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Theatre Passe Muraille announces 2018/19 Season

12 May

Toronto’s home for independent theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, has just announced their highly-collaborative 2018/19 season and there is plenty to look forward to including a semi-autobiographical piece by the bold and intriguing Adam Paolozza and a refreshingly relevant and contemporary operatic co-production with the always adventurous Tapestry Opera.

What is certain to be a highlight is Pearle Harbour’s Chautauqua which wowed audiences at last year’s Summerworks festival, garnering the audience choice award in the process. Given how much of the impact of the show relied on the intimacy generated between Pearle (the sublime drag creation of performer Justin Miller) and the audience, it will be interesting to see how the production translates to a more spacious venue like TPM. Nevertheless, it is certain to be a must-see of the season.

For more details about Theatre Passe Muraille’s upcoming season, the full press release is included below.


Theatre Passe Muraille is committed to telling diverse Canadian stories. The term diverse, for us, has taken on a lot of different meanings. Diverse voices. Diverse forms. Diverse audiences. As a company we aim to accommodate. Our goal is always to promote the art and the conversations that art facilitates.

As the company celebrates its fiftieth year we’ve been thinking about that facilitation. Some questions we’ve been asking: what are the best ways to put art/artists in direct conversation with our city? How can we make the most out of the resources we have? What role do we want to have in our community?

The simple answer: more collaboration. We’re going to champion more creators. We want to support from the foundation up, offering resources (financial, administrative, artistic, developmental, physical, etc.) appropriate to each presentation. We want to help artists tell their stories. As best we can.

Last season we co-produced with sister company Buddies in Bad Times on two plays while providing support to indie companies on another four shows. Joining forces was rewarding on a variety of levels. We were able to engage audiences from inside and outside the theatre community. We sold out runs and added extensions. We started conversations and we listened.

Looking ahead to 2018/2019 we’ve decided to take collaboration a step further, working with companies from across the country and beyond to bring you a variety of shows that speak to the values of Passe Muraille. Next season we’ll be covering issues of identity, reconciliation, migration, togetherness, and our relationship to the natural world. We’ll host shows examining the shifting relationships between performer and audience. And – of course – we’ll continue our effort to make sure these stories are as accessible as possible through our commitment to access programs (including Relaxed Performances, Audio Description, and ASL Interpretation).

Below is a list of projects and our involvement with those projects:

Sound of the Beast
September 28 & 29, 2018

A Theatre Passe Muraille Presentation
Writer/Performer: DM St. Bernard
Directors & Dramaturges: Andy McKim and Jiv Parasram

In Sound of the Beast emcee Donna-Michelle St. Bernard (AKA Belladonna the Blest) speaks truth to power with hip-hop, spoken word, and storytelling. Returning for a limited engagement at Theatre Passe Muraille before touring across the country, the show blends the personal and the political, with a bold and brutally honest take about policing in black communities.

Chautauqua
October 11 – 27, 2018

Theatre Passe Muraille and Pearle Harbour present Chautauqua
Creator/Performer: by Justin Miller

TPM’s prodigal drag daughter – Pearle Harbour – returns to her home base with her smash hit, Chautauqua (Audience Choice Award, SummerWorks 2017). Come gather together, under the milky folds of Pearle’s beautiful Tent, to catch your breath, speak your truth, and feel the people power, you betcha! The world may be falling apart, but Pearle will remind you there’s more that unites us than divides us.

Will You Be My Friend
October/November 2018

A Green Light Arts [Kitchener] Production with the support of Theatre Passe Muraille
Creator/Performer: Janice Jo Lee
Director: Matt White

Will You Be My Friend is multidisciplinary folk artist, Janice Jo Lee’s, interactive musical satire about the limits someone will go to for companionship. The show is a funny, provocative, and personal exploration of navigating life as a Korean-Canadian woman in dominant white Canadian culture.

The Runner
November 25 – December 9, 2018

A Human Cargo Production with the support of Theatre Passe Muraille
Playwright: Christopher Morris
Director: Daniel Brooks
Starring: Gord Rand as Jacob

ZAKA is an Orthodox Jewish volunteer force in Israel. They collect the remains of Jews killed in accidents. This one-person play follows Jacob – a ZAKA volunteer – as he grapples with the political and moral fall out of saving a woman’s life.

Hook Up
January 29 – February 9, 2019

A Tapestry Opera Production in partnership with Theatre Passe Muraille
Composer: Chris Thornborrow
Librettist: Julie Tepperman
Director/Dramaturg: Richard Greenblatt
Performers: Nathan Carroll, Jeff Lillico, Alicia Ault
Music Director: Marketa Ornova
Set and Costume Designer: Kelly Wolf
Video Designer: Monty Martin

Three friends hit university – no parents, new friends, new rules, and a new normal. Hook Up raises questions of consent, shame, and power in the lives of young adults navigating uncharted waters, on their own for the first time. Freedom is complicated.

