OUTDOOR THEATRE IN CHRISTIE PITS
A traditional nativity story turned upside down
With its diverse cast, playful script and outdoor setting, The Story brings the nativity narrative into the modern age. The play, written by Martha Ross and directed by Jennifer Brewin, has been running for four years — first in Okanagan, B.C., then at Evergreen Brick Works in Toronto.
This year, Common Boots Theatre and Soulpepper are setting the stage for The Story at Christie Pits Park, using the Midtown common space to reinforce the play’s themes of community, multiculturalism and diversity.
The show’s messages are fitting for the holiday season, and Brewin says The Story is especially relevant in today’s global climate.
“The Story is about protecting the vulnerable. It’s about coming together as a community, as a collective, as not an obvious collective either, but we come together to protect and commit to caring for the most vulnerable,” she says. “Through that, we find divinity on earth. We find a way to combat the challenges around us, from the most banal to the most powerful, like the activities happening to the south of us.”
With clever jokes, plenty of action and social justice undertones, The Story is geared toward viewers of all ages. Brewin says the play takes the shape of a modern parable, making it both entertaining and educational for little ones.
“I think it’s a good telling of the story for kids because it’s one of the key stories at this time of the year, but we treat it as a fable, and it’s a social justice fable,” she says. “It’s funny and it’s charming, but there’s also a kind of anarchy about it: the audience follows the action on foot, and everyone spontaneously becomes a community around it, so kids get a certain freedom within a public place .”
The Story will be running in Christie Pits Park from Dec. 11 to 30, and opening night will take place Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Outdoor theatre magic on a cold winter’s night