The Social Exchange

The cast of The Social Exchange perform at the Kelly Theatre at The Capitol Theatre.

Arts Collective Theatre Windsor (ACT) ventures into new comedic territory with their latest production, “The Social Exchange.” Part of the North of 50 series celebrating Windsor’s senior community, this sketch comedy show tackles timely intergenerational themes with insight and humor.

Directed by ACT’s Artistic Director Chris Rabideau and written by acclaimed improv artist Cristina Orlando, The Social Exchange brings together a diverse, multi-generational cast. Sketches shine a light on the perspectives of Baby Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z, and even Gen Alpha. Topics range from social media and relationships to agism and homelessness, explored through comedic role reversals.


While North of 50 productions typically take a more serious tone examining social issues, The Social Exchange elicits constant laughter from the audience. The sketches have a distinctive Second City flavor, enhanced by Orlando’s improv background. Standout scenes include a teacher preparation bit and a hilarious repeating routine featuring the failures of a voice activated phone.

Overall, the show provides thoughtful commentary on bridging generational divides, balancing humor with heart. The cast takes creative risks to authentically share experiences from their own generations. Moments of levity are punctuated by vulnerable storytelling from the workshop process, keeping the audience engaged throughout. The stories presented were created from real stories, accounts and feelings discussed in those workshops.

Although everyone in the cast had their moment to make us laugh, among the ensemble, Christina Orlando, Robin Swainson, Rochelle Emery-Luckett, and Parantap Vakharwala stand out for their exceptional performances, each bringing their unique flair and depth to the sketches. Their ability to navigate the comedic terrain, from the absurdities of social media to the nuances of ageism, showcases their versatility and commitment to the show’s vision.

The cast’s diversity is not just in their characters but in their backgrounds, creating a rich tapestry of experiences that enrich the show’s narrative. Orlando’s sharp writing and improv expertise, combined with the actors’ dynamic portrayals, ensure that “The Social Exchange” resonates with audiences across all age groups. The inclusion of actors like Roxanne Tellier, Victoria Lynn-Hecnar, Alex Allsopp, Yemi Ola, and Shelly Davis further amplifies the show’s commitment to showcasing a wide range of voices and perspectives. This collective effort results in a production that is not only entertaining but also insightful, offering a comedic yet poignant commentary on the social exchanges that define our times.

ACT should be commended for expanding North of 50’s reach and utilizing diverse performance mediums to uplift marginalized voices. The Social Exchange brings seniors and youth together, using comedy to foster empathy between generations. This refreshing take on intergenerational theatre entertains while encouraging meaningful connections across age groups. It’s something that should be welcomed with open arms, and something ACT should investigate for future performances.

The Social Exchange represents an evolution in intergenerational programming for ACT. While past North of 50 shows like Elder Affairs focused more literally on seniors’ stories, this comedy production incorporates broader societal commentary. Sketches shine a satirical light on everything from social media oversharing to workplace agism.

Yet the show maintains North of 50’s core mission – providing a platform for marginalized senior voices. Moments of levity are balanced by vulnerable personal anecdotes. One particular story saw the young Gen Alpha become nonfunctional when their Wi-Fi disappears. Orlando consciously wove such outlooks into scenes to authentically capture the experience with both thoughtful conviction and a fun sense of humour.

In a short speech, Rabideau credited Orlando’s improv background for bringing a Second City spirit to the production. Her directing elevates the comedic timing and energies between contrasting age groups. While scripted, the show feels fresh and responsive to the current cultural moment. The Social Exchange ultimately provides much-needed comic relief to the complex dynamics between generations.

The show runs for three more performances this weekend, March 1-3 in the Kelly Theatre at The Capitol Theatre Windsor. Tickets can be purchased online at

The Social ExchangeCatherine Muldoon

The cast of The Social Exchange perform at the Kelly Theatre at The Capitol Theatre.

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