Stage Door News
Toronto: Volcano presents the audio drama “Metamorphosis: a Viral Trilogy” August 17, 24 and 31
Thursday, August 6, 2020
Internationally acclaimed, multiple award-winning Toronto novelist André Alexis has teamed up with local experimental theatre company Volcano to create a new audio drama Metamorphosis: a Viral Trilogy. Launching on August 17 with new episodes added on August 24 and 31, the series is a co-presentation between TO Live, SummerWorks and CanadianStage.
Created in collaboration with Volcano’s founding Artistic Director Ross Manson, sound designer Debashis Sinha, and a trio of acclaimed Canadian actors – Bahia Watson, Becky Johnson and Diana Leblanc - Metamorphosis charts the progress of a fictional global pandemic in Canada’s largest city through three fictional diaries. These audio-journals - from a 13-year old girl (Lucretia); a 30-year-old woman (Kerri); and an 86-year oldsenior (Nella) - are funny, intimate and often fantastical.
The first episode, Lucretia in Quarantine, centres on a 13-year-old caring for a 7-year-old sister who, in the absence of parents, has decided to adopt a baby racoon. Lucretia’s diary beautifully explores loneliness, love and family in a time of extremity. Lucretia in Quarantine launches on August 17 at www.tolive.com.
In the second installment, Kerri Wonders, a 30-year-old woman takes a pill in a moment of abandon after years in quarantine. Kerri’s diary chronicles how the pill transforms her life in a post-pandemic world. Kerri Wonders launches on August 24 at summerworks.ca.
The final episode of the series, Nella at 86, follows an octogenarian in a long-term care home at the start of a global pandemic. Her diary is a clear-sighted account from someone who is no stranger to loss. Nella at 86 launches on August 31 at csgrid.canadianstage.com.
Metamorphosis marks André Alexis’ third collaboration with Volcano, their first dating back to 1995 when Ross Manson directed Alexis’ Lambton Kent leading to Volcano’s debut on the international theatre scene. “André Alexis is one of the most thoughtful and original writers Canada has produced in my lifetime. In Metamorphosis, he turns his astonishing talent, wisdom and depth of feeling to charting a new human path through a global upheaval. It’s funny, moving and enlightening work,” says Manson.
Of the trilogy’s genesis, Alexis writes, “All of this came about as a game played during a pandemic. My partner’s daughter, Lea, and I were thinking about a way to keep busy. As Lea is sometimes an actor and I’m often a writer, I decided to write a monologue for her using as a guide my idea of what her “feral self” might be like. And so, Lucretia was born. From Lucretia and her predicament, the two other monologues came, monologues that were also explorations of personae of people I know: specifically of my mother (Nella) and of one of my closest friends (Kerri). Though I admit it’s odd to imagine people you care for in distress, there is something resonant and strangely comforting in accompanying them through catastrophe.”
The three diaries each run approximately 35 minutes. For the full impact of the sound and music, they are best listened to through headphones. Transcriptions for Deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences will also be available.
Lucretia in Quarantine
Hosted by TO Live, August 17 - 23
Thirteen-year-old Lucretia is contending with how to care for her seven-year old sister, who has decided to adopt a baby racoon. In the middle of a deadly global pandemic, these two children attempt to maintain life with no parents. Both funny and moving, Lucretia’s diary beautifully explores loneliness, love and family in a time of extremity.
Performed by Bahia Watson
Link to listen as of August 17: www.tolive.com
Hosted by SummerWorks, August 24 - 30
A self-described, and avowedly “average” 30-year old woman is offered a tiny pill on the street as a years-long quarantine is lifted. In an uncharacteristic moment of abandon she swallows the pill. At first, she thinks it’s a prank. But over the following days, she begins to undergo some truly transformative and, for Kerri, extremely alarming changes. As her diary continues, Kerri must decide what to do with her brand new self in this brand new world.
Performed by Becky Johnson
Link to listen as of August 24: www.summerworks.ca
Nella at 86
Hosted by Canadian Stage, August 31 – Sept 5
A resident of a long-term care facility, Nella slowly learns of a virus making its way across the planet. Nella is no stranger to loss, and, in fact, is well equipped to reckon with it. As this new global pandemic begins to take its toll, though, she begins to grow lighter– realizing she can not only deal with what is coming, but can embrace it. Her diary, with its clear-sighted and often acerbic octogenarian perspective, reveals itself as a beautiful and surprising assertion of life.
Performed by Diana Leblanc
Link to listen as of August 31: www.csgrid.canadianstage.com
André Alexis was born in Trinidad and raised in Ottawa. He is now based in Toronto. His novel, Fifteen Dogs, is one of the most successful Canadian novels of the past decade. It won the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, the Canada Reads Prize, and became a global bestseller. André has also won the Books in Canada First Novel Award and the Trillium Book Award (for Childhood), a second Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize (for Days by Moonlight), and, for his body of work, one of the world’s most prestigious literary awards – the Windham-Campbell Prize. His other books include: The Hidden Keys, Pastoral (also nominated for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize), Night Piece, Asylum, A, Beauty and Sadness, Ingrid & the Wolf, Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa and Lambton, Kent and Other Vistas.
André first worked with Volcano in 1995 – near the beginning of his career, and at the beginning of Volcano’s trajectory as a company. With Ross Manson directing, André’s Lambton Kent – a lecture by a Nigerian anthropologist about deepest darkest Southern Ontario – had multiple runs in Toronto and Edinburgh – the latter (starring a young Yanna McIntosh) marking Volcano’s debut on the international theatre scene. Since that premiere, Volcano has grown into one of Canada’s most celebrated and award-winning independent creation companies. André and Ross teamed up again for Despair – Three Stories of Ottawa – a gothic storytelling version of André’s ghoulish stories about his adopted hometown, with music by Canadian classical composer Andrew Reed Miller. Metamorphosis marks André’s third collaboration with the company.