2019 Mainstage Co-Production Announced

NotaBle Acts partner with Solo Chicken Productions’ the coop the present, Fruit Machine.

The NotaBle Acts Theatre Company and Solo Chicken Productions’ the coop are excited to announce that they will be partnering to present the coop’s riveting new work, Fruit Machine, as the feature mainstage production of the 2019 NotaBle Acts Summer Theatre Festival.  The production, created by Alex Rioux and Samuel Crowell during their stint as coop Artists in Residence, is a timely exploration of queer history that was directed and created by a queer positive cast that aims to shine a spotlight on a largely hidden part of our past.

Using physical theatre to interpret historical text and quotes, this new work focuses on the questionable practices of the RCMP that targeted the LGBTQ+ community in the 50s and 60s. One such questionable practice was the ‘fruit machine’, which was said to be capable of determining if an individual was interested in homosexual activity. Fruit Machine shines a light on these barbaric practices and on the unfair treatment of queer individuals in Canadian history. Fruit Machine director Alex Rioux notes that, “Seeing Fruit Machine take the mainstage at NotaBle Acts marks an important milestone in our community where we are finally seeing queer stories take centre stage.  Queer history has often been actively suppressed and erased by the dominant culture and so it is critical to ensure that these stories find a voice and are finally told.”


Preview Tuesday July 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Performances Wednesday July 24 and Thursday July 25 at 7:30 p.m.

All shows will take place at the Black Box Theatre – St. Thomas University – 51 Dineen Drive

Meet the Playwright: Alex Pannier

Alex Pannier makes his NotaBle Acts playwriting debut this season with his play Casualties, a dark, multifaceted family drama directed by Jean-Michel Cliche.

Included as part of our series, Acting Out: Two One Acts Plays, the play pairs perfectly with Greg Everett’s Carrion Birds to create a thrilling evening of suspenseful storytelling.

We had a quick chat with Alex to get his take on this year’s festival, his play and what it means to be part of NotaBle Acts.

Can you start by telling us about your past involvement in NotaBle Acts?

I have been part of NotaBle Acts since the summer of 2016, and I’ve mostly worked as crew and tech, but last year I did act in the festival. This summer is new territory for me, as I’m involved in the festival as both a playwright and a crew member.

What can you tell us about Casualties? Was it something you wrote specifically for the festival?

Casualties wasn’t initially something I wrote for NotaBle, I started writing in a writing workshop class taught by Len Falkenstein last November. However, he did suggest that I should submit it to the festival- and I’m glad that I did! Casualties is a play that explores the dynamic of trauma and domestic conflict from the eyes of the children involved, but takes a nebulous and non-linear approach to the story. The children jump through time into past experiences- one scene they will be children and playing games with each other, and in the next they’ll be teenagers struggling to cope with the severe dysfunction of their household. All this as they circle around a manifestation of their shared trauma that haunts them throughout the story.

What does it mean to you as a playwright to have your work produced by NotaBle Acts?

This is first time I’ve had my writing performed, and it often still feels surreal for me, seeing the actors on stage taking the script and story to wonderful places. The dramaturgy I’ve received both from Len Falkenstein during his class, and from NotaBle’s dramaturge this season, Anna Chatterton, has been vital to this creative process, and I have nothing but gratitude for their guidance.

What’s been the best part of the festival for you so far?

The best part of this festival for me is the capacity of involvement I’ve had in the production process of Casualties as a crew member for NotaBle. It has been very fulfilling to collaborate with the director, Jean-Michel Cliche, and bring both of our artistic visions of the show to life. It’s been wonderful, because for the past few weeks I’ve been waking up every day to go design and construct most of the physical components of the show- essentially, Casualties has been my full-time job. It’s been one of those experiences where it puts a stupid grin on my face every time I think about it.