nancy drew (without a clue) concept by Anna Chatterton, Sue Miner and Evalyn Parry, based on excerpts from Clue In The Fast Lane, by Ann-Marie MacDonald and Beverly Cooper, with Chatterton and Parry. Through Sunday (February 8) at 8:30 pm.
Now in its 26th year, Buddies in Bad Times' alt theatre fest serves up tasty faves from the past and introduces a bumper crop of tart new works. Here are four plays to make your mouth water.
A festival of new and revived works. Buddies in Bad Times (12 Alexander). Runs through February 22, with weekly program changes, Wednesday-Sunday 8 pm. $15, week pass $20, festival pass $40. 416-975-8555. buddiesinbadtimestheatre.com/theatre_retrorhubarb.php
Sue Miner is calling her latest play The Mystery Of The Hidden Script. She's directing and helping to adapt Clue In The Fast Lane, Ann-Marie MacDonald's and Beverly Cooper's 1984 parody of Nancy Drew books.
The mystery? How to get a 100-page play for seven characters down to 12 or 15 pages.
"Evalyn Parry came up with this idea that since we have a sixth of the time to perform the play, why not do every sixth page?" laughs Miner, who directed Parry and co-adapter/performer Anna Chatterton's Clean Irene And Dirty Maxine last Rhubarb!
"We've ended up going through and picking out scenes that we really liked, focusing on two main characters. We hope to have the essence of the original captured in 25 minutes."
One of her main directorial tasks is suggesting two time periods, the 1950s of the original girls' mystery novels, complete with their blatant racism, and the 1980s of the play.
"The big thing is getting Evalyn's hair to flip in the most perfect way," laughs Miner.
Hair is a big deal in the show, not least because Nancy Drew books begin with a description of Nancy as "slim, attractive, smart and with Titian hair."
"Luckily," quips Miner, "Evalyn does have Titian hair."
Another challenge is trying to make the play active.
"Because it's based on the novels, there's a lot of talking. A big joke is that there's so much exposition. But we've found a story arc. When things didn't make sense, we simply found lines from other places in the script." RETRO RHUBARB! A festival of new and revived works. Buddies in Bad Times (12 Alexander). Runs through February 22, with weekly program changes, Wednesday-Sunday 8 pm. $15, week pass $20, festival pass $40. 416-975-8555. buddiesinbadtimestheatre.com/ theatre_retrorhubarb.php