Theatre New Brunswick’s newest pandemic project, Plays2Perform@Home, brings the stage to the living room where participants can perform a series of short plays with family or friends from the comfort of their homes.
Halifax’s Eastern Front Theatre partnered with TNB to come up with creative ways to continue to showcase dramatic talent throughout the pandemic.
Plays2Perform@Home features a box set of four short plays that TNB and EFT commissioned from East Coast playwrights, two of whom are from New Brunswick – Marc-André Charron and Jena McLean.
McLean’s play, It’s Like a Highlight Reel was a product of her COVID-19 creativity.
“It all started when I was just thinking about my life before the pandemic and just being sad about it. I think I’m interested to hear about other people’s best days because I think it’s something that we all have,” said McLean.
McLean’s play has two readers and she hopes that when people perform her play at home, they grow closer together.
“The goal of the play for the two people who have read it together and performed together, [is to have them] put the play down and talk about their best day with each other,” said McLean.
McLean said that the idea of the box set is a “cool idea” because it provides theatre lovers with the tools to create their own productions and bond with their families.
The pandemic wasn’t easy for the Canadian theatre community, McLean said, and that even now theatre seems to be excluded from reopening plans. As a result, many in the theatre industry are still hurting both financially and creatively.
She said that while COVID-19 was a challenging time for the community, it’s also been a time for growth and change. She said with the Black Lives Matter movement and a lot of discussion about decolonizing spaces, there was an effort to make theatre a safe space for everyone.
McLean is excited that this project can be a source of joy for those who love and miss theatre. She said she hopes the box sets will give people “a little taste” of the elements of theatre that have been missing in their lives since the pandemic.
Anyone can purchase the Play2Perform@Home Eastern Box Set, including It’s Like a Highlight Reel or any of the plays on the Eastern Front Theatre website.
“There’s so much you can do in the making of the art to take care of the people who are involved in that,” said McLean. “Even if some of my work right now is just writing in my apartment.”