Show: Tomorrow’s Child.
Playwright(s): Adapted by Matthew Wadel, Eric Rose and David van Belle, based on a short story by Ray Bradbury.
Production company/theatre space: Vertigo Theatre, Ghost River Theatre.
Length: One act (70 minutes, online one is instructed they mayn’t leave the recording and try to sign back on — there is no “intermission.”)
Genre(s): Science fiction.
Premise: Polly and Paul try to deal with the challenges of having a child who is born into another dimension and resembles a blue pyramid with tentacles.
Why this play? Why now?: At a time when theatre is closed due to a global pandemic this was seen as a foray into other media.
Curiosities: If live theatre is visual and performed with live actors why program a program that has almost neither of these elements?
Notable moment: The image in the story of changing triangle diapers on a blue pyramid baby with tentacles, and the character who said, “I need a drink.”
Notable writing: The three writers created a slow-moving story with an unhelpful overlay of “retro-futurism” sound effects.
Notable performances: The only actor I saw on screen was Jamie Konchak, who gave it the “good old schoolgirl try” to set us up to listen to the production as a “Head Audience Services Mech.” I felt compassion for her as she described what the experience would have been were we to have been in the theatre vs. what we were supposed to do to listen to the “show”.
Notable design/production: There were 36 people credited with making this recording including international musical composers, sound techs, an intern, a cultural project manager and a sculpture maker.
Notable direction: In a time when artists are encouraged to try new things and “fail big,” this was a brave attempt to quickly fill the void that live theatre has left during the time of COVID. Kudos to Eric Rose one of the original directors and hosting artistic director Craig Hall for the experiment that shows without a shadow of a doubt that online, streamed recordings will never replace a live theatrical experience.
One reason to see this show: This is usually the last line of the review but since you can’t “see” the show and the “this show” sounds like a recording – I’m really at a loss.
Tomorrow’s Child runs online June 12 and 13 at 8 p.m. For tickets and more information go to vertigotheatre.com.
Caroline Russell-King is a playwright, dramaturg, and instructor. She is a member of The Playwrights Guild of Canada, the Dramatist Guild of America and the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. You can find her work here at www.carolinerussellking.com.