Paolozzapedia
February 16 – March 3, 2019

A Bad New Days Production with the support of Theatre Passe Muraille
Playwright/Director/Performer: Adam Paolozza

In Paolozzapedia Adam Paolozza blends his signature potent theatricality, contemporary carnivalesque commedia dell’arte aesthetic, storytelling, and family anecdotes, to create a funny and deeply personal show about the creative nature of memory through the fragmenting act of immigration.

CHICHO
March 7 – 24, 2019

A Theatre Passe Muraille and Pencil Kit Presentation
Playwright/Performer: Augusto Bitter
Director: Claren Grosz

Chicho, an ashamed-queer-Catholic-man-boy from Venezuela, hilariously attempts to feel beautiful despite his warring identity politics. In this wildly entertaining exploration of a diasporic experience, CHICHO meticulously presents the disparity between his own Queer-ibbean coming-of-age journey in Canada and the worsening socio economic crisis in Venezuela.

Crying Hands: Deaf People in Hitler’s Germany
March 2019

A Theatre Passe Muraille Presentation of Theatre Manu [Norway]

Crying Hands tells the tale of Hans, who was born deaf and grew up in Berlin before the war broke out in 1939. The production follows Hans’s fate as a deaf political prisoner in Sachsenhausen, and later we witness his struggle to survive the Auschwitz concentration camp. Created by Theatre Manu (Norway) this docu-drama is performed through a series of interconnected scenes accompanied by storytelling and projections.

The Chemical Valley Project
April 4 – 21, 2019

A Theatre Passe Muraille and Broadleaf Theatre Presentation
Playwright/Performer/Creator/Concept: Kevin Matthew Wong
Production Design/Creator: Julia Howman
Dramaturgy and Advisement: Vanessa Gray and Lindsay Beze Gray

Through an innovative blend of projection design, object puppetry, and solo-performance, Kevin Matthew Wong (Honourable Mention for Theatre Centre’s Emerging Artist Award, SummerWorks 2017), performs this documentary theatre work on environmental racism and reconciliation amidst the backdrop of Canada’s petrochemical industry and the vital activism of Aamjiwnaang Water Protectors and siblings Vanessa Gray and Lindsay Beze Gray. The Chemical Valley Project seeks to spark conversations on Canadian environmental policy, treaty rights and Indigenous relations, as well as the current nature of Canadian identity/values.

The Things I Carry
April 2019

A Theatre Passe Muraille Presentation of Battery Opera Performance [Vancouver]
Created/Performed by Lee Su-Feh
(Site-specific)

Developed as a part of the Migrant Bodies Project – an E.U. sponsored choreographic program aimed at opening civic and artistic reflections on migration – The Things I Carry is a performance/storytelling hybrid about what happens as people spread across our planet, both voluntarily and involuntarily. Part ceremony. Part conference. Part confessional.

Tarragon Theatre Announces 2018/19 Season

24 Apr

Tarragon Theatre has just announced their 2018/19 season, and it appears as though there is a lot to look forward to with names like Daniel MacIvor and Jason Sherman making appearances in the lineup, as well as the intriguing Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic from The Qaggiq Collective.

The biggest news though is that Hannah Moscovitch’s foray into musical theatre (in collaboration with Ben Caplan and Christian Barry) Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story – which has been making waves off-Broadway and recently garnered six Drama Desk nominations – will be capping off their season. It will no doubt be a hot ticket.

For more details about Tarragon’s upcoming season, the full press release is included below.


February 22, 2018, TORONTO – Artistic Director Richard Rose and Managing Director Andrea Vagianos today announced Tarragon Theatre’s 2018-19 season: a nine-month calendar of seven distinct plays from far-ranging, genre-mixing and award-winning Canadian playwrights including two musical productions, two world premieres and two Toronto premieres.

“As we pursue our goal of telling stories that reflect, enlighten and inspire Canadians, the breadth of voices we are sharing this season is very exciting for me, Tarragon’s staff, and I’m convinced our audiences will feel the same.” said Rose. “We will present a culturally rich season of plays that reflects our country’s history, engages with contemporary Canada and looks to our future.” 

Tarragon is thrilled to introduce its audience to exciting new homegrown theatre creators as well as national collaborations between artists with unique influences and cultural backgrounds.

The season opens in September in the Mainspace with Harlem Duet from Governor General’s Literary Award-winner Djanet Sears. This rhapsodic blues riff is a prequel to Shakespeare’s Othello and whisks the tale off to Harlem, where a college professor leaves his grad student wife for a white colleague. An iconic work that packs as powerful a punch now as it did when it debuted over twenty years ago.  Directed by Djanet Sears.

The Extraspace season opens with Theory, a play from the Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition winner Norman Yeung. Theory is a hot button play for our times. Isabelle, a young tenure-track professor, tests the limits of free speech by encouraging her students to contribute to an unmoderated discussion group. When an anonymous student posts offensive comments and videos, Isabelle must decide whether to intervene or to let the social experiment play out. Directed by Esther Jun.

