February 11 at Charlotte Street Arts Centre
Fredericton’s Next Folding Theatre Company continue to nurture the development of new Canadian plays through their Live Audio Workshop Series. The idea is simple – plays are selected, workshopped and then read before a live audience, a process that provides playwrights with valuable feedback on their work.
“The folks over at Next Folding were kind enough to give my play a chance and I think we’re all excited to see how the readings turn out,” said playwright Gordon Mihan, whose comedy, The Beavercreek Vacancy, is being presented as part of this year’s reading.
Workshopping a play before a live audience offers a great opportunity for playwrights to see how people react to the work, and in the case of comedy writing – which jokes work and which ones don’t. Providing playwrights with an audio recording serves as both a document of the play’s development as well as a reference for reaction.
“It’s one thing to write a play and have a friend or two say it’s funny,” said Mihan. “It’s another thing to see how a crowd reacts. It’s really strange how people seem to react to things I’ve written, and I’m sure any other writer who has written a joke or two will agree. The biggest laugh is never what you think it’s going to be and what you think is gut-punching, knock-you-on-the-floor hilarious may get a ‘heh’, or subdued chortle. Everyone’s sense of humor is different so you’re never going to please every person in the room, but I think there’s a balance you can find where you say, ‘you know what, these are my thoughts and I think they’re relatable and I think there’s something in this that the people around me will see understand as well’. So having an audio recording of an actual crowd listening to actors perform the lines with their own spin and their own voices is incredibly helpful moving forward with further drafts of the play or even new works.”
Mihan’s The Beavercreek Vacancy and Michael Woodside’s Panopticon, will both be presented as part of this year’s series.
“The workshop is invaluable to a developing play,” said Woodside, “allowing the playwright to see first hand what works and what needs to be tweaked. Panopticon so far has existed as a conversation between myself and dramaturge Ryan Griffith, the workshop allows a whole other layer of dialogue from the actors, audience, and production team. Readings are essential for any new piece of work, shaping how the play will look as a final product. By utilizing NFTC’s sound design the play becomes a much more vivid experience for the audience than just a typical bare bones reading. The audio workshop manages to foster a balance between catering to a playwright while making the event enjoyable for the audience as well.”
Curated by NFTC veteran producer Brandon Hicks, and sponsored by Picaroons’ Traditional Ales, the Live Audio Workshops present a theatre experience like nothing else currently happening in the city. Don’t miss the opportunity to catch these new works and play a part in their development.