Boca del Lupo is honoured to receive the 2021 Patrick O’Neill Award for Best Play Anthology awarded by the Canadian Association of Theatre Research.
Committee Members: Yasmine Kandil (Chair); Kim Solga; Yvette Nolan; Nikki Cesare Schotzko; Michelle Macarthur
“The Committee has unanimously decided to give the award this year to Boca del Lupo, an anthology of Plays2Perform@Home. The Boca del Lupo play package is a time capsule of the present moment, not only capturing our society as it grapples with issues of race and identity, but the anthology is tailored to address the limitations of enacting and staging creative work during a pandemic. It is made to be performed at home, with family or as you look over the fence of your backyard and read the roles out with a neighbour or two. The collection of works is quirky, playful, creative and imaginative, which brilliantly crosses the line between theatre and play. The contributions in this anthology are by a diverse group of playwrights, who offer a smart play on characters and unusual situations, some weaving in race relations in a clever but not too obvious way. The topics explored are carefully shaped and framed, where each piece can be seen as an object, as well as a play, as well as a game, all created to address our moment of crisis.”
Plays2Perform@Home is a script “Box Set” that can be ordered online and delivered to your home (mail order theatre) or picked up from The Fishbowl on Granville Island.
The moment that venues started to close around the world, Boca del Lupo Artistic Director Sherry Yoon, and Artistic Producer Jay Dodge started asking themselves; “What is the essence of theatre?” “How can we keep the ember burning for those who love performance as much as we do?” We’ve all been watching as productions go online and performances carry on through platforms such as Zoom. However, when Sherry and Jay looked to answer the questions they posed to themselves, going digital didn’t quite satisfy:
“Theatre is live, theatre is communion, theatre is something to be experienced together, in the flesh.”
This led them to Plays2Perform@Home. #Plays2Perform asks the audience to take a leading role in creating a piece of theatre with the close friends and family they have chosen to be part of their “bubble”. These short plays are to be performed around the dinner table, picnic blanket, or campfire with or without an audience. Each Box Set contains 4 different plays with up to 4 characters, with an individual copy for each character for everyone to play their part.
The Western Canada Box Set, featuring Governor General Award winner Hiro Kanagawa, Siminovitch Prize winner Tara Beagan, celebrated film and theatre writer Karen Hines and theatrical tour de force, Jovanni Sy, has nearly sold out and we are preparing for a second printing. – ORDER HERE – Our four NEW box sets feature a collection of writers that are just as exciting!
Plays2Perform@Home goes national!
Ontario Box (in partnership with Factory Theatre, Toronto)
Featuring playwrights: Jeff Ho, Aaron Jan, Marina Moreira and Rachel Mutombo
Quebec Box (In partnership with Centaur Theatre, Montreal)
Featuring playwrights: Marie Barlizo, Michaela Di Cesare, Gabe Maharjan and Adjani Poirier
Eastern Box (In partnership with Theatre New Brunswick, Fredericton and Eastern Front Theatre, Halifax)
Featuring playwrights: Marc-André Charron, Mary-Colin Chisholm, Jena Elizabeth McLean and Santiago Guzmán
The partners involved in this project are no less extraordinary, each have long histories of creating impactful theatre within their communities. These national partnerships are an extension of our collective desire to connect. With a total of 5 box sets representing regions from the east coast to the west, Plays2Perform@Home will continue to inspire theatre lovers across the country, especially for those craving the imaginative stimulation that only live theatre can provide.
Working with Valerie Thai, the award-winning head designer and art director of Adbusters for five years running, each collection of #Plays2Perform are packaged up in a boutique box set and delivered to your home.
Whether as a gift for loved ones, something fun and meaningful to do with friends and family in your bubble or for a peek inside the minds of 20 amazing writers making work during these remarkable times, our hope is that Plays2Perform@Home will help those of us with a passion for live performance keep the spark alive.
The Box Sets will be available for purchase ONLINE starting June 22, 2021 or in person starting July 8, 2021 at Boca del Lupo’s store front at The Fishbowl on Granville Island #100 – 1398 Cartwright St. Vancouver, B.C.
Pricing: $30 for each Box Set or all 5 Box Sets for $125 (plus taxes and shipping).
The Box Sets are sold online at www.bocadellupo.com/plays2perform/ and in-person at Boca del Lupo’s storefront on Granville Island.
i) Early Bird Pre-order Online Sale- save 10%! Available now until June 21, 2021, items can be pre-ordered for discount savings, and will be shipped on June 22.
ii) National Online Sale Launch: June 22, 2021
iii) After July 8, 2021 in-person sales at Boca del Lupo’s store front at The Fishbowl on Granville Island, #100 – 1398 Cartwright St. Vancouver, B.C.