Following in the Mainspace is the world premiere from Tarragon’s Bill Glassco Playwright-in-Residence and Governor General’s Literary Award-winner Jason Sherman. Sherman’s play The Message looks at the life of Canada’s internationally renowned professor-turned-prophet Marshall McLuhan whose observations on the effects of technology were cut short by a stroke that robbed him of his ability to speak. What it couldn’t do, though, was stop this deeply religious man from trying to finish his magnum opus: a last desperate attempt to save our souls — and his own. Directed by Richard Rose.

2019 at Tarragon opens in the Mainspace with a contemporary retelling of Inuit hero legend Kiviuq, in The Qaggiq Collective’s production of Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic. Journeying across the vast expanse of the Arctic, beset by treacherous creatures wreaking havoc on his world, Kiviuq gathers strength from his ancestors and spirit guides as he defends his people and fights his way home. Music, drumming, dance and storytelling combine in this thrillingly modern evocation of ancient legends previously banned by missionaries and the Canadian government. An Inuit Odyssey, performed in Inuktitut with English surtitles.

Later in the Mainspace is the Toronto premiere of New Magic Valley Fun Town, a co-production with Prairie Theatre Exchange written by Siminovitch Prize-winner and Governor General’s Literary Award-winner for Drama, Daniel MacIvor. Cape Bretoner Dougie hasn’t seen his best childhood pal Allan in 25 years, so it’s no surprise their reunion is a boisterous night of memories, laughter, drinking and dancing. But as evening becomes day, as the smiles begin to fade and the bottles sit empty, the old friends revisit other memories, uncomfortable ones that force them to confront the realities of who — and what — they really are. With premieres at Prairie Theatre Exchange in Winnipeg, Tarragon Theatre in Toronto and Neptune Theatre in Halifax. Directed by Richard Rose.

Up next in the Extraspace is Guarded Girls, a world premiere from Governor General’s Literary Award-nominee Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman and presented in association with Green Light Arts. The psychological destruction brought on by solitary confinement is at the heart of this wrenching and powerful new play. When 19-year-old Sid is transferred to a new prison, she finds friendship with Britt — but also forms a complicated relationship with the guard who seems to be watching their every move. Soon, it’s the guard who’s being watched, as this playful, theatrical, mysterious work heads toward a shocking conclusion. Directed by Richard Rose. After Toronto performances, Guarded Girls is presented by Green Light Arts at the Registry Theatre in Kitchener.

Rounding out the season in the Mainspace is 2b theatre company’s high-energy, music-theatre hybrid concert written by Tarragon Playwright-in-Residence Hannah Moscovitch with songs by Klezmer-folk sensation Ben Caplan and Christian Barry. Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story is inspired by the real life story of Moscovitch’s Romanian-Jewish great-grandparents who immigrated to Canada in 1908 seeking a second chance in the New World. Narrated by The Wanderer — part showman, part rabbi — this genre-bending concert won numerous awards at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival including the Herald Angel Award, The Scotsman Fringe First Award and was cited as one of The Guardian’s Top Recommended shows. Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story visits Tarragon after performances in Halifax, Ottawa, Edmonton and New York. Directed by Christian Barry.

In addition to its work on the stage, Tarragon continues to foster a home for playwrights to create and develop their work. The theatre remains dedicated to growing its extensive youth programs and continues its collaboration with Scarborough Arts, three Scarborough secondary schools and the University of Toronto Scarborough for a third year. Tarragon continues to develop the country’s most successful new play development program, as well as its Beyond the Stage programming which includes Talkback Weeks, Lecture-Conversations and Tarragon Tasting Nights. The Workspace program continues to offer free development and performance space, as well as administrative support, to emerging artists and companies in the community. The theatre also continues to grow its initiatives to welcome underserved communities into the theatre, including subsidized student matinees and its First Preview program offering complimentary tickets to community partners. As well, Tarragon offers a Rush Ticket policy of $20 a ticket for almost every performance throughout the season.

The 2018-19 season is generously sponsored by BMO Financial Group.
AIMIA is Tarragon’s Mainspace sponsor. Laura Dinner and Richard Rooney are Tarragon’s Extraspace sponsor.
Tarragon Theatre 2018-19 Season Details

Harlem Duet
Written & Directed by Djanet Sears
September 18 – October 28, 2018
Mainspace

The return of a Canadian theatre milestone! Djanet Sears’ rhapsodic blues riff on Othello whisks the tale off to Harlem, where a college professor leaves his grad student wife for a white colleague. The stinging abandonment leads to profound questions about love, loss, loyalty and race, played out over two centuries in a wide range of settings. An iconic work that packs as powerful a punch now as it did when it debuted over twenty years ago.

Harlem Duet is the winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award and four Dora Mavor Moore Awards (Outstanding New Play, Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Production and Outstanding Performance by a Female).

