FoundFest 2015: Stories of love lost and found at Ain’t No Picnic

There’s something quintessentially Edmontonian about being outside in a park watching theatre on one of the hottest days of the year so far. Edmontonians love our short summers and  homegrown theatre, and Ain’t No Picnic combines those two loves into a 45-minute tour through love stories (or almost-love stories) spanning the generations.

Ain’t No Picnic is presented by #storyofmylife theatre in development with GeriActors & Friends as part of the Found Festival, which runs until June 28.

Ain’t No Picnic starts out with a brief introduction to today’s modern dating scene, especially the way the app Tinder has changed the game. Or has it? Becca Barrington’s character, who may have been stood up for a date arranged through Tinder this morning, is joined by an intergenerational ensemble of actors (Cayley McConaghy, Liz Allchin, Charles Bidwell, and Helen Klemm), who tell their own stories of love found and lost. The central theme of the show is that no matter your age or the year you were in the dating pool, dating has always been an interaction between people, regardless of the technology used to facilitate that interaction.

The stories presented in Ain’t No Picnic were endearing, a sign of their times, and an example of how the topic of love is so easily communicable no matter your background, age or experience. In and of themselves, the stories worked well to propel the theme and provide a slice-of-life look into many different experiences of love. While this was interesting, I did leave the show wishing the creators had drawn more of a connection between the stories. As it was presented, Ain’t No Picnic felt a little disjointed and some additional observations, commentary or comparisons between the stories would have helped make the theme of the experience of dating having more or less stayed the same throughout the ages even stronger.

Ain’t No Picnic has five more performances that are part of Found Festival – June 27 at 4:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. and June 28 at 2:00 p.m., 4:00 p.m., and 7:00 p.m.. Performances are in the park between King Edward School (8530 – 101 street) and C103. Tickets are $10 from the Found Festival box office at Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo Park (83 avenue and 104 street).

Found Festival continues until June 28 – check out CommonGroundArts.ca for schedule and ticket information, or drop by the festival headquarters in Dr. Wilbert McIntyre Gazebo Park. For an audio interview with Festival Director Andrew Ritchie and Promotions Manager Lianna Makuch, check out the What It Is podcast’s episode 72: Found & Freewill.

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