Wednesday, February 17, 2021








FEBRUARY 15, 2020 AT 8PM  





SCAPEGOAT CARNIVALE is proud to present its new international digital commissioning initiative in response to Covid 19, SOLICITING PROPHECY, being launched online February 15, 2021


The artists of Soliciting Prophecy. Clockwise from top left, ending in centre: A.Diamond, O.Newton, J.T. Manning, MJ Gibson, Conor Wylie, A. Darcy, J. Shragge, G. Jain, A. Nemser.

Scapegoat Carnivale's current production of Soliciting Prophesy is a magical attempt to bring audiences back to the theatre before theatre doors can open again. Although much closer to video art and animation at times, with successful forays into outdoor solo monologues, and an online intimate and intensely powerful, claustrophobic encounter, this varied collection of short performance pieces provide engaging and thought provoking looks at a variety of ways of perceiving potential doom and destruction.

High points include a conflicted, animated conversation between fraternal twins as they await the end of the world. An animated cityscape through a condo window gradually reveals, through image and dialogue, an oncoming threat to the planet's existence and the very fraught relationship between siblings.

More childlike, magical animation occurs in the underwater drawings that create the beautiful and hauntingly melodic setting and narrative for "Prophette." (see illustration below)

Perhaps the closest example of live theatrical performance comes in the form of a layered and engaging piece from Alexander Nemser as an outdoor setting provides an expansive space for the well managed, subtly acted, and engaging storytelling narrative. 

"Prophette" by Gitanjali Jain 
Lula, a young girl, descended from whales, learns from her ancestors that she must play a role in altering the course of our climate crisis, as well as revive the well-being of whales on the planet. This hand-drawn, ethereal animation features real whale-songs as a central part of the soundtrack.


Faced with the repeated closures of Canadian and American theatres, Scapegoat Carnivale co-artistic directors Alison Darcy and Joseph Shraggesolicited prophetic predictions from fellow artists in Montreal, Vancouver, Mexico City and Los Angeles. This new collaboration evolved into an online think tank/writer’s room with the aim of creating a series of contemporary responses as digital performance pieces on the theme of Prophecy.  

After a month of discussions ranging from Greta Thunberg, to treating trauma with psychotropic drugs, to utopian visions, and brushes with mortality, each artist produced a digital work reflecting their own interests and lines of inquiry. 

In these videos, which range in form and sensibility, prophets appear as nonhumans, children, botanica workers, non-believers, and stand-up comedians. The pieces include biblical and ancient Greek re-imaginings (Samuel, Kassandra), animation, direct address and Minecraft inspired creations. 



Alexis Diamond (Montreal, QC) First Flush of a Gleaming New Age 
In a near post-pandemic future, Myriam follows the signs revealed to her in a dream to fulfill the prophecy of the Great Flush.

Mary Jane Gibson (Los Angeles, CA): Primordial Prophecy
A dying woman seeking to find what awaits her on the other side pulls open an ancient door to another psychedelic dimension.

Gitanjali Jain (Mexico City, MX)Prophette
Lula, a young girl, descended from whales, learns from her ancestors that she must play a role in altering the course of our climate crisis, as well as revive the well-being of whales on the planet. This hand-drawn, ethereal animation features real whale-songs as a central part of the soundtrack.

Julie Tamiko Manning (Montreal, QC)Whoever put me up here, you just wait ‘til I get down!
A woman gets off of her pedestal.

Alexander Nemser (Los Angeles, CA) God's Eyebrows
A retelling of the Bible story of King Saul and the Witch of Endor. Picture Larry David as a Trumpian King Lear who visits an illegal healer on the eve of his unraveling.

Omari Newton (Vancouver, BC): You Know, You're Right...
On the last day on earth, fraternal twins debate what awaits them on 'the Other Side'. The tension between the diametrically opposed lifestyles of these loving, but divided siblings, and how they choose to spend their last living moments, makes for an evening fraught with anxiety. 

Conor Wylie (Vancouver, BC): Dimension in the Clouds
The planets align, the bridge appears, and a brave child steps across to tell us what’s on the other side. Created and animated by a kid and a kid-at-heart.

