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Fringe in foreground

by Archives January 16, 2002

Eclectic theatre is on centre stage during the fifth Wildside Theatre Festival at the Centaur Theatre. Five short plays are on the agenda.
The idea of the festival is to highlight the work of young Montreal actors and Montreal-based fringe theatre, said Robert Astle, co-producer of the festival for the second year in a row.
“We’re catering to the really eclectic audience base,” he added. He described the plays as “a collection of stories,” the longest of which runs one hour and 10 minutes. “The stories are all compelling, and the actors are all Montreal-based artists.”
One of these plays is The Wild Party, Jordan St. James’ adaptation of a poem by Joseph Monsure March. The action unfolds at a prohibition-era party where guests in their 20s gathered to have a good time, mildly speaking. When the poem was originally published in the 1920s, it was considered so obscene that it was banned. It was only republished in 1994.
Others have made movies and plays based on the poem, but this is the first time ever that an adaptation was written without altering the original text. Director Thom Seivewright said it was a challenge to avoid having the play sound like a long poetry reading.
“This is especially true because there is a narrator in the poem,” he said.
The energy and vibrancy of the actors reflects the enthusiasm they have for performing. They were unfazed by the shrieks of an audience member who somehow missed the many warnings about the mature content and occasionally explicit nature of the act. In fact, they later said it was amusing and that it gave them a kick.

Shows run until Jan. 19. Call the Centaur Theatre Box Office at (514) 288-3161 for ticket prices.

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