Local theatre company to stream Canadian play Patchface online

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Patchface will stream online from July 29-Aug. 1.

Local London theatre company, Allswell Productions is teaming up with Canadian playwright Camille Intson to stream a stage production of Inston’s play Patchface. Patchface tells the story of a 1969 switchboard operator who becomes involved in the lives of a young married couple through a series of phone exchanges.

Patchface is directed by Hailey Hill and is set to stream online at 7 p.m. from July 29 to Aug. 1. The cast has been rehearsing over Zoom to prepare for the live in-person filming since March.  

Patchface centres around relevant themes like isolation, technology and communication, and consists of three characters, Patchaface (Erin Sevigny), Man (Jack Copland) and Woman (Andrea Holstein).

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Although the production will be streamed for an online audience, viewers can expect a great experience with an original music score composed by Ben Leibovitz.

Most of the rehearsals took place over Zoom and none of the actors interacted with one another until they were in the performance space for filming. 

“Two of the characters have to interact with each other because they're married, the characters of man and woman, they have to know where each other are, they have to walk around each other,” explained Hill. “And given that we rehearsed completely over Zoom, they didn't really have the luxury of being next to their acting partner to know where to move to, or in relation to who.” 

All three actors who are in the show are Western University students or alumni and live in London and Toronto.

“Andrea and Jack live in Toronto now,” said Hill. “And they are doing professional acting. Andrea, actually, there were some rehearsals where she had to miss it because she was doing commercial shoots, and a short film, so she's killing it. Jack's also been doing some film shoots. And then Erin who plays Patchface, she's in London. And she's still at Western. She's our youngest in the show.”

All members involved in the production only had a weekend to film the performance so it would be ready in time to stream. Hill discussed some of the challenges she faced as a director and some of the challenges the performers faced.

“We already have a time limit when it comes to tech week, like we have to move in,” she said. “And then we have to get all the lighting set up. And then we have tech rehearsal, queue-to-queue, dress rehearsal…..”

“Because two of our actors were from Toronto, they came in late Friday night, and then they left on Sunday,” she added. “So we only really had them for Saturday and Sunday, and we had to get all the filming done then. Especially since we had the space booked, [and] our lighting people booked, everything had to happen within those 48 hours.” 

Hill is also good friends with playwright Camille Inston, who originally wrote this script about three or four years ago. Hill couldn’t get the play out of her head.

“So when we were pitching ideas with Allswell to each other, they had some cabaret ideas or some musical ideas, but I couldn't get this play out of my head that I had read a few years ago, about the show when you can't communicate in person, and I thought it would be perfect for COVID times.”

Tickets for Patchface are available for purchase here.