The Citadel Theatre Presents the World Premiere of THE GARNEAU BLOCK
An aspiring young journalist hides a big secret. Her parents look for a fresh start. Her best friend Jonas is stuck in the rut of late-night improv shows. Down the street, Shirley Wong grapples with allegations about her husband, the mysterious Rajinder remains an enigma to the neighbourhood, and the Perlitz house rests haunted by the events of its former inhabitants. When flyers appear around the Garneau Block inviting the community to come together and save the neighbourhood, out folds a satirical and moving story of everyday Edmontonians trying to do what Edmontonians do best: rebuild.
Todd Babiak's bestselling and Giller Prize-winning novel won its city's heart with a sharply satirical wit and undeniably local inspiration. Originally serialized weekly in the Edmonton Journal, the collection soon became an audience favourite before being published as a novel in 2006. Its story of a run-down house and a community's efforts to save it come to life in the World Premiere of Belinda Cornish's stage adaptation of The Garneau Block, starting March 14, 2020 on the Maclab Theatre stage.
The piece (commissioned by the Citadel in 2018 as part of the Playwrights' Lab) stays true to Babiak's biting edge, updated for the #MeToo era. Cornish's voice as a writer, best known for award-winning thriller Category E, brings a hilarious and feminist perspective to the story of Madison Weiss, the Perlitz family, disgraced professor Raymond Terletsky, and many others from Babiak's beloved novel.
Citadel Associate Artistic Director Rachel Peake, who has developed The Garneau Block alongside Cornish since its commission, directs this whip-smart satire. Renowned Edmonton designer Narda McCarroll brings the fictional Edmonton block to life as Set and Lighting Designer, and Joanna Yu (best known for her work on some of Canada's hottest new plays joins the team as Costume Designer. Matthew Skopyk (recently at the Citadel for Catalyst Theatre's The Invisible) joins as Sound Designer.
Rachel Bowron (The Candidate/The Party) is aspiring journalist Madison Weiss. She's joined by Andrew Kushnir (The Gay Heritage Project) as actor Jonas Pond, and Stephanie Wolfe (The Silver Arrow) and George Szilagyi (Peter Pan) as Madison's parents, Abby and David Weiss. Their neighbours, 124 Street shop-owner Shirley Wong and professor-under-fire Raymond Terletsky are played by Nadien Chu (The Tempest) and Julien Arnold (A Christmas Carol). Shawn Ahmed (Shaw Festival, The Twilight Zone - CBS) plays the unknown Rajinder, Ryan Cunningham (Oh, What a Beautiful War!) is the lively Barry, and Alana Hawley Purvis (The Humans) rounds out the cast as a variety of colourful characters around the Block.
The Garneau Block serves as the cornerstone for the inaugural Collider Festival March 26-29, Citadel's new initiative to celebrate and showcase incredible new works set for the world's largest stages. Information on readings, workshops, panels, and more as part of the Collider Festival can be found here.