Regular Pricing: $30 for each Box Set or all 5 Box Sets for $125 (plus taxes and shipping).
Thank you to our extraordinary partners:
Prairie Box Set Creative Team
Joseph Aragon – The Impossible
Joseph is a Winnipeg playwright and composer. A veteran of the Winnipeg Fringe Theatre Festival, Joseph is a two-time winner of the Harry Rintoul Memorial Award for Best New Manitoban Play. His works include the plays How the Heavens Go and The Unlikely Sainthood of Madeline McKay, and the hit Fringe musicals Bloodsuckers!, Illuminati, and Lucrezia Borgia. His musical Bloodless: The Trial of Burke and Hare received a Dora Mavor Moore Award nomination for Outstanding New Musical. As a composer, arranger and sound designer, he has worked on several Winnipeg productions, including Jabber and Danny, King of the Basement for Manitoba Theatre for Young People, and Ordinary Days for Winnipeg Studio Theatre. He is a Playwriting graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada and a member of the PTE Playwrights Unit.
Yvette Nolan – The Fifth Setting
Who knew the apocalypse would be so busy?
During this pandemic, I have written a couple of audio plays, a play-for-film called Katharsis, revised The Unplugging for what Alex Bulmer calls “the mind’s ear,” started a libretto called Namwayut (We Are All One), continued on another called Sophia. But the real world, the champing-at-the-bit-for-change world, keeps pulling me back in, and so I spend a good portion of my day talking and plotting and dreaming and writing about how we might come back from this suspension of our regularly scheduled programming as a more just, more fair, more equitable society. In between those two poles, I write my thesis, the one that usually causes me to end these bios, “she is currently pursuing her Masters in Public Policy at Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy.”
Debbie Patterson – Faceplace Marketbook
Debbie Patterson is a playwright, director and actor. Trained at the National Theatre School of Canada, she is a founder of Shakespeare in the Ruins (SIR), served as Artistic Director for Popular Theatre Alliance of MB, Theatre Ambassador for Winnipeg’s Cultural Capital year and as Artistic Associate at Prairie Theatre Exchange 2012 to 2018. In 2016, Debbie became the first physically disabled actor to play Richard III in a professional Canadian production with SIR. In 2014 she was selected for the United Nations Platform for Action Committee’s Activist Award and was honoured with the Mayor’s Making a Mark Award in 2017. She is a proud advocate for disability arts through her work as the Artistic Director of Sick + Twisted Theatre and as a disability consultant/dramaturge on numerous projects across Canada. She lives a wheelchair-enabled life in Winnipeg and in a cabin on the shore of Lake Winnipeg with her partner and collaborator, Arne MacPherson.
Curtis Peeteetuce – Winky & Stinky
Curtis Peeteetuce is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist from the Beardy’s & Okemasis Cree Nation. Since 2001, he has had the honour of working with many talented people in theatre, radio drama, music and film. He is a storyteller, actor, writer, director, dancer, painter, musician and the playwright for the popular rez Christmas story series and the recently published plays nicimos, kihew and Popcorn Elder (nominated for 2 Saskatchewan arts awards). Curtis has also served as an MC, cultural arts consultant and advocates for mental health and suicide awareness. He dedicates all his accomplishments to his son Mahihkan.
Ontario Box Set Creative Team
Jeff Ho – Front Fix Valley
Jeff Ho is a theatre artist originally from Hong Kong. He acts, he writes, and he loves working with other artists as a dramaturg. He feels incredibly fortunate to spend most of his time dreaming up stories, drinking coffee, and cuddling up with his love of his life, Pierre, and their cat, Bugz. He wishes you lots of care and love during this pandemic, and hope to share a laugh with you in the future, over all your beautiful stories.
Aaron Jan – GEODE
Aaron Jan is a Hamilton-born, Toronto-based playwright, director and dramaturg. He has worked as a creator with Factory Theatre, Canadian Stage, Native Earth Performing Arts, The Musical Stage Company, Theatre Aquarius, fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre and most recently as a commissioned playwright with York University. Aaron is a member of the critically acclaimed, Silk Bath Collective, who are currently in a creation residency at Theatre Passe Muraille. He is the 2019 winner of the Ken McDougall directing award and has logged over 109 hours in Dragon Quest 11 this month. aaronchihojan.wixsite.com/home
Marina Moreira – Apple of My Eye
“The pandemic is not a residency”
I stole this quotation from a friend’s social media feed. It is a reminder that “now” is not the time to produce my magnum opus. Instead “now” is a time to remind myself of interests that have been set aside in favour of more practical pursuits. I read more, I listen more, I look around a little more, and am struck more by the beauty of everyday objects around me (I’ve become very obsessed with beautiful packaging lately). This piece is very different from what I usually write, a bit of an experiment in simply looking at objects differently, and maybe leaving things a little imperfect.
