By Liz Nicholls, 12thnight.ca
The upcoming Teatro La Quindicina 2020 summer season, which would have launched at the end of May with a revival of Stewart Lemoine’s Evelyn Strange, has been postponed by a year.
Be patient, theatre fans. The entire line-up, a quartet of Lemoine comedies planned by Teatro’s outgoing artistic director/producer Jeff Haslam, has been rebooked, intact, for almost identical dates in 2021. The uncertainties attached to live gatherings, compounded by the cancellation of this year’s Fringe Festival, prompted the 12-month adjustment, says Lemoine of a decision to adjust in a big bold way instead of “speculating, then cancelling one production after another.” Clearly a case of ‘think big AND go home’.
As Lemoine, Teatro’s resident muse and playwright, explains, all 2020 subscriptions will automatically be converted into subscriptions for the 2021 season — unless subscribers want to donate that money, and receive a tax receipt. In the event a refund is required, that can happen, too. The response to the decision has been overwhelmingly positive, says Lemoine. “Everyone gets it on a basic level.”
Under Haslam, Teatro introduced to Edmonton the idea of a summer season to May to September, in the theatrical off-season. Born at the first Fringe in 1982, the company has made a Fringe run part of its subscription line-up.
“It gives us time to set up our new company structure post-Jeff,” says Lemoine of Teatro’s season jump ahead to 2021. Details await. But the general idea, he says, is “sharing the responsibilities amongst the ensemble,” an organizing principle with no equivalent here in a theatre company of any size (you’d have to look to ensemble companies like Chicago’s Steppenwolf for similarities).
Audience expansion requires time, thought, planning. “We have time to think about marketing, selling subscriptions to new people, getting the brochure out months, instead of A month, in advance.” Besides, Lemoine argues, “people will be so excited to come back to the theatre!”
“And now we have a fully planned 2021 season, we can really figure out our 40th anniversary season in 2022.” For his part Lemoine is finally able to remove the phrase “If I only had the time…” from his lexicon. “O wait, I do!”
Radical? “Well, these are radical times, and you have to be making big decisions,” declares Lemoine. “It’s pragmatic and gutsy, and those two don’t always go together.”
Here’s the season of Lemoine plays Teatro audiences will see in 2021:
Evelyn Strange, directed by Shannon Blanchet (May 27 to June 12)
Everybody Goes To Mitzi’s, directed by Kate Ryan (July 8 to 24)
A new Lemoine play, directed by Stewart Lemoine (Aug. 12 to 28)
Fever-Land, directed by Belinda Cornish (Sept. 23 to Oct. 9)