Prize-winning play readings & audience talkbacks: Infinitheatre’s PIPELINE, Dec. 5-8, Rialto & KIN Gallery

Infinithéâtre’s annual reading series returns with 4 plays, including
the prize winners from this year’s Write-On-Q! playwriting contest

Thursday, December 5 to Sunday, December 8, 2019

Every year Infinithéâtre proudly presents a
selection of its newest discoveries in Pipeline, an annual series of free public
play readings where the audience takes centre stage, offering valuable feedback
that furthers script development and helps choose future seasons. Guy Sprung,
Infinithéâtre’s artistic director, invites the public to be part of the
excitement and share their views from Thursday, December 5 to Saturday,
December 7
at the Rialto Studio and Sunday, December 8 at KIN
. Pipeline is four plays in four days, including the Kevin prize, first place
winner from Infinithéâtre’s annual Write-On-Q! script writing
competition, named in memory of the late Kevin Tierney, renowned Canadian film
producer, Montreal Gazette columnist & Infinithéâtre Board
Member. The playwrights will be in attendance.

This marks the 14th year for the Pipeline reading
series. In its ongoing mandate, Infinithéâtre seeks innovative and challenging
new works by Québec and Indigenous playwrights to bring to the stage. The Write-On-Q!
competition feeds much of the series. Submitting their work are not only
produced playwrights, but also unknown writers including students in writing
programs at universities and theatre schools, along with plays coming from
CEGEP & university professors, journalists, editors, actors,
screenwriters, poets, directors, novelists and various literary award-winners.
The winning and runner-up scripts are selected by an independent jury, chaired
this year by playwright/actor Alexandria Haber, which included Gerry Lipnowski, Patricia Saxton and Marianne
. Juries receive their copies with the names of the playwrights

Artistic Director Guy Sprung is very pleased with the
over 35 high-quality Write-On-Q! entries this year and invites audiences
hear some of Montreal’s finest actors led by talented directors read scripts
that could become future local productions, adding relevant, Québécois theatre to the landscape. Over half of the
submissions this year are from culturally diverse Quebeckers. Said Sprung, “I’m
looking forward to the public readings of four differing, very powerful pieces
of new writing. These are potent, pertinent, controversial and fabulously
written pieces of theatre for audiences to dissect.”

Pipeline professional readings include the winner of Write-On-Q!’s First Place $3000 Kevin Prize—Oren Safdie for Colour Blind and the Second Place prize, $1500—Divide and Rule by Vishesh Abeyratne. Please see below for details about each play and its author.

PIPELINE 2019 at the Rialto and KIN Gallery

Four opportunities for audiences to share their feed back

Pipeline gives the public a unique
opportunity to voice their opinions through lively talkback discussions following each
reading—an important part of any play development. Providing invaluable input
for the playwrights, talkbacks allow the audience to address questions or
issues that the text generates, in a relaxed, open forum with the authors,
directors and actors. Pipeline successes include Battered and Book
of Bob
by Arthur Holden; Oren Safdie’s Unseamly and Mr. Goldberg
Goes to Tel Aviv
; Michael Milech’s Honesty Rents by the Hour; Conversion,
and Trench Patterns by Alyson Grant; Marianne Ackerman’s Triplex
; Michaela Di Cesare’s Successions; Alexandria Haber’s Alice
and the World We Live In
; and Quebec Writers’ Federation’s Playwriting
Prize winner Paradise Lost by Erin Shields.

Thurs. December 5, 7pm at the
Rialto Studio

Our Lady of the Ice by Alyson Grant, directed by Cristina Cugliandro casting TBD

Our Lady of the Ice is set in
Antarctica in a church carved out of ice–much like the actual church called
Our Lady of the Snows–and outside where it is slightly too warm and Aurora
Australis is occasionally flashing even though it’s not the right time of year.
Dead penguin chicks dot the landscape and are also mysteriously showing up on
the altar of the church presided over by a female Catholic priest, one of a
growing number worldwide, all excommunicated. At the centre of the play is the
dead body of a young female journalist who had been working with the priest,
both of whom had clearly gotten too close to systems that are meant to remain
invisible. Things move inexorably towards something that has the feel of myth
while also hauntingly current.

Alyson Grant is a native Montréaler who has had three
plays produced with Infinithéâtre. She has worked at Dawson College as an
English Literature teacher for over twenty years and was for several years a
freelance writer for the Montreal Gazette.

“Pipeline has been of invaluable help in getting previous plays in shape. Working with a director and actors moves the process to that thrilling collaborative stage, and then Pipeline audiences weigh in with what resonates and what does not. The whole process is intense but a gift.”

