In the midst of an unusually quiet summer, the organizers behind the River Clyde Pageant have found a way to present outdoor theatre for times of social distancing, thanks to a collaboration with Nova Scotia’s North Barn Theatre Collective.
Late Night Radio, a new drive-in theatre experience, will be performed in New Glasgow, P.E.I., Aug. 14-16, 8 p.m., featuring some of the lead artists behind the River Clyde Pageant.
Experienced much like a drive-in cinema, Late Night Radio is a socially distant, live theatre performance where audiences listen from their car radios while a spectacle emerges in the landscape before them. Created by theatre artists and puppeteers Ian McFarlane and Laura Stinson, the performance had its world premiere in the Ohio Valley outside Antigonish, N.S., in July. It is being further developed in collaboration with Megan Stewart, artistic director of the River Clyde Pageant, for its P.E.I. premiere.
In the dusk light of a hayfield, a row of cars are parked facing an empty wooden frame, their radios tuned to an FM broadcast. As the radio announcer interviews a radical poet about the end of the world, a cast of characters emerge from the nearby trees. A sunflower opens its eye, a raccoon strikes up the orchestra, and the outside world creeps into our consciousness through sound, image, poetry and song. Dancing in the interplay between dusk and night, hope and grief, Late Night Radio contemplates the consequences of a pandemic, our interrelatedness to the non-human world and our collective stumbling into the unknown.
“The original idea for this piece was conceived when the outbreak of COVID-19 was first taking place in North America back in March,” says Stinson. “At the time, we were on a tour with Bread and Puppet Theater in the northeastern United States when our world was flipped upside down. We thought, we need to keep making live theatre, but we also need to rethink the ways that we can be together.”
Each performance of Late Night Radio can accommodate an audience of six vehicles and four out-of-vehicle groups (up to six people) observing from demarcated, physically distanced spaces. The performance takes place on the pageant site at 2765 New Glasgow Rd., RR #3. Tickets must be reserved online at latenightradioantigonish.weebly.com.