Erasing memories, pregnant nuns, dead babies and disenfranchised youths are just a few of the themes being played with at this semester’s SIPA (Student Initiated Production Assignment) Short Works Festival.
“You have all these projects that are directed, written or performed by students and so it’s really just a way to see where the students are and what they’re doing,” explained SIPA writer and performer Josh Williams.
The Concordia festival takes place once a semester, in the fall and winter. This semester’s event runs from March 8 to 11, showcasing four student productions, Naomi in the Living Room, In Memorium, Anonymous Sin and Greedy Graffiti. All but Naomi in the Living Room are student-written shows that run between 20 and 50 minutes.
Naomi in the Living Room was written by Christopher Durang, but is being re-staged by third-year performance and theatre student Kendall Savage. Savage plays Naomi who, along with her family, is struggling to cope with the death of five children. It’s a dark comedy, but one that Savage hopes will shed light on the healing power of laughter.
“I decided to do the play as a part of my healing process.The show itself is about a family who has gone mad due to the death of children and I myself lost a baby last year and I’ve been struggling with it,” she said.
In Memorium is written and performed by third-year theatre students Josh Williams and Vanessa Nostbakken. Based on a fictional procedure called “neuro-synaptic rearrangement,” which can erase your most terrible memories, In Memorium follows the encounter between procedure enthusiast Aries and dissident newcomer Nemo. Aries tries to convince Nemo that the procedure is a positive thing, while Nemo takes the opposite stance. The crux of this piece stems from exploring what kind of world would result from having this procedure available.
Anonymous Sin is written and performed by Charles-Smith Métellus, a fourth-year theatre student. The play tells the story of a pregnant nun who gives up her baby and what happens when 18 years later, that baby finds out the truth. Inspired by a friend’s anecdote about a man who dressed up as a pregnant nun for Halloween, Métellus plays both the nun and her son at age 18.
“I am approaching multiple roles—both roles.They are very contrasting, especially when it comes to a pregnant woman, but I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by an exclusively female production team, so they gave me some input in regard to a woman’s body language, especially that of a pregnant woman. I was also fortunate in my psychology class, to have lectures given by a woman who is about to give birth. So I was able to observe her during the lectures,” said Métellus.
Greedy Graffiti is written and directed by fourth-year theatre student Ariel Lefkowitz, and tells the story of several disenfranchised 16-year-olds who find support in one another’s company. Lefkowitz, who hosts a radio show on CJLO by the same name, is the only director to have cast members from outside the theatre department. The cast members come from the departments of music, history, finance, and marketing, making her show the first cross-department SIPA show.
This show is also the longest of the four, but speaks directly to the Concordia community. It attempts to spread the message about the importance of art and how it’s crucial get out of your comfort zone in order to get your art noticed.
The SIPA/Short Works Festival runs from March 8 to 11. Tickets are $2. Visit theatre.concordia.ca for the full schedule.