Theory
Written by Norman Yeung
Directed by Esther Jun
October 16 – November 25, 2018
Extraspace

A hot button play for our times! Isabelle, a young tenure-track professor, tests the limits of free speech by encouraging her students to contribute to an unmoderated discussion group. When an anonymous student posts offensive comments and videos, Isabelle must decide whether to intervene or to let the social experiment play out. Soon, the posts turn abusive and threatening, leading Isabelle and her unknown tormentor to engage in a high-stakes game of cat-and-mouse that not only have Isabelle questioning her beliefs, but fearing for her life.

Norman Yeung is the winner of the Herman Voaden National Playwriting Competition.

The Message
World premiere
Written by Jason Sherman
Directed by Richard Rose
November 7 – December 16, 2018
Mainspace

“Whatcha doin’, Marshall McLuhan?” That’s what the world wanted to know back in the 1960s, when Canada’s internationally renowned professor-turned-prophet started to sound the alarm on the effects of technology on the human body and spirit. But after a lifetime of warning us all about the hazards of modern life, McLuhan suffered a stroke that robbed him of his ability to speak. What it couldn’t do, though, was stop this deeply religious man from trying to finish his magnum opus: a last desperate attempt to save our souls — and his own.

Jason Sherman is Tarragon’s Bill Glassco Playwright-in-Residence and is the winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award winner for Drama.

Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic
Created by The Qaggiq Collective
December 30, 2018 – January 20, 2019
Mainspace

Journeying across the vast expanse of the Arctic, beset by treacherous creatures wreaking havoc on his world, Kiviuq gathers strength from his ancestors and spirit guides as he defends his people and fights his way home. Music, drumming, dance and storytelling combine in this thrillingly modern evocation of the legendary figure of Kiviuq: hero, seeker, wanderer. An Inuit Odyssey, performed in Inuktitut with English surtitles.

“Performed by a corps of unique performers with talents you won’t find south of the Arctic Circle, it has that strong sense of larger purpose often absent from theatre.” – Kelly Nestruck, The Globe and Mail

New Magic Valley Fun Town
Co-produced by Prairie Theatre Exchange and Tarragon Theatre
Toronto premiere
Written by Daniel MacIvor
Directed by Richard Rose
February 20 – March 31, 2019
Mainspace

Cape Bretoner Dougie hasn’t seen his best childhood pal Allan in 25 years, so it’s no surprise their reunion is a boisterous night of memories, laughter, drinking and dancing. But as evening becomes day, as the smiles begin to fade and the bottles sit empty, the old friends revisit other memories, uncomfortable ones that force them to confront the realities of who — and what — they really are.

Daniel MacIvor is the winner of The Siminovitch Prize and The Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama.

Guarded Girls
In association with Green Light Arts
Written by Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman
World premiere
Directed by Richard Rose
March 26 – May 5, 2019
Extraspace

The psychological destruction brought on by solitary confinement is at the heart of this wrenching and powerful new play. When 19-year-old Sid is transferred to a new prison, she finds friendship with Britt — but also forms a complicated relationship with the guard who seems to be watching their every move. Soon, it’s the guard who’s being watched, as this playful, theatrical, mysterious work heads toward a shocking conclusion.

Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman is a nominee of The Governor General’s Literary Award and a Dora Mavor Moore Award.

Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story
A 2b theatre company production
Toronto premiere
Written by Hannah Moscovitch with songs by Ben Caplan & Christian Barry
Directed by Christian Barry
April 16 – May 26, 2019
Mainspace

Halifax, 1908: two Romanian Jews stand in line at Pier 21 in Halifax, would-be immigrants to an unknown country. Chaim’s entire family was murdered in a pogrom; Chaya lost her husband to fever and starvation. But the New World is giving them a second chance and they embrace it to the fullest. Narrated by The Wanderer — part showman, part rabbi — this genre-bending music-theatre hybrid stars Klezmer-folk sensation Ben Caplan and is inspired by the real-life story of Moscovitch’s great-grandparents.

Hannah Moscovitch is the winner of the Governor General’s Award and the prestigious Yale University Windham-Campbell Prize

“Emotionally engaging, visually stunning and at 80 minutes leaves us still wanting more.” ★★★★★ – Musical Theatre Review

“A hugely engaging experience” – The Guardian

The Guardian’s Top Recommended Shows (2017 Edinburgh Fringe Festival)
***

HOW TO GET TICKETS TO TARRAGON SHOWS:

Subscriptions and tickets can be purchased online at www.tarragontheatre.com, by phone at 416-531-1827 or in person at the Tarragon Theatre Box Office at 30 Bridgman Avenue.

SUBSCRIPTIONS: Tarragon Theatre continues to offer the most flexible subscription packages in the city, allowing patrons to choose their productions and change their dates free of charge and offering many different price points to suit all schedules and budgets.

2018-19 Earlybird Subscriptions
7 and 5-Play subscriptions are currently on sale starting at just $22/ticket (a savings of 43%). 4-ticket flex packages will be available as of April 1, 2018. Earlybird pricing ends on May 31, 2018.

2018-19 Single Tickets
Single tickets will go on sale May 31, 2018.