The ancillary project Pocket Prophecies will feature short text prophecies, ruminations, and anecdotes, by writers from here and abroad including Claire Jenkins (Melbourne, AUS), Michael Mackenzie (Montreal, QC), Thami aka Mbongo (Johannesburg, SA), Earl Mentor (Cape Town, SA), Johanna Nutter (Montreal, QC), Rebecca Singh (Toronto, ON) and Anders Yates (Toronto, ON).

After two years of winning the Montreal META award for Best Independent Production (Sapientia 2018, Yev 2019) Scapegoat Carnivale was described by Montreal Gazette theatre critic Jim Burke as, “one of Montreal’s most original and enjoyably eccentric companies.” Founded in 2006, Scapegoat’s mandate is to produce theatre reflecting the diverse talents and extraordinary creativity of the Montreal artistic community. Their aesthetic interest is in the carnivalesque, and the highly theatrical. Whether producing new works or adaptations from the classical repertoire, they strive for theatre to be an unruly, visceral and authentic shared experience.

Sunday, February 7, 2021


 playwright’s note

I demand so much of my screen. Sex, news, love, conversation, shopping. I’m addicted to my phone. And through the attention I lavish on it, a new someone emerges online, at least as real as the embodied me. Me and not me. A kind of ghost that shadows me, demands things of me, even on the bus or in the grocery store. I/not I takes form in the still-forming space of online, a space of whispers and shouts, intimate and vast at the same time. A spiritual space.

In the original Orestes, there is a presence that stalks the shadows and emerges as Apollo at the end. Some demonic, god-like hybrid. I feel the same way about the internet. The perfect place for Greek tragedy.

The rules kept changing as we put this together. I am so grateful that I got to gather (virtually) with the talented people who made this show. Working without any sort of net. None of us knew what we were saying “yes” to. When COVID took our spaces away, we made a space in here.

Rick Roberts - Jan 2021

Powered by LIVELAB, the Tarragon online production of Orestes, adapted by Rick Roberts, is a vastly entertaining, engaging, and terrifying exercise in just about everything we are surrounded by in this day and age. A day and age apparently not so unlike so many bygone days and ages, as old as Greek tragedy and as debauched and humorous as Greek comedy. 

A stellar cast take the stage, or rather, their very separate performing spaces transmitted through cyberspace, and they manage to pull of  an amazing array of emotion and interaction over the course of a ninety minute tale of sex, lies, and messy dates with hubris, material wealth, and looking good in a bad situation.

Early on lists of high end products from clothing to everything capitliast, excessive, commodified and vainglorious, peppers the speeches of various characters - within which Roberts finds a rhythmic admixture of poetic and daily usage dialogue that never ceases to impress throughout. 

When lengthy monologues move toward a booming finale, in the hands of actors as adept as David Fox, Cliff Cardinal, and Richard Clarkin, Robert’s reaches a peak of playwriting skill that sharply reveals a cultural awareness allowing opposing viewpoints to possess equal weight. These hefty and convincing speeches live within a complex and corrupted world where inter-generational warfare has the aged blaming youth for their millennial traits and youth blaming the aged for carelessly abusing a planet and its inhabitants within a bludgeoned environment where constant, ever-increasing fear is the only emotion available. Thus a dramaturgical online sensibility that speaks of everything and nothing in a single breath. Notihng coming of nothing in the midst of it all. Lear-like, apocalyptic, and wildly entertaining.

The entire ensemble excels, with Lisa Ryder as a glamorous somewhat bewildered Helen and Krystin Pellerin as a more ‘down to earth’ yet equally intense and captivating Electra. Cues are picked up seamlessly in this distanced theatre setting, creating an action-packed, breakneck tale. What could have been static boxes of histrionic self-satisfaction becomes a textured array of ensemble acting - supported beautifully by costume, sound, and set designers working within a whole new realm of theatre expertise and innovation.

