The show must go on, and SummerWorks sure tried last Thursday, despite the power blackout. The indoor stages couldn't be used, but that didn't stop the writer/performers of the collectively created The Georgian Expedition from firing up an audience of 40 in the parking lot next to Factory Theatre.
And when Anna Chatterton and Evalyn Parry ( Clean Irene & Dirty Maxine ) saw that a show worked in that impromptu outdoor space, the built-in audience - who was going anywhere in that heat, with no public transportation? - stayed for the pair's show, which was slotted for Artword.
High spirits and quality were key components of the 13th annual fully juried festival, with the companies offering lots of strong work. Attendance was down, but blame it on the general malaise hitting Toronto theatres this summer, Thursday's power failure and fear of subsequent rotating blackouts.
This year's NOW Audience Choice Award went to the musical Go-Go Beach , while the SummerWorks Prize for best new play, awarded to the clever, rhyming cautionary piece Clean Irene & Dirty Maxine, gave Parry and Chatterton a slot in next year's festival.
The inaugural Contra Guys Award , a $1,000 prize donated by Benj Gallander and Ben Stadelmann, two of SummerWorks' founders, went to Marion de Vries , author of the powerful one-woman show idiot .
Here's NOW's annual list of the best of SummerWorks:
OUTSTANDING NEW PLAYS
The Wedding Pool; Clean Irene & Dirty Maxine
Wheelwright: A Cosmic Documentary; The Wedding Pool; First You're Born; Clean Irene & Dirty Maxine; What The Thunder Said; Ungeziefer (Vermin)
Chris Leavins (Poster Child); Kelly Bolt (Due Process); Scott McCord (Shooting Penguins); Michelle Latimer (idiot); Kyle Horton (Excess Unwanted Growth); Kate Lynch (Barbarous In Beauty); Tom Barnett (This Way For The Gas, Ladies And Gentlemen)
Blood, Faith And Floodwaters; Present Tense; Wheelwright: A Cosmic Documentary; The Wedding Pool; First You're Born; The Georgian Expedition; Ungeziefer (Vermin)