Sidemart Theatrical Grocery roams the streets and rocks the music of late-'60s New York in Trying for the Kingdom
In harmony with its subject matter, the narrative arc of Sidemart Theatrical Grocery Trying for the Kingdom is less like a play and more like an album, telling its story in the emotional flow of song after song.
The one-act piece saw the group sticking to its tenets of creating challenging theatre. And they did their research, listening intently to music that came out of New York in the ’60s, reading and watching first-hand accounts about that realm of rock. Songs by Iggy Pop, Velvet Underground, David Byrne and Laurie Anderson form the play’s core.
"They had this eccentric performance style and a good eye for getting a rise out of people, but didn’t necessarily have a sense of theatre and what works in it," says Sidemart writer and actor Patrick Costello. "Which is fine because it wasn’t for theatre. I thought it would be a good idea to focus on theatrical performance, a sense of an event."
Costello, a fan of the irrational, explains, "We wanted to make a period piece that the future is making about that time period, but with us in it. It’s autobiographical in the sense that it’s about a love of music – the title comes from searching for that thing in the city that makes you go, that makes other people go, that stirs us up."
To that end, Trying for the Kingdom is also a search for identity. "We found identification with these people, a disenfranchised feeling, dealing with personal strife, looking for people who accept you, finding community," says Costello. "And so we exploited our own eccentricities, which became the thing in the show that makes these people great – and it’s also their demise. As with the movement, it’s an unsustainable way to carry on, moving forward at such a velocity."
Trying for the Kingdom
At the Segal Centre Studio (5170 Côte-Ste-Catherine), Feb. 23-25 and 27, 8 p.m., admission by donation – all proceeds to Canadian Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders