Stage Door News
Toronto: impel Theatre presents a live digital performance of Caridad Svich’s “An Acorn” March 12-13
Saturday, March 6, 2021
impel theatre proudly presents a new remote digital and interactive production of Caridad Svich’s An Acorn via Zoom. This production marks their digital debut. Performances will be live March 12 and 13, and then available on demand through April 3.
This production marks impel Theatre’s first foray into creating a digital-first performance. As a company focused on site-specific and interactive experiences, moving to this realm poses exciting challenges. The play, first commissioned in 2016 by American Blues Theatre, is a meditation on isolation and separation -- both physical and political -- in our society. A year on from the day the world shut down in 2020, these themes could not be more relevant, particularly when we consider that many of us have now spent more months under a stay-at-home order than not in the past year. How do we create interactive and connective art when we must be apart? This new digital-first production was conceived by Kendra Jones and Blythe Haynes, features 2 actors who will be rehearsed in advance and present at each live performance; Blythe Haynes, and Ray Strachan who will perform from their homes, and will be joined at each performance by two guest performers who have never before read the script.
The guest performers will perform from their homes across Canada, and include Kelli Fox, Patricia Darbasie, Josh Johnston, and Ntara Curry; the specific performances and combination of readers will not be announced until the day of the performance. These guests will receive the script and some instructions only 1 hour before their performance, and will share their cold read with the audience. Th e audience, too, will receive instructions for how they can participate and interact with the performers. These layers of surprise and elements of chaos bring a new energy and vitality to digital performance which is reflective of our own chaotic and changing experience of the world from our houses during lockdowns. Merging Zoom performances with the many readings we saw earlier during the pandemic, the production continues to encourage the audience to consider their position as auditors, providing avenues for live interaction with the performance.
Impel Theatre’s recent performances have challenged audiences across the country; the production of I, Malvolio was acclaimed in Toronto, receiving NNNN from NOW Magazine (“The audience remains perched on child-sized chairs in a suddenly silent former public school classroom, pencils and teacher evaluation sheets in hand, mulling over questions of cruelty and spectacle and what purpose theatre serves.”) and Mo oney on Theatre (“What ensued was total madness.”). It then toured to Winnipeg’s RMTC ShakespeareFest where it received 4.5 Stars from the Winnipeg Free Press.
About An Acorn
“it seemed as if a certain part of the world changed forever”
We continue to be isolated, 1 year on from the initial lockdowns. While vaccine rollouts mean that some semblance of “normal” life will return, the experience of this isolation, fear, and upheaval will linger with us. We have learned in this time about our fellow humans, and while there have been moments of hope, the divide between factions feels to have grown into a chasm. Will we ever reconnect? Or has the awareness of these differences changed us forever?
Join us March 12 and 13 at 8pm EST for a live digital performance, with an interactive twist. Two actors will be cast and appear both nights, rehearsed. Each night, two more actors will receive the script and some speci fic instructions an hour before the performance, and will perform their cold read. You won’t know which of our guest performers is there until the day of. And you, the audience, will also receive your instructions day-of, for how to curate your space and how you can interact.
About impel Theatre
impel theatre is a company created by Kendra Jones in 2009 with a focus on re-thinking the way women and gender roles are portrayed in existing works in the theatre & film canon through the creation of new work in response, which amplifies the voices and perspectives of female characters and re-thinks the role of gender. Over time, this has taken many forms, from dance to immersive theatre, to audio installations, and has expanded to work that challenges our understanding of how we relate to other people and the urban physical environments we find ourselves in. Each project is an exploration that requires a new language, new collaborators, and new w ays of thinking about the way the performance and audience will interact. impel theatre’s recent productions include I, Malvolio (Toronto Fringe, RMTC ShakespeareFest Winnipeg), Watching Glory Die (Grand Canyon), and The Containment Diary, a collective digital installation project shared in 2020.
Illustration: An Acorn. © 2021 Mirka Loiselle.