2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: The Miserable Worm

3 Jul

04-26-2017-202111-2338Your name: Justine Christensen

Your production: The Miserable Worm

Your role: Adapter-Writer, Performer, Producer

Tell me about your show.

Platonov will be shot tonight– but, by who? And why? Anton Chekhov’s first, title-less play about the downfall of the smarmy intellectual-playboy Platonov has been adapted many times since the script was discovered in a bank vault in the 1920’s. Our version, The Miserable Worm, reduces Chekhov’s original six-hour melodrama into a 55 minute rapid-fire tragi-farce, focusing in on eight characters. Gender-bending casting, an original score, and much laughter can all be expected from this brand-new adaptation of a Russian classic, set in a Rosedale mansion on a hot summer night.

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

Gender-bent tragi-farce The Miserable Worm is an adaptation of Chekhov’s peculiar “untitled play” about sex, death, and nostalgia. #exciting

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

Monsters by Nature: A collectively-created new work produced and performed by a group of kick-ass women, The Kindling Collective. Happy Birthday Benjamin Holloway: Three George Brown peers created a show together– they’re excellent performers with tons of comedic chops. MEANT: A brand-new Greek-inspired musical, composed by and staring Worm’s musical director, Lucas Penner. Plague: a sic love story: Two Sudburian talents perform a play by Sudburian playwright Matthew Heiti. Edgy Canadian work! Rise/Fall: Site-specific, politically on-the-pulse, charged and challenging– looking forward to the experience.

This year we lost the great Jon Kaplan who was a incomparable supporter of independent theatre and a ubiquitous presence at the Fringe. Are there any thoughts, stories, or memories of Jon you’d like to share?

Jon was cared so much about the theatre community in this city that he made it a point to have a Q&A with the second year actors at George Brown every year. During my class’ season, Jon attended several of our plays and reviewed them for NOW, providing us with an introduction into the theatre ecology of this city. I feel very lucky to have met him, particularly at a time in my training when I was experiencing doubt. When I asked him, “Why make theatre?”, he replied that he always loved theatre because plays taught him new things, or reminded him of things he had forgotten. A truly kind person who cared deeply about the work.

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

This is general, but I think it’s true: if the team of Nightwood could access young women in the third world, the result would be a a ton of rightful empowerment.

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