Question: Where would you be if you took one hour of your precious time, divvied it up into ten-minute intervals, and proceeded to enjoy six delightfully different plays, all without having to leave the comfort of your seat? Answer: at the InspiraTO Festival, of course! Personally, I had never heard of Canada’s largest ten-minute play festival, but when I read that I could see six plays in a single hour, I have to admit, my shiny object syndrome was simply a-tingle with excitement! This must be what having spidey senses feels like.
The idea of not having to commit to a single play for an hour or more that might start off badly and go horribly wrong from there was very appealing. And I was not disappointed.
In fact, I would have enjoyed watching at least half of the plays in The BlueEye Show being twice as long! Especially given the low, low price of just $12 admission. What fantastic value for the theatre-goer, but also a tremendous way to showcase local upcoming screenwriter talents. I was hooked!
The line up for the first series of the evening went something like this:
- The Common Ground. The first play involved the light-hearted reunion in a park of two blind men who were reminiscing about creating art together, back in the day, while unknowingly helping each other gain some perspective. I couldn’t help but think of Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman.
- Camping Out. The next one was a little more amusing and sweet, about the budding sexuality of a group of prepubescent Girl Guides on a camping trip, complete with grandiose, sweeping statements about how their future sex lives would turn out to be.
- Positive I.D. Third up was an intense look at how racism is still very much a part of our everyday lives, but how it has subtly shifted, and maybe not everyone is aware of its evolution. This was construed by the interactions of a female detective, as she interrogated first a white female victim of assault, and second, the black male suspect. It was edgy, thought provoking, and relevant, like how you can become immediately engrossed in a movie, and be surprised to find that only ten minutes had elapsed.
- Beyond Where the Horizon Lies. The next one made me wonder if the screenwriter had a few too many things on the go in his life, and perhaps ran out of time writing a script for what seemed like a promising idea. Basically, there were two actors on the stage who were staring out at the crowd, looking for something, wondering what else might be out there. As we knew, there was… Us.
- All Your Bosses Belong to Chinese. The penultimate (how I love that word!) play took place in Balzac’s coffee shop. As a regular customer was shyly checking out the barista, along came a seemingly homeless Chinese man purportedly from the future with some interesting things to say about racial dominance. At one point, the unstable interloper threatened to blow them all up with a grenade unless the guy pledged his love for the motherland. Exciting stuff!
- Standing at the Edge of the Universe of Disunity. Finally, the last play was shaping up to be a cutesy love story, involving an aging stranger dialoguing with a young man on his way to propose to his girlfriend at a Portuguese restaurant across the street. By delaying his ‘stepping off the edge’, the old man managed to elicit a rather important discrepancy between the two lovebirds when the soon-to-be-betrothed arrived on the scene. It made you wonder about chance encounters.
When the hour was up, audience members had to cast a ballot for their top two favourite plays, which was a slightly more agonizing decision than you might think.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, and will definitely be back to see more plays next time, all held in this intimate venue of the Alumnae Theatre on Berkeley at Adelaide. Bravo!