming it from cardinal red to stark white. A trio of accomplished musicians join to perform a live rendition of an original score.


A SNAFU Production
Created & Performed by Ingrid Hansen, & Rod Peter Jr.
Created & Directed by Kathleen Greenfield

Victoria, British Columbia
75 minutes | PG

Two grade-eights step on stage to present at a school assembly. Very soon, the students go off-script, barring the doors and hijacking the presentation to deliver an urgent message: they will be dead in an hour, the collapse of society has already begun, and they’re here to train you how to survive.  

What follows is “a wild, impressively choreographed romp featuring dance numbers, live music, and giant-scale shadow puppetry that is by turns hilarious, heart-rending and in small glimpses, beautiful. You won’t want to leave your seat.” – The Marble 

From the creators of Little Orange Man and Interstellar Elder: Badass Grandma in Space!


A makendoes Production
Created by Nick Di Gaetano and Teddy Ivanova
Performed by Nick Di Gaetano and friends

Toronto, Ontario
55 minutes | PG

Captain Nick Di Gaetano is an astronaut from an advanced parallel Earth and the only known human being to travel at the Speed of Light. On his ship’s maiden voyage he encounters a Space/Time Anomaly and is sent hurtling into the unknown. Now, along with AI navigator Mission Control, he lives as an inter-dimensional refugee, phasing uncontrollably through infinite realities in search of a way back home to his wife and cat.

Unbridled Futurism features original music, a live band, DIY Video and absurd characters from a Cat/Wizard to The Raccoon King of Toronto in a cosmically comic performance that explores what it means to be human among the vast and indifferent cosmos while letting us know that if you ever thought your life had no meaning – it does now.


A theatre decentred Production
Created & Performed by Kyle Cameron & Axandre Lemours
Created & Directed by Luke Brown
Sound Design & Stage Management by J Hopkins

Ottawa, Ontario
45 minutes | M

It’s 1960s Ottawa and Herbert and Tom are in love. Queer people are considered a threat to national security; they are spied on, interrogated, publicly outed, and fired from their jobs. As police officers working in the public eye, they’re on the lookout for places of refuge that accept them for who they are.

Their colleagues are looking too.

The Honey Dew Coffee Shop, on the corner of Rideau and Sussex, is a site of both freedom and danger: of true love and pure hatred.

Honey Dew Me is inspired by true stories of the government-led persecution of queer people that occurred from the 1950s to 1990s, and in many ways continues today. 


A Monica Bradford-Lea & Nicholas Leno Production
Created & Performed by Monica Bradford-Lea
Created & Directed by Nicholas Leno
Composition & Sound Design by Angela Schleihauf
Dramaturgy by Emily Pearlman

Ottawa, Ontario
40 minutes | PG

Middle part ponytail. Pony sweater. Meet Beth-Anne, a horse crazy girl who just wants to be loved and desired. She can’t work up the confidence to ask her crush on a date, and she might not really have any friends. So, she decides to transform herself in an effort to become more desirable. And what’s THE most desirable creature? A horse, of course. Beth-Anne must become a horse. This hilarious solo comedy is created by Ottawa theatre artists Monica Bradford-Lea and Nicholas Leno. Creators of 2019 Prix Rideau Award nominated play-without-words Light(less), Beth-Anne is also a play that is highly physical, and features very few spoken words.


A Litera Pro Production
Created & Performed by Ayesha Chubb, Zaakirah Chubb & Ludmylla Reis

Ottawa, Ontario
50 minutes | G

A dark room.  A voice; “They call me Master v.8.71 beta. I’d like to welcome you all to our Escape Room.” Sixty minutes on the clock.

Three women wake up in a place they don’t remember going to; they don’t know each other, but they know they have one hour to score as many points as they can to win their way out.  How? By correctly defining their personal heritage, values and ethics.

The real question: how do you beat a broken system?

Home Sweet…something. is a new satire from Ayesha Chubb, Zaakirah Chubb and Ludmylla Reis about being forced to answer for who you are to find your freedom., 

For more information and tickets, visit