Centaur Theatre to Present Vittorio Rossi's THE ENVELOPE, March 24-April 19
Centaur Theatre welcomes back Montreal playwright, Vittorio Rossi, with his latest play, The Envelope, a comedy-drama anchored in the complex Canadian film industry. The production will run March 24 to April 19, 2015.
An indisputable voice for the Italian community, Rossi's stories speak to all Montrealers and, in this particular instance, Canadian artists. This world premiere, which Rossi will also direct, marks the tenth collaboration with Centaur since his first association with the theatre as playwright-in-residence in 1987.
"Unless it's a love letter or a pay check, nothing good ever came out of an envelope." - Franco, The Envelope
While excited actors gather in a local Italian restaurant, two producers jockey for the film rights to a new play premiering at an Old Montreal theatre. Torn between an L.A. indie filmmaker and a local producer dangling a tempting multi-million dollar envelope from the Canadian Federal Film Fund, the playwright must confront ambition over loyalty and money over art. Made in Canada movie projects generate more red tape than red carpet winners in this engaging new play about the celluloid dream factory.
"There are two things I detest in this country. [...] One is winter. The other is a Canadian film producer. I've learned to cope with winter but I will never trust a Canadian film producer." - Michael, The Envelope
Centaur's Artistic and Executive Director, Roy Surette, has great praise and enthusiasm for the upcoming main stage production, the fifth in Centaur's six-play season. "Vittorio captures this city and its people so beautifully. Audiences will definitely recognize a theatre located in Old Montreal around the corner from a family-owned Italian restaurant and get a kick out of the behind-the-scenes take on getting a play to opening night ... a font of entertaining material there! But the main attraction is the inside scoop at how Canadian films are produced. Ambition, back room deals, egos and eccentric characters abound amid the lure of big money versus creative integrity. Who could resist such tantalizing theatrical treats?"
Rossi, an advocate of 'write what you know', drew heavily from his own experiences for the script. "On five different occasions I was approached to either write a screenplay or adapt one of my own plays. Each and every time the projects got lost in 'development hell.' With these producers, never once did I feel like I was working with a creative partner. But as a result of all this, I raised the money, shot my film in five days, and gained a whole new skill set. It was a great learning experience and immensely gratifying."
The cast is a who's-who of heavy hitting Canadian talent, many of whom have worked previously with Rossi. Ron Lea, (The Book of Bob, Centaur) is a playwright contending with the usual mayhem of an opening night and a difficult decision about who will produce his film. Actor and playwright, David Gow, (Relative Good, Centaur), is the smooth-talking producer with the infamous envelope full of cash. TV and film actor, Tony Calabretta, last seen in Rossi's Paradise by the River (Centaur 2010) is Franco, the wise-cracking Italian restaurateur whose cousin the actor, Marcello, is played by actor/stand-up comedian, Guido Cocomello (Paradise by the River, The St. Leonard Chronicles). Shawn Campbell plays Andrew, a character actor who has weathered many an opening night jitter, and no film story would be complete without an ingénue poised for her big break and Me?lanie Sirois, as the bright-eyed Caroline, makes her Centaur debut. Leni Parker, 2014 META-winner for Best Actress plays Sarah, the Canadian National Movie Fund's head of script development in the midst of a career crisis.
Rossi is assisted by Concordia student, Mitchell Cohen. Evita Karasek, who created the fresh, realistic concepts for this season's Social Studies, returns as the set and costume designer with the genius of Luc Prairie lighting the stage. Luciana Burcheri (The St. Leonard Chronicles, Good People) stage manages, assisted by Danielle Skene (Motherhouse, The St. Leonard Chronicles).
FREE CHAT UP: Canadian film producer, Kevin Tierney, known for his Genie Award-winning Bon Cop, Bad Cop, reveals all about making films in Canada to Montreal Gazette Editor, Lucinda Chodan, in the intimate Seagram Gallery on Sunday, March 29, 2015 at 12:30pm.