DAISY Comes to Great Canadian Theatre Company
Daisy tells the true story of the first modern political attack ad: the "Daisy" ad commissioned by the White House to help Lyndon Johnson win the 1964 presidential race against Barry Goldwater. The firm they chose was Madison Avenue's Doyle Dane Bernbach (DDB), who created an ad that swept through the public consciousness like an atomic shockwave.
The infamous "Daisy" ran once and was immediately banned, but its impact has been felt ever since. The ad changed how political campaigns employed television, and opened the door to a new kind of attack ad. The Canadian premiere of Daisy provides today's media-savvy audience with an insight into the last major revolution in mass communication. With a tip of the hat to Mad Men, this production reminds of how quickly these changes take root. The play runs at GCTC from March 10 to 29, 2020 with previews on March 10, 11, and opening on March 12. It is a co-production of the GCTC and Horseshoes and Hand Grenades Theatre.
The play premiered at Seattle's ACT Theatre in 2016 to sold-out houses and rave reviews. Critics saw it as timely-Donald Trump would be elected later that year and the campaign was on everyone's mind. Since then, the play has only become more relevant. As America's elections loom, Daisy shines a light on political campaigns of image and sound in an increasingly noisy world.
Sean Devine, playwright, is no stranger to politics. He ran for public office in 2015 in Nepean, and he wants his play to spark discussion-and introspection-about the current state of political discourse.
"I didn't write Daisy as history. My concerns are absolutely current: 'those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it'," he says. "There are parallels between the mid-to-late 1960s and our current times."
The play reflects on the intentional use of fear in all aspects of contemporary political life. With the "Daisy" ad (which can be viewed here), the team at DDB used fear of nuclear apocalypse to motivate a country to vote for Johnson. In today's age of the media bogeyman, Daisy examines how yesterday's ad men learned to manipulate our emotions.
- Marion Day | Louise Brown
- Brad Long | Sid Myers
- Michael Mancini | Tony Schwartz
- Geoff McBride | Aaron Ehrlich
- Andrew Moodie | Clifford Lewis
- Paul Rainville | Bill Bernbach
- Laurie Champagne | Stage Manager
- Eric Coates | Director
- Frank Donato | Video Designer
- Loreen Gibson | Assistant Stage Manager
- Vanessa Imeson | Costume Designer
- Venessa Lachance | Sound Designer
- Peter Spike Lyne | Lighting Designer
- Roger Schultz | Set & Props Designer
Prologue will take place Wednesday, March 11 at 6:45pm featuring special guests Playwright Sean Devine, Set Designer Roger Schultz and GCTC Artistic Director Eric Coates.
A panel discussion will take place on Saturday, March 14 at 2:45pm featuring CBC News Ottawa anchor and journalist Adrian Harewood hosting a panel including political campaign strategist and CBC commentator Kathleen Monk, political strategist and former U.S. diplomat Sarah Goldfeder, and playwright Sean Devine.
Both events are free for the public.
Tickets are on sale now at GCTC's box office at 1233 Wellington West at Holland, 613-236-5196 or. Regular ticket price range: $42 to $58; Rush Tickets $15 for students; $33 for adults.
Tickets can be purchased in person from the GCTC Box Office after noon on the day of performance. Valid student ID required for Student Rush.