Tarragon Theatre's FLESH AND OTHER FRAGMENTS OF LOVE Opens Tomorrow
Tarragon Theatre presents the English-language premiere of Flesh and Other Fragments of Love by the Governor General Award-winning playwright Evelyne de la Chenelière whose Bashir Lazhar Tarragon produced in 2008. Directed by the theatre's Artistic Director Richard Rose, Tarragon continues its tradition of presenting English premieres of Quebec plays with a translation by Linda Gaboriau. Both a little bit ominous and a little bit magical, this imaginative and surprising take on married life, love and identity opens January 15 and runs to February 16 (with previews from January 7) in Tarragon's Mainspace. Tickets range from $21-$53 (inclusive of HST) and are available by calling Patron Services at 416-531-1827 or by visiting www.tarragontheatre.com.
On the Irish Coast, a vacationing couple stumbles upon the body of a drowned woman named Mary during a walk along the beach. This grisly discovery acts as a catalyst to unearth unspoken words in Pierre and Simone's long-standing marriage. They spin a story of Mary's life - both imagined and factual - and as her story comes alive, Mary's presence insinuates itself into their lives, illuminating their own tumultuous relationship. Part detective story, part ghost story, part dissection of fidelity and intimacy, this is a haunting ode to love by de la Chenelière, freely inspired by the novel Une vie pour deux by Marie Cardinal.
Premiered in French by Montreal's Espace Go in 2012 as Une vie pour deux (La chair et autres fragments de l'amour), Le Devoir praised it as "a beautiful, poetic piece. The writing is in equal parts sophisticated, sensitive, and ironic," while the Journal de Montréal hailed it as "magnificently well-written, triggering deeply-felt emotions. A superb pieceŠ as troubling as it is moving."
Director Richard Rose has assembled an outstanding team for this lyrical exploration of relationships - to one's self and to another. After receiving the 2012 Toronto Theatre Critics' Best Actress Award for Tarragon's The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs, and appearing in last season's The Amorous Adventures of Anatol as all seven women, Nicole Underhay returns to Tarragon to portray Mary. This past summer, Underhay starred in the Shaw Festival's Major Barbara and Arcadia. Likely best known for her 49 episodes in the much beloved CBC TV drama Street Legal as Laura Crosby, Maria del Mar now makes her professional stage debut as well as her Tarragon debut as Simone. Most recently she produced and co-starred in the feature film Looking Is The Original Sin directed by famed Canadian Gail Harvey, and has starred in such other tv series as Terminal City (ACTRA Award) and Blue Murder (Gemini nomination). Blair Williams as Pierre also makes his Tarragon debut after recently appearing in PIG for Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and in Blithe Spirit for Montreal's Segal Centre. He directed Peace In Our Time (2013) and The Millionairess (2012) at the Shaw Festival, where he has been a member of the company for 19 seasons.
Set and costume design is by Karyn McCallum, lighting design by Rebecca Picherack and sound design by Todd Charlton. The stage manager is Marinda de Beer.
Montreal-based playwright and actor Evelyne de la Chenelière studied drama at École Michel-Granvale in Paris. She was the recipient of the 2006 Governor General's Literary Award for Drama for her play Désordre public. Her play Des fraises en janvier, translated into English and German and presented at the Edinburgh Festival in 2006, won a Masque for best original text from the Académie québécoise du théâtre. Her play Les pieds des anges was nominated for a 2009 Governor General French Language Drama Award. De la Chenelière's Bashir Lazhar was the basis for the film Monsieur Lazhar, nominated for a 2012 Oscar for Best Foreign Language film, and winner of six Genies as well as Quebec's 2012 Jutra Prize for Best Film and Best Screenplay. Une vie pour deux (La chair et autres fragments de l'amour) has been nominated for a Governor General's Award. The play was also turned into a film this past fall, Une vie pour deux. Flesh and Other Fragments of Love will be published by Playwright's Canada Press and available at Tarragon or online at http://www.playwrightscanada.com as of January 13, 2014.
Richard Rose most recently directed Siminovitch Award winner Joan MacLeod's acclaimed The Valley for Tarragon earlier this season. 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.
Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann