The weather may be starting to cool, but Hamilton’s theatre scene is heating up with an exciting selection of live performances this autumn. Get ready to warm up at McMaster’s Robinson Memorial Theatre courtesy of Tottering Biped Theatre’s curated series of shows celebrating acclaimed local and national talent.
The series kicks off from October 21-23 with the world premiere of No Big Deal, a new show produced by Roseneath Theatre and penned by award-winning Hamilton Playwright Michael Kras. No Big Deal tells the story of two high school friends working a summer amusement park job, and the roller coaster their friendship goes through as they navigate modern manhood.
“I think this is a uniquely tumultuous time to be growing up in Canada and the world in general, and I’m very moved by the tenacity and spirit of our youngest generations who are trying to find their way in a world that has such a frighteningly uncertain future,” says Kras. “Young people are more lively, inventive, funny, resourceful, emotionally mature, and intelligent than they often get credit for, and I like to honour that in my work with character-work and language that’s extremely playful and dynamic and surprising, while also being very grounded and nuanced.”
This fall sees No Big Deal touring Ontario high schools along with its stint as part of Tottering Biped’s season, ensuring it reaches the audience it most reflects. This is far from Kras’ first foray into the trials and triumphs of younger protagonists—among his repertoire, his 2018 play, The Team (developed at Theatre Aquarius), exploring the rich and often challenging lives of a high school girls’ basketball team, earned Kras a Herman Voaden National Playwriting Prize. But despite the young characters at the heart of much of his work, Kras aims for his plays to appeal to everyone.
“So often adult audiences will come into a [theatre for young audience] play expecting to view it from a distance, and are startled to discover how deeply they relate to the story and characters. We’ve all been young before, and regardless, so much of what young people deal with today is relevant to all of us, no matter how old we are,” says Kras. “When we see ourselves onstage, and we’re tickled or disturbed or moved by a story, I think we’re more compelled to thoughtfully engage with the big ideas and challenging discussions a play provokes.”
Following the premiere of No Big Deal, Tottering Biped welcomes Tita Collectives’ Tita Jokes to the Robinson Memorial Theatre. Running from November 11-12, Tita Jokes is a musical comedy exploration of Philippine diaspora presented by an all-Filipina collective. Rounding off the series is MT Space’s much-lauded The Last 15 Seconds, which tackles terrorism through the eyes of real-life victims, filmmaker Mustapha Akkad and his daughter Rima.
“It’s so thrilling that Tottering Biped Theatre will be presenting this series of professional theatre in Hamilton! The fact that local audiences will get to see a diverse and exciting range of productions by acclaimed companies like Roseneath Theatre, Tita Collective, and MT Space all under one roof this fall is a pretty rare opportunity, and I’m honoured that my work is part of it,” says Kras. “We’re lucky to have a hometown professional theatre in Theatre Aquarius, but Hamilton is a big city with plenty of space to bring even more of the latest and greatest in Canadian theatre to a hungry local audience. I hope this series presented by Tottering Biped is a meaningful step towards more of that.”