Annual theatre festival celebrates 14th year.
The NotaBle Acts Theatre Festival, which annually stages the best new plays by New Brunswick playwrights, featuring theatre artists from around the province and across Canada, will take place at venues throughout Fredericton is now underway. This year’s festival features over a dozen new plays, presented as productions, workshops, and readings.
The festival kicked off with its mainstage production of Angel’s River, written and directed by Andrea Boyd. Set in rural New Brunswick in 1969 and inspired by real events,Angel’s River is the intense, poignant, and humorous story of 17-year-old Carrie Lynn, who becomes pregnant accidentally, gives birth to a little girl, and confronts the painfully wrenching decision over whether to give her child up for adoption. In its depiction of generational poverty, domestic violence, and the restricted lives and choices that women and the poor faced and continue to face in our province, Angel’s River is hard-hitting and moving, but ultimately inspiring. Starring Andrea Dymond, Alexa Higgins, Warren Macaulay, and Amelia Hay, Angel’s River was performed at the Black Box Theatre, Saint Thomas University.
Other plays at the festival include the winners of NotaBle Acts’ annual playwriting contest, including staged readings of the four winners of the contest’s one-act category:Spaceman by Jake Martin, The Beavercreek Vacancy by Gordon Mihan, Portrait of a One-Eyed Man by Bruce Allen Lynch, and Jolt by Tilly Jackson will be performed at Memorial Hall, UNB, from July 29-August 1, 8 PM nightly. Together, the plays offer a diverse range of dramatic fare, from absurd comedy to poignant family drama to an espionage thriller based on real events.
Taking it to the Streets, a production featuring free outdoor lunchtime theatre in Barracks Square (July 27-31), stages the four winners of NB Acts’ 2015 ten-minute playwriting contest, with an hour of fast-paced, winning comedy on tap. Alexa Higgins’ Bergman Gets Results takes us inside the minds of the members of a hilariously dysfunctional yoga class; Jake Martin’s Someone Gets Shot is a comic thriller that ends with a bang; Jeff Lloyd’s A Curious Incident at the Park in the Daytime makes a bestselling book the possible dealmaker/breaker in a chance romantic encounter; and Gordon Mihan’s Rest in Peace, Mr. Fish features a toilet as its central set piece (for obvious reasons..).
Rounding out the festival are a pair of site-specific works performed on the Green by the St. John River. Alex Donovan’s The Field tells the story of a years-long relationship in the space of fifteen minutes, aided by movement and music, and Jean-Michel Cliche’s Jon and Richard Duel for Honour encapsulates a hilarious commentary on masculinity and bro-hood in the form of a fencing duel between two estranged friends. Street Scenes: Two Site-Specific Plays will be performed on July 26 at 5:00pm and at 7:30pm on July 27 and 28.
A night of readings at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery (July 26, 7:30) will feature the winner of the 2015 NotaBle Acts High School Playwriting Contest, Kira Smith’s The Damsel in Distress Who Saved Herself, and works in progress by the festival’s Playwright/Dramaturge in Residence, Daniel Macdonald.