Theatre draws in local LGBTQ content

Graphic by Joshua Awolade

Graphic by Joshua Awolade

The Modus Vivendi Village Players will be performing two nights of LGBTQ theatre in Kitchener in mid-September. Drawing in local content, the program is mostly centered on theatrical productions, but also draws in other aspects from the LGBTQ community.

“We are primarily theatre, but we also will have a variety show, drag performers and poetry,” said D. Morton, the artistic director for the Modus Vivendi Village Players. “We are open to expanding to what we perform in the future, but we will primarily be a theatre troupe.”

On top of being the artistic director for the group, Morton is also the writer, director, and an actor in one of the plays being performed. The group has been around for about a year, although the concept for the group is closer to six years old.

“About six years ago, there was a queer theatre show that happened at Club Renaissance. I got involved a month later with the idea it would happen again, but it never did. Five years later, I decided to just make it happen. So I gathered people together to figure out how we were going to do this.”

The meaning behind the performing group’s name also comes from various backgrounds.

“Modus Vivendi is Latin for ‘way of living,’ which seems appropriate because so often as a LGBTQ person it is a lifestyle, but it is a term in politics which means an agreement in which to disagree, and again the LGTBQ community will often experience people who disagree with our lifestyle, or there could be a lot of politics around sexual orientation and identity,” Morton said.

“It’s kind of this idea that we all don’t have to agree, or see eye-to-eye in order to work together.”

Sam Varteniuk is the manager of The Registry Theatre, where the performances will be held on Sept. 17 and 18. He said this group was “a way of checking boxes of partnerships with people in the community.”

“I have been looking for [queer theatre] programming, but also looking as a manager of theatre programing in September, which generally is a more quiet month since everyone is back in school. I know the LGBTQ community is very strong in terms of how they support events for and by them.”

With more than 15 years of theatrical production experience, Varteniuk is confident that Morton will do well based on what he has seen.

“My opinion of the people I know, such as the lighting designer, directors and D., is you’ve been around long enough, you start to know based upon the amount of communication going back and forth how a group is doing in terms of health, how quickly they respond to things, how on top of things they are.”

“Everything is looking good to me in terms of when they are connecting with me on things such as props and costumes, and I can really tell the details.”
From the programming that is scheduled to happen, one aspect of the event Morton hopes people understand is that the production is meant to be a “community building project.”

“Even though it is LGBTQ focused, we are really excited to have a number of straight people who are involved in the show. We are really hoping we will get a large audience to come out. A lot of the pieces are going to have politics involved about being queer… but we also wanted to have elements that are a celebration of who we are and talking about our identity.”

Looking at Morton’s vision, Varteniuk believes she will have no problem accomplishing her goals.

“The vision is everyone is accepting and having fun together and in the same way you might go check out a show from a different culture, that queer theatre should also speak to the universal human experience.”

“That is a balance that D. is trying to represent, and I look forward to seeing her do that.”

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