Rachel Mutombo – Home Sweet Home
Rachel Mutombo is an award-winning actor and writer. A graduate of the
National Theatre School of Canada, Rachel has performed on stages in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. She is also featured in the recurring role of Darby Gruss on Freeform’s The Bold Type.
Rachel has had essays published by CBC, Intermission Magazine and ByBlacks. She is currently developing her play Vierge at Factory Theatre. Vierge was recently awarded first place in Infinitheatre’s annual playwriting competition. The jury for the prize stated that Rachel is “…one of the most exciting, original voices to come out of Canadian theatre in many years.”
Québec Box Set Creative Team
Marie Barlizo – Truth or Dare
Marie Barlizo is a Filipino-Chinese playwright and screenwriter born in the Philippines but raised in Montreal. She is a graduate of UBC’s Creative Writing MFA Program and the first visible minority to graduate from the National Theatre School’s (NTS) Playwriting Program. She is the playwriting mentor at Black Theatre Workshop’s Artist Mentorship Program, an instructor at NTS and an Artist-in-Residence at Imago Theatre where she is developing her play The Warrior. Geordie Theatre commissioned her to write The Little Mighty Superhero which was part of their 2020-21 season 2Play Tour. Carlos Bulosan Theatre commissioned her to write and perform The Healing which was launched on their digital platform this summer as part of their 2020 Kumustahan projects and it was further developed for Centaur Theatre’s 2021 Catalyst Program. Her play Betrayal was shortlisted for the Persephone Theatre’s 2021 IBPOC Play Commission. She has been selected to be part of the 2021 Netflix-BANFF Diversity of Voices Initiative.
Michaela Di Cesare – Only
Michaela is a playwright and performer with an MA in Drama from the University of Toronto. Michaela’s solo show 8 Ways my Mother was Conceived was presented in Toronto, Montreal, New York City, Ottawa, Hudson, Winnipeg and Stratford. Michaela wrote and performed in In Search of Mrs. Pirandello (2016 WildSide Festival Centaur Theatre). Michaela’s next Centaur production was the MainStage world premiere of Successions in the 2017/2018 season (Outstanding New Text, METAs 2018). Her play Extra/Beautiful/U won first place in the 2017 Write on Q competition presented by Infinitheatre. Her play FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) premiered with Geordie Productions in September 2019 (Outstanding New Text Nomination, METAs 2020). Michaela was playwright-in-residence at Centaur Theatre for the 2019/2020 season writing Terroni (or Once Upon a Time in the South).
Gabe Maharajan – Our Tree
Gabe is a performance creator born and raised in Tio’tià:ke. They have performed with companies across the country like Centaur, Buddies in Bad Times, Geordie, Imago, Young People’s Theatre, and the National Theatre School. Select performance credits include Sermo Scomber’s award-winning bouffon clown show Don’t Read the Comments and Cabal’s site-specific immersive piece La Somnambule (META nominated – Lead Performance). Their voice can be heard on Netflix and Ubisoft projects. They’re an alumnus of the Dome, BTW’s AMP and YouthWorks programs, the PWM/CEAD Translation Mentorship, and most recently, the BIBT Emerging Creators Unit where they co-created E-TRANSFERS. Their play, Eva in Rio, was shortlisted for the 2020 PGC Emerging Playwright Award. They co-founded bigT collective, they serve on QDF’s Board of Directors, they’re an artist-in-residence at Imago, and they’re developing a commissioned adaptation for Geordie Theatre. gabemaharjan.com
Adjani Poirier – Celebrity Dogs
Adjani Poirier is a queer theatre artist who is interested in creating work that explores the beauty and the ugly of the human experience. She’s drawn to stories that reveal the complexity of navigating a world where systemic “isms” oppress and yet love and connection still seep through the cracks, strong and fierce, giving us life.
Her plays include “On Life and Living: A History of AIDS Community Care Montreal” and “Still Gay When I’m Not In Love”. She recently curated the 2021 edition of QueerCab with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and is currently living, writing and creating in her hometown of Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal where she studies playwriting at the National Theatre School of Canada.
