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Canadian Stage Presents The Cosmonaut's Last Message... 4/16-5/14

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Canadian Stage is excited to welcome Jennifer Tarver as she directs the Canadian premiere of innovative Scottish playwright David Greig's compelling piece The cosmonaut's last message to the woman he once loved in the former Soviet Union. Featuring a talented cast of stage veterans (Tom Barnett, Raoul Bhaneja, Fiona Byrne, David Jansen, Tony Nappo and Sarah Wilson) the production runs from April 16 to May 14, 2011 at the Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front Street East, Toronto). Opening and media night: April 21. Tickets from $22 to $99 are available in person, by phone 416.368.3110, or online at canadianstage.com.

"We are thrilled to share this remarkably poignant production," says Matthew Jocelyn, Artistic & General Director of Canadian Stage. "This is the first of David Greig's plays to be presented on a major stage in this country, just as it is director Jennifer Tarver's Canadian Stage debut. Greig's characters will truly resonate with audiences in this digital age, as their stories explore our desperate need for human connection and the challenges and loneliness we face in attempting communication - all things we inevitably deal with in our lives."

In 1991, a Russian cosmonaut was stranded in the Mir Space Station for almost 300 days, a victim of the collapsing Soviet State. David Greig uses this piece of little-known history as a springboard to tell the stories of a group of strangers, lovers and families. The cosmonaut's last message... follows the intertwined lives of two forgotten cosmonauts who are orbiting the planet, a Scottish couple confronting their failed marriage, a young pole dancer searching for love, a French scientist obsessed with UFOs, a pregnant policewoman and a Norwegian businessman as they try, in their own way, to communicate.

"I am so excited to be working on such an intriguing script with such a vivacious cast," says director Jennifer Tarver. "This play is full of duality - from the staging of the interwoven stories, to the actors who play multiple characters, to the messages being sent across the cosmos - not necessarily received by the people they were intended for!"

Technology, physical proximity and language all illuminate this examination of the frailties of love, the nature of loneliness and our universal desire for connection. At once clever, funny and unexpectedly moving, the play showcases forty distinct scenes spread over fifteen different locations.

The cast have been working closely with designer Julie Fox and dialect designer Eric Armstrong to create distinct locations and authentic voices. In addition to training with aerial flying effects, cast members have rehearsed speaking in a series of accents and dialects (including Scottish, Russian and Norwegian) to represent each character. Rehearsals have been augmented by a website featuring audio files, one-on-one coaching sessions and a variety of physical exercises.

About The cosmonaut's last message to the woman he once loved in the former Soviet Union:
A Canadian Stage production at the Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front St. E), April 16 to May 14, 2011.

Written by: David Greig
Directed by: Jennifer Tarver
Assistant Director: Birgit Schreyer Duarte
Set and Costume Designer: Julie Fox
Dialect Designer: Eric Armstrong
Lighting Designer: Robert Thomson
Production Designer: Jeremy Mimnagh
Movement Consultant: Susanna Hood
Stage Manager: Nancy Dryden
Assistant Stage Manager: Sandy Plunkett

Starring Tom Barnett, Raoul Bhaneja, Fiona Byrne, David Jansen, Tony Nappo, Sarah Wilson

Flying effects provided by ZFX, Inc.
Director Fellowship Provider: The Brian Linehan Charitable Foundation

Tickets from $22 to $99 are available in person, by phone 416.368.3110, or online at canadianstage.com.

About Canadian Stage:
Founded in 1987 with the merger of CentreStage and Toronto Free Theatre, Canadian Stage is one of Canada's leading not-for-profit Contemporary Theatre companies. Led by Artistic & General Director Matthew Jocelyn, Canadian Stage produces and showcases innovative theatre work from Canada and around the world, allowing its audience to encounter daring work guided by a strong directorial vision and a 21st-century aesthetic. The company prides itself on presenting trans-disciplinary work and work in translation that pushes the boundaries of form and style. The company reinforces the presence of Canadian art and artists within an international context through work that mirrors the cultural diversity of Toronto. Canadian Stage has a long-standing commitment to education and enhancement programs for the public and investing in the art form by nurturing and developing theatre professionals while producing thought-provoking theatre and quality entertainment in Toronto, one of North America's largest theatre centres. For more information, refer to canadianstage.com.


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