Podcast News

New podcast series 'The Show Must Go On' brings the theatre experience home

PlayME presents a special series of seven compelling plays, bringing theatre to the comfort of your home. Six of the shows had their live runs cancelled or disrupted by COVID-19.

Jivesh Parasram's bold and funny "Take d Milk, Nah?" freshly released

PlayME presents: The Show Must Go On. Culture cannot be cancelled. (Ben Shannon/Farhang Ghajar/CBC)

Theatres across the country are sitting empty in the age of physical distancing — stages dark, curtains drawn. 

But in the face of this great silence, Chris Tolley and Laura Mullin heard a creative opportunity. The co-hosts of PlayME specialize in adapting stage shows into unforgettable audio dramas, so they leapt at the chance to pick up shows cancelled or disrupted by COVID-19. 

The result? A new podcast series aptly titled The Show Must Go On

Starting April 15, Tolley and Mullin will present seven powerful shows, including two world premieres, across a range of genres and written by award-winning playwrights. All will be available for free on PlayME's regular podcast feed

"It's amazing how many shows seamlessly adapt from a stage play into an audio drama," said Mullin in a launch day interview with Metro Morning. The biggest change will be working outside of a professional studio. 

"This is an interesting challenge for us," she laughed. "We're sending microphones to actors across the country and they're becoming their own technicians." 

The podcasters hope their efforts help these great shows find new audiences, and are also happy to put a little money into the pockets of the hard-hit theatre community. 

"We hope you'll enjoy these plays-turned-podcasts while you're isolating at home, and that you'll go see them live on stage when theatres open again," adds Tolley in the intro to the first show. 

Carried Away on the Crest of a Wave

In 2004, the deadliest tsunami in recorded history tore through over a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean. In "Carried away on the crest of a wave," David Yee imagines the people left behind in disaster’s wake. (Ben Shannon/CBC)

The first play-turned-podcast in this series is a timely one.

Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award, Carried Away on the Crest of a Wave weaves together nine evocative stories about the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the deadliest in recorded history. The play illustrates the interconnectedness of human experiences around the world when people are faced with a natural disaster. Yee's characters are also grappling with a global event that affects each of them differently. 

Yee's show, the last PlayME recorded in-studio before physical distancing, was also scheduled to hit the stage at the Arts Club in Vancouver in March. It was cancelled just before it opened.

Part one below. Hear the rest on CBC Listen or wherever you get your podcasts

In 2004, the deadliest tsunami in recorded history tore through over a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean. In a series of vignettes, David Yee imagines the people left behind in disaster’s wake. In Australia, a scientist notes that the planet got smaller the day of the disaster. In Malaysia, two brothers toss family treasures to save their house from descending into the sea. In India, a priest tries to prove that his parishioners were saved by divine intervention.

Take d Milk, Nah?

Maybe identity is just an illusion. But it certainly feels real when you're fighting to belong. ((Ben Shannon/CBC))

The second show this season was set to storm the stage at Toronto's Theatre Passe Muraille, a venue that showcases complex and decidedly contemporary Canadian stories. 

Jivesh Parasram's Take d Milk, Nah? meets that mandate with a self-aware smile. You see, Jiv reluctantly created the first-ever Indo-Caribbean-Hindu identity play even though, as he confesses, he hates identity plays. (Thing is his collaborators advised against a show about marginalization theory.) 

His inventive compromise is a funny and refreshingly candid solo show that seamlessly blends personal storytelling, ritual and heady ideas on what it means to be a multi-hyphenated Canadian today. Also, there's a very dramatic cow birthing scene and that's all we can say about that. 

Part one below. Hear the rest on CBC Listen or wherever you get your podcasts

Jiv is Canadian. Jiv is Indian. And Hindu. And West Indian. And Trinidadian too. Or maybe he is just colonized. In order to explore all these hyphenated identities, he creates the first-ever Hindu-Caribbean-Canadian identity play — even though he hates identity plays. He starts with a brief history of indentured servitude in Trinidad, and his family.

Coming soon

Please note that this lineup is subject to changes. You can find PlayME on CBC Listen, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favourite podcast app.