Coming to Toronto Fringe 2009: RED MACHINE: Part One

From Press Release

The Room presents:

The most innovative, ambitious show of the festival theatre season. Seven playwrights. Three directors. One Red Machine.

In an attempt to smash his writer’s block, Hugo checks into a motel where he is unexpectedly consumed by the search for a missing guest – a journey that takes him deep into the inner workings of his own brain.

The Dora-nominated creative team behind A Quiet Place, Minotaur and The Dispute unveils a bold new company and an ambitious new three-part production. Red Machine: Part One premieres at this year’s Toronto Fringe Festival.

Red Machine: Part One is directed by Chris Hanratty, Geoffrey Pounsett and Christopher Stanton. It stars James Cade, Paula Jean Prudat, Tova Smith and John Gilbert. It was written by Brendan Gall, Michael Rubenfeld and Erin Shields.

   1. 1 . A group of Toronto’s most acclaimed young theatre pros form a new multi-disciplinary collective. They debut at this year’s Fringe. Will the work meet the high expectations?
   2. 2 . The brains behind Red Machine, Christopher Stanton, talks about the biology of the brain and the anatomy of theatre.
   3. 3 . Acclaimed playwright and actor Brendan Gall on why The Room is more than a theatre company.

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THE DIRECTORS Geoffrey Pounsett directed both Toronto productions of Brendan Gall’s A Quiet Place, for which he received a Dora nomination in 2008. He has also directed the first act of Gall’s adaptation of The Seagull (single threat/Lab Cab), as well as Refuge (rep 21), Kate Hewlett’s The Swearing Jar (6am Tango – NOW Magazine Outstanding Direction, Fringe 08), and Art Is A Cupboard (The Sweat Company – NOW Outstanding Direction, Fringe 06). Geoffrey co-founded The Sweat Company, which also produced the critically acclaimed 2005 Fringe hit The Dispute. As an actor, he has worked across Canada and throughout Toronto. 2010 will mark his fourth appearance at The Tarragon, reprising his role as Tereus in Erin Shields’ If We Were Birds. He is a graduate of Queen’s University and George Brown Theatre School, where he also teaches.

An Artistic Director of The Room, Christopher Stanton is a Toronto-based director, performer, writer, musician and sound designer. Recently, he directed Minotaur (UnSpun), which he also co-created. Other recent directing credits include A Minor Symphony in Bees (Rhubarb!/The Hive), and Panhandled (UnSpun). He has been nominated for three Dora Mavor Moore awards since 2007. Christopher served as UnSpun Theatre’s Co-Artistic Director from 2004-2008. He is currently completing Elora Gorge, his first full-length play.

Chris Hanratty is Artistic Director of Toronto’s UnSpun Theatre whose most recent production was Minotaur, which he co-created and performed. Directing work with UnSpun includes: co-creating and directing Don’t Wake Me, and co-adapting and directing The Tin Drum: Book One. Upcoming: Chris will be co-creating and performing in The Machine (The Ministry), co-adapting and directing The Tin Drum (UnSpun), and directing the short film Birthday. Chris is currently developing a new play, A Thousand Words.

James Cade THE ACTORS John Gilbert has worked in theatres across Canada from Victoria, BC to Montreal. He spent five years in the Stratford company, with tours to Broadway and Chicago, and six years with the Shaw Festival company. He was a member of Richard Rose’s Necessary Angel Co. and has most recently worked with Le Theatre Francais de Toronto. Among his numerous film and TV appearances he values most his work with Canadian film-makers David Cronenberg, Denys Arcand, Atom Egoyan and Jeremy Podeswa. Joining a group of talented Canadian artists to work on this latest project is a great pleasure and fulfillment.

Tova Smith was seen most recently at Theatre Calgary and The Manitoba Theatre Centre as Sister James in Doubt. Other credits include Against the Grain, Courting Johanna (Blyth Festival) Othello, Pentecost, Of Mice and Men, Twelfth Night (The Stratford Shakespeare Festival), The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Festival of Classics), As You Like It (Theatre By the Bay), Unity (1918) (Theatre Passe Muraille, Theatre Aquarius), Much Ado About Nothing (MTC), Othello (Shakespeare in the Rough), Indian Ink (Canadian Stage/National Arts Centre). Tova is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada. She is thrilled to be back in Toronto and working with this brilliant ensemble.

Some of Paula-Jean Prudat’s theatrical credits include a staged reading of Tara Beagan’s Quilchena (Crosscurrents Festival), Savage (Native Earth), a reading of Marie Clements’s Tomb of the Vanishing Indian (Native Earth/ Weesageechak Festival), A Very Polite Genocide (Native Earth), Emerge in Repose (Full Circle’s Talking Stick Festival), Stretching Hide (Theatre Projects Manitoba), Copper Thunderbird (National Arts Centre of Canada/ Magnetic North), Picasso at the Lapin Agile (Edmonton Fringe), The Rez Sisters (Healing Our Spirits Worldwide/ Edmonton Fringe), and How I Learned to Drive (Edmonton Fringe). Paula-Jean is also a recipient of the National Arts Centre of Canada’s David Leighton Arts Fellowship Award.

