The McGill Drama Festival (MDF) is an annual event that takes place at Players’ Theatre on the third floor of SSMU. MDF prides itself on its six plays being entirely written, acted, and produced by students, and aims to promote inclusiveness in the McGill theatre community. 2017 co-coordinators Jordan Devon, U3 Arts, and Kaleigh Bourk, U2 Arts, were inspired to take on a major role in the development of the festival because of a strong sense of community.
“[The festival] brings so many people together in the theatre community,” Bourk said. “You get to display student written work, which is the best part about it—just the fact that you’re producing something that your friend in Chemistry class could’ve written. I find that’s the most incredible thing about it.”
Devon stressed that one of the reasons that student involvement in the MDF is so vital is that McGill community allows for a diverse collection of works to be submitted.
“It was so wonderful to be in a cast where the director was studying theatre but the actors were studying political science and biology,” Devon explained.“It’s such a wonderful thing to coordinate a festival where people from all different walks of life come together. You have students who aren’t English majors submitting works and they get the opportunity to have their work seen.”
Former McGill student Cain Humeniuk is the writer of existential drama The Loops. His writing process was the result of nursing the idea for the play in his head for years.
“A lot of the time, you’re trying to write and collect your thoughts that you have on life and the world,” Humeniuk said. “And so, I guess that’s the main point of what I was trying to do [with Loops], is take these philosophical thoughts and idealistic thoughts I’ve had [….] It’s really telling my experience of spirituality, individuality, and existentialism.”
MDF’s support of student work is further exemplified by the annual Colin Krivy Award. Years ago, Colin Krivy was involved in theatre at McGill. After his death in 2004, the Krivy family set up a fund of $500—awarded to the best playwright of the festival. The winner is determined by three judges, one of whom is a family friend of the Krivys and the other two are faculty members in the Department of English.
One special aspect of the event is the connections and relationships that develop amid the spirited work required to put it all together.
“It becomes like a huge family,” Devon reminisced. “It’s such a lovely experience to bond with so many people from different environments.”
The Ever Present Witness by Maddie Joliffe
A 1950s nuclear family is not what it seems. Maintaining their cool façade proves to be difficult as double lives and secrets become increasingly dangerous.
Joshua by Laura Jarecsni
Joshua illuminates the universal stress of trying to fit in through the experiences of Jesus Christ.
The Original by Daniel Galef
The Original follows the lineage of ancient entertainment and modern pop culture through adaptations of theatre classics such as Romeo and Juliet and A Comedy of Errors. Epochs and genres clash in this musical adaptation of literary and theatrical history.
Loops by Cain Humeniuk
Time is thrown for a loop in Loops. In this play about the human condition and the nature of knowledge, the protagonist must decipher a sudden shift in scenery and escape before time runs out.
The Mixer: A Fratire in One Act by Benjamin Butz-Weidner
This one act play lampoons the debauchery of frat culture in an absurd, Hangover-style adventure.
The Meeting to Save Goody Diana by Michaela Kim
This postmodern take on the Salem Witch Trials calls into question individual and historical actions, the supernatural and magical, and the cruelty of humankind.
The McGill Drama Festival runs March 29 to April 8 at Player’s Theatre in the SSMU Building. Tickets are $6 for one night of three shows, and $10 for a festival pass, which provides access to each show once on any day. For a full schedule visit the Players’ Theatre’s Facebook page. Tickets can be reserved by emailing [email protected].