For the first time in its five year history, Merridale Showdown presents Actor Showdown.
Seven thespians get up to seven minutes on stage to perform a monologue or excerpt from a one-person play. The audience votes, and the winner receives $100 cash, the crown and the chance to return in the fall to compete against all the 2015 winners in the Grand Finale.
Performers slated to compete include Morgan Cranny, Drew Farrance, Maxine Fraser, Daniel Belkin, Andrew Wade and Amy Culliford.
The second act features the Victoria premiere of Solo Journeys, a short comedic play written and directed by Showdown’s host Kirsten Van Ritzen. Solo Journeys, lovingly mocks the cliches of one-person plays and feminist fringey theatre festivals.
“It comes from a place of love,” says Van Ritzen, a veteran of fringe and one-person shows. “As the Showdown is featuring one-person performances in act one and normally act two is non-competing, I thought I’d dust this one off and cast the five roles for women, with a chorus and bongos and a lot of shrieking and running around with red ribbons.”
In early 2015, the script was selected as a semi-finalist by Little Black Dress Ink’s Onstage Project, a U.S. playwriting competition.
“It tackles some pretty serious issues but we’re not making fun of the issues as much as the way the festivals take themselves so seriously,” she says.
Van Ritzen is currently challenged with bringing her creation, which includes mime, Malaysian shadow puppetry and Bavarian polka to life.
“We don’t have much time so I’ll probably give them each a monologue to memorize and come back to figure out how to put the rest of it together.”
Van Ritzen is a member of the Playwrights Guild of Canada; her solo play All My Day Jobs is published in One For The Road (Signature Editions) and she has two full-length plays in development.
The Showdown takes place on the third Sunday of every month, with a different theme or genre of performance. Genres celebrated so far include Broadway, Funny Women, Drag Queens & Kings, and Musicians. The Sept. 20 show will be a Puppet Showdown, email firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.