Tag Archives: Colleen Sutton

ESNPF Review: Short Plays Deliver a Uniquely Entertaining Evening

nto_extremelyshort_brochThe Extremely Short New Play festival defies its comically long title with singularly brief stagings; 10 plays each under 10 minutes in length.

Though some works are stronger than others the overall quality of plays, direction and acting guarantees an evening of diverse entertainment. The playwrights do themselves proud with an impressive array of compositions; stand-outs include Jessica Anderson’s “Terminal Journey“, Pierre Brault’s “Coach of the Year” and a gut-wrenchingly personal account of loss accompanied by innovative staging and technology in Tim Ginley’s “There’s More to the Picture“.

AndrewAlexanderPhoto - EricCraig (Gorilla-Top Job) Colleen Sutton (Tammy-Out of Gas)

Comedic Roles – Colleen Sutton in Out of Gas & Eric Craig in Top Job
Photo: Andrew Alexander

The smorgasbord of theatre – with only 2 or 3 pieces not fully to my taste – left us exhilarated by the ability of the 4 cast member to create such varied and memorable characters. Brian Stewart appears in a staggering 7 performances – managing, with seemingly chameleon-like ease, to keep his characters fresh. Stewart’s sensitive human portrayal of Caleb in Terminal Journey came right on the back of the challenging two-hander Seeing which demanded a broad range of conflicting emotions as an unhinged haunted Intelligence expert grapples with dark thoughts. Maureen Smith and Colleen Sutton transitioned smoothly into and away from the historical characters in Loyal Opposition. Smith toe-tapping impatience was irritatingly authentic followed by her tense unmoving delivery of measured restraint while Sutton’s strengths shone in dramatic roles.

Eric Craig taking to the Ottawa stage for the first time is one to watch; bringing undeniable presence and subtle nuances to his roles we consistently lost the actor finding only the character on stage. As a duty-bound ticket attendant, a grunting primate, a mullet-headed moron or haunted long-haul trucker Craig is in equal measure empathetic, eerie, funny and riveting.   

The balance of comedy to drama demanded some difficult shifts; in particular with the slapstick Denial sandwiched between the night’s two most emotionally-charged works. The comedic pieces at the end of each set however keep the tempo flowing and unite the room with laughter.

Finally, it’s hat’s off to director John Koensgen who sets a fine pace throughout the evening and creates the virtual “space” allowing each time-compressed work to truly shine, for 10 minutes, at the Arts Court theatre.  

E.S.N.P.F
31 October – 10 November (Tues-Sat 8pm)
Arts Court Theatre, 2 Daly Ave.

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10-Minute Theatre @ the Extremely Short New Play Festival

Ever wondered what would happen if writers were asked to come up with gripping yet super-condescended 10-minute plays? Well you’d get the New Theatre of Ottawa‘s Extremely Short New Play Festival!   Starting Halloween night Ottawa’s closest thing to speed date theatre kicks off at Arts Court.

Eric Craig as Gorilla in Top Job & Colleen Sutton  as Tammy in Out of Gas Photo: Andrew Alexander

Eric Craig as Gorilla in Top Job & Colleen Sutton as Tammy in Out of Gas
Photo: Andrew Alexander

That’s right it’s 10 short sharp productions in this the 2nd Annual Extremely Short New Play Festival – a title so long they, thankfully, gave it an acronym E.S.N.P.F.

The festival offers up a varied canapé of productions inviting emerging and established playwrights to present brand new plays under 10-minutes in length.  The flow of the evening is a serving of 5-plays followed by a digestive intermission and a second-helping of the remaining 5 productions. It’s basically theatre tapas so there’s bound to be something to your taste. Curated by ESNPF judges John Koensgen, Mary Ellis and Robert Marinier the 10 selected plays are the winning submissions vetted earlier this year.

Come to the opening on Halloween night where organisers encourage dressing up as your favourite dead author and sticking around for the after theatre reception.

E.S.N.P.F
31 October – 10 November (Tues-Sat 8pm)
Arts Court Theatre, 2 Daly Ave.