Unravelling the Ligatures of Ashley Smith

Ensemble in Melanie Bennett’s From Solitary to Solidarity: Unravelling the Ligatures of Ashley Smith. Directed by Andy Houston. Set design by Gill Lesperance. Costume design by Sharon E. Secord. Lighting & Video design by Paul Cegys. [March 2014]

The Department of Communication Arts produces a series of performances each year created by faculty, students, and visiting artists. Performances are open to the public. Please join us!

For media information, contact Janelle Rainville


UpStart 20 

UpStart 20

Upstart20 Poster

The Upstart Festival is a juried one-act play festival produced by the Theatre and Performance program. All the plays are written, directed, designed and performed by students.


Wednesday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m.

Friday, March 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, March 21 at 7:30 p.m

Cost: $15 General Public / $10 students & seniors / $5 eyeGO

The three plays that make up the festival are:

All Art is Quite Useless

Book, Music, and Lyrics by Gaya Bin Noon and Cameron Slipp

Directed by Michael Klein

Musical Direction by Peter de Sousa

Based on the original 1890 edition of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, this new musical explores the first published version of a text that was later significantly edited to remove passages deemed “indecent” in nature. The story focuses on the relationship between Basil Hallward, a society painter, and a young aristocrat named Dorian Gray. When Basil presents Dorian with a painting he has created of him, Dorian despairs that the portrait will stay the same as he ages, and enters into a Faustian bargain to preserve his youth. As Dorian begins a descent into pure hedonism, Basil grapples with expressing himself both as an artist and a gay man in Victorian England, where homosexuality was criminalized. Basil’s struggle parallels Wilde’s own personal struggle that ended in his arrest, after a series of trials where the first edition of Dorian Gray was used against him in court.

Bitter/Sweet Fools 

Written by Joanna Cleary

Directed by Monica Duriak

“Dost thou know the difference, my boy, between a bitter fool and a sweet one?”

– Shakespeare, King Lear (1.4.141-142)

Set on the last night of Elizabeth I's reign, Bitter/Sweet Fools follows a family struggling to forgive each other for the memories they share of a tragic accident. When Agnes visits Tom, her mentally and physically disabled son outcasted from society because of the part he played in his younger sister Elizabeth's death, she is prepared to make a decision from which she won't be able to recover. However, her resolve begins to waver as Tom earnestly insists he is looking after the ghost of his sister. Love and shame take turns outweighing one another while the ghost of Elizabeth, chasing a mystical sun, weaves in and out of her past. As all three characters slowly come together to tell the story of their disjointed family, their identities are shaped in ways that will forever alter them. 

Things we lost in the Aftermath

Written by Alexis Joy Nagum

Directed by Mira J. Henderson

Something irrevocably changed one night in a cabin by the lake for Zac and his friends. Though Zac’s memory of that night is fragmented, he knows his childhood friend Marni is the key to a clean resolution. Unbeknownst to him, the tensions that remain unresolved and unspoken in the friend group hinge on the secret she holds. Driven by the need to solve this conflict, the two uncover more to their group than they expected. Pent-up aggression, jealousies, and so many secrets all come to a head on one depressing memory of that night. In the aftermath of losing our friends, what do we do with these feelings we still have and is anyone ever right to inflict those emotions on each other?

Performances will be followed by a talkback with the actors and creators.