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I have a great job: traveling around the country, seeing great theatre, and bringing my favourites back home to Ottawa to share (also, sometimes there is free food and beer). Not to mention, of course, Ottawa's own thriving independent theatre scene, which keeps me firmly glued to theatre seats across the city week after week.
Now, after weeks of keeping secrets it was great to officially launch the 2013 edition of undercurrents: theatre below the mainstream in the Fritzi Gallery last night (thanks for coming, everyone!).
As in past years, undercurrents brings together the best in local independent theatre, as well as indie artists from across Canada. Complete festival programming is available on our website (of course), but I wanted to share with you why I'm excited about each of the six shows undercurrents will be presenting this year...
Hip Hop Shakespeare LIVE Music Videos
411 Dramaturgy Co (Ottawa, ON)
The show combined two things I know nothing about (Hip Hop and Shakespeare), and was one of the best things I saw all year. If you haven't seen Titus Andronicus sung to Eminem's "Kill You", you haven't lived.
Ladies of the Lake
Skeleton Key Theatre (Ottawa, ON)
A World Premiere from GCTC's 2012 company-in-residence, Skeleton Key's newest work has been in development (with support from GCTC) for just over a year. This piece is highly physical, creating an imagined origin for the Arthurian Lady of the Lake.
Evan Webber & Frank Cox-O'Connell and Harbourfront Centre (Toronto, ON), in association with the Cork Midsummer Festival and the Banff Centre
I've been trying to program this show for years, and in 2013 I finally got my wish! Unlike every other show in the festival, Little Iliad only seats 30 people per performance (the others all seat 70). Why so fewer seats? As audience, you listen to the show on headphones. I love when art and technology mix, and this show does it better than any I've seen.
Little Orange Man
SNAFU Dance Theatre (Victoria, BC)
The show won Outstanding Overall Production at the 2012 Ottawa Fringe - and deservedly so. It's funny, heartwarming, and immeasurably charming. Also: there are lunch puppets. (Not sure what that means? See the show and find out!)
The Public Servant
Theatre Columbus (Toronto, ON)
Toronto's Theatre Columbus has been producing indie theatre for 28 years, and their newest peice is a collaboration between Toronto and Ottawa artists. And what better place than Ottawa to present a play about the public service? And rumour has it there may be some actual civil servants joining them on stage...
Deluxe Hot Sauce (Ottawa, ON)
Another World Premiere at the 2013 festival, SKIN is inspired by the Selkie legend (creatures that live as seals in the sea and shed their skins to become human on land), and will feature music composed by using the skin signatures (freckles, moles, scars) of each performer. Very cool.
And finally, there's Bread, an interactive participation project staged in the lobby. Performed before and between other festival shows, this 20 minute piece will have its audience making bread, which will bake and rise as you go off to catch other productions. At the end of the evening, you'll have your very own loaf of fresh bread to take home with you. You get to make some theatre and eat it too!
Excited yet? In 2013 undercurrents runs from February 5-17, in the Studio Theatre. See you there!