Announcement: Canadian Stage to bring the work of Egoyan, Crimp, Logan, Pite, Beckett and more to their 2011/12 Season

by Jenna Rocca

Canadian Stage will continue to bring Toronto groundbreaking and imaginative contemporary theatre with its just announced 2011-12 season. Yesterday, General and Artistic Director Matthew Jocelyn explained that he hopes to continue to”define and realize a new position for Canadian Stage,” working with what he describes as “original, bold, and fearless” artists, bringing the audience on “enchanting, unexpected, and thrilling theatrical voyages.”

The lineup of shows for the next season is indeed “bold” and draws a strong continuity with the programming of Jocelyn’s past seasons. With more exciting nude choreographic works, the works of international artists and a newly commissioned translation, the lineup is a veritable pastiche of the trends in the contemporary theatre scene, bringing together artists of both local and international scope.

At the Bluma Appel Theatre

Another Africa (Sept. 26 to Oct. 22, 2011)

A Volcano Theatre production

This diptych of plays by Volcano Theatre was first presented at Luminato as a triptych, and explores the relationship between Africa and the West. (Mooney on Theatre review here).

Shine Your Eye by Binyavanga Wainaina; and
Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God by Roland S
Directed by Ross Manson and Liesl Tommy
Starring Maev Beaty, Lucky Ejim, Kristen Thomson, and Dienye Waboso
A Volcano Theatre production presented by Canadian Stage

International writing at its best and high-tech staging come together in a sharp-witted and entertaining look at the relationship between Africa and the West. Canadian Stage presents two plays from Volcano Theatre’s highly acclaimed The Africa Trilogy, hit of the 2010 Luminato Festival.

Says Matthew Jocelyn: “It’s too rare in Western contemporary theatre that we engage in an authentic discussion about Africa – a continent that is a fundamental part of the world we live in today and manage to do it with such humour and depth.”

*Volcano Theatre’s The Africa Trilogy was originally commissioned by Luminato, Toronto Festival of Arts and Creativity.

Orpheus and Eurydice (Nov. 1 to Nov. 5, 2011)

A Compagnie Marie Chouinard production

The distinctive choreographic style of Quebecois Marie Chouinard re-interprets the classic myth. Jocelyn promises it will bring “fiesty, sexy, and irreverent scenes of choreographic copulation.” I’m there.

Choreography and Direction by Marie Chouinard
A Compagnie Marie Chouinard production presented by Canadian Stage

The familiar myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is re-imagined as a powerful dance piece that undulates with humour. Quebecois sensation Marie Chouinard brings her distinct choreography to Canadian Stage following an internationally acclaimed tour.

Jocelyn calls Marie Chouinard a “Quebec sensation, whose work has toured throughout much of the world and who is without question one of our country’s most exciting dance-creators.”

Red (Nov. 19 to Dec. 17, 2011)

A CanStage/Vancouver Playhouse/Citadel Theatre co-production

The Oscar winning writer of Gladiator and the Aviator, John Logan, brings the character of the infamous 20th-century Minimalist painter Mark Rothko to life in his Tony Award-winning play. Kim Collier, familiar with biopic-type material, who directed this past season’s Studies in Motion (Mooney on Theatre review here), will direct.

Under the watchful gaze of his young assistant and a threatening generation of new artists, celebrated 20th-century painter Mark Rothko struggles to create a masterpiece in the face of fame, fortune and commercialism. Director and Canadian Stage Associate Artist Kim Collier brings this stark and passionate 2010 Tony Award-winning play to life.

Kim is a natural choice to direct Red because she has such a profound and vital visual sense, while understanding the true, yet sometimes comic, anguish that feeds the artist’s relationship to his work,” says Jocelyn. “I can’t wait to see what she does with this deeply moving and intelligent script.”

Cruel and Tender (Jan. 21 to Feb. 18, 2012)

Atom Egoyan will direct Arsinée Khanjian, Daniel Kash, Andre Sills, Cara Ricketts and others in Martin Crimp’s contemporary drama about the relationship between the personal and the political. Crimp’s play updates the classical tropes and structure of Greek Tragedy. This is sure to be must-see Toronto theatre.

By Martin Crimp
Directed by Atom Egoyan
Starring Arsinée Khanjian, Daniel Kash, Nigel Shawn Williams, Thomas Hauff, Jeff Lillico, Abena Malika, Cara Ricketts, Brenda Robins, Andre Sills  and Sarah Wilson
A Canadian Stage production

Amelia eagerly waits for her husband to return from battle, but when he does, she discovers his motives for war are disturbingly personal. Internationally acclaimed director Atom Egoyan and celebrated actress Arsinée Khanjian collaborate for the first time on stage in this provocative and playful drama from one of Britain’s foremost contemporary playwrights.