Cliff Cardinal in the tile role creates a youthful, manic flow as his speech patterns sound alarmingly and appropriately like someone speaking in their influencer, branding, online dialect. His captivity is well caught in a simultaneously open yet claustrophobic 'cell' that ultimately becomes a screen for faces watching him - giving the production a high tech feel that could easily work onstage. Not so unlike techniques used by artists such as Robert Lepage, among others, this production holds the promise of a lush form of online theatre that borrows and utiliizes techniques we were already beginning to see in live theatre in recent decades. A live version with onstage actors in front of screens would create another layer of this already multi-layered yet, by necessity, one dimensional viewing space. Finding depth in a single dimension, director Richard Rose has orchestrated a rich array of sight and sound.

A highlight  of the show is a speech near the end where theatre veteran David Fox displays his typically eloquent and impeccable way of delivering a moving monologue, not so unlike the Lear he mastered at Theatre Passe Muraille not so long ago. An angry older despot making strong, seemingly articulate points through a textured yet narrow misidentifying gaze where he sees all the faults of one generation and misses the faults of his own, only to be lambasted by the impetuous yet spot-on declaration of the young, angry, and equally as articulate Orestes.

Orestes, a tale for the ages, and the extremely altered stages of current theatre - is well worth seeing for the sheer skill of a production team that confronts the challenges of being 'live' in a pandemic and succeeding with immense power and the flawed tragic grace of characters more than half in love with themselves.

ORESTES by Rick Roberts (Tarragon). Live-streaming at through February 14, Wednesday-Saturday 8 pm, Wednesday 10 am, Thursday 1:30 pm, Sunday 2:30 pm. $15-$20. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

review of Steve Keil's 'Vanishing Fair'


"a collection of ruminations on the ruins of the last year and a half, so you can imagine how cheery it is. If misery loves company, you've come to the right place."

- Steve Keil on his eighth collection of poetry 'Vanishing Fair'


the binomial observer   

a review of Steve Keil’s Vanishing Fair


Steve Keil’s recent book of poetry, Vanishing Fair, is a bold and unwavering examination of self doubt, self-critique, and an ever-observant eye for the quotidian effect of simultaneously subtle yet searing annoyance - annoyance emanating from the minds and mouths of what Keil somewhat bitterly describes in an early poem as “human interaction." 

            I use the word quotidian in order to - perhaps pompously - blithely draw attention to the infrequent yet remarkable peppering of a not so everyday word, among others, scattered throughout the 148 page collection.  As seen, early on in A home that’s far from it - the poem sets the tone for a stark commingling of longing for and dismissal of the domestic trappings of fulsome relationships within a queer context. Line seven sports the lilting rhythms of the word binomial, a startlingly satisfying collection of syllables that marks the poem with a fine conscious rhythm.

Todd Haynes would have a field day  / In this multi-acred plot / Of suburban New Jersey / Where countless down low lovers / Are looking to be experienced / Ive already had too many to count / Knocking on my binomial door / But, Im sorry / With all respect / I am not here to teach / Remedial homosexuality / I have more than enough problems / At hand / Without courting new ones / That could end in vengeance / Or a rope around the neck / So, I will let that parade /Pass me by /Along with all the others / Content to be on the side / For now / And take a much-needed respite / From human / If thats what you want to call it / Interaction 

A home thats far from it, p5

“Remedial homosexuality” follows “binomial’ a few lines later, comically intimating a kind of sexualized distribution with two possible outcomes (thus binomial), lending the poem a fine sense of the clinical, frequently impersonal, ways in which actual emotion attempts to insert itself,  at times awkwardly, into our lives - casually, carnally, and maddeningly comic. The prefix bi, as part of a relatively uncommon word, allows for the hint of unnamed titillation, infusing the poem with the mystery of language, emotion, and sexuality that Keil interrogates throughout. 

            Binomial appears again on page 14 in the title of an equally satisfying and sexually discontented poem through the use of a finely tuned title that casts off intimate physicality in search of a warmer connection - reprising the idea of human interaction that occurs in the first ‘binomial’ poem. The following section displays the mixture of emotional longing and considered dismissal that lingers throughout the pages of Vanishing Fair.

