HAPPY ? by Celia McBride and YOU ARE THERE by Wes Berger, directed by McBride, w/ Eric Goulem, Megan Dunlop, Michael Rubenfeld and McBride. February 13-17 at 7:30 pm.
it's a big jump from a rhubarb!curtain-raiser to a premiere at the Stratford Festival, but writer Celia McBride feels up to it.She's written and directed Happy ?, which opens Rhubarb!'s second week on a double bill with Wes Berger's You Are There, a pair of five-minute shows that play with the idea of dysfunctional families.
Then she begins polishing Walk Right Up, one of several commissions for Stratford's 50th season, opening in August at the festival's new theatre space.
"I guess all three scripts deal with families in trouble, though I like the word "damaged' rather than dysfunctional," notes McBride, a National Theatre School grad whose play Cardboard Box, about a family of three living in a cardboard closet, was a tasty Rhubarb! curtain-raiser last year. She often directs and performs in her scripts, as she's doing again this time around.
"When people ask why I perform and direct as well, I say it comes from a desire to work on all those different creative sides of a show; there's no ego or control thing happening.
"And I love the challenge of writing a short work like Happy ?, about a wife trying to get her husband to wish for a job on his birthday. There's something about precision that's vital in a brief script. I have to focus on enunciation and stillness, and that seems to work well with scripts about the disconnection in families."
RHUBARB! FESTIVAL several dozen new works by Canadian artists. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander). Opens Wednesday (February 6) and runs to February 24, Wednesday-Sunday 7:30 pm, new shows each week; Under 21 readings February 15 at 7 pm; Director Lab February 24 at 11 pm. $15 day pass, $20 week pass, $40 festival pass, $8 for 10 pm shows, Under 21 and Director Lab pwyc. For details, see listings, page 62. 416-975-8555.