ABOUT TARRAGON THEATRE
Tarragon Theatre is Canada’s home for groundbreaking contemporary playwriting. For over 48 years, Tarragon Theatre has created, developed and produced new plays by home-grown artists as well as significant works from the world stage, vitally contributing to the important legacy of a Canadian culture. Tarragon assists 30+ emerging and established playwrights each year through residencies, grants, dramaturgical support and training programs. Patrons of all ages attend lectures, workshops, talkback weeks, play readings and other events designed to engage audiences with new work. Since its founding, over 190 works have premiered at Tarragon and over 500 scripts have been created and workshopped, receiving 34 nominations and 11 wins for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Richard Rose has been the Artistic Director since 2002. For more information visit www.tarragontheatre.com.

Twitter: @tarragontheatre
Facebook: /TarragonTheatre

2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: James & Jamesy in The Dark

3 Jul

04-27-2017-212315-2858Your name: James & Jamesy

Your production: James & Jamesy in The Dark

Your role: The Playwrights & Players

Tell me about your show.

James & Jamesy in the Dark begins in blackness. Soon, two chaps, who each believe they are alone in existence, happen upon each other. The encounter launches them into a series of physical and philosophical discoveries, overflowing with intricately layered wordplay. As they navigate this inky limbo, they conjure an adventure around creation itself. The visually spectacular show is a painting come to life; a rich, raw encounter that blends the playfulness of Pixar with the existential ponderings of Beckett.

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

Theatre in the dark? What were they thinking? STUPID! SAD!

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

Multiple Organism (by Mind of a Snail); Interstellar Elder (SNAFU)

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

To refugee camps. Their mission: To help people enjoy a moment of joy. (emergencycircus.com)

2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: Hands Down

3 Jul

04-28-2017-185544-4092Your name: Stephanie Jung

Your production: Hands Down

Your role: Co-Producer

Tell me about your show.

From Warren P. Sonoda, director of Trailer Park Boys, This Hour has 22 Minutes, & Coopers’ Camera comes his first play since… 1992 high school English class. HANDS DOWN is a twisted comedy about ambition, endurance, and finding out what really matters… after holding onto a car for 100 hours. As four contestants hunker down to win a vehicle, truths, secrets and an occasional supernatural power are revealed that jeopardize each of them from winning. Everyone has a limit, but sometimes you don’t know it until you’ve crossed it. Like writing a new play after 25 years.

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

The BIGGEST car contest in history? I’ll be the winner! Everyone else is a loser. Covfefe

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

Bad Baby Presents: Rules Control the Fun, Soaring in Liquid Skies, Ten Creative Ways to Dispose of Your Cremains, 13 Ways the World Ends, Dear Uncle Wish, Roommate Agreements

This year we lost the great Jon Kaplan who was a incomparable supporter of independent theatre and a ubiquitous presence at the Fringe. Are there any thoughts, stories, or memories of Jon you’d like to share?

Oh Jon. I have so many stories but one of the top ones involves the Fringe. I used to House Manage at a Fringe venue and Jon was on my media list. I knew about Jon Kaplan before we even officially met. When he came to pick up his media ticket, I was grinning like a fool and we started chatting about theatre and life. When Jon came to my venue again the next day to catch a show, we started chatting again. I mentioned that I was hoping I would have a chance soon to grab some food as I was starving, but my venue was pretty busy. Without missing a beat, Jon offered my half his sandwich. I declined but I remember thinking that this man barely knows me but he just offered me some of his lunch! I miss his twinkling smile.

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

Oh….the options….I would drop them into any major Canadian city and ask them to create a show with a diverse team of artists and no stereotypes in the plot. The world is in transition outside of Canada but let’s explore the problems we have here and talk about them. Let all artist constantly ask questions about the world we live in.

2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: The Diddlin’ Bibbles Live in Concert

3 Jul

04-28-2017-033834-1650Your name: Dana Puddicombe

Your production: The Diddlin’ Bibbles Live in Concert

Your role: Director/co-creator

Tell me about your show.

A musical duo come to Toronto to find fame and fortune at the Fringe Festival. Can their love survive the temptations and pressures of the Fringe?

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

The Diddlin’ Bibbles are the Sonny and Cher of this generation. Fact.

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

I’m a first time fringer and I understand how hard it is to get the word out! There are a bunch of shows on my list that are on everyone’s list but I have some close to my heart for a few different reasons: Dear Uncle Wish and Earth Tourist are productions by fellow Newfoundlanders who I love and hope they get a great go of it; and I’ve got so many Improv and Comedy pals that are pushing the limits but if I had to pick just three, I’m excited to see Welcome to the Bunker!, Franco Nguyens first one man show and my improv brother Ross (fellow player in Abra Cadaver) has a new play The Resurrectionists.

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

I think I’d drop them in schools. Any school, any where. If kids learn early on that they have a means to express themselves, it makes them more empathetic adults. I’d send them to all the schools… Like, a tour. All of the schools!

