Review: Fish Water (Next Stage Community Booster 2021)

Photo of Mara Da Costa Reis in Fish Water at the Next Stage Community Booster 2021

We all consume things we know that are bad for us, in order to escape, to connect, to feel. That’s one of the messages of Mara Da Costa Reis’s Fish Water, now playing in the Next Stage‘s 2021 virtual festival Community Booster as part of the Storytelling series.

Reis’ story, which begins as an innocuous flirtation between a young woman and her Thai food delivery girl, contains an unexpected gut punch.

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Review: The Kindness of Murder (Next Stage Community Booster 2021)

Rebecca Perry and Andy Trithardt

The Kindness of Murder is one of the plays in the Theatre Shorts Stream of The Next Stage Community Booster. Written by Steven Elliott Jackson, it’s the story of Dr. Crippen (Andy Trithardt) and Ethel LeNeve (Rebecca Perry), his mistress. It’s produced by Steven Elliott Jackson, Rebecca Perry From Minmar Gaslight Productions and directed by Ryan G. Hinds.

I really enjoyed it. Watching a play on a screen can be difficult; I have friends who won’t do it. They tried early on in the pandemic, hated what they saw, and won’t watch again. I discovered that I love watching staged readings, but plays are really hit or miss. The Kindness of Murder was definitely ‘hit’.

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Mini-Reviews: Audio Offerings at Next Stage Community Booster 2021

image of a rainbow coloured soundwave on a black background

As the pandemic continues to keep us from gathering in person, audience and artists alike continue to explore different ways performing arts can work. The Next Stage Festival has moved to a digital offering this year called Community Booster, which includes performing arts in three streams. These are Theatre Shorts, Story Telling, and Audio Offerings.

You can file audio offerings under “everything old is new again.” I remember growing up listening to radio plays on CBC radio. And the pandemic isn’t the only thing that has brought audio plays to prominence; podcasting has been a significant contributor there. But what are the audio offerings from Community Booster?

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Review: Lacuna (Next Stage Community Booster 2021)

Photo of Juliet Jones-Rodney, Chantal Forde, and Trina Moyan in Lacuna

Lacuna, now playing as part of the virtual 2021 Next Stage Community Booster, asks us, “Is theatre even theatre without the exchange of energy?”

Writer Chantal Forde is joined by Mandy Roveda, Juliet Jones-Rodney, and Trina Moyan, in an on-stage representation of a Zoom call, each actress holding a frame around her face as they try to create together.

This attempt at creation is halted by general pandemic malaise and technical difficulties, and their private anxieties. These include the desire for connection vs. the reality of latency, the wearying need to constantly combat white supremacy, the challenge of finding individuality rather than representing a larger community, and the frustrating lack of space for women’s bodies.

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Review: Begin Again (Next Stage Community Booster 2021)

Photo of Cat and the Queen and Sasha Singer-Wilson in Begin Again

Begin Again – a combination of song and spoken word now playing as part of the 2021 virtual Next Stage Community Booster – is about the act of prayer.

Loud or quiet, large or small, desperate or calm, these pleas to a higher power are what creators Cat and the Queen and Sasha Singer-Wilson believe we all turn to in moments of need.

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