A Uvic writer steams up the Phoenix Theatre stage
The Phoenix Theatre is getting steamy this January with UVic’s Student Alternative Theatre Company (SATCo) presenting The Bad Touch, a show centered around two gay couples as they embark on a one-night stand.
Third-year writing student, Kathryn Taddei, began writing the play in a second-year workshop, and according to her, “it’s gone through all these different incarnations.” Her previous work has appeared in various Intrepid festivals and Belfry Theatre’s SPARK festival.
The play follows the story of two couples; Brian and Ray, and Eleanor and May, simultaneously telling the story of their first homosexual hook-up experience, tracing their progression from getting home together to the end of their night. “I think everyone has been through that kind of awkward sexual encounter,” Taddei said.
In a pop cultural setting surrounded by heterosexual couples as the norm (Taddei cites 2011 film Friends with Benefits as the perfect example), she believes in the importance of bringing experimentation to the stage. “It’s important to make that a norm in our culture,” she said.
“It was an adventure to write, and I think it’ll be an adventure for audiences to come and experience. It’s out there, and I really do want it to challenge people,” she said.
Director Chase Hiebert, a writing, acting, and directing student at UVic, admits viewers will most likely expect a conservative approach. “What we’re doing is making it as real as possible,” he said, unafraid to “show a little skin.” Hiebert’s work has appeared in shows for Victoria’s Shakespeare by the Sea and Langham Court Theatre.
“I think for a lot of people, university is a time where people are experimenting with their sexuality, and we’re putting a little bit of that on stage,” he said. “It’s not really about hook-up culture, but it addresses it in a lot of ways. The idea of going into something like that and not expecting something to come out of it, but sort of hoping something will.”
Hiebert describes UVic, and Victoria, as a very safe space to present the story. “It doesn’t need to be told in a space like this, but I think people are a little bit more comfortable with that,” he said.
“The characters are very fleshed [out] and feel like real people on the page, and I think that’s going to happen when we bring it to the stage.”
The Bad Touch runs from January 14, 15, and 16 at UVic’s Phoenix Theatre. Tickets are a $4 suggested donation. The show starts at 12:45 P.M.