Something’s Baking

I didn’t bake this bread. But I did help test it.

A comparison could be made to my recent Covid-19 booster, though testing the bread was far more enjoyable than getting vaccinated. And there’s the rub.

On one hand, I experienced the immediate, rich, endorphins-launching joy of consuming freshly-baked bread. For my pandemic-exhausted soul, this was bliss, though maybe at the expense of my youthful waistline (ha!).

On the other hand, I deeply abhor needles and can’t say that I particularly enjoyed any of the three recent experiences I’ve had with them. Though looking at it from the other end, those vaccinations are far better for my long-term health and well-being than the bread.

But look at me; this was supposed to be a post about what Driftwood has (figuratively) baking in the oven.

Though hardly dormant, Driftwood hasn’t enjoyed any in-person, events in two years. But despite the recent return of deep uncertainty wrought by Omicron, we’re on the cusp of just that – the return of our annual Bard’s Bus Tour in the summer of 2022.

We’re choosing to move forward in hope of gathering with you all again in 2022. We’re building plans, re-vivifying our creative spirits, and engaging in conversations about when and how Driftwood Theatre will return to safely sharing space with people and communities across Ontario.

The feeling which accompanies all that work is more akin to the bread than the needles.

So, stay tuned, because very soon we’ll have more news to share (and maybe even more freshly-baked goods).

Jeremy.

P.S. The bread is one of many baking and cooking tests that my wife, Tabitha Keast, and I are embarking upon this month. Because that’s what you do when you buy a B&B in a small town in the middle of a pandemic. More updates about the Benjamin Gillespie House anon.

Diminished Workshop

Hatched over a single night right before the onset of the Covid pandemic in 2020, Gloria Mok’s Diminished is about to wrap up its first full phase of development.

What began as a short, 10-minute piece set among an upper hallway of Whitby’s Trafalgar Castle has emerged as a full length, two-act play which explores the relationship between a precocious and lonely 11-year old girl and a tightly-wound piano tuner.

Playwright, Gloria Mok

When the 10-minute play first premiered at Trafalgar 24 on March 8, 2020, it was both the jury and audience choice for Driftwood’s Beyond the Bard Residency prize. In the fall of 2020, Gloria began work to expand the play, first fleshing out a full one-act and most recently adding a second act to further explore this unique and touching relationship between teacher and student. Gloria’s work has been supported by a dramaturg and regular meetings with members of Driftwood’s Playwrights Unit.

Multiple drafts and many conversations later, Diminished is now ready to welcome more creative partners. During the week of December 6, Driftwood will bring together a group of artists in-person for the first time since that 2020 Trafalgar 24 event. “Not only is this a fitting and highly anticipated return to working with artists in physical space,” explains Driftwood Artistic Director Jeremy Smith, “but it’s also the perfect way to close out this very strange year – working with a fabulous group of people to support the development of a beautifully crafted story.”

We’re so excited to be welcoming director Keira Loughran (Stratford Festival, Canadian Stage), performers Tess Benger (Talk is Free, Bad Hats/Soulpepper) and Jeff Yung (Theatre Centre/6th Man Collective, Young Peoples Theatre, Shakespeare in the Ruff), and composer James Smith (Outside the March, Storefront/Soulpepper) to work on the play. The workshop week will be supported by dramaturg Caitie Graham, Stage Manager Emmanuelle So, and Intern Dramaturg Ella Kohlmann who will also act as Safety Officer.

The week-long workshop will focus on the development of the play’s second act.

Though no public reading of Diminished is planned at this stage of development, keep your eyes peeled for future news about Gloria’s charming, funny and open-hearted play.

Driftwood Digital Short Play Festival Launches October 22, 2021

It’s been a pretty strange year. Never would we have imagined that, nearing the end of summer 2021, we would have replaced our annual summer season of outdoor theatre with not one but three digital projects.

Driftwood audiences can already join Artistic Director Jeremy Smith as he celebrates reconnecting with people and places in Ontario with the Motorcycle Monologues and young viewers can experience the whimsical choose-your-own-adventure tale, Froxeaglousy, for free online through our YouTube channel. But we have one more very special experience to add before 2021 comes to a close: Driftwoods’ first-ever Digital Short Play Festival.

The Digital Short Play Festival collects four short plays currently in development at Driftwood and presents them for free online in digital format. Originally intended as opening-act performances prior to the Bard’s Bus Tour, all four plays were filmed over two days thanks to the generous support of the Toronto Arts Council’s Animating Toronto Parks program.

Ellen Denny’s romantically absurd So You, So I challenges a disillusioned couple to rekindle romance after tragedy bursts their idyllic existence. 

In Matthew Gorman’s Boutique Siblings, a pair of abandoned siblings hope a remarkable skill will be their chance for a better future.

Two unnamed individuals struggle with a tenuous codependency in Rebecca Lashmar’s deliciously dark Fairchild, where ethics and morals are questioned in the face of survival.

Sisters squabble in Rabiya Mansoor’s smart comedy A Jam Kind of Day after a family tragedy forces them each to come to terms with an ill-advised family business decision.  

The Digital Short Play Festival features performers Dhanish Chinniah (So You, So I; Boutique Siblings), Mina James (A Jam Kind of Day, Fairchild), Anand Rajaram (So You, So I), Gabriella Sundar Singh (A Jam Kind of Day, Fairchild) and Athena Kaitlin Trinh (Boutique Siblings).

The festival is directed by Cailleah Scott-Grimes and Jeremy Smith, with videography by Mateen Missaghi and Stella Racca, sound engineering by Ella Kohlmann, editing by Mitchell Allen, wardrobe by Carlyn Rahusaar Routledge and props by Almira Rahmati.

Driftwood’s Digital Short Play Festival will air for free on Driftwood’s YouTube channel, launching on October 22, 2021.

The Digital Short Play Festival is the culmination of a year-long process of development through Driftwood’s Beyond the Bard Playwrights Unit with dramaturgy by Caitie Graham. Driftwood’s 2021 Playwrights Unit is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Lunch menu at the Aurora Armoury