In hockey, a power play is when one team has to give it their best shot in a very short period of time. They have a “man advantage”—a term that has nothing to do with gender, rather it means they have one more player on the ice than the other team—but the clock is ticking and they only have a limited time to make their great play. On May 15th the Cape Breton Stage Company is taking that principle out of the rink and onto the stage.
The idea is to create new theatre. Brand new theatre. The newest theatre around, as it will literally be written hours—if not minutes—before it debuts on stage. Those who are taking part in the event will attend a workshop on the morning of Saturday, May 15th on all the basics of creating theatre: staging, writing, directing, acting, etc. Nothing too fancy, just an intro for some, a refresher for others. After that, everyone will be put into groups and it is up to those groups to create a piece of theatre that will be performed on stage that night.
There will be a theme to all the projects, but that theme is a closely guarded secret at this point. In fact, it won’t be revealed until that morning – no one gets a head start!
The Power Plays! concept works for the Cape Breton Stage Company in a number of ways. For one, the mandate of the group is to produce new local theatre; these pieces will certainly be local and definitely new. It also allows an opportunity for people to try something new. People who have never taken part in theatre can now be a star in their production; people who normally only act will get a chance to write; directors will get a chance to get up on stage; etc. With an idea like this, almost anything can happen. Those who have taken part in events like this can attest to that fact, and will agree that quite often great ideas will come forth during the group work – some of which goes on to further, more developed productions.
However, what the Power Plays! lacks in development time, it more than makes up for with fun, enthusiasm, and experimentation with theatre.
The evening will also be functioning as a membership drive and fundraiser for the CBSC. Everyone who takes part in the event will get a special offer to obtain membership – as well as a few other perks – and all the proceeds will be going toward funding the stage company’s summer season of plays, including Insulate, a new play by Mike McPhee to be staged in June, and the annual Hits the Streets outdoor theatre festival happening in August.
There is yet another side to the Power Plays! event, and that is the side of the spectator. If you simply wish to see these brand new plays, simply come to the Civic Center Round Room, 320 Esplanade in Sydney at 8pm as the performances are open to the public for an admission fee of $5. For those who wish to brave the stage and take part in the full day’s events, the workshops, the group work, and the production, please come to the Round Room at 10am that same day. There will be a $5 entrance fee for participants.
The clock will be ticking, but there will also be some great plays made.