What lies Beyond The Stage at the Citadel next season?

Nassim by Nassim Soleimanpour, Citadel Beyond The Stage Series. Photo supplied by the Citadel.

By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca

One of the most playful and subversive theatrical experimenters in the world is coming to the Citadel’s alternative Beyond The Stage series next season.

You’ll find the Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour turning the pages of his projected script on a screen in the Citadel Club April 30 to May 5, 2019. In his latest, Nassim, a different actor every night retrieves the script, which they’re seeing for the very first time. And what  follows is a theatrical demonstration of the power of language to divide and connect.

Soleimanpour’s hit White Rabbit Red Rabbit, which played here in 2013 at Workshop West’s Canoe Festival, startled audiences around the world with what it doesn’t have — no director, no set, no rehearsal, no preparation of any kind — and what it does: a different actor for every performance. At that time Soleimanpour wasn’t allowed to travel; with Nassim he himself is part of the show. 

Next season, Theatre Yes will take Beyond The Stage at its word — or at least its title.  Slight of Mind, specially commissioned from the indie company that brought us The Elevator Project and Anxiety, takes audiences inside the big brick-and-glass playhouse downtown and beyond the stage — through dark nooks and crannies, backroom rehearsal halls and workshops, lobbies and dressing rooms. Everywhere in the Citadel except the theatres.

Slight of Mind, Theatre Yes. Photo supplied by the Citadel.

That’s the kind of company Theatre Yes is, as you’ll know if you saw a new play up close (very close) and personal in a downtown elevator. Or you found yourself getting anxious with other anxious people in claustrophobic room in an abandoned industrial warehouse. Theatre Yes is all about taking theatre on location.

Slight of Mind (March 27 to April 7, 2019) enlists a team of playwrights led by Beth Graham (Pretty Goblins) to investigate “the nature of truth.” Is truth a hypothesis? A fantasy? An irreducible reality? In these parlous times — where fake news prevails and fiction is not easily distinguished from fact —truth is a hall of mirrors.

Beyond The Stage includes the return of Farren Timoteo’s hit Made In Italy to the Club, a collaboration with Western Canada Theatre in Kamloops, where it premiered. The engaging, funny, and poignant multi-character solo play tells the story of a teenager who grows up in a big Italian immigrant family in Jasper in the ‘70s, yearning to fit in and be “normal.”

The Club season opens (Oct. 19 and 20) with a new show from the stellar cabaret artiste Bridget Ryan. Edmonton audiences have seen such Ryan cabarets as Under The Influence, Here’s To The Ladies Who Laugh, and Bridget Ryan’s Hare Band Cabaret (a collaboration with visual artist Jason Carter), all of them studded with personal stories of growing up in a musical theatre-obsessed family. Her new cabaret Oh What A Beautiful Morning is inspired by her experiences working in breakfast television. 

Beyond The Stage also includes Alison MacDonald’s Legends of Carnegie Hall (Nov. 16 and 17), a celebration of women artists who have occupied that stage, and the singer-songwriter Nuela Charles (Jan. 18 and 19, 2019). 

Subscriptions are on sale now (780-425-1820, citadeltheatre.com). Single tickets are available July 16.


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