Adjani’s best strategies for dealing with pandemic lockdown ennui have been laughing at dogs at the dog park, binging podcasts and pretending the hosts are her best friends, and reading Dolly Parton’s autobiography.
East Coast Box Set Creative Team
Marc-André Charron – Your friendly neighbourhood nuclear reactor
Originally from Montreal, Marc-André was lucky enough to be moved by theatre he didn’t understand at a young age. He gathered that art was a way of filling the gaps in the worlds both inside and out. He later chose theatre because these questions could be mulled over as a community, with laughter and joy. A lover of words, he trained as a physical performer at the Montreal Mime School, the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris and the London Internal School of Performing Arts (LISPA). He co-founded Satellite Theatre in 2009, where he is still artistic director. It’s done well enough that he’s still doing it today. He now lives in Moncton, with his beautiful girlfriend, their beautiful daughter and a beautiful cat. He is one of those silly/serious people.
Mary-Colin Chisholm – A Kind Nest
March 2020: my play A Belly Full (with M. Kash) closed a week after opening. Three scheduled productions, including one new work, were sent to limbo and my projected ‘best year in a long time’ disappeared. My personal crisis was quickly put into perspective by the stories of those directly affected by Covid. And I was one of many artists saved by the federal CERB. So, probably like you, I baked, walked, dreamed vividly, hunkered down, planted seeds, and discovered the ways of zoom. Through all this, I learned to re-see and value; kindness, connection, nature, reinvention, and breathing through uncertainty. I am not grateful for Covid, or thankful for its lessons. It is a random virus, and it hurt too many, especially our most vulnerable, to ever be thanked. But as we inch towards health, I will remember to hug my blessings and to love fiercely our wild, green fragile world.
Santiago Guzmán – Mona, Lisa
Santiago Guzmán (he/him) is a writer, performer, director and producer for theatre and film originally from Metepec, Mexico, now based in St. John’s, NL. He is the Artistic Director of TODOS Productions, the Artistic Associate for Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre and General Manager for Neighbourhood Dance Works in St. John’s, NL. He is a proud member of The Quilted Collective.
His plays have been supported, developed and/or produced by theatre companies and festivals across the country, like TODOS Productions (NL), Resource Centre for the Arts Theatre Company (NL), Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland (NL), Rising Tide Theatre (NL), Neighbourhood Dance Works (NL), Eastern Front Theatre (NS), Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre (NS), Page1 Theatre (NS), Paprika Festival (ON), the National Theatre School of Canada’s Art Apart Program (QC), and now Boca Del Lupo (BC).
Jena McLean – It’s Like a Highlight Reel
Jena McLean (she/they) is a queer playwright with roots in New Brunswick and Alberta. She has recently graduated from the playwriting program at the National Theatre School of Canada. She also has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Drama Studies from Mount Allison University. She writes to make sense of the world, and recent plays include Bonus Points if You Have Air Conditioning (dir. Andrew Kushnir), Until Tenth Grade (dir. Dean Fleming), and An Ocean of Evergreens (digital reading with Theatre New Brunswick, dir. Yvette Nolan). Jena’s work aims to explore life’s grey areas, personalize the political and empower people to feel seen in theatre. She is a mess but is learning to enjoy making sense of the mess.
Original Western Box Set Creative Team:
Tara Beagan – Super
“How are you doing?” has become such an impossible thing. Asking it, pondering it, answering it, all. Life and all her ways move in cycles, it’s true. My writer self seems to have great blurts of productivity and then gaping canyons of space carved out by the former desire to write. So my partner Andy Moro and I squirrel-proof the garden, binge watch anything compelling, cook at all times of day, ride bikes, clean house, repeat. Sewing masks for friends and family is a creative-ish outlet. It also helps me feel like I’m doing something about now. There is some semblance of control threaded into each seam. When writing seems lost, I revisit past works. This scrolling back through time has me rolling further back. This project coincided with recalling an early 90s fixation on supermodels and the fashion industry. Growing up in small town Alberta, the only regular access to arts and culture was the library, CKUA radio, and the monthly Vogue and Elle I’d acquire at the drug store. Far away photo shoots papered my bedroom walls. I knew names of every model and each line they were paid to endorse. Today the only models I care about are the ones who send me selfies as they sport the masks I’ve sewn.
Karen Hines – Playwright
Where does that blue come from? That robin’s egg blue?
