Are we there yet?

After catching the mainstage acts at Magnetic North, Tom Mrozewski takes a gander at some up-and-comers at the On the Verge reading series.  


On the Verge 2006 is a project of the National Arts Centre’s English Theatre programme. Every year it tags along with Magnetic North. It gives a public airing to scripts which promise to be coming years’ mainstage acts. The NAC assembles a cast of actors – local and otherwise – and assigns a director to each work. Each play gets a going-over at a three-day workshop, with a public reading in the Arts and Culture Centre Gallery to follow. It also allows the scripts to be scouted by the many producers who attend the festival.

This year’s lineup highlights East Coast playwrights, featuring works from all four Atlantic provinces. Sara Tilley’s clown show, The (In)complete Herstory of Women in Newfoundland (and Labrador), is the sole script from the Rock this year. Her play depicts a feminist theatre collective’s disastrous attempt to relate an alternative history of the province – a ‘herstory’ of Newfoundland. No holds barred, Tilley takes aim at alternative and mainstream theatre, feminists and the people who hate them. Her play was read on July 5th.

In a completely different vein, Trinity’s own Rising Tide theatre teams up with PEI playwright Kent Stetson on Friday, July 7th. The Way of the Sea: Norman Duncan in Newfoundland is Stetson’s fourth collaboration with the company. His previous script for Rising Tide, The Harps of God, won the Governor-General Award in 2001. Now, Stetson draws again on Newfoundland history by adapting four short stories from Norman Duncan’s book The Way of the Sea. Duncan, a Canadian journalist and writer, travelled first travelled to Newfoundland in 1901. His experiences of island life and culture gave rise to the 1903 collection, the first of several popular books he wrote about Newfoundland.

On Thursday, July 6 you can hear a new translation of Acadian playwrite Emma Haché’s L’Intimé, a cynical take on society in the aftermath of WWII. L’Intimé reads at 10 a.m. At 3 p.m., Beyond the Bearded Curtain (Bryden McDonald, NS) tells the story of a gay Cape Breton youth from disappears in Montreal.

The Way of the Sea hits the stage at 10 a.m on Friday, July 7. Relatively Harmless (Jenny Munday, NS), a “tragic farce” about family life and death, follows at 3 p.m.

The series wraps up at 3 p.m. on Saturday, July 8, with Bone Boy (Christian Murray, NS), an experimental play about cloning a dead kid.     …Something for everyone. ?