So many lead with their jawline / Instead of their heart / And thats the part / That leaves me instantly cold / A connection thats dismantled / Before it begins Because what I need most / Right now /Or anytime for that matter / Is true human interaction / With complexities that come from / The conditions of living

Binomial freeze out, p14

            These human/domestic trappings - these “conditions of living” - set in a home that is far from one near the beginning of the collection - are revisited in a decidedly more biting way in the wonderfully dry, acerbic observational poem Stretching the canvas for more space -

Hey, the new issue of / Southern Living is in / There’s a sentence I never thought I'd say / Mostly because I have never heard / Of the magazine before / But since I am in a current phase / Of reading what I ordinarily wouldnt / And realizing that the Sunday New York Times / Was too much of a time hoover / To leave room for anything else / I picked up this magazine from the periodical shelf And dove in / It did have Octavia Spencer on the cover / Which was a good sign / But I dont know if it was by accident / Or editorial design / That the first photo inside / Was one of a pie /Apple, I'm assuming / Without any other ingredients included / I zipped through the articles about / Throw pillows and Japanese maples / All pleasing enough in their scope / Only a clutched paw of more bits of string / To add to my ever-growing sphere / Which may or may not serve any value / In the W.H. Auden sense / Or inspire something of limited or lesser value / On my own 

Stretching the canvas for more space, p39

There is a pleasing anti-bourgeois derision for the Martha Stewart-like list of throw pillows, Japanese maples, and apple pies, followed by the quick-witted unspecified insertion of Auden’s subtly queer sensibility - giving the finale of the poem a perhaps inadvertent query that challenges the the reader to reconsider and reexamine the images and texts we come across on a daily basis. Images and texts that, in this poem, are found on the periodicals shelf in, presumably, a library.

            Keil’s work, in Vanishing Fair, could be considered a library of complaints - or as he so aptly puts it in the poem Next stop, strong drink - his “angry dispatches.’

Yet, there I was in my shorts and bowling shirt / Reading my angry dispatches to a crowd of / Mostly unknowns to me / Who Sally Fielded me when it was over / Then paid me the pass the bucket pay share of Forty-six dollars / All of a sudden, I thought / This might turn out to be something / I guess people are so starved for live performances / Of any kind / That even I will do 

excerpt - Next stop, strong drink, p131 

But these are not merely angry dispatches. They are a continuous narrative, story like, of one poet’s journey through self interrogation and discontentment in a world that serves up plenty on a daily basis. Seeing Keil perform his work live this past summer on an outdoor patio at Buddies In Batshit Times (my typo, not Buddies, rather, the times) Theatre served up a fine sense of performance that matches the acerbic and “angry dispatches” his current collection embodies on the page. One might consider these dispatches sly joyful moments of friendship and sharing, a somewhat begrudgingly accepted joy, but a kind of joy nonetheless, a joy found in poetry, both ‘onstage’ and off. Replete with “Sally Fielded”  moments - a fine and funny turn of phrase -  and a brief Norman Maine citing, Keil’s image/word choice also roots his artistry within a decidedly, yet subtle, sense of queer consideration as it intertwines with light pop cinematic camp. 

            Ultimately Vanishing Fair is a rigorous, frank, and absorbing journey through self critiques and the critiques of others - critiques so many of us simply bury in our consciousness and let them sour in our souls. Keil lets them out and they become a subtly soul -searching narrative romp, allowing readers to revel in his angry dispatches as though they were our own.

            And there is of course my favourite moment, a familiarizing moment regarding shared accommodation, when a room mate pleads, through alleged hard times, for another month of tenancy when the poet decides to move out following an especially annoying argument. And then one discovers the financial hardship, only days later, does not disallow the acquisition of  “The big screen tv he just purchased / With my rent money / I didnt say anything I was thinking / I didnt follow any of my natural impulses / I only went into my room / Kept my mouth shut / And cried myself to sleep / Begging for help / Silently /With each hyperventilated breath 

(excerpt) The end of all optimism, p17

            Vanishing Fair is saturated with “natural impulses” - and not the end of all optimism by any means. Rather, a well-endowed series of poems, at times funny, frequently enlightening, and always dispatching - in measured, direct, and frankly poetic language - an articulate journey through someone’s way of grappling with some of life’s most irritating moments.