2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: Recall

3 Jul

06-02-2017-174128-9050Your name: Madryn McCabe

Your production: Recall

Your role: Performer. I play Charlotte, the administrator of a mysterious agency that “recalls” young teenagers.

Tell me about your show.

Recall takes us to a grim, sci-fi world in which crimes might be prevented before they occur. Lucy makes people uncomfortable. There’s something about her eyes. There’s something about the way her mother’s boyfriends keep disappearing. And there’s something about the government agents on her trail. Radically imaginative and achingly plain, this razor-sharp thriller explores our need to feel connected, understood, and loved. No matter the damage, no matter the cost.

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

Recall? Great show. Great cast. Bigly talented. If I ran the Recall, there would be no more violent scenarios at all! Shame the government doesn’t do more!

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

I’ve been following Clare Blackwood’s progress on developing Welcome to the Bunker! for a while now, and I can’t wait to see it. Clare has an infectious energy, so I know that the audiences will be game for just about anything that pops up while they wait out the zombie apocalypse.

I’d also really like to see Rough Magic, which is being performed and produced by Theatre Arcturus. They have such a unique, physical way of performing Shakespeare. They combine aerial acrobatics and Shakespeare’s text to create new interpretations of characters, and it’s so beautiful and powerful.

 

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

That’s so tough to answer, because we already have elite squads of theatre artists all over the world, trying to make change for the better. We just saw a company in New York performing Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, a 400 old play, staged to reflect current American politics, interrupted, protested, mocked, and have its funding withdrawn because it was “too violent” and “not reflective of American values”. The dialogue wasn’t changed, nothing that isn’t in the original text was added, and yet people were so uncomfortable having the current administration reflected onstage that they couldn’t even stop and listen to the actual message of the play. It’s frustrating and frightening sometimes, but theatre artists have been protested since theatre began, and we’re all still here, and we’ll always be here. It also just occurs to me that you only asked “what would their mission be?” and I automatically starting talking about change for the better. I just assumed that would be the mission, because I think for every theatre artist, that IS the mission. We want to make the world a more beautiful place, have audiences think about what’s going on in the world, and what they want to do about it. Theatre has always been a place of ideas and growth, and that’s what the mission is.

2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons

3 Jul

Your name: Rebecca Ostroff

Your production: Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons

Your role: Assistant Director

Tell me about your show.

In “Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons Lemons”, the government imposes a Quietude Bill, limiting people’s speech to 140 words per day. The play follows Oliver, played by James Graham, and Bernadette, played by Ruth Goodwin; a couple desperately trying to navigate communication in this new world, rediscover themselves within it, and above all, hang on to each other. Under Harveen Sandhu’s beautiful direction, our production explores the resentment, hope and heartbreak when the political becomes very personal.

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

People are saying the Quietude Bill has been good in Norway. A Fake News Joke!

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

So many! To name a few: “The Food Project”, “The Seat Next to the King”, “Alex The Artist”, “Ten Creative Ways to Dispose of your Cremains”, and “Maddie’s Karaoke Birthday Party”.

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

Space. Just to see if we could hear them from here.

2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: Macbeth’s Head

3 Jul

04-17-2017-184510-2208Your name: Kyle McDonald

Your production: Macbeth’s Head

Your role: Show creator. Writer, director, producer, performer.

Tell me about your show.

The Scottish play, an ancient curse, and a disembodied head on a dessert trolley out for revenge – MACBETH’S HEAD – a new play (half in prose and half in original verse) is the story of actors Tim and Rupert who activate an ancient curse and awaken Macbeth’s severed head, who’s athirst for revenge on William Shakespeare for ruining his life. The Head, using his arcane powers, enslaves Tim and Rupert, and then brings Space Pirate Cleopatra, gender bending Richard III, and Hip Hop Hamlet to life to help in his insidious designs. It’s up to Tim and Rupert to stop the maniacal Head lest Shakespeare’s works are obliterated from the face of the earth forever!

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

This head guy…he’s on top of it. We’re going to be good friends.

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

The Life Henry by Adam Bailey, Bendy Sign Tavern by Sex T-Rex, Hands Down by Warren P. Sonoda.

 

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

I’d drop them in Parliament on a -50’C day to convince them to let Turks and Caicos join Canada by filling the house with sand and then distributing fruity cocktails.

2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: The Miserable Worm

3 Jul

04-26-2017-202111-2338Your name: Justine Christensen

Your production: The Miserable Worm

Your role: Adapter-Writer, Performer, Producer

Tell me about your show.

Platonov will be shot tonight– but, by who? And why? Anton Chekhov’s first, title-less play about the downfall of the smarmy intellectual-playboy Platonov has been adapted many times since the script was discovered in a bank vault in the 1920’s. Our version, The Miserable Worm, reduces Chekhov’s original six-hour melodrama into a 55 minute rapid-fire tragi-farce, focusing in on eight characters. Gender-bending casting, an original score, and much laughter can all be expected from this brand-new adaptation of a Russian classic, set in a Rosedale mansion on a hot summer night.

