Some say it's way better than Shakespeare - Scott Stephenson editorial
Hello there, fellow aficionados of absolutely everything that makes no sense whatsoever! Today, I come to you with a revelation that will shake the very foundations of theatre (and perhaps reality as we know it). Prepare yourselves to be swept away on a rollercoaster of illogicality that even the most inventive playwrights wouldn’t dare to venture upon. For I, Scott Stephenson, have concocted a masterpiece that is poised to redefine the meaning of Canadian theatre. Brace yourselves, dear readers, for I present to you: The Chaff: The Play! (Tentatively scheduled to premiere at the Blyth Festival 2024. Tentatively only because Artistic Director Gil Garratt and the rest of the gang over there at the Blyth Festival are completely unaware of The Chaff: The Play until right…. now!)
Picture this: The curtain rises on a quaint countryside town where characters named Chaffie and Chaffolia engage in philosophical discussions about the meaning of life. Their profound ruminations are interrupted by a chorus line of singing, tap-dancing rutabagas crooning an anthem about the trials and tribulations of vegetable self-expression. Can't you just feel the roots of profundity digging deep into your soul?
In the next scene, the stage is dimly lit, with the only sources of light being old-fashioned desk lamps scattered around an expansive, ornate library. Tall bookshelves filled with dusty tomes reach toward the ceiling, creating an aura of mystery and intrigue. The air is thick with an enigmatic atmosphere as a faint mist curls around the edges of the stage.
Centre stage, a large, ancient book sits open on a lectern. Its pages seem to flicker as if illuminated by an otherworldly glow. Written clearly on the cover - The Chaff.
A lone figure, dressed in tattered and eccentric clothing, stands before the book, their face obscured by a wide-brimmed hat. This character, Dervid Hamson, exudes an air of both knowledge and secrecy.
As Hamson gingerly turns the pages of the book, soft whispers fill the air, as though the words themselves are coming to life. The murmurs are indecipherable, yet they carry a haunting melody that sends shivers down the audience’s collective spine. Hamson’s fingers trace delicate patterns in the air, casting shimmering lights that seem to dance with the whispers.
Suddenly, the book emits a soft, pulsating light, and Hamson’s fingers freeze in place. The whispers grow louder, building in intensity until they seem to echo from every corner of the library. Hamson’s body tenses, and the hat tilts slightly as if they are listening intently to the voices within the book.
A breeze stirs the mist, causing it to curl and twist around Hamson’s feet. The room seems to come alive, as shadows shift and move along the walls. Hamson slowly raises their head, revealing eyes that shine with a mix of wonder and trepidation. With a deliberate movement, they close the book, and the whispers abruptly cease, plunging the library back into silence.
The character stands still for a moment, their hand resting on the closed book. The mist starts to dissipate, and the library’s lights dim further, leaving only a soft, ethereal glow emanating from the closed tome. Hamson takes a deep breath, as if absorbing the weight of the knowledge they’ve just encountered.
Next, a moonlit garden is the setting for a scene brimming with romance. Soft strains of a violin fill the air as twinkling fairy lights cast a warm glow over the scene. A wrought-iron gazebo adorned with climbing roses stands at the centre of the stage, its intricate patterns casting delicate shadows on the ground.
As the music swells, Chaffie and Chaffolia step into the garden from opposite sides of the stage. They are dressed in elegant attire, and their eyes meet with a mixture of nervousness and anticipation. Their chemistry is palpable, and the air seems to buzz with electricity as they draw closer to each other.
With a shy smile, Chaffie extends their hand, inviting Chaffolia to dance. The two begin a slow, graceful waltz, their movements guided by the music’s tender melody. As they twirl and spin around the gazebo, their eyes remain locked, speaking volumes without a single word.
At the climax of the dance, the characters come to a stop, their faces inches apart. Their eyes lock once more, and in that moment, the world around them seems to fade away. They lean in, their lips meeting in a tender and passionate kiss. The music reaches its crescendo, and the garden seems to hold its breath, as if in awe of the pure emotion unfolding before it. And then… KABOOM!!!! They both spontaneously explode and their guts cover the audience (no real guts will be used, only theatre magic). In addition to a buttload of romance, The Chaff: The Play is full of great action sequences.
And there you have it, folks! The Chaff: The Play. Now it’s up to Gil Garratt to deliver what the public is ferociously demanding or forever be branded as the world’s greatest coward.