Vanishing Fair is available at



Friday, November 20, 2020

acts of faith

Pictured: Natasha Mumba; Photo by Dahlia Katz (all photos by Dahlia Katz)

program synopsis;

From the African Copperbelt to the back woods of Muskoka, acts of faith tells a story about the power of belief, the disillusionment of youth and the eternal struggle between good and evil. The story follows Faith, a young woman who gets mistaken for a prophet. When a revered religious leader attempts to take advantage of her plight, she begins using her ‘gift’ to right wrongs and punish the wicked. As her spiritual notoriety grows, her own faith gradually erodes, driving her away from her home and the church in a quest for justice. Part Passion narrative, part modern retelling of David and Goliath, acts of faith is an action-adventure in the skin of a catechism. Far from home, Faith will come up against the ultimate test of her convictions in a final confrontation between sin and sainthood, morality and godliness.

for cast, crew, and production details see;

David Yee's 75 minute tour de force, for a single actor, is a compelling collection of vignette-like monologues linked by one young woman's experience as she walks the fine line between the miraculous being and the socially conscious activist whose own life traumas allow her to reach out and ultimately help others to escape from forms of victimization that can occur when power dynamics become unwieldy and profoundly abusive.

What could appear at first glance to be a scathing critique of [poorly] organized religion, becomes, by the end, a delicate and powerful balance of stories and almost punch-line-like beginnings to a series of memories that all start with a parable of sorts. This gives the script a strong layered effect, allowing the performer to deliver, with mesmerizing focus, intricate ways of seeing the grey areas between religious experience and the harsh challenges of daily life  - the boundaries that move us in and out of personal spirituality toward a realization of how sacred and how profane the world can be.

Natasha Mumba gives an extraordinary performance, beginning with relatively subdued, storytelling qualities, always tightly focused on her online audience, and framed exquisitely by the work of impeccable costume, lighting, and set designers. There is an elegant background,  a sea of beige'ish folds and sharp-edged walls and windows, that portray a simultaneously open yet cloistered environment - a room the performer/character is confined yet somehow liberated by as she tells her story.

About 45 minutes in - marked seamlessly by subtle shades lifting into pink-ish overtones - the lighting sharply shifts to a strong red hue that enhances the moment and moves us toward a climactic end. Nina Lee Aquino's direction shows an outstanding attention to what is needed in this new era of pandemic - live yet distanced - constrained yet vast - productions. Mumba never falters as the blocking and facial expression is tightly deployed, giving each spectator a front row centre seat to be moved and engaged within.

The script embraces a global geography, yet frequently frames it all within a specifically Southern Ontarian, decidedly colonialist  context that is both critical and enduring - at times indirectly illustrating the particular ways in which mythic national identity-mongering creates faulty iconic truths out of national mythology.

References to Etobicoke, Toronto in general, and the Muskoka Lakes area, give the overall piece an engaging and fascinating topical tone - by the end haunting - that conjures images of the iconic places some audience members may perceive - through David Yee's articulate and poetic narrative gaze - as simultaneously bountiful, beautiful, and banal. 

Acts of Faith is a timely season opening during these very challenging and frightening times, as we witness the journey of a young woman both embraced by and resistant towards a world she struggles to have some control of - despite the ongoing overwhelming forces that confront her. Forces that both belittle and worship her as a harbinger of spirit, wisdom, and a need to tell a story that may help those who find themselves within similar positions.

Admission is free of charge, however audiences will have to register in advance on Factory Theatre's website to secure a spot for their preferred performance night ( Information on how to access the live streamed performance will be sent out to registered audience members via email 24 hrs before the performance. acts of faith will be performed for six nights - NOVEMBER 19, 20, 21 & 26, 27, 28 at 7:30PM. Each show is performed live and will be streamed to registered audience members watching from home via Factory Theatre's website.

