From Friday, December 2 to Sunday, December 4, 2022, the Centre for Drama, Theatre & Performance Studies (CDTPS) will proudly host its 2022 Directors’ Showcase. Five student directors will present their short plays over two evenings and two matinee performances in a fringe-style festival. This year, the lineup includes Let It Enfold You directed by Bohong Fu, Lunch directed by Chloë Rose Flowers, He Said Yes / He Said No directed by Ohryong (Olivia) Kwon, A Number directed by Valeria Venturo Esaine, and the mark on the wall directed by Liam Peter Donovan.
Given that during the pandemic, the Directors’ Showcase performances were either live streamed or available through video on demand, many students will be able to experience the plays live with an audience for the first time in two years.
“One of the biggest charms of theatre comes from its present-ness,” said student director Ohryong Kwon. “The realization and thrill which I derive from the fact that all of those beautiful dramatic events are taking place before my very eyes at the same very moment that I exist.”
Student director Bohong Fu added that even if the play was online, “I would just have to make different choices, but beautiful choices nonetheless.”
The student directors hope the audience takes away something different from each play. Bohong wants to demonstrate that anything can become theatre.
“Theatre is versatile and it’s beautiful. You don’t need expensive props and equipment to put on a good show. You need creativity and courage.” Bohong added, “We have a great variety of short plays directed by talented people who think differently. I would encourage people to come see these shows without any prior expectations.”
Ohryong aims to show the audience something new, strange, and even weird. “After watching the show, I wish the audience would deem this not as ‘their’ story, but rather as ‘our’ story,” said Ohryong.
Directing a play inevitably comes with its challenges. According to Bohong, “Directing this play is like driving a 2005 Honda. It’s like babysitting a grumpy child. It’s like wearing skates to a roller rink and being expected to perform a 360 spin. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s fun.”
Along with the student directors, course instructor Baņuta Rubess encourages members of the U of T community to attend the Showcase.
“It’s not the plays that are important; it’s the director's vision of these texts,” said Baņuta, “The productions delve into existential anxieties, sexual assault, and big fat moral questions; they peer at the horrors of the future and the trauma of pandemic isolation. And they do all that with a panache and a sense of humour that guarantees a good night out.”
For students interested in directing, there are several opportunities available across campus. Baņuta recommends talking to the student directors for advice.
“Though our directing courses are only one term, they are filled with information and exercises that will give you a solid grasp of what you need to discover next,” said Baņuta.
To find more information on the plays and reserve tickets for the shows, visit: uoft.me/2022DirectorsShowcase.