Books

André Alexis releasing 3-part audio drama inspired by COVID-19 pandemic

Metamorphosis: a Viral Trilogy is a story about how a fictional pandemic plays out in Toronto. The story is told from three perspectives through the journals they kept while quarantined. The first episode will be available on Aug. 17.
André Alexis is the author of several acclaimed works of fiction, including the story collections Despair and Other Stories of Ottawa and Asylum. (IFOA)

André Alexis has written a three-part audio drama inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Metamorphosis: a Viral Trilogy is a story about how a fictional pandemic plays out in Toronto. The story is told from three perspectives through the journals they kept while quarantined.

The first episode, Lucretia in Quarantine, will be released on Aug. 17. It is narrated by Bahia Watson and is about a 13-year-old girl who is caring for her seven-year-old sister. To combat her loneliness, she tries to adopt a baby raccoon.

The second episode, Kerri Wonders, is about a 30-year-old woman who takes a pill shortly after the pandemic begins, and chronicles how it changes her life. It is narrated by Becky Johnson and will be released on Aug. 24.

The third episode, Nella at 86, is about an 86-year-old woman living in a long-term care facility when the pandemic breaks out. It is narrated by Diana Leblanc and will be released on Aug. 31.

The project was a production of Toronto-based theatre company Volcano, and will be co-presented by TO Live, SummerWorks and Canadian Stage.

Each partner will release one of the episodes, beginning with TO Live releasing Lucretia in Quarantine.

All three episodes will be free to download.

Alexis is a writer based in Toronto. He has written several novels, including Fifteen Dogs, which won the 2015 Scotiabank Giller Prize and Canada Reads 2017. Fifteen Dogs is part of a quincunx, which also includes the novels PastoralThe Hidden Keys and Days by Moonlight.

Toronto author André Alexis is diving into French literature, and has a tip on how to get into a great trove of archived French arts interviews... including Jean Cocteau and Serge Gainsbourg. 7:09

Metamorphosis: a Viral Trilogy came together when Alexis was thinking of ways to stay creative and work with his partner's daughter, an actor.

"All of this came about as a game played during a pandemic. My partner's daughter, Lea, and I were thinking about a way to keep busy. As Lea is sometimes an actor and I'm often a writer, I decided to write a monologue for her using as a guide my idea of what her 'feral self' might be like. And so, Lucretia was born," Alexis said in a statement.

The other two episodes were inspired by Alexis's own mother and a close friend.

"Though I admit it's odd to imagine people you care for in distress, there is something resonant and strangely comforting in accompanying them through catastrophe," he said.

Corrections

  • The project was a production of Toronto-based theatre company Volcano, and co-presented by TO Live, SummerWorks and Canadian Stage. An earlier version said that all three organizations were involved as a co-production.
    Aug 18, 2020 5:22 PM ET

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