David Yee

David Yee is a mixed race actor and playwright, born and raised in Toronto. He is the co-founding Artistic Director of fu-GEN Theatre Company, Canada’s premiere professional Asian Canadian theatre company. A Dora Mavor Moore Award nominated actor and playwright, his work has been produced internationally and at home. He is a two-time Governor General’s Literary Award nominee for his plays lady in the red dress and carried away on the crest of a wave, which won the award in 2015 along with the Carol Bolt Award in 2013. He has worked extensively in the Asian Canadian community as an artist and an advocate. He has been called many things, but prefers ‘outlaw poet’ to them all.

Friday, March 6, 2020

BOX 4901

directed + co-created by ROB KEMPSON
lighting design COSETTE PIN
producer STACEY NORTONassociate producer CURTIS TE BRINKE
stage management LUCY MCPHEEproduction manager KATHERINE SMITHcommunications KATIE SAUNORIS

As co-creator and director of Box 4901, Rob Kempson gives a simple and engaging script a vibrant elegance that shines throughout this enthralling 75 minute tour de force. Brandon Kleiman's set is a glaringly effective and creatively arranged space for the men to move within and energetically amble through their tightly choreographed moments within just over a dozen skilfully performed short monologues.

Writer Brian Francis stands at a basic white lectern and comments on the action, integrating his autobiographical presence into a form of creative non-fiction that draws in viewers from start to finish.

Too numerous to mention, the ensemble is impeccable, with standout performances by Chy Ryan Spain, Keith Cole, and Hume Baugh.Placing Cole near the middle of this 13 actor cast and Baugh at the end, gives diverse rhythm and balance, with Chy Ryan Spain adding an energetic 'intergenerational' narrative touch to the proceedings. Cole presents an irresistible character in his well managed interpretation of the character Snuggles, while Baugh ends the piece with a lovely and layered young man in pursuit of all the fame and good fortune that money and self-perceived looks can buy. 

Basically, the playwright's response to long forgotten personal ads brings a wonderful kind on historical continuum to a play that speaks to past and present gay 'lifestyle' in a detailed and eloquent manner. Francis's 'narration' and responses to each of these long lost near attachments takes on a kind of David Sedaris quality - as both charming and cutting reminiscences via superb storytelling surface throughout. Chy Ryan Spain's older character, while sensational through Francis' somewhat scathing response, reveals an amazing generational gap that is both sculpted dearly and critiqued with much less endearment. 

But such is life and deeply felt memory in Box 4901, sold-out for the run, with only three more performances. So call the box office, or show up, maybe someone will cancel and you'll have the chance to see this nostalgic and surprisingly current look at the past the present and the future of being queer in a world of ever evolving sex management, mayhem, glory,  and casual hookups based in a fabulous form of call and response theatre at its most engaging.

Monday, February 10, 2020

RHUBARB 2020 !!!

interviews with some of the rhubarb artists

FEBRUARY 12 – 22, 2020

“The wildest theatre fest in town”

— Toronto Life
Canada’s longest-running new works festival transforms Buddies into a hotbed of 
experimentation, with artists exploring new possibilities in theatre, dance, music, 
and performance art. Rhubarb is the place to see the most adventurous ideas in 
performance and to catch your favourite artists venturing into uncharted territory.
Rhubarb is a space for artists and audiences to experiment together by trying new 
things and testing their boundaries. You always get to see more than one show 
(often 3 or 4) in one night, and no two nights of Rhubarb are ever alike. So come out 
and see what’s happening.




February 21
in the Chamber

A queer-art-party-performance cabaret celebrating 
sex, intimacy, and the grotesque through sound-art, 
and performance.

Jord Camp, Brock Hessel, Steff Juniper, R. Flex, 
Kenton Smith + 

What attracts you to the Rhubarb Festival as a venue for your particular work?

It was the first place I had a chance to make an ass out of myself on stage since playing Tiny Tim in 
grade 7 (I was such a sickly looking faggy child when I was 12, it could hardly be called acting). But 
my first Rhubarb performance wasn't on a stage. It was in one of the old washrooms (the one with 
the urinals) with you, Paul Bellini, Stewart Borden, Ray Helkio, and Amy J. Lester 5 years ago in a 
queered up version of Hamlet. I love Rhubarb because reviewers aren't allowed to tear to shreds 
what they see here, so you're allowed to take risks and fail hard. 

Describe your performance/play in 50 words or less (or more), and could you share a favourite 
moment or even a quote from the piece you are presenting at Rhubarb?

"Come on everyone! Grab a handle on the rope, but don't doddle or pull too hard or you'll have 
to change baby's bum."

What are the greatest challenges of presenting at Rhubarb? 

Allowing yourself to fail hard and fail brilliantly! Though the performers I love the most do this 
all the time--artists like you (of course) and Jord Camp who I will be doing this piece with. 

Could you define your work at Rhubarb as performance or theatre or any other performing arts genre? 

The highest brow of performance art, I'm sure ;) 

Is there something about your performance/play at Rhubarb that you feel is the primary idea 
that you are trying to get across/share with your audiences? 

Loving your inner child even when they're marinating in their own feces. 

If you have been to the Rhubarb Festival in the past cold you share a favourite moment of performance 
that you saw? 

I was one of Rhubarb's artistic interns last year with Natalie Liconti under Mel Hague's direction. 
The process not only helped me become less precious about my own work, but fully see how hard 
this festival is to curate to do justice to all the weird in this city and how hard everyone works (shout 
out to bar staff, box office & front of house, tech, and all the performers, the curators and directors). 
There's a running joke about the nasty cold aka the Rhubarb Rhume everyone who works the festival 
every year gets and shares with one another, but getting it is a badge of pride. 
In terms of shows, there are so many I loved that helped me fully embrace my weird, but their names 
and creators are sadly escaping me. I loved Ryan G. Hind's Donna Summer tribute disco ballet, 
MacArthur Park 5 years ago. I also loved Steven Conway's Twin Mask installation last year--both 
performers and audience members alike were allowed to make musical instruments out of whatever 
they found in the antechamber and make beautifully horrible racket--it had to be scheduled in between performances on either side because the sound of it leaked through every part of Buddies. 

To All My Past, Present, and Future Lovers...
I'm Sorry

February 19-22
in the Chamber
Nickeshia Garrick lays it all bare and 

offers up 
an apology for herself in this 
solo dance theatre 

Nickeshia Garrick / choreographer, 

+ performer

Kevin Ormsby / mentor

What attracts you to the Rhubarb Festival as a venue for your particular work?

What attracts me to Rhubarb as a venue for my work is the fact that it is a festival for experimental new works. I have certain liberties I wouldn't normally have if I were to present this work (the way I envision it) elsewhere. 

Describe your performance/play in 50 words or less (or more), and could you share a favourite moment or even a quote from the piece you are presenting at Rhubarb?

My piece in 50 words or less...A revealing look into my apology to past, present and future lovers.

What are the greatest challenges of presenting at Rhubarb?

This is the first time I'm presenting at Rhubarb, but a challenge I could forsee is the audience not connecting to my work. 

Could you define your work at Rhubarb as performance or theatre or any other performing arts genre?

My work at Rhubarb I would define as Dance Theatre.

Is there something about your performance/play at Rhubarb that you feel is the primary idea that you are trying to get across/share with your audiences?

The primary idea of my piece that I'm trying to get across is that relationships can be painful and ugly, but we're all accountable.

What do you think of Rhubarb as a perennial vegetable? Do you prefer Rhubarb Pie of Rhubarb Crisp? Or is Rhubarb something you prefer to avoid unless it comes in the form of a theatre/performance festival? 

I definitely love me some Rhubarb Strawberry pie!!!

How queer is your work?

Well, I'm gay, so it's automatically queer in my mind.

Nickeshia Garrick (she/they)

BFA, RMF® | Dancer | Singer |
Actor | Personal Trainer|
Movement Teacher 

The Parasite

February 12-15
8:30pm (9:30pm on Feb 12)
in the Cabaret

Through mask, burlesque, fringe, pompoms, and more, 

two performers delve into what it means for their queer 
bodies to create, gestate, and nurture.

