World theatre day goes high-tech

Most people have put up their white flags of defeat when faced with the raging war against the wonders of technology. While it doesn’t look like things are headed backwards on the timeline anytime soon, some ideas still leave us scratching our heads in bewilderment. This includes developments that take everyday experiences and converts them into virtual endeavours, such as reading a magazine on an iPad or even having a date over Skype.

With that said, the folks behind the all-theatre website the Charlebois Post are looking to up the ante with the launch of Twee-atre season by allowing audiences to witness live short plays from the comfort of their computer screens.

As one may astutely suspect, Twee-atre claims the realm of Twitter as its stage, its plays performed for an audience of theatre fanatics and social networking buffs alike.

Simply by following the Twitter feed @gcharlebois, audiences can experience theatre in a way that even those in the most radical of Shakespeare performances would have never imagined.

The game is simple: the director – Charlebois Post founder Gaëtan Charlebois – starts the two unsuspecting playwrights off with an opening scene comprised of a location and characters, and allows them to roam free for the next 15 minutes for a surprise-filled ride.

How much fun and outlandishness can ensue from 140 characters? According to Charlebois, a lot more than some may expect.

“For our first outing I posited a funeral parlour and expected a monologue,” he said. “And instead, we got a talking corpse.”

The idea behind Twee-atre grew from far more organic grounds than its virtual execution. Charlebois was looking for ways to promote MELT (Montreal English-language theatre) when he stumbled upon tweeted classics, a project where works of literature, such as Romeo and Juliet, were recounted in a mere 20 tweets. The only thing missing was playwright participation, and that’s when a light bulb went off in Charlebois’s head. “I knew we had playwrights in and around CharPo and… ah ha,” he said.

This is the first foray into live-action writing for the most of the playwrights, and Twee-atre offers advantages that are not normally found in pen-to-paper compositions.

Charlebois remarked that the playwrights benefit from things such as “reaching a reading audience immediately and not having the time to think something to death – the playwright’s lament – while at the same time walking the tightrope of collaboration.”

With World Theatre Day coming just around the corner (March 27 – mark your calendars, kids), there seems to be no better time for experimentation than right now.

“We were actually aiming at WTD from the first work,” explained Charlebois. “We wanted to do something special and decided to test the concept once or twice before going ‘international.’ The performance [for] WTD will be longer and have more playwrights.”

Ultimately, the pot of gold at the end of Twee-atre’s journey is as simple and heart-melting as that of any conventional performance.

Charlebois’s hope is that local writers will gain exposure to a worldwide audience. “We hope that] people worldwide see MELT and think: ‘I barely knew they existed before and now I also know they are good!’”

And as World Theatre Day creeps closer every day, there is nothing for Twee-atre to do but grow and gain even more exposure.

“We registered on the WTD site, and slowly CharPo’s Twitter feed started to get followed by people and groups from the UK and the States,” said Charlebois. WTD participants can list plans for their local event at the site and share photos and footage. Some activities include flash mobs, theatre competitions and panel discussions. Participating locations include Ottawa, New York City, and Romania.

Future audiences can rest assured that they are in for what Charlebois called “a wild ride” at a Twee-atre performance, with no last minute ticket-purchasing or fighting over the arm rest with fellow spectators required.

Yet at the end of the day, what does such an event reveal about the ways of modern-day theatre-goers? Charlebois seems to have a few ideas.

“That we want to get together any way we can,” he said. “That we want to share any way we can.”


Events for World Theatre Day are compiled at

Editor’s note: The Concordian editor-in-chief and arts editor are occasional contributors to the Charlebois Post.



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