Review: redSound plays (InspiraTO Festival)

I watched the last performance of the redSound plays at the InspiraTO Festival this weekend at the Alumnae Theatre in Toronto. The show wasn’t till 10:30pm and I had worked a full day so I was worried that if I got bored I might just doze off. Lucky for me: the play was thoroughly entertaining.

The InspiraTO Festival consisted of two sets of shows, redSound and blueSound, each being a collection of 8 ten-minute plays. This is a perfect production for my A.D.D. generation as by the time your attention starts to slip away, it’s over.

Each play is written, directed and starred in by different people.  The story lines are all different and the acting is consistently fantastic throughout.

The sheer genius of transforming the stage after each play is fascinating to watch. Lights dim, stage hands come on and silently move props around, and within a few seconds there is a brand new set. There are only about three or four props used to create a car, dining table, guillotine, bed, prison cells and more.

At the end of the show we are asked to select our top four choices. Mine are Slicing the Cherry by Nina Mansfield, Life, after Life by Karen Hartline, Hush by Robin Pond and Of Mice and Men by Dominik Loncar, which is my favourite.

Of Mice and Men is about a young couple living with an intruding mouse couple in their home. The wife wants the mice out and forces the husband to set a trap who reluctantly does so. It’s a story about following your dreams, meeting your fate and knowing your place in life.

There is little bit of everything in this play; comedy, tragedy, music and even some modern, interpretive dance. The mice wear “mouse masks” that really add to the overall mood of the play.

My friend, who hasn’t been to a play since elementary school, said the opener Slicing the Cherry is really enjoyable and sets the tone for the rest of the show. His favourite is Hush, as the actress Carol McLennan is excellent at switching between lucidity and complete insanity.

The 2011 InspiraTO Festival has ended but I strongly encourage you to try and make it out next year. So much more fun than a movie, you can watch eight unique shows for a mere $12, and have something to talk about later.

The InspiraTO Festival played from June 2 to June 12 at the Alumnae Theatre. (70 Berkeley Street)

Photo credit to Vito Zmak. Of Mice and Men by Dominik Loncar. Mary Claire Thompson in photo. Cast not in photo: Bruce Williamson, Adrian Rebucas, Lauren MacKinlay. Directed by Dale Sheldrake.


2 thoughts on “Review: redSound plays (InspiraTO Festival)”

  1. The reason I didn’t comment on “Solitary” is even though the acting was great, my play partner and I found it found it to be less enjoyable than the others. I spent most of my review talking about the four productions that stood out for me.

    I have also seen Catherine Frid’s “Homegrown” which I enjoyed very much and the content seemed to be repetitive. This to me felt like a snippet of the longer production.

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