mail order theatre
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:
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.
Western Box Set
“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. (Written in May 2020)
Karen Hines’ multi-prize-winning plays, productions, performances combine such disparate elements as magical realism, pink-brand feminism and environmental disarray. Karen is a two- time finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Drama and a 2020 finalist for the Siminovitch Prize. Her solo plays and ‘little’ films featuring her character ‘Pochsy’ have traveled the globe. Hines has directed and collaborated with fellow artists at venues such as One Yellow Rabbit, Joe’s Pub (Public Theatre), Astor Place Off-Broadway, Tarragon, Videofag, Canadian Stage, Soulpepper, NAC, and has created original works for Boca del Lupo. Her All the Little Animals I Have Eaten was translated for Jamais Lu 2022 (Mishka Lavigne), and the real estate horror Crawlspace continues to micro-theatres across Canada in French and English. Hines is a Gemini and Dora Award-winning performer. Her solo Crawlspace is being adapted as screenplay, and is now a CBC podcast (PlayMe; Radio One). Her newest show Pochsy IV premiered in January 2023 (High Performance Rodeo) and will soon tour to multiple cities.
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. (written in May 2020)
Prairie Box Set
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.
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.” (Written May 2021)
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 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
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. (Written May 2021)
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 logged over 109 hours in Dragon Quest 11 in June 2021. aaronchihojan.wixsite.com/home
“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. (Written May 2021)
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 which 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.”
Quebec Box Set
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 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 Successions had its Centaur Theatre MainStage world premiere 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 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’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. (Written in May 2021)
Rose Plotek (she/her) is a theatre director and performance maker. The inquiry of Rose’s work investigates form and aesthetic, with experiment being a driving force of both development and presentation. Her work is often developed through interdisciplinary collaboration and workshop.
She was Associate Director of the Directing Program at the National Theatre School of Canada from 2013-2018, Intern Director at the Shaw Festival in 2013, and is the current Associate Artist at the Centaur Theatre where she is curator of the Wildside Festival.
Born and raised in Montreal, she is a graduate of Concordia University’s theatre program, and the directing program at the National Theatre School of Canada.
Recent credits: Liens/Ties (National Theatre School of Canada); Like Mother, Like Daughter (Why Not Theatre & Complicite, UK); Performance about a woman (OFFTA, Tiger Dublin Fringe; SummerWorks).
Eastern Box Set
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.
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.
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.
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 Boca Del Lupo (BC).
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 (cabin+cub), 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.
How to purchase:
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 are available for purchase online or at The Fishbowl on Granville Island #100 – 1398 Cartwright St. Vancouver, B.C.
$30 for each Box Set or all 5 Box Sets for $125 (plus taxes and shipping).