Claire Calnan (front), Kawa Ada and Christine Horne helped heat up the award-winning Iceland.
Despite what the song says, one isn't the loneliest number.
At least not at this year's SummerWorks, where solo performances and monologue-based productions were the big winners in terms of festival prizes, houses and critical acclaim.
A highlight of the fest, in fact, was Mani Soleymanlou's One/Un, a poignant show in which the Montreal-based writer/performer explored his heritage and journey from Iran to Paris to Canada.
Other first-class one-person shows included Cliff Cardinal's wrenching yet comic Huff, Johanna Nutter's warm-hearted My Pregnant Brother and Astrid Saalbach's Pietà, featuring a superb performance by Tamsin Kelsey.
Other excellent productions, like Nicolas Billon's Iceland and Mark O'Rowe's Terminus, featured several actors but gripped audiences through the use of monologues.
Running from August 9 to 19, the expanded 22nd annual SummerWorks featured live art, music, performance and 41 theatre productions, drawing an audience of over 20,000 to the Queen West strip between Bathurst and Dufferin.
Mani Soleymanlou's One/Un was a one-of-a-kind look at identity.
Many of the works were dark in narrative and theme. Both Ajax (Por Nobody) and Big Plans featured castrations and other bloody episodes, while characters in Breath In Between and Big Plans advertised on the internet for someone who wanted to be killed; both ads succeeded.
At the closing night party, artistic producer Michael Rubenfeld presented several juried prizes and the NOW Audience Choice Award.
The outstanding production prize, a slot in next year's festival, went to Outside the March's Terminus, directed by Mitchell Cushman. Iceland won the Contra Guys Award for outstanding new performance text; two SummerWorks founders, Benj Gallander and Ben Stadelmann, support the prize.
The National Theatre School Award for design went to 2b theatre's When It Rains, while the Buddies in Bad Times Vanguard Award for risk and innovation went to Cardinal for Huff, with Kitchenband's Petrichor taking honourable mention. The Canadian Stage Award for direction went to Tanner Harvey for Big Plans; Jeremy Taylor, author of Big Plans and director of My Pregnant Brother, picked up the Theatre Centre Emerging Artist Award.
Iceland, directed by Ravi Jain, received the NOW Audience Choice Award.
Sometimes there was so much talent on display that the jury recognized several artists. MotionLive in association with cric crac collective snagged the RBC Arts Professional Award for Aneemah's Spot, while honourable mentions went to Aislinn Rose for Fierce Monsters and France, Or The Niqab and to Renna Reddie for Iceland.
The Spotlight Award, given to a featured performer, was split three ways: Ron Pederson (Extinction Song), Tamsin Kelsey (Pietà) and Terrence Bryant (Terre Haute).
Here's NOW's annual list of the best of the fest:
OUTSTANDING NEW PLAYS:
Iceland; Huff; Breathe For Me; One/Un; When It Rains
Terminus; Iceland; Breathe For Me; France, Or The Niqab; Big Plans; When It Rains; Terre Haute; Medicine Boy; Dumbo Squid; Huff; One/Un; My Pregnant Brother; Pietà; Ajax (Por Nobody)
Johanna Nutter (My Pregnant Brother); Ron Pederson (Extinction Song); Tamsin Kelsey (Pietà); Rosemary Dunsmore and Jonathan Widdifield (Haunted); Antonio Cayonne and Stewart Legere (I, Animal); Clinton Walker (A Thousand Words); Monica Dottor (Petrichor); Cliff Cardinal (Huff); Mani Soleymanlou (One/Un)
Iceland; Terminus; Ally & Kev; Breath In Between; Breathe For Me; France, Or The Niqab; Violent Be Violet; Dutchman; A Song For Tomorrow; When It Rains; Big Plans; Terre Haute; Ajax (Por Nobody); Medicine Boy; Aneemah's Spot; Dumbo Squid; The Hearing Of Jeremy Hinzman
Mitchell Cushman (Terminus); Ravi Jain (Iceland); Brendan Healy (Breath In Between); Sarah Garton Stanley (Pietà); Ed Roy (Breathe For Me); Philip Akin (Violent Be Violet); Gein Wong (A Song For Tomorrow); My Pregnant Brother (Jeremy Taylor); Tara Beagan (Medicine Boy); Anthony Black (When It Rains); Sabryn Rock (Dutchman); Alistair Newton (Terre Haute); Zack Russell (Ajax (Por Nobody)); Karin Randoja (Huff); Richard Greenblatt (The Hearing Of Jeremy Hinzman)
Akiva Romer Segal (Ally & Kev); Amy Keith and David DeGrow (Pietà); Nick Blais and Richard Feren (Terminus); Nick Bottomley, Christian Barry and Leesa Hamilton (When It Rains); Jane Dunlop and Jeremy Powell (Ajax (Por Nobody)); Joseph Pagnan, Gareth Crew and John Gzowski (Dark Locks)