5 Things to know about Boca del Lupo’s Red Phone and Plays2Perform@Home
Boca del Lupo Red Phone Project. 2020 Boca del Lupo / jpg
When: July 1 to Aug. 22
Where: The Fishbowl, 1398 Cartwright St., Granville Island
Tickets and info: free, book time slots at bocadellupo.com
When: July 1 to Aug. 22
Where: #100, 1398 Cartwright St., Granville Island
Tickets and info: $20 each or 3 for $50, plus shipping or pick-up at the office
Boca del Lupo’s Sherry Hoon and Jay Dodge are no strangers to producing theatre in unique settings. The world is operating under unique circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This has wrought havoc upon live theatre.
The creative team behind such award-winning shows as DBLSPK (in partnership with rice and beans) and Coda 2.0, didn’t find that digital presentations were delivering the same immediacy and sought out creative ways to bring that “liveness” back into theatre in these socially-distancing days.
Working with a template designed to keep audiences, actors, staff and crew safe, Hoon and Dodge decided to revisit on of their unique shows and create something brand new too.
The audience-to-audience “play in a phone booth,” titled Red Phone is coming back with a host of new conversations penned by writers across Canada. Plays2Perform@Home, is a visually vibrant box set of new plays to be performed with those in your personal bubble, ranging in size from three to eight characters. The box set is delivered to your home directly.
Everything else is available by takeout; so why not theatre?
Postmedia chatted with the Boca del Lupo team about the new shows and what audiences can expect from them.
1: How Red Phone works. Described as “part theatre and part social intervention,” Red Phone takes place inside two fully enclosed phone booths featuring a vintage red phone and an integrated teleprompter. Two audience members at a time enter the booths and conduct a five minute-long conversation written by a writer from somewhere in Canada. Participants are encouraged to let loose as they are in an anonymous setting.
“This project started about five years ago with five or six local writers, and now we have representation from every province,” said Jay Dodge. “Given that we will have completed the catalogue and the present situation under COVID-19, we felt it was a good time to mount it again as it can be done meeting all safety precautions and so forth.”
2: Red Phone conversations are open-ended. “What we are asking is for writers to connect and think about what they love about performance but in a creative way where they can be free and not obliged to reflect what is happening right now,” said Sherry Hoon. “There is so much now going on right now, that we will see artists being both reflective and relevant to now, but also to engage in work that can continue on past our global pandemic. What really resonated with us and the presenters and artists we have engaged is to give audiences a work that isn’t here to replace theatre but is in essence of what we love about live performance — the emotional ride, the intimacy, etc.”
3: Plays2Perform@Home. A “box set” of three different plays designed to be performed around the apartment, the park bench or wherever. Each piece is a 10 to 20 minute-long play with three to eight characters that you and those in you bubble can choose to read out together. The first four plays are from Governor General award-winner Hiro Kanagawa, Jessie award-winning playwright Jovanni Sy, playwright/librettist/actor Leana Brodie and her Dora award-winning collaborator Karen Hines and range from farce to drama.
“It was a chance to commission some playwrights and get some money out to them at a time when so many had major productions cancelled,” said Dodge. “And to facilitate this activate, we are bringing in colleagues who are out of work actors or crew. It’s a small, but meaningful way to help out our community as a small company.”
4: Collector’s item. “Our graphic designer, Valerie Thai, used to be the art director at Adbusters for a number of years and has done an incredible job with making the scripts more like an actor’s script with highlighting for each character,” said Dodge. “So, right out of the box, you can be sharing the scripts around and reading them. You are “performing” them to whoever is immediately around you.”
5: Remembering live performance. “We want to get people engaged in this conversation, because our theatres are shuttered and we don’t know when they will be open again,” said Hoon. “So many of our experiences of that time when they were open are memories that may be hard to hold. These two projects give you something that keeps that immediate experience alive, a gift created by the artists inviting you into their world in your home to remember what you love most about live performance.”