James Cade is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada. Selected theatre credits include: A Quiet Place (Single Threat Theatre), Minotaur (Unspun Theatre), Gladstone Variations (Convergence Theatre) and Tara Beagan’s The Fort At York (Crate Productions). Various television and film credits include: Sue Thomas F.B.Eye (CTV), Hot Snack Radio (Showcase), Cold Blood (Next Film), The Listener (CTV), Warehouse 13 (NBC) and the feature film Dakota. James is elated to have entered The Room.

Sherry Roher THE WRITERS Brendan Gall’s plays include: A Quiet Place (Single Threat – 5 Dora nominations), Panhandled (UnSpun Theatre), and Alias Godot (Tarragon Theatre – Dora nomination, Outstanding New Play). He contributed pieces to AutoShow and The Gladstone Variations (Convergence Theatre), co-created I Keep Dropping Sh*t (Small Wooden Shoe), Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and Don’t Wake Me (UnSpun Theatre), and wrote the feature film Dakota (Mongrel Media). Brendan is a playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre where he’s developing his new play, Wide-Awake Hearts.

Erin Shields is an actor and playwright who trained at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama in London, England. She is a founding member of Groundwater Productions through which she creates, develops and produces much of her work including The Unfortunate Misadventures of Masha Galinski (Dora-nominated), Goblin Market (Dora Nominated, Groundwater/ Belltower) and Ubu Roi. In development are Gilgamesh and Montparnasse both of which will premiere at Summerworks 2009. Erin’s play If We Were Birds is part of the Tarragon Theatre’s 2009/2010 season. Other creations include Dance of the Red Skirts (Theatre Columbus), Fewer Emergencies (MITCH) and Dedicated to the Revolutions (Small Wooden Shoe).

Michael Rubenfeld is the Artistic Producer of the SummerWorks Theatre Festival. He is also the co-artistic director of Absit Omen Theatre with Hannah Moscovitch. Michael’s work as an actor, writer and director have been seen on stages across the country. In 2008, he was Dora-nominated for his play My Fellow Creatures. He recently performed his play Spain in New York City (Bridge Theatre Company) and directed his short piece An Exercise in Futility for the Rhubarb! Festival (being remounted for the Clown Festival in June). In May, he performed in his piece The Book of Judith co-created with Sarah Stanley in a large tent on the CAMH grounds. Michael is a 2001 graduate of the National Theatre School.

THE STAGE MANAGER Sherry Roher is in The Room! She has been working in theatre for the past 10 years, married to it
for almost 20 and to the chagrin of many still finds delight in what she does.

THE DESIGNER Gillian Gallow’s design credits include Awake and Sing! (costumes, Soulpepper); Appetite (set and costumes, Volcano/TPM); The Pillowman (costumes, Canadian Stage); Ubuntu (costumes, Tarragon Theatre/Neptune Theatre); The Syringa Tree (set and costumes, The Grand Theatre); A Christmas Carol, The Graduate and Real Estate (costumes, The Grand Theatre); The Bear (set and costumes, Preface Theatre/AGO); The Merchant of Venice (associate set design, The Stratford Festival). Upcoming designs include: The Mill (Theatrefront); Dry Streak and Pride and Prejudice (The Grand Theatre) and Night (Human Cargo and National Arts Centre).

THE SOUND DESIGNER AND COMPOSER Thomas Ryder Payne is a Toronto-based composer, sound designer, producer and teacher. Recent designs include: Pobby and Dingan (LKTYP), Mourning Dove (Ark Collective), Happy Days (NAC), If We Were Birds (Summerworks), My Fellow Creatures (Buddies), Alias Godot (Tarragon), Madre (Aluna Theatre. Dora award Best Sound Design and Composition), The Sheep and The Whale (Cahoots/Modern Times) and Leo (Tarragon. Dora nomination).

THE MARKETER Ian Mackenzie is a Toronto-based writer and marketer. As a writer, he has written on brands such as Honda, Rogers, Labatt,, Procter & Gamble, and Kraft Canada, and worked as a film critic and news reporter. Ian was Director of Marketing for Toronto’s Praxis Theatre from 2006 to 2009 and is the creator and editor of the Theatre is territory blog, on which he has interviewed more than 80 theatre professionals from around the world as part of his "10 questions" series. He has a BA in Visual and Performing Arts from the University of Toronto, and is currently Director of Marketing for The Room.

THE COMPANY Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, The Room is a young and independent theatre company that dreams of becoming lots of other things. It wants to make things that are relevant, challenging and entertaining, and would rather fail at something bold than succeed at something safe. The Room is married to the sea.