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EMH Productions presents TOYER

EMH Productions presents TOYERAward winning EMH Productions continues its sixth season of provocative and compelling theatre with the dynamic and chilling two character drama TOYER: An Unavoidable Tragedy by Hollywood playwright and actor Gardner McKay. This timely 90 minute play delves into the mind games of a serial lobotomist of women, dubbed The Toyer by local LA police. The struggle for power over one another, the willingness to believe what we want to, to buy into what a person is telling us because the truth is too awful to face speaks to the state of our nation in this current climate of political unrest. TOYER will run Thursday October 12th (preview) through Tuesday October 31st, 2017 at the Ooley Theatre located at 2007 28th Street, Sacramento, CA 95818.

Meet Maude Christopher, a successful psychiatrist in LA who has been working hand in hand with the police to unearth The Toyer. Enter Peter Matson, a harmlessly sweet gay man who helps her start her car one night and follows her home to make sure she arrives safely, only to begin a mind game of epic proportions they both play with chilling results.

"If this play is about anything, it is about our vast ability to manipulate one another. About our wondrous gift for lying. It is about our awful power of charisma. It is about our capacity to believe any truth, as it suits us. It is about our immediate power to forgive; our need to move on. It is about compromise, our willingness to sleep with our executioner. It is about our moral lawlessness: our loss of instincts, and the inner beliefs of our own. It is about our capacity to absorb mindless horror, that a crime is only a crime if it happens to us; nothing else angers us. It is about our dreadful crimes; not that they happen, that we know about them and turn the page." - Gardner McKay

This will be the sixth year, and the 4th show this year, for EMH Productions to bring thought provoking, intimate and unique theatre to the stage. This year alone has brought about sold out houses to all of her productions from Sex with Strangers by Laura Eason in February, to a sold out run of Daddy's Dyin', Who's Got the Will? by Del Shores in April. In June, she premiered as well as directed the new work Inversion by Aditya Putcha at the Hollywood Fringe Festival to rave reviews and a sold out run. EMH Productions supports the art of acting, directing, producing and writing through live theatre productions, film, TV and casting. The goal is to provide an arena that artists in this industry can network, grow their craft and find support to achieve their dreams. In every production the executive creative director, Elise Hodge, looks to bring in a new director, actor or writer to showcase their talents, to be a stepping stone in a career path as an artist in this community. She selects material based on its social impact, its essential message that she believes will either move people, test their beliefs, or simply make them laugh. Stories have always been her passion, as she believes through story telling do we truly find ways to reach out to one another, to touch each other on a human level. She participates in every production as the producer, set designer and builder, and then additionally as an actor or director. She has produced over 15 shows in the Sacramento area alone, her roots coming from The 68 Crew based in Los Angeles, CA. EMH also strongly believes in giving back to the community and often supports a local charity with her productions. Previous productions include Doubt (2016), Goodbye Freddy (2016), Look Back in Anger (2016), the debut of an original work These Lonesome Roads (2016), An Almost Perfect Person (2015), her own original work Fragile Things (2015) and After Hours ((2013), Down the Road (2013), Moving Mountains (2013), Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead (2013), Liar (2012) and My Fellow Creatures (2012). For a complete list of all charities and previous shows, visit the EMH website at

McKay was born in New York City and eventually attended Cornell University in Ithaca, NY for two years,[2] where he majored in art. He became a Hollywood heartthrob in the 1950s and 1960 where he was best known for the lead role in the TV series Adventures in Paradise based loosely on the writings of James Michner. McKay competed in screen tests with nine other candidates, and won it because of his good looks and ability to sail. An accomplished sailor, he had made eight Atlantic crossings by the age of seventeen. Although previously unknown to the public, McKay appeared on the July 6, 1959, cover of Life Magazine just two months before the series premiered. That TV show would mirror his later life somewhat, since McKay was a seasoned sailor and skipper who had never lived far from an ocean and also welcomed adventure and challenges to spice up his life.
McKay eventually dropped acting after a fairly successful run of over a 100 films and TV shows to pursue his interest in photography, sculpture, and writing. He exhibited his sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, besides holding individual exhibitions. His lifeboat rescue photographs of the Andrea Doria were published internationally. His passion for theatrics and literature enabled him to plunge into an active career as a novelist with Toyer, The Last American, Trompe L'Oeil,, and playwright with his adaptation of Toyer, and separate works Masters of the Sea, This Fortunate Island, The People We Kill, and The Girl Next Door Is Screaming. Later on he became a literary critic for the LA Herald Examiner between 1977 and 1982. He taught writing classes at UCLA, USC, University of Alaska, and the University of Hawaii. In 2014 his play Sea Marks was produced Off-Broadway at the Irish Repertory Theatre.

After extensive world travel, McKay finally settled down in Hawaii where he raised and lived with dogs, Nubian goats, hens, roosters, African lions, cheetahs, cats, cougars and other species of wildlife. Sadly, Mr. McKay passed in 2001 from cancer. His unique voice with plays such as TOYER are missed by the writing world, but go on with productions like this one. We are thrilled to represent his work.

McKay's awards included three National Endowments for the Arst fellowships for playwriting, the Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play, and Sidney Carrington Prize. He was a winner in Canadian Regional Drama Festival, and runner-up in the Hemingway Short Story Contest.

When Paj brought this play to my attention, I'd (Elise Hodge) heard of it but hadn't read it. In hearing him talk about the characters and the challenge it would be for him to take on a role such as this, I was intrigued. As actors we strive to not only find material that takes us out of our comfort zones but also changes how we are seen in the eyes of others. Paj has had a wonderfully successful career (SARTA Elly Nominated) here in Sacramento most often as the comic relief or the gentle supporting friend but his range and depth go way beyond that. So with great anticipation, we bring you a mind game of a show in more ways than one!

Previous credits include: Multiple roles including King Luis in the recent production of The Three Musketeers presented by the Davis Shakespeare Ensemble; Cliff in Look Back in Anger with EMH Productions; Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in the hilarious re-telling of the classic horror story in Chemical Imbalance for Main Street Theatre Works. This performance earned him an Elly Award nomination. Anton Diabelli in 33 Variations for Big Idea Theatre; Tripp Davenport in the Elly Award nominated 5 Women Wearing the Same Dress for Resurrection Theatre; Cubby Hopper in The Golden State for Main Street Theatre Works; Athos in Three Musketeers for the Sacramento Shakespeare Festival; Officer Welch in Neil Simon's Rumors for the Roseville Theatre Arts Academy; and Talthybius in Trojan Women for Resurrection Theatre.

EMH is thrilled to be working with the lovely and talented Bethany Hidden again. Her last journey with EMH was as the sexy, saucy bad girl Evalita in EMH's sold out show Daddy's Dyin', Who's Got the Will? by Del Shores. It was a true pleasure and we can't wait to bring you a totally different character in Toyer!

Bethany Hidden is currently in the Main Street production of The Crucible. She was last seen with them in Texas Double Wide. Prior favorite productions: The Countess in Picasso at The Lapin Agile with Resurrection Theatre; Sister Cities (Dallas); The Book of Liz (Oxana/Ms. Foxley) with Resurrection Theatre; Dracula Vs. The Wolfman (Betty Van Helsing); Grabnet (Kay) with Sacra-Melo; Carhops In Bondage (Wanda), Sordid Lives (Bitsy); Countess Dracula (Lucy); Poughkeepsie Porn Co. 2 (Kitty Vinditti) with The Lambda Players as "Bloody Bethy": co-host of The Sacramento Horror Film Festival, member of Trash Film Orgy Productions, a regular on Cinema Insomnia, and the current reigning Miss Trash.

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