Fri. December 6, 7pm at the Rialto Studio—Write-On-Q! second place prize

Divide and Rule by Vishesh Abeyratne, directed by Tamara Brown

With: Holly Gauthier-Frankel, Rahul Gandhi and Arun Radhakrishnan

In a thrift shop in British Columbia, a heated exchange between two Sri
Lankan employees breaks out into a fight. Their manager tries to defuse the
situation, bringing intercultural tensions and charged racial politics to the
fore. But there may be more to the conflict than the two men are letting on…

Born and raised in Montreal, Vishesh Abeyratne holds a
BFA in Playwriting from Concordia University. His plays include Indifference
(Newmarket National 10-Minute Play Festival), The Procrustes Pitch
(Between Us Productions, New York), and Exposure (published by
YouthPLAYS Inc., Los Angeles). Vishesh now lives and works in Ottawa, where he
lends his services as a dramaturg to Catherine Ballachey’s Emerging Creators’
Unit. When not writing plays and making theatre, Vishesh works as a proposal
writer helping IT professionals find employment in the federal government.

“All art is inherently political, Infinithéâtre made a bold political statement choosing Divide and Rule; I appreciate the level of gumption. In the face of the Legault government’s xenophobic mischief, I believe that the play’s frank engagement with racism, prejudice, toxic masculinity and the self-serving manipulation of identity politics is distressingly urgent. I’d like there to be an element of finely tuned danger in the room – and laughter. Lots of nervous, uncomfortable laughter.”

Sat. December 7, 7pm at the
Rialto Studio—
place winner, Kevin prize

Colour Blind by Oren Safdie, directed by Philip Akin Cast TBD

Colour Blind is a fictionalized account of the jury
deliberations surrounding the selection of an architect for the Smithsonian
National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The Jury ultimately chose David Adjaye to design the
building. The play
lifts the veil that renders the process of architectural production
bewildering, and invites the audience into the usually sealed-off space where critical decisions
about architecture are made. The jurors consist of a racially diverse cast of
characters that include the museum director and his associate, an architecture
critic and starchitect, and the museum’s treasurer and a
community organizer. Can they all put their personal politics aside and agree
on one design?

Oren Safdie helmed the Malibu Stage Co. where his
off-Broadway/London hit Private Jokes, Public Places debuted. His next
play, The Last Word also moved off-Broadway, starring Daniel J.
Travanti. Other productions include Unseamly, Checks & Balances, The
Bilbao Effect, West Bank, UK, Jews & Jesus and La Compagnie
, which he
developed into a pilot for CBS. Four of his plays garnered a New York Times
Critic’s Pick. As a screenwriter, Oren scripted the film You Can Thank Me
starring Ellen Burstyn, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Newport
Film Festival; and the Israeli film Bittersweet. He has taught
playwriting and screenwriting at the University of Miami, Douglas College in
Vancouver, and California School of the Arts. His most recent play, Gratitude,
will open in New York in 2021.

“Infinithéâtre’s Write-On-Q! playwriting competition has been a great motivator to my writing. Color Blind is my 4th play set in the world of contemporary architecture, but has the least to do with architecture, dealing with issues of racial identity that have recently flared up in the United States and Canada. Things that were appropriate years ago—or even yesterday—are highly inappropriate today. There are those who would disapprove of anyone addressing issues in a culture other than their own. I believe there can be value in getting an outsider’s point of view, if done properly. If not, let the writer pay the price; if writers are restricted from imagining, society will pay the price.”

Sun. December 8, 2pm at KIN Gallery

Mazel Tov by Marc-André
Thibault, directed by Ellen David

With: Alex Weiner,
Patrick Émmanuel Abellard, Elana Dunkelman and Howard

Isabelle is Jewish, Patrick
isn’t. They are getting married. During the celebration, Phillip, Patrick’s
best friend, makes a gesture that is perceived as anti-Semitic. Several guests
are angry, in addition to Isabelle, who strikes Phillip, and seriously harms
him. The wedding is not the one we hoped for. The marriage is even worse…

Since his actor’s training at the Conservatoire d’art
dramatique de Québec, Marc-André has been very active in theater as an actor,
an author, translator, director and producer with the company he created,
Théâtre Bistouri. He likes to tell stories that mix humor and drama, and he
stands out with his frank plays and his sharp dialogue. He also wrote Tout
, and translated from English to French, A skull in Connemara,
Conversations with my Penis, Madra, Being Norwegian and Straight.

“I’m excited to hear my play
in English for the first time. I’d like to hear the audience laugh, and
hopefully to be moved. Simple as that. When I see a show that can make me laugh
and cry, it means I’m 100% into it.” 

On Sunday afternoon, come for the play
reading, stay for the holiday party! RSVP strongly suggested


Pipeline 2019, Thursday Dec. 5 to Sunday, Dec. 8, Discussion to follow each reading

Thurs. to Sat. 7pm at Rialto Studio, 5711 Park Ave.; Sun. 2pm, at KIN
Gallery, 397a Saint-Catherine St. W.

Tickets are free to reserve; a $10 donation at the door is suggested
(limited seating)

To reserve: 514 987-1774 ext. 104 or RSVP online or by email

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