OUT­DOOR THE­ATRE IN CHRISTIE PITS

A tra­di­tional na­tiv­ity story turned up­side down

Annex Post - - ARTS -

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

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