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

Gender-bent tragi-farce The Miserable Worm is an adaptation of Chekhov’s peculiar “untitled play” about sex, death, and nostalgia. #exciting

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

Monsters by Nature: A collectively-created new work produced and performed by a group of kick-ass women, The Kindling Collective. Happy Birthday Benjamin Holloway: Three George Brown peers created a show together– they’re excellent performers with tons of comedic chops. MEANT: A brand-new Greek-inspired musical, composed by and staring Worm’s musical director, Lucas Penner. Plague: a sic love story: Two Sudburian talents perform a play by Sudburian playwright Matthew Heiti. Edgy Canadian work! Rise/Fall: Site-specific, politically on-the-pulse, charged and challenging– looking forward to the experience.

This year we lost the great Jon Kaplan who was a incomparable supporter of independent theatre and a ubiquitous presence at the Fringe. Are there any thoughts, stories, or memories of Jon you’d like to share?

Jon was cared so much about the theatre community in this city that he made it a point to have a Q&A with the second year actors at George Brown every year. During my class’ season, Jon attended several of our plays and reviewed them for NOW, providing us with an introduction into the theatre ecology of this city. I feel very lucky to have met him, particularly at a time in my training when I was experiencing doubt. When I asked him, “Why make theatre?”, he replied that he always loved theatre because plays taught him new things, or reminded him of things he had forgotten. A truly kind person who cared deeply about the work.

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

This is general, but I think it’s true: if the team of Nightwood could access young women in the third world, the result would be a a ton of rightful empowerment.

2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: A Peter N’ Chris-tmas Carol

3 Jul

05-01-2017-223631-2688Your name: Chris Wilson

Your production: A Peter N’ Chris-tmas Carol

Your role: playwright / performer

Tell me about your show.

ITS CHRISTMAS IN JULY! Why would we do this, you ask? Why not! 3x Canadian Comedy Award winning duo Peter N’ Chris (Just for Laughs) present a hilarious send up of the classic Dickens’ Christmas story. Grumpy Chris, Busy ghosts and dangerous snowmen! This show has it all. Please wear appropriate Christmas attire, thanks.

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

Tremendous Show. Tremendous. It will sell out and not everyone will get to see it. SAD!

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

Weaksauce, Templeton Philharmonic, Bendy Sign by Sex T Rex, and In Search of Cruise Control.

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

Drop them anywhere to make people laugh!

2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: The Seat Next to the King

3 Jul

04-27-2017-051849-3711Your name: Tanisha Taitt

Your production: The Seat Next to the King

Your role: Director

Tell me about your show.

It is September of 1964 and behind the doors of a public washroom in a Washington D.C. park, two lives linked to two of America’s most important figures collide when a white man seeking sex meets a black male stranger. Steven Elliott Jackson has written a bold and affecting play — one that explores race, sexuality and masculinity — and the cost of reconciling these things to two very different human beings with a shared innate need.

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

It is not September 1964! It is 2017! FAKE NEWS! Also — SEX in Washington D.C. I have a lot of this.

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

I definitely want to support the work of fellow female creators who are talented friends of mine. I’m looking forward to Welcome To The Bunker, Bad Baby, This Is Not She, and Nourishment. Really hoping to see them all — unfortunately I’m working fulltime during Fringe so hopefully I can make the calendar work.

This year we lost the great Jon Kaplan who was a incomparable supporter of independent theatre and a ubiquitous presence at the Fringe. Are there any thoughts, stories, or memories of Jon you’d like to share?

I miss Jon so, so much and it breaks my heart that he isn’t here to see this show. I really hoped that he would make it. Jon was incredibly kind, passionate and ever-encouraging. We had the loveliest conversations. He was so supportive of my first play, and interviewed me for a preview piece in NOW when no one else would have considered me enough of a “name” to do that. I especially loved Jon’s intense respect for TYA, and always enjoyed running into him and sharing hugs at YPT. He saw children and youth as critical audiences, which so many adult theatre artists still fail to understand. It will be so strange to not see Jon making his way around the festival. It will be so strange to never see him again. I adored him. He made our artistic community more reflective and more loving. An absolute gem of a human.

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

That is a next to impossible question. I could choose one place, but then I couldn’t justify it over somewhere else. Art isn’t needed one place more than another; it is a universal imperative. I also think that elite theatre artists already exist in just about every nation on earth. I would never presume that I could give any nation artists that could do for their societies more than there own creators could. Not the sexiest answer, but my honest one.

2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: Welcome to the Bunker!

3 Jul

04-25-2017-223841-1788Your name: Clare Blackwood

Your production: Welcome to the Bunker!

Your role: Writer/Actor/Producer

Tell me about your show.

Welcome to the Bunker! is an immersive zombie apocalypse comedy set in a bunker deep below Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. Katie, a young zombie rights activist, and Todd, an antisocial doomsday prepper, will give you and your fellow survivors an orientation into bunker living that could just save your lives- if everything goes according to their half-assed, yet optimistic, plan. Feelings Circles! Obsessive rationing! Nearly fully figured out chemical toilets! Just ignore that scratching coming from the walls, won’t you?