Karen Hines is an award-winning writer, performer and director in theatre, television, film and magazines. She is a two-time finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama (The Pochsy Plays; Drama: Pilot Episode) and her short films featuring the character Pochsy have been presented internationally, as have the live Pochsy Plays. Her latest dark comedy, All the Little Animals I Have Eaten (Nightwood, Crow’s) was recently cancelled before its Toronto opening due to COVID-19, as was the Montreal Jamais Lu Festival performance – in translation by Mishka Lavigne. So, like a robin with a vanished egg, Karen is currently writing two dark comedies to take its place.
Hiro Kanagawa – Negotiations
In BC, COVID isolation has been a waiting game: waiting for the pandemic to arrive in earnest on the one hand, waiting for “real” life to resume on the other. As I write this, neither has happened.There is an artificiality, an unrealness to life in the liminal state between realities. We’ve all experienced it before for short periods: when the WiFi or the power goes out, for instance, or you’re waiting for a storm that may or may not strike your location, you typically occupy yourself doing inconsequential things until “real” things can resume again.
When I was tasked with writing a play that is in some way inspired by this Age of COVID, I realized I only wanted to write a play that explicitly acknowledges this limbo. Plays, after all, are themselves outside the normal fabric of the time-space continuum. And a play that is performed not by actors in the ritual space of the theatre but by the audience members themselves in the real space of their lives is separate both from real life and from the simulacrum of real life that is theatre. Two negatives make a positive, right? Hmmm…
From the above it should come as no surprise that my play “Negotiations” is self-consciously meta, which is to say, meta meta. This may sound like something an intellectual would do, but I promise you I’m not and I kinda hope you aren’t either. By acknowledging and exploring the artificiality of what we are doing here, I hope we discover what we have lost and what we miss the most in our COVID limbo: real human connection.
Jovanni Sy – Pappadum
The last normal thing Jovanni and I did was to dance at a Boca show with Carmen Aguirre. Since then we’ve been isolated in Richmond, seeing only my 86-year-old mother (at a distance, with masks, mostly outdoors). I am still translating plays (which may never be produced, but I have obligations anyway). Jovanni, meanwhile, is “cooking his feelings”: preparing fantastic meals with simple ingredients; honing his flaky dough techniques on parathas, roti canai, and green onion pancakes. He’s gone for a few walks with friends, but all my close friends live in Vancouver and I’m scared to take public transit. (I am good friends with everyone he walks with, too… but I feel it’s healthy for us to spend at least ONE hour of the day apart from each other.) Yesterday was the first day I’ve seen any of my friends since March. Dear Annie drove in from Vancouver: we shopped at Value Village, had lunch in the neighbourhood park with Jovanni, then got this ice cream at the cute little matcha parlour across the street. Heaven.
We grieve for everyone’s huge losses as well as our own private misfortunes. Jovanni was about to be the Senior Playwright-in-Residence at the Banff Centre, and then he had a six-month contract acting at Bard on the Beach. I’ve lost 2 residencies and 4 productions stretching from coast to coast, including 2 world premieres. We worry about the theatre community and about the art form to which we have devoted our lives.
We have been deeply moved by the worldwide protests for racial justice in the wake of the police murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many other names that need to be said. For Jovanni, #inthedressingroom – Black Canadian theatre actors posting harrowing tales of the emotional abuse they have suffered over decades – has dredged up a lot of traumatic memories. You see, white theatre people (and Canadians in general) don’t tend to come on all Ernst-Zündel-obvious-racist. We condescend; we undermine IBPOC by implying (even to their faces) that they don’t deserve to be in the room; if you ever call us on our bullshit, we are either SUPER-offended and will punish you without admitting that that’s what we’re doing, or else we were “only joking” and you need to lighten up. The flip side of this is “performative wokeness”: when white folks seek praise and attention simply for NOT acting like assholes. When we manage to still make things all about us.
Jovanni and I are delighted to participate in this Boca initiative, an exciting counterpoint to the drive to take the performing arts online. We knew that we needed to write a comedy, because laughter, and ice cream, and being together, and the possibility of positive social change, are the things that are keeping us going. Although we almost never work together, we are embracing the moment. Think of this text as a little artistic sourdough starter… a gift from our bubble to yours. – Written by Leanna Brodie
Valerie Thai – Art Director
Valerie specializes in art direction, print design and illustration for socially conscious and sustainable companies. Prior to creating her own company, she was the award-winning head designer and art director at Adbusters Magazine for five years running. She currently is the art director at This Magazine. Valerie holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor of Communication Design from Emily Carr University of Art and Design.