Fresh Meat theatre festival weekend 1
Kel MacDonald and Hilary Peck perform Rave Moms. Image: Melody Maloney Photo/Fresh Meat
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Fresh Meat gives Ottawa-based playwrights an opportunity to try out new ideas in 20-minute shows

Fresh Meat theatre festival advertises itself as “a playground for Ottawa’s theatre makers, giving local individuals and collectives of all levels of experience a unique opportunity to test new ideas in front of an audience.” 

The first of two weekends featured five fun and unique shows exhibiting the writers’ new ideas. Some performances that got their start on the Fresh Meat stage have gone on to have lives as full-length productions.

First on stage was Rave Moms, which aims to teach audiences how to rave safely. The education performance was put on by Hilary Peck and Kel MacDonald in the roles of Karen and Sharon.

They encouraged the audience to get on their feet: “if your body is movin’, then your heart is groovin.” Put on in front of a larger crowd, the show might just become a full-on rave. 

Next up was S.C.H.O.O.L., written by Victoria Ricciardelli and performed by her and Seth Thomson. They relive the best parts of growing up and going to school in the 2000s to the soundtrack of Gwen Stafani and “O Canada” remixes.

The show got deep, with talks of nostalgia and the rose-tinted glasses (or shutter shades, for Ricciardelli) we tend to use while looking back on our childhoods.

The third performance of the night was titled Always Because: The Adventures of Maggie & Meghan. I saw the show as an ode to their relationship — the title Always Because seems to be an inside joke between the real-life couple. 

Maggie May Harder and Meghan Burns filled their 20-minute spot with comedy, acapella, hyperrealistic improv, and audience participation.

After an intermission, Milonga Night hit the stage. The production was Lavinia Salinas’s way of expressing her love for Tango, and the self-discovery she found through it.

With less acting and more dancing, the show was fun to watch.

The final act of the night was another ode to Y2K years. In Y2GAYY, drag queen Annie G’Nish goes on a mission back to the year 2000 to stop the Spice Girls from breaking up — it’s the cause of all the misery in her life. 

Annie performed a number of Spice Girls hits alongside Bish Chant, who played the role of Baby Spice.

Before the crowd knew it, the night was over. But Fresh Meat will be back for a second weekend from Oct. 20–22 with a roster of five new performances. You can find the schedule here.

Excuse me while I put some Y2K pop on repeat.