Surprisingly timely

I wanted to take some time on our day off yesterday to write a little more about the show. The pressures and mode of presenting at a festival mean that I spend a lot time yelling “Come see us” and I end up feeling disconnected from any interesting conversation about what we’re doing. At least online. We’re having great conversations after the show.

When Chad, Ame, Kilby and I decided to return to Perhaps in a Hundred Years we didn’t know if the work itself would feel dated. It was one of the mysteries of doing a show from 6 years ago.

Now, a week into the run, the show feels absurdly of the moment. As if we might have been out-of-time the first time we did it. It’s a show about friendship and tender resistance in isolation. It’s about three people, stuck in a time and place trying to make it through together.

When we made the show, Torontopia was in full swing. We weren’t a part of it - or at least nobody knew we wanted to be - but the energy was in the air. We were poor, in various states of unemployment, but it seemed possible that performances in little rooms could be a part of a new city and part of a new life for us.

We haven’t changed the material in the show (though we’re better at performing it) but things have changed around us.

Harper and Ford and the threat of a three level love-in have brought the hard-right turn in Western politics to Canada and Toronto; the world economy is falling apart, there are riots in England - not to mention all the things we don’t hear about. And there we are. Holding out and holding on together with a small group of audience members in a small, sweaty room, finding a way to sing together, be vulnerable and keep moving..

Of course an intimate performance in a summer festival in Toronto isn’t going to change voting patterns or fix tax systems or massive class inequality - that’s a different, important kind of work.

But it might do something - to the people in the room at the time. A step enroute to action must be that we come together, and come together with openness, pleasure and silliness and other important shared values.

I’m looking for both a community theatre and a populism I can stand behind. It can be hard to reconcile this search with the “alternative” theatre scene. But it’s present or can be, if we want it. Carl Wilson wrote a great piece for the Toronto Standard on “Torontopia in the Age of Ford” that I keep returning to, including comments by Dave Meslin and Darren O’Donnell.

These responses offer possibility - a possibility I also feel at Hub 14, performing the show and talk with people after.

Writing this post in the middle of the festival feels as scary as doing the show does each night. I fear it’s too grand, to “serious” “sincere.” Oh well. If I don’t start here, there’s nowhere we can go.