Theatre Preview: Hidden Insanity branches out with evening of three one-act plays

Amanda Chapman’s bio on Hidden Insanity Theatre’s webpage reads: “[Chapman] is currently the artistic director of Hidden Insanity due to the fact that she is loudly opinionated on what is ‘good’ and what is ‘crap’ in theatre.”

This is reassuring considering the ambitious nature of Hidden Insanity’s latest project. The theatre group is pleased to be presenting an evening of three one-act plays; Prisoner’s Dilemma by Sterling Lynch, Root of All Squares by Sam Varteniuk and Award for Excellence, a collaborative effort on the part of both playwrights. The three plays are radically different in nature.

“Each of the playwrights is very good at what they do,” insists Chapman. “What is amazing to me is that two people so totally different in terms of style can find a way to work together.”

Prisoner’s Dilemma confronts two kidnapping victims with the difficult choice of betraying one another or staying together. A series of thought provoking consequences result depending on what they choose.

“This is a very philosophical kind of play,” explains Chapman. “It asks questions about the bigger picture. We included an intermission between this play and the next to give the audience some time to think it over.”

In contrast, Root of All Squares takes a more comedic approach. Here the nature of property rights and the value of people are performed against a minimalist stage.

“[It’s] a hilarious example of very fast paced sketch comedy,” Chapman says describing of the winner of the ‘Best New Script’ award at the Toronto Fringe Festival.

Award for Excellence looks at what happens when a design company wins an award for excellence, and who at the company is really is deserving of the recognition.

“It is a nice play that ends on a humourous and upbeat note,” Chapman affirms.

Staging such a production isn’t an easy task. Instead of the normal problems though, the biggest challenge stemmed from a pesky virus.

“There were definitely a few challenges along the way, everyone came down with the flu,” Chapman laughs, pointing out it wasn’t the mixing of material causing her trouble. “The plays are so different, if you don’t like one, wait 20 minutes and the tone will change.”

Hidden Insanity Theatre enjoys promoting local talent. Many of their actors and crew are University of Calgary students and alumni and the playwrights are Alberta locals as well. They also strive to offer the community fresh and diverse theatre selections.

“We enjoy doing something different, and we don’t want to just do shows for the blue hairs,” Chapman maintains.

Prisoner’s Dilemma, Root of All Squares and Award for Excellence look like three great excuses to get out and see some up and coming local talent in Calgary.

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