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

Canadians hiding from zombies in bunkers? Not surprised! Isn’t pot legal up there? Sad! #brainless

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

Definitely Sex T-Rex’s Bendy Sign Tavern at the Paddock Tavern; Peter N’ Chris’s Chris’tmas Carol; Dear Uncle Wish by Theatre Enthused; The Coincidence Men Presents Shakespeare’s Ghostbusters; and Everything There is to Know by Musicals Canada.

 

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

How did you find out about the Initiative?! I have to go make some untraceable calls now….

2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: She Grew Funny

3 Jul

04-28-2017-145329-8548Your name: Brett McCaig

Your production: She Grew Funny

Your role: Producer

Tell me about your show.

Comedian Joanne O’Sullivan tells the touching, funny and true story of how her life changed when her daughter turned 6, the same age that she was when her own mother died.

A pivotal moment that sent her on a journey to try answer the question she sees in everyone’s expression the moment they find out about her loss – “What did you become having lost your mother so young?

“She Grew Funny” is a look into the age-old connection between tragedy and comedy and how our pasts can irrevocably affect our future.

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

My fabulous mother died when I was little. Sad. But it made me amazing!

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

I’m actually looking forward to seeing as many as I can, all of them if possible!

This year we lost the great Jon Kaplan who was a incomparable supporter of independent theatre and a ubiquitous presence at the Fringe. Are there any thoughts, stories, or memories of Jon you’d like to share?

I did not know Jon Kaplan personally. But losing anyone who is so committed and vested in the arts community is always a sad thing.

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

I definitely think the US should stop dropping smart bombs and start dropping musicals anywhere and everywhere in the world…it always makes people happy.

2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: Bendy Sign Tavern

3 Jul

06-12-2017-141758-7707Your name: Seann Murray

Your production: Bendy Sign Tavern

Your role: Collective member of Sex-T-Rex

Tell me about your show.

Bendy Sign Tavern is a puppet rom-com set inside the Paddock tavern. It’s like Cheers if everyone was made of foam. Also, there are songs, because they are puppets. Also you can order a beer from the puppets, because they are running the bar. The beer is made out of hops and barely, but also, appropriately enough, has foam.

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

Despite starting out as a joke, Bendy Sign Tavern actually is in the Toronto Fringe asygdy

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

There are so many great comedy acts in the Fringe this year. We always look forward to Ingrid Hansen’s work (Interstellar Elder) and Peter N’ Chris never disappoint, but I’m particularly interested in taking in some of the many promising sketch shows in the festival, as Sex T-Rex is looking to move into more sketchy work in 2018.

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

I don’t think you need to send theatre artists very far afield to find craziness and volatility- all people need entertainment in trying times, and an entertained audience is much more open to internalizing whatever call for change might be in your work.

2017 Toronto Fringe Preview Questionnaire: Caitlin & Eric Are Broken Up

3 Jul

06-08-2017-153628-1484Your name: Caitlin Robson

Your production: Caitlin & Eric Are Broken Up

Your role: Actor/co-writer/producer

Tell me about your show.

The play is centered on an imaginary rebound between Caitlin Robson (Karenin’s Anna, Fringe 2014; Seams, Summerworks 2015)and Eric Miinch (Behold! The Barfly! Fringe 2016; Fratwurst Comedy) In 2015, the respective actress and improviser met at an open-mic where they each told true stories from their past relationships. He liked hers. She liked his. This play is a combination of both their stories. Throughout the show, they transition between the present and their past, playing each others’ partners. Through this painfully funny encounter Caitlin and Eric explore the meaning of love, marriage and divorce, fidelity, growing up, growing out of love, and the art of moving on.

The show is directed and co-written by Toronto’s own feminist comedian, Jess Beaulieu, of the Crimson Wave Comedy and Podcast; and devised through a one-of-a-kind experiment in storytelling, improv and written sketch.

If there are any lonely hearts out there looking for a laugh, this one goes out to you!

Now again in the style of a tweet by Donald Trump.

MAKE CAITLIN & ERIC NOT BROKEN UP AGAIN!

What other shows or artists are you looking forward to seeing?

Peter ‘n’ Chris, Sex T-Rex, Shakespeare’s Ghostbusters, Diddlin’ Bibbles

This year we lost the great Jon Kaplan who was a incomparable supporter of independent theatre and a ubiquitous presence at the Fringe. Are there any thoughts, stories, or memories of Jon you’d like to share?

He was a big supporter of young artists. He was very gracious about our 2014 Fringe play Karenin’s Anna.

The world is becoming an increasingly crazy and volatile place. If you could air-drop an elite squad of theatre artists any place in the world, where would you drop them and what would their mission be?

I would air-drop all of Sesame Street into the White House to explain to Trump about world history and politics along with all the lessons he should have learned as a child.