It only took a few people and some music stands, but the Next Folding Theatre Company took an audience of about 100 on a full-fledged theatrical ride Thursday night at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre for their live audio workshop series.
Instead of props and scenes, there were scripts and performers. Jean-Michel Cliche is one of the producers for the event and says the informal atmosphere is perfect for catching true creativity.
“This is really just an actor, their voice and a music stand so they get to do whatever they want up there. The actors have an opportunity to have a lot more fun and be a little more loose than a regular stage performance,” says Cliche.
A former St. Thomas University student, Cliche has been working with The Next Folding Theatre Company for over a year and he’s done several stage plays with the company, including some collaborative pieces. Cliche says he enjoys live script readings so much because they are less regimented than a fully produced stage play.
“This is the bare bones of it. We’re going back to basics.”
Gordon Mihan wrote one of the plays read Thursday. He submitted his play, The Beavercreek Vacancy, a few months ago and this was his first time seeing it in live action.
“You write one thing in your own voice and they take that voice to fit them. I’m interested to see their take on the character,” he says.
The Beavercreek Vacancy revolves around Fran, the vibrant owner of a sleepy hotel, and her unshakeable freeloading friend Alfred. What ensues during a turbulent rainstorm is nothing short of a curious and captivating tale of suspense, mystery and true friendship.
For Mihan, this was a good opportunity for him to seek out any possible kinks in his work while still enjoying the quirks that come with different players in the acting game.
The work presented has yet to be fully produced and for most of the pieces it was the first time they had ever been read aloud. Cliche says it gives the writers a chance to edit with their ears.
For audience members unfamiliar with Fredericton’s art scene, the event is one of the many ways Cliche hopes to reach more people in a fun and relaxed environment.
“It’s important because it’s New Brunswick and our big mandate is getting these plays that are unexplored out to people.”