Why So Simian?

A Show Worth Casing
by Leeman Kessler

I love a buffet. There is something about looking out over a sea of choices and feeling in charge of your own gastronomic destiny. The mixing, the matching, the gluttony, the opportunity to try new things but still be surrounded by the familiar all appeals to my whimsical appetite. Perhaps that is why I agreed to produce the Simian Showcase this year.

I joined Monkeyman Productions in the Autumn of 2008 to be a werewolf and King Kong as part of their very first evening of multiple shows which included Wolf in the Fold, The Last Few Minutes in the Life of King Kong, and The Final Flight of the Phoenix. These shows were my introduction to what would become my longest and most cherished theatrical relationship.

In the years since, Monkeyman has experimented with formats and challenged itself to explore different ways of telling stories, bouncing from single, long form narratives like Godzilla on Sundays and The Nefarious Bed and Breakfast to evenings of shorter, self-contained stories like Monkey Sci-Fi Horror Theatre (Parts I and II) and even weaving the two formats together in Uncharted Zones but the Simian Showcase has always been a little different and stands just slightly apart.

Starting life off in 2010 as The Banana Festival which has the fine distinction of being the first time people saw me depict HP Lovecraft, our annual Spring show at the Imperial Pub was redesigned and reimagined as the Simian Showcase and has come to exemplify our mission of smashing together the worlds of theatre and geekdom. It starts our year off with collaboration and cooperation with folks not only within our immediate Toronto community but across the entire Geeky World and most importantly, it challenges us to take a step out of our comfort zones (different from the uncharted ones) all while dangerously close to large quantities of alcohol and tasty food.

Every year I have participated in the Showcase, acting, directing, and now producing. The producer’s job is a bizarre one that defines itself with every project, taking on duties as needed and learning on the spot but when the call went out, I, alongside Lisa and ‘Manda stepped up to see it return to the stage. We follow in the remarkable footsteps of DJ, Tim, Marty, and Linn who set an amazing example of just what the Showcase can be. With that history behind us and an unknown future before us there was no question we would do what was needed to make this show come alive. It needs to be. The Simian Showcase is a chance for us to meet new people, to play with other writers’ words, to try on new hats (sometimes ones shaped like sharks), and to share what it means to be a Monkeyman.

This year with Bride of Simian Showcase, we are excited to explore the theme of women in horror and to not only show off our talent and the talent of our friends, old and new, but also to celebrate what often gets overlooked. We’re telling stories about friendship stronger than death, the absurdity of domestic life, the pressures of the entertainment industry, and how easy it is to let a little thing spiral out of control. All of this will be accompanied by the remarkable music of Debs & Errol and Kari Maaren with her fearsome ukulele. If that weren’t enough, we have the hostess with the mostest, Annemieke Wade to guide us through this evening of the ridiculous and the wonderful. We look forward to sharing this with you and hope to see you at the Imperial!

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