By: Rachel Aiello
Right and left brains collided in front of a full house, March 11, at the Algonquin Studio Theatre as budding playwrights had the literary tales lining their minds, cast into front and center spotlight.
In the second installment of this year’s Hothouse play reading series, students from the scriptwriting program got to experience what it’s like having their work showcased on stage.
With help from professional actors from the New Ottawa Repertory Theatre Company, the students had 10 minutes of their script played out and then given audience feedback, to get a taste of the creative process.
“The students really enjoy hearing the words said out loud by professionals, and sometimes they’ll say ‘That’s not at all the way I had thought about it in my head,’ and I’ll say well yeah, the distance between the word on the page and the word on the stage is coloured by the director, the actors and so on,” said playwriting instructor Beverley Wolfe.
The artistic director who added colour to these scripts was Paul Dervis, of NORT. When introducing the lineup, Dervis said the eight students were the “one of the best group of playwrights we’ve had.”
For the scriptwriters, Hothouse is a unique learning experience and an opportunity to workshop the scripts they’ve been working on all semester with seasoned stage actors and crowd critiquing.
“It was like seeing baby up there, every time I heard the audience laugh or the actors nail a comedic line, I was like ‘yes!’” said scriptwriter Valerie Cardinal.
The plays spanned all genres, including crime dramas with a twist, personal conflicts, social commentary and comedy.
“I think its really exciting to see incredibly unrestrained work, we’ve had ones about urinals, ones abut zombies, stuff that exists entirely in someone’s brain. It’s not something you see in theatre often, so it’s nice to see something that’s really unrefined,” said Sarah Stack, classmate of the playwrights showcased.
The hothouse series has been a staple event at the college since 2001, with three readings a year. The first group of plays took the stage on Feb. 4 and the final student scripts will be performed on April 8, where the audience can expect the writing for the stage to tug at their heartstrings and tickle their funny bones.