Tarragon Announces Casting for Toronto Premiere of The Valley
One of Canada's most impressive playwrights, MacLeod brings her clear and driven signature style to this potent play that explores the unexpected shared lives of strangers. A difficult first few months at university brings the troubled 18-year-old Connor back home to live with his mother, Sharon. The aftermath of his arrest by Constable Dan on Vancouver's SkyTrain illuminates the young man's painful mental state as well as the officer's fraught home life where his wife Janie is struggling after the birth of their first child. The Valley deftly reaches behind the headlines to the core of complicated and complex issues surrounding mental illness, parenting and law enforcement.
Director Richard Rose has assembled an outstanding cast and artistic team to tell this thought-provoking story. Susan Coyne is Sharon, the mother of Connor, portrayed by Colin Mercer. Ian Lake is Constable Dan and Michelle Monteith is his wife, Janie. Rose's long-time collaboratorsCharoltte Dean and Graeme Thomson return to Tarragon as the costume and set designer respectively. The sound designer is Todd Charlton and the stage manager is Marie Fewer.
Susan Coyne has graced the Tarragon stage numerous times including in Albertine in Five Times, Aunt Dan and Lemon, Helen's Necklace and Kingfisher Days (which she also wrote). She also acted in, co-created and co-wrote the acclaimed tv series Slings and Arrows, for which she won three Geminis (Best Writing and Best Supporting Actor). Ian Lake was at Tarragon just last season in Hannah Moscovitch's This is War as Private Jonny Henderson. He recently finished his 6th season at the Stratford Festival where he was seen in Measure for Measure, Mary Stuart and Othello. Colin Mercer, a newcomer to Tarragon, recently wrote and performed in TRIP at the 2013 Fringe Theatre Festival. He is a 2012 graduate of the acting program at The National Theatre School. Michelle Monteith was acclaimed for her Tarragon performance last season in Hannah Moscovitch's Little One and won a Dora Award for her role in Modern Times Stage Company's The Lesson. She also appeared in Tarragon's The Little Years last season and previously in Buddies' Blasted (Dora nomination), Factory Theatre's The Russian Play (Dora nomination) and Soulpepper's The Odd Couple and Ghosts.
Richard Rose previously directed Joan MacLeod's Another Home Invasion, and now helms The Valley. Since becoming Tarragon's Artistic Director in 2002, he has directed over 20 productions for the Tarragon stage, won 5 Dora Awards and received the prestigious Walter Carsen Prize and City of Toronto Mayor's Award for career achievements including an Honourary Doctorate from Thorneloe University, Sudbury. Rose continues to direct outside of Tarragon: across the country including at Neptune Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Theatre Calgary and the Stratford Festival; internationally in Los Angeles, New York and London. Before Tarragon, Rose founded and was Artistic Director of Necessary Angel for 24 years. In addition to his many directing credits, Rose has also worked with students at Ryerson University, the University of Toronto and The National Theatre School. He currently is on the Advisory Committee for the George Brown College Theatre Program and is an adjunct professor at York University.
MacLeod on writing the play: "I thought about how my perception of the police changed and didn't change throughout the years - and how much policing has changed in my lifetime. These days on the downtown eastside in Vancouver over half the police calls are related to issues around mental illness. As I began to write I was interested in examining that in particular and in the concept of protectionŠIn the end this play resides on the same turf as most of my work - that is looking at an issue through the lens of family - or in the case of The Valley two families - and trying to figure out what makes them, and all of us, connected."