Launching today from Expect Theatre and CBC Podcasts, The Quarantine Chronicles is a new summer podcast series created and co-hosted by Laura Mullin and Chris Tolley, featuring seven newly commissioned short plays (20 – 40 minutes) transformed into audio fiction. Recorded by actors remotely while isolating earlier this spring, each play captures the spirit of these distanced, disorienting and deranged times. The QUARANTINE CHRONICLES is presented by PlayME, the award-winning podcast series that turns Canadian plays into audio fiction, and episodes will be available each Wednesday on CBC Listen and everywhere podcasts are available, with Mark Crawford’s Don’t Get Me Startered available now.
In addition to Crawford, who was short-listed for The Leacock Medal for Humour, participating playwrights from across the country include: Hiro Kanagawa (Governor General Award winner), Erin Shields (Governor General Award winner), Kat Sandler (Dora Award winner, writer for Limetown), Leah-Simone Bowan (co-host and creator of The Secret Life of Canada podcast), Jordan Tannahill (Governor General Award winner) Rosamund Small (Dora winner), and Nicolas Billon (Governor General Award winner).
The seven plays cover a range of rich themes and bingeable genres that will transport listeners to new and vividly imagined worlds.
The kitchen of a couple where one spouse passes time baking sourdough bread using a sourdough starter with a mind of its own (Don’t Get Me Startered by Mark Crawford, comedy – July 22)
Deep within the Pardo in Madrid as an art historian restores the famous Las Meninas painting while society crumbles outside. (Raking Light by Jordan Tannahill, drama – July 29)
A lakeside cottage, where a young couple is being haunted by a mysterious baby trapped between two worlds. (Mizuko by Hiro Kanagawa, horror – Aug 5)
The distant future where Rihanna rules the world and people are mandated to socialize or face serious consequences. (Liming by Leah-Simone Bowen, sci-fi – Aug 12)
The bustling kitchen of a swanky restaurant about to open and serve a truly self-sacrificing dish. (Blue Rare by Kat Sandler, horror – Aug 19)
The strained relationship between two seemingly very different sisters who are separated by a border. (Saving Grace by Rosamund Small and Nicolas Billon, drama – Aug 26)
The home of an overwhelmed Quebecois family where the children make a power-play after being forced to take charge of their vulnerable parents. (Home School by Erin Shields, thriller – Sept 2)
“We are thrilled to be able to invite playwrights to seize the zeitgeist of the moment and reimagine all the absurdities, anxieties, and hope during this historic time. It is a unique opportunity for playwrights to delve into a genre and write new works that will premiere as audio fiction but could later grace the stage,” said Chris Tolley & Laura Mullin, co-hosts of PlayME.
In response to the unprecedented closing of theatres around the world due to the pandemic, Expect Theatre and CBC Podcasts invited eight of the country’s best playwrights to pen new short plays across a range of genres, inspired by these strange times.
PlayME is part of the growing trend in audio fiction that has been steadily on the rise. Now more than ever, Canadians are listening to podcasts and PlayME is helping to fill the demand for compelling audio drama.
Since its inception in 2016, PlayME has transformed a variety of Canadian theatre productions into audio podcasts. A 2020 Gold Medal winner for Drama at New York Radio Festival Awards with listeners in over 90 countries to date, PlayME is in the vanguard of facilitating international access to Canadian theatre and building an audience and appetite for it from all over the world. PlayME is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.
For “Drama on Demand,” tune in to PlayME at http://www.playmepodcast.com where the catalogue of podcasts can be heard.
Expect Theatre is an award-winning, Toronto-based company dedicated to producing cutting-edge, original, multi-disciplinary productions that explore modern urban life. Formed in 1998 by co-Artistic Directors Laura Mullin and Chris Tolley, Expect has a long track record of creating integrated theatre works, radio plays for CBC, viral videos and site-specific performance art installations. Works include Romeo/Juliet Remixed, Static, Awake, CBC Radio’s Tunnel Runners, AWAKE the film and the annual urbanNOISE festival. Mullin and Tolley launched PlayME – an online portal presenting audio podcasts of Canadian plays and related content – in 2016. http://www.playmepodcast.com