Praxis Theatre 2011 Season
Well we have been busy bees here at Praxis, writing drafts, making proposals, cutting deals, and generally hustling the way that a company must in an era where not much is going to come for free to a small indie company with no operating funding, office space, or corporate sponsors (although we’re not against having the right ones).
The end result is that we have 3 different productions at 3 different stages of development that we invite you to attend and engage with between now and the end of the year.
So we are using “season” in a new way with this announcement.
Usually, it denotes a series of final products. This model doesn’t work for a small company that often integrates presentations and performances into our development process. So our season has one show we are doing the initial exploration on, one that will be mid-development, and one that is in fact our final product.
Each show has its own relationship to how it will interact with its audience through this site and we invite you to participate in whatever way interests you:
Maybe you just like to go to the shows and read the posts; maybe something about a show infuriated you and you need to interact with us about it; maybe you will send us your thoughts or ideas when we ask for them (or when we don’t). Or maybe something else we haven’t thought of that the internet is about to invent will present itself as a possibility.
Read below to see what we’re up to.
Thanks for involving yourself with our work and communications as you see fit!
Dungeons & Dragons, (not) The Musical @ The Toronto Fringe Festival
Created by Aislinn Rose
Stage One – Just looking into it
Praxis Theatre will be playing host to three Dungeons & Dragons tournaments, where audience members can come and go throughout each adventure or stay for the full 6-hour marathon.
Part performance experiment, part research project, the events will feature some of Toronto’s favourite actors, directors and comedians at their nerdiest. While drama nerds and D&D geeks go head to head, live sound & lighting artists will create a unique atmosphere for each tournament.
Snakes & Lattes in the heart of the Annex has kindly offered their space for our shenanigans, so audience members will be able to enjoy coffee, yummy treats, and an authentic D&D in the basement experience.
July 10th, 4pm to 10pm , July 14th, 7pm to 1am, July 16th, 5pm to 11pm
Snakes & Lattes – 600 Bloor Street West.
You Should Have Stayed Home @ The Summerworks Festival
Written and performed by Tommy Taylor. Directed by Michael Wheeler
Stage 2 – It’s a a play, but we could do more with more time and resources.
An original adaptation of the Facebook note How I Got Arrested and Abused at the G20 in Toronto, Canada produced in partnership with The Original Norwegian.
After being translated into seven languages, attracting a concerned following around the globe, and forming the basis for a The Fifth Estate documentary, this Facebook note is a major artifact documenting the deterioration of Canadian civil rights in the 21st Century. We look forward to working with Tommy to continue this important discussion through a live performance based on his experience that is integrated with online media.
Dates: Aug 4th @5pm, Aug 6th @ 2:30pm, Aug 7th @ 10pm, Aug 10th @ 7:30pm, Aug 12th @ midnight, Aug 13th @10pm
Location: The Theatre Centre, 1087 Queen St. W.
Jesus Chrysler produced in association with Theatre Passe Muraille
Written by Tara Beagan. Directed by Michael Wheeler. Starring Margaret Evans
Stage 3 – This is it. We spent a long time making it – now we’ll put it on for you.
Jesus Chrysler revolves around 1930s activist and director Eugenia “Jim” Watts and the work of progressive Toronto-based theatre artists of the 1930s.
An intimate, immersive production at the centre of which is legendary Toronto activist and director Eugenia “Jim” Watts. An unsung icon of 1930s Toronto theatre, Jim had her work banned by a Prime Minister before enlisting in The Spanish Civil War, becoming its sole female ambulance driver. Jesus Chrysler invites a select audience to explore Jim’s life and loves along with her, in a show that engages with and questions the intersection of art and politics.
Dates: Nov 29 to Dec 11th
Location: Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace, 16 Ryerson Avenue, just north of Queen St. West, east of Bathurst Street.
DD. Amazing. I confess, I still meet twice a month to game with my friends from home. Huge respect. What edition?
The DnD show sounds pretty intriguing. I’m curious to know what the topic of research is?
I find it interesting to think about the relationship between games and theatre. On the subject of interactivity, there is much common ground between table-top games and improv. Both require in-the-moment inputs from participants, and both work as a shared storytelling experience.
Some questions that are difficult to answer, and are perhaps the focus of your experiment:
-Can it be entertaining to watch?
-When does it stop being theatre and start being a game?
-Can your audience also be players, and if so, are they still audience members?
-What level of interaction is just enough?
I remember reading that Penny Arcade did a live “performance” of one of their DnD sessions, and it apparently went over very well (though they could probably fill any room with interested nerds).
I’d love to know more about your process!
Thanks Duncan. I have to admit outright that your question panicked me a little. The very reason for this project is for me to get to know the game for a larger project that’s in the very early stages of investigation. So I’m both pleased and nervous about the attention the Fringe project is getting from people who are serious it. But I’m serious about getting to know it, so I’ve talked to a few friends (and people I’ve recruited as “consultants”) and already I’m learning amazing things… like that there’s a huge debate among players regarding 3.5 versus 4.0. I would love to hear back from gamers on this topic, and I absolutely have no doubt that what we play in the room will be affected by what people tell us on the blog or via @praxistheatre on twitter.
Those are all great questions Jordan, many of which I’ve been considering for the project. I’m also really looking forward to talking to the players and the audience members about their experiences with the game in their youth… how differently does the power of imagination of a 13 year-old work versus the imagination of a 30 or 40 year old? Mostly I’m hoping it will be great fun for the players, our live designers and the audience while I get to learn stuff.
With regards to the nature of the audience interaction, I’m really excited to see what we can do there. Again, I’m hoping my “consultants” will have some ideas for me (I’m happy to get ideas from the experts), and Praxis is always interested in exploring new ways to engage with audiences before, during and after our presentations.
Happy to chat more here on the blog, or via @praxistheatre on twitter, and I’m also contactable via email@example.com. Feel free to send along ideas, suggestions, questions or comments.
We’re also being interviewed along with a few other Fringe shows for Electric Playground this week, so I’ll let you know when that’s going to be on. Thanks for writing!