The Yesterday Show
Created by Sam Pomerant
Produced by Lame-Ish (Ottawa)
60m | 14+ | Play
Sam Carter (Sam Pomerant) is in trouble. He hosts a late-night TV comedy talk show. As Sam sees it, he delivers a “silly but thoughtful” show. He puts a lot of thought into it. For Sam, that thinking makes the silliness smart, intelligent, ironic and clever. There’s just one problem: the show isn’t very funny.
Sam puts on a good face, but the network is pressuring him. They’re telling him that he has to connect with Generation Z. But his Tik Tok experiment failed. His show sidekick has disappeared. He has no live audience under COVID-19 rules. And his crew are getting feisty.
The lights come up again to reveal the body of a short, slight young woman lying on the studio stage. Sam is concerned about his ratings: “She’s not dead, is she?”
Suddenly the studio lights dim. There’s a heavy thump in the dark. The lights come up again to reveal the body of a short, slight young woman (Anna Paquin) lying on the studio stage. Sam is concerned about his ratings: “She’s not dead, is she?” Fortunately she revives. Unfortunately for Sam, she exclaims that “it worked”, adding an expletive from the seven words you can’t say on television. Sam wisely cuts to commercial.
The young woman claims she is from the future. She has come to warn the past. Change your behaviour or you face doom, darkness and destruction. Sam is skeptical. Can she offer proof? She tells him that he is secretly working on a book project that will be a career terminating move in five years. She even knows the title of the book. Sam is shaken when he realizes that she’s the real deal.
She calls herself Zed. She wants to use Sam’s show to reach his public to warn them. They have no time to waste to avoid their future. She’s short, slim, hair in braids, didactic, serious… and somewhat lacking in social skills. Any resemblance to person or persons, living or dead, is of course purely coincidental.
Though she wants Sam’s audience, Zed hasn’t realized that she needs Sam in order to reach them. She doesn’t fit into Sam’s modus operandi. He runs a silly show; Zed doesn’t have a silly bone in her body.
But Sam also needs Zed. She’s an opportunity for him to promote his show. Whether his audience believes her or not, having a time traveller on his show, even once, is a “Wikipedia-worthy event”.
But can they find a way to deliver Zed’s message while keeping Sam’s audience onside? Can Sam keep Zed from dropping f-bombs on air? Sam’s way out of his depth, but so is Zed. They need each other to succeed. But what will success look like?
If you like plays where you have to work at understanding what’s going on, shell out your money and take a chance.
Local writer and actor Sam Pomerant has taken on a big challenge—satirizing both late night television and the environmental movement. Fortunately, Pomerant is assisted by Anna Paquin who plays Zed with appropriate zeal, intelligence, naïveté and socially inappropriate behaviour. Andrea Marcus rounds out the cast as one of Sam’s usual vapid guests, the host of “The Indecisive Show”.
Fans of subtle satire should give this show a try. The main characters have more depth than is immediately obvious. If you just want some yuks, spend your cash elsewhere. But if you like plays where you have to work at understanding what’s going on, shell out your money and take a chance.
The Yesterday Show is screening at the Ottawa Fringe Festival until June 27, 2021. Tickets are pick-your-price from $12.50 to $47.50 (100% of which goes to the artists) plus a $2.50 surcharge. Visit ottawafringe.com for streaming information and the complete festival lineup. Read more reviews at apt613.ca/fringe. Shows are on-demand, however the festival’s ticketing platform can take up to 12 hours to email the streaming link. So although there’s no risk of online shows selling out, your best bet is to buy tickets early!