National Theatre of the World's Matt Baram, Ron Pederson and Naomi Snieckus (Skye Regan)
.... what ensued was magic and hilarity. As always, this is improv, so your results may vary - but National Theatre of the World were in fine form walking in Mamet's shoes on Wednesday
—Joff Schmidt, CBC Theatre Reviewer
So here's a dilemma -- you're a theatre company whose mandate is to produce Jewish (or at the very least, "Jew-ish") theatre... and you want to be part of a January theatre festival... but the existing theatre festival is focused on a playwright who's not Jewish. What do you do?
If you're Winnipeg Jewish Theatre, you start your own festival.
Hence, the cheekily-named "Tribefest" - which kicked off its first part Wednesday night, and continues on with another round of theatre events in February.
Part two starts on February 9 with a pay-what-you-can panel discussion exploring the question, "What is Jewish theatre?"
The next night features readings of new plays by locals Bruce Sarbit and Ginny Collins (admission is free). And the festival wraps up on Feb. 11 with another pay-what-you-can event, Neurotica: An Evening of Short Plays based on the themes of "Something Jewish" and "Something Eros."
As for this week, Tribefest kicks off with Impromptu Splendour, the show from the also-cheekily-named National Theatre of the World, a Toronto comedy troupe whose core members are Ron Pederson (who was on MadTV for three seasons) and Second City alumni Naomi Snieckus and Matt Baram.
NTOW's specialty is play-length improv. So this week, in a clever nod to the Master Playwright Festival, they'll improvise a play in the style of a different writer each show -- Harold Pinter (Jan. 26), Woody Allen (Jan. 27), and Neil Simon (Jan. 29).
But they kicked off Tribefest in style on Wednesday night with a nod to one of contemporary theatre's most popular playwrights - famed potty-mouth David Mamet (known for plays like Glengarry Glen Ross, American Buffalo, and Speed-the-Plow).