Scadding (Common Boots Theatre) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah by ​Zoë GemelliScadding by Common Boots Theatre is a site-specific collection of short audio plays inspired by the area around the Scadding Court Community Centre, the home of Postscript: the outdoor patio hub of the Toronto Fringe Festival. It’s an interesting piece of site-specific art but I’m not sure I’d really classify it as theatre.

When you check in for the “performance” you are given a map of six locations around the community centre and surrounding grounds where you are to go and listen to pre-recorded audio files. You’re given free reign to choose the order in which you visit the locations. To listen to the audio plays you can either use your own web-enabled mobile phone/tablet to access the files online or borrow an MP3-player and/or headsets from the company.

Each of the six plays is written and performed by artists from the Toronto theatre community. There’s no real unifying theme and each of the plays varies greatly in subject matter, tone, and style.

In a couple of the more narrative-driven ones you’ll hear hints of imagery from Noah’s Ark, and Romeo and Juliet. A couple others are pretty much slice-of-life soundscapes, with no discernible plot, inviting you to sit and ponder. Only one of the mini-plays has any sort of prompt for an interaction. The rest of the time, the audience member is expected to just sit and listen.

There’s no actual live performance element to the show. Admittedly, the audio plays are beautifully produced by sound designer John Gzowski, but in my opinion, I don’t think walking around on a self-guided tour of a community centre listening to audio tracks on your own device actually constitutes theatre. Scadding may have been better suited as programming for Postscript rather than taking a slot in the festival proper.

Details

  • Scadding plays at the Scadding Court Community Centre (707 Dundas Street West)
  • Tickets are $13, including a $2 service charge. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes and discounts for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Festival Box Office at Scadding Court (707 Dundas St. W.), and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Content Warnings: Suitable for all ages
  • This venue is wheelchair-accessible
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.

Performances

  • Friday, July 5th, 2:00pm
  • Friday, July 5th, 4:00pm
  • Saturday, July 6th, 2:00pm
  • Saturday, July 6th, 4:00pm
  • Sunday, July 7th, 2:00pm
  • Sunday, July 7th, 4:00pm
  • Friday, July 12th, 2:00pm
  • Friday, July 12th, 4:00pm
  • Saturday, July 13th, 2:00pm
  • Saturday, July 13th, 4:00pm
  • Sunday, July 14th, 2:00pm
  • Sunday, July 14th, 4:00pm

Photo of Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah by ​Zoë Gemelli

4 thoughts on “Scadding (Common Boots Theatre) 2019 Toronto Fringe Review”

  1. Hi Wayne,
    Thanks for the review and taking the time to consider the work. Just one point of clarification, as far as I understand – Scadding is a “bring your own venue” work so it didn’t actually take any theatre slot. And its a terrific question – Is it theatre? Is it radio drama? Audio Art? Would Love to discuss it further?

    1. Hi Arthur,

      Thanks for your comment. I just wanted to respond to the part where you say “as far as I understand – Scadding is a “bring your own venue” work so it didn’t actually take any theatre slot”. While site-specific shows do go through a different process than the regular lottery system, it is still through an application process and the slots for them are still limited. There are still more applications received than spots available (While I was pretty confident this was the case, I confirmed this with the festival before replying just in case).

      Cheers,
      Megan

      Publisher, Mooney on Theatre

  2. Interesting how the reviewer uses language like “audio plays” but also doesn’t consider it theatre.

    1. The company itself refers to them as “plays” and “mini plays” I chose to use the term “audio plays” to disambiguate and emphasize that they’re not performed live. I did acknowledge that they are written and performed by theatre artists but in my definition of theatre there should be at least some live element.

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