World Premieres to Launch Theatre Centre's BMO Incubator Space
This mini-season of exceptional theatre includes Ahuri Theatre's Ralph + Lina, Play It Again Productions' Death Married My Daughter and ZOU Theatre's Business As Usual.
The productions will be supported through a new collaborative producing model that will provide the producing companies with artistic and administrative mentorships with award-winning creators Theatre Smith-Gilmour (Dean Gilmour and Michele Smith, Co-Artistic Directors) and Why Not Theatre (Ravi Jain, Artistic Director).
"There are so many young theatre companies in Toronto and they are all facing the same challenges when producing theatre," notes Dan Watson, Artistic Director of Ahuri Theatre. "We all wanted to find a way to develop best practices and make it easier for young artists to make work and not have to build infrastructure to support a company."
The innovative new producing model allows small collectives to share costs and administrative overheads, collectively build audiences over a longer run and benefit from the support and mentorship of successful established companies and artists.
Business As Usual, produced by ZOU Theatre Company, is a surreal glance into the seedy underbelly of big business in a post-crash world, created by the company and directed by Viktor Lukawski (seen in Tarragon/TheatreRUN's The Double and Old Trout Puppet Workshop's Ignorance). A once-successful corporation is flying off the rails: the employees are running wild and the execs are drowning in the turbulent waves of their own excess. To the outside world, all is as it should be; but behind closed doors, a noose is tightening, tensions are rising, and the coffee pot is overflowing as this corporate Twilight Zone reaches unsustainable heights of madness. This is PTSD for the financial class. Lukawski is joined on stage by fellow co-creators Adam Paolozza (director/performer of The Double, Dora Award for Spent) and Nicolas Di Gaetano (seen in Ignorance).
Death Married My Daughter, produced by Play it Again Productions, is written by Danya Buonastella, Dean Gilmour, Nina Gilmour and Michele Smith (the latter three are husband, daughter and wife who all performed in Theatre Smith-Gilmour's Dora-nominated As I Lay Dying). This bouffon-inspired satire was a Patron's Pick and held over as Best of Fringe (2013). It resurrects Shakespeare's Ophelia and Desdemona from exile in the swamps of death to expose their "abusers" and "murderers," and to destroy - with delight - the established values of a 'Man's' society. It is directed by the Dora Award winning team of Michele Smith and Dean Gilmour and performed by recent graduates of École Philippe Gaulier: Nina Gilmour (As I Lay Dying) and Danya Buonastella.
Ralph + Lina, produced by Dora Award winning Ahuri Theatre, is written by Michele Smith and real life husband and wife, Dan Watson (writer/director of Ahuri's A Fool's Life which earned six Dora nominations and won Outstanding Sound Design) and Christina Serra. The rough-and-tumble romance tells the true story of Serra's grandparents - two Italian lovers and their struggles to stay together in the face of World War Two, forced immigration and old age. In the vein of early Fellini (La Strada), the award-winning creative team dives into their own family histories to explore notions of dependence and separation in a passionate acrobatic comedy that radically reinvents the modern melodrama. The play is directed by Smith and is performed by Watson and Serra. www.ahuritheatre.com.
Each production is joined by lighting designer André du Toit (Outstanding Lighting Design Dora for The Double), stage manager Jiv Parasram and production manager Michelle Galuszka. Ken MacKenzie (Kim's Convenience) is the set and costume designer for Business as Usual and Ralph + Lina.
Theatre Smith Gilmour was founded in 1980. They have been nominated for 36 Dora Awards and won seven for their Chekhov shorts and Chekhov longs, which were invited to the Chekhov International Theatre Festival in Moscow, Festival of the Americas in Montreal as well as to Bejing, Macau and Shanghai. They have pioneered a unique physical theatre with text and have had a significant artistic impact on their colleagues and future generations of theatre creators through their productions and commitment to artistic mentorship and training. Next year, they will remount As I Lay Dying for a national tour. www.theatresmithgilmour.com
Why Not Theatre is a critically acclaimed, multiple award-winning, Toronto-based theatre company with an international scope. Over the last six years, they have developed over 14 productions, touring to 15 different cities on four continents. In recent years, the company has also become known for its presentation of international productions and workshops from diverse cultures and artistic practices, along with support for the development of local emerging artists and companies. www.theatrewhynot.org