Eric Coates is the Artistic Director at Great Canadian Theatre Company
One of the things I most admire about the Fresh Meat Festival is its timing. In a city that boasts a different festival every single day between the months of May and September, these stealthy hepcats have settled into a pair of weekends that are not overwhelmed by the “community engagement” factor.
More importantly, nowhere in their promotions can you find any reference to Canada 150. This kind of altruism on the part of the FMF producers inspires me to new heights of glee, expectation and respect. To whit, I offer this, the full gamut of reflection on the FMF programming for 2017. Friends and neighbours of Hintonburg, pour a craft brew into your hand blown glass vessel of choice, drop a disc on the carousel and groove to the sweet sounds of the Meat:
La disparation created & performed by Anie Richer and Marc-André Charette
En Français with English surtitles. I’m not familiar with Marc-André, but I adore Anie’s work. She tackled her first professional English gig with us last season in The Last Wife by Kate Hennig and nailed it. This piece on the ever-changing dynamic of mother and child will be stylishly and intelligently delivered.
Honey Dew Me devised & performed by Luke Brown and Kyle Cameron
Circa 1975, I remember seeing a man wearing a single earring and a t-shirt with a Gay Pride logo on it. My pre-teen world came to an abrupt halt as I processed the fact that I had just seen an actual gay person. Adding to my confusion was the fact that the world then recommenced spinning without suffering any apparent damage. Messrs Brown and Cameron have intrigued me with their plan to investigate the reality of queer life in the 60s and 70s. Plus, the title.
Le Crip Bleu original concept by Michele Decottignies, created & performed by Frank Hull and Alan Shain
I don’t know Frank, but Michele and Alan have both had a big impact on me, professionally and personally. This show features, in no particular order, two guys, power wheelchairs, and burlesque. Alan is a seriously funny guy and it sounds like Frank is his perfect foil. I may faint with delight.
Beer Buddies written & performed by Michaela Steven
The practice of eating and drinking alone in a pub is not for the faint of heart. Even with my years of experience I struggle with dining alone, the meatball sandwich and a pint of 50 at the Prescott notwithstanding. Come marvel at this human contradiction in terms, dramatized.
Badges created & performed by Lauren Cauchy, Alli Harris and Amanda Logan
A show about Girl Scout badges and, presumably, the nature of measuring one’s worth against a false construct. There’s not much information for me to go on, but I am hopeful that it pulls no punches if it’s tackling the culture of competitive do-gooders.
The ‘I’m Not a Doctor’ Sleep Clinic created & performed by Gabrielle Lazarovitz
In the Little Black Box series, the multi-talented and always engaging Ms. L. will cure your insomnia. Wait – I’m not suggesting that her work will put you to sleep. I’m suggesting the opposite. In a good way. This preview business can be treacherous for those of us who don’t want to irritate the artists.
In-between created by Helen Thai, performed by Franco Pang and Helen Thai
Both Franco and Helen have grabbed my attention through their work with Third Wall Academy and 100 Watt Productions. They are young, keen and fearless, with energy to burn. Exploring “how culture and vitality remains, ripples and reverberates into the next generation”, they are ready to rumble, figuratively and alliterively, it seems.
Holding Mercury created by Kristina Watt
This sounds like extremely vulnerable material from one of Ottawa’s most thoughtful, sensitive and dynamic artists. She seems poised to tackle the most dangerous frontier of all: the human brain. When it comes to the grey matter, Kristina has plenty and I am eager to see what it has hatched this time.
Folie created & performed by Madeleine Hall and Mitchel Rose
Show me someone who doesn’t love foley artists and I’ll show you someone who can’t make a kissing noise on the back of their own hand. If you can’t get excited about these funny, quirky, friendly and productive theatre makers, I suggest that you go back to your parent’s basement and play some more Settlers of Catan. By yourself.
a n X i e t y w o m X n written & performed by Kelsey Rideout
This piece offers no-judgemental compassion as an observational tool. Excellent idea that I wish more people would employ. It also offers the most interesting artist bio to cross my desk in a long while. Her background in International Development at U of G alone is enough to get me there. Go Gryphons!
InSight choreographed & performed by Geoffrey Dollar
Sensory deprivation is all fun and games until you actually live it. I love the courage of an artist who uses external movement to capture deeply internal experiences about sight and sound. Intriguing statement from the artist has me interested.
That’s it! Thanks, to the Fresh Meat folk for their hard work in assembling an exciting program again this year. New work will only thrive as long as we celebrate the impulse to create it. Bravo to all.