CrossCurrents – Short Circuit Readings

By Crystal Wood

CrossCurrents presents readings of raw work-in-progress plays at Factory Theatre in Toronto

Writing about a one-night-only event like Short Circuits might seem like a bit of a tease.  Fortunately, it’s only one of several offerings at the CrossCurrents Festival, part of Factory Theatre’s Performance Spring, which runs until April 25.

Short Circuits offered an evening of diverse readings, all of which are being developed by notable writers among Toronto’s theatre community.  The works were dramaturged by Iris Turcott, who also hosted the evening.   Five pieces were presented, with the creators doing double duty as the performers.

First up was Catch Her by Jani Lauzon, which was a collection of character sketches examining the passing of “distorted traditions” on to one’s children.  This was followed by Pamela Sinha’s Crash, the story of a woman who undergoes a violent crime in Montreal.  Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman and Joseph Jomo Pierre collaborated on a modern retelling of Oliver Twist.

After a short break, ahdri zhina mandiela presented her latest dub poetry work blew, and Meegwun Fairbrother ended the evening with a performance piece about the government’s public apology to Native residential schools.

All of the pieces were drastically different, and all were examples of the writers exploring work close to them.  (Fairbrother’s piece, in particular, felt strikingly personal, with his emotion escalating right to the end.)

Short Circuits gives the creators that all-important first opportunity to gauge the audience’s reaction to their work.  Some of the pieces might have a full draft, some might not, some are just testing the waters with rough ideas.  The audience on this evening seemed engaged and receptive to the work and with any luck, the pieces will move forward into full-length works ready for the Toronto stage.

As a showcase for new works, CrossCurrents offers both raw readings like this one, and more polished readings throughout the week.  Michele Riml, Jason Maghanoy and Daniel MacIvor will have readings of their new works until April 25.  And if you need a little inspiration to create a work of your own, there are artist symposiums at CrossCurrents, as well.


– Running until April 25, 2010.

– Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst Street,

– Evening performances run throughout the week at 8pm, symposiums start at 6pm with weekend events at 2pm

– Most performances PWYC, see website for details

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