Jay Northcott / creator + performer
Alisha Van Wieren / creator + performer

Our work is new, experimental in form and highly visual. Rhubarb allows us - no encourages us - to really dedicate ourselves to this experimentation. There is a big focus on process rather than product which makes us feel that we can make brave choices without fear of “failure”. This is how theatre, performance and art should be as it allows audiences and performers to grow together! 

Describe your performance/play in 50 words or less (or more), and could you share a favourite moment or even a quote from the piece you are presenting at Rhubarb?

Our performance combines highly visual/tactile elements (including mask, fringe and pompoms) with original sound design and live performance to delve into what it means for our queer bodies to create, gestate, and nurture. 

A quote: “I want to, but I can’t. I can but I don’t want to.”

What are the greatest challenges of presenting at Rhubarb?

Short change over in between shows! We make quite the mess and we’ve only have 5 minutes to clean up before the next act. Luckily the festival provides a great team to help us with this!

Could you define your work at Rhubarb as performance or theatre or any other performing arts genre?

Both Jay and I are trained in theatre but we also both consider ourselves interdisciplinary artists. I would say this piece takes a mesh of various elements - visual art, mask work, movement, burlesque, visual art, sound design - and mixes it all up in one package.

What do you think of Rhubarb as a perennial vegetable? Do you prefer Rhubarb Pie of Rhubarb Crisp? Or is Rhubarb something you prefer to avoid unless it comes in the form of a theatre/performance festival? 

I love rhubarb from the garden. It’s great as a rhubarb crisp, in smoothies and pies... definitely it’s best form is as a performance festival!

How queer is your work?

V. queer and it gets queer-er every damn day. 

Eat Me
February 12-15
8:00pm (9:00pm on Feb 12)
in the Cabaret

A womxn indulges in her endless taste for cake & capitalism. Come hungry; it’s gonna be nasty.

Desirée Leverenz / the conceiver and the body

What attracts you to the Rhubarb Festival as a venue for your particular work?

I love Rhubarb because it is filled with a bunch of artists that are doing really wild work that feels like it belongs on the periphery of all other ar festivals, but at Rhubarb, the periphery is the main subject. 

Describe your performance/play in 50 words or less (or more), and could you share a favourite moment or even a quote from the piece you are presenting at Rhubarb?

My piece is about the white patriarchal world, and the cycle of consumption it traps womxn into: we consume things so that we can become more consumable. 

I don't talk much in my piece, but I love nasty, sexy, foody quotes so my favourite would probably be eat me ;) 

What are the greatest challenges of presenting at Rhubarb?

My piece depends a lot on the audience, and also my stomach.  I eat a lot of cake, and my body can take that differently on different days.  So both the audience, and I are experiencing something new, together, every time! 

Could you define your work at Rhubarb as performance or theatre or any other performing arts genre?

I like the term performance, because it is so broad, and really we are always performing.  I'm also really interested in shaking up form, not really being performance art, not really an installation, not really theatre, I feel like I live in the inbetween of everything. 

Is there something about your performance/play at Rhubarb that you feel is the primary idea that you are trying to get across/share with your audiences?
I don't think I have a primary message or idea, but I am interested in audience reaction and unpacking that.  I think that all responses, interpretations, and opinions are right about my art! 

What do you think of Rhubarb as a perennial vegetable? Do you prefer Rhubarb Pie of Rhubarb Crisp? Or is Rhubarb something you prefer to avoid unless it comes in the form of a theatre/performance festival? 

I actually had rhubarb growing in my backyard as a kid, and once it was ready, we would eat it by sucking on it, and dipping it in a cup of sugar.  In the autobiography of my life, that was a very good foreshadowing moment for my 2020 Rhubarb experience haha! 

How queer is your work?

The queerest performance, with the queerest queerdo performing. 

DesirĂ©e Leverenz, MFA 
Bachelor of Arts in Drama Honours 
Master of Fine Arts in Theatre