Jocelyn feels thatAtom is an artist that thinks on an epic scale about the issues of our contemporary world. This play is a perfect fit for him to explore his own artistic world view.”

The You Show (Feb. 28 to March 3, 2012)

A Kidd Pivot Frankfurt RM production

Crystal Pite’s “dance-theatre piece” is sure to deliver breathtaking choreography as she did in Studies in Motion this past season.

By Crystal Pite
A Kidd Pivot Frankfurt RM production presented by Canadian Stage

A physical and compelling dance-theatre piece inspired by familiar narratives that move across generations and cultures, and the body’s role in providing the shape for those stories. Innovative award-winning choreographer Crystal Pite’s work integrates original music, text, rich visual design, and a keen sense of wit and invention.

The You Show only had one un-booked week all year, and we snagged it,” raves Jocelyn.

Game of Love and Chance (April 16 to May 12, 2012)

A CanStage/Centaur Theatre co-production.

Matthew Jocelyn will direct a new Canadian translation of this classic 18th century romance by Marivaux, which he says is about the “instability of the human spirit and the human heart” and that will showcase “the collaborative nature of [CanStage].”

By Marivaux (in a new Canadian translation)
Directed by Matthew Jocelyn
A Canadian Stage/Centaur Theatre co-production

This boy-meets-girl tale is a charming romp about mistaken identity, true love, and the business of marriage. Artistic & General Director Matthew Jocelyn brings a contemporary sensibility to this elegant 18th-century classic from French master dramatist Marivaux.

Of the show he will direct, Jocelyn states “I love dealing with the versatility and instability of the human spirit and the human heart, which is exactly what this play is about.”

At the Berkeley Street Theatre

I Send You This Cadmium Red (Oct. 10 to Oct. 22, 2011)

The Art of Time Ensemble in association with CanStage.

This musical and choreographic theatrical event will present a two-part intrepretation of the correspondance between artist and theorist John Berger and filmmaker John Christie.

Music by Gavin Bryars
Texts by John Berger and John Christie
Directed by Daniel Brooks
Choreography by James Kudelka
An Art of Time Ensemble production in association with Canadian Stage

A two-part stage exploration of I Send You This Cadmium Red (the correspondence between artist John Berger and filmmaker John Christie) and a pas-de-deux by famed Canadian choreographer James Kudelka set to Gavin Bryars’ chamber composition Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet, called Soudain L’Hiver Dernier. A stunning and engaging piece from innovative music group Art of Time Ensemble.

Jocelyn on the piece: “Art of Time Ensemble’s approach to theatre as an artistic collective, matching music, text and dance will result in a stunning production.”

The Test (Oct. 31 to Nov. 26)

Company Theatre co-production with CanStage.

German playwright Lukas Bärfuss’ play about “politics and paternity” will star Eric Peterson, Liisa Repo-Martell and Philip Riccio.

By Lukas Bärfuss
Translated by Birgit Schreyer Duarte
Directed by Jason Byrne
Starring Eric Peterson,
Liisa Repo-Martell and Philip Riccio
A Company Theatre production in co-production with Canadian Stage

An ambiguous dark comedy about politics and paternity, by one of the rising stars of German theatre, starring Eric Peterson. Canadian Stage’s newest Berkeley Street Project partner The Company Theatre presents the English premiere of The Test. Starring Eric Peterson.

We’re very much looking forward to working with our newest Berkeley Street Project Partner on The Test,” says Jocelyn. “An exciting script and an exceptional cast.”

Beckett: Feck it! (Feb. 17 to Feb 25, 2012)

A Queen of Puddings Music Theatre production in association with CanStage.

Celebrating the absurdist humour of Samuel Beckett, this presentation will feature contemporary Irish music he has inspired, interwoven with his shorter plays.

Featuring the plays of Samuel Beckett and the music he has inspired
Music Directors Dáirine Ní Mheadhra and John Hess
Directed by Jennifer Tarver
A Queen of Puddings Music Theatre production in association with Canadian Stage

A wildly provocative show that combines Samuel Beckett’s shorter plays with contemporary classical music from outstanding Irish composers inspired by his appreciation for the absurd. Award-winning Queen of Puddings Music Theatre brings their signature contemporary twist to this invigorating evening of music, theatre, and Irish madness.

Jocelyn calls this production “a delightful, impertinent and unusual evening, comprised of music inspired by the most irreverent wit of the 20th century.”

Clybourne Park (April 2 to April 28, 2012)

A Studio 180 Theatre production in associacion with CanStage.

This satirical work is described in the Press Release as a “hilariously unsettling play inspired by a Raisin in the Sun.” Written by Bruce Norris and making its Canadian premiere.

By Bruce Norris
Directed by Joel Greenberg
A Studio 180 Theatre production in association with Canadian Stage

A battle over race and real estate rages across two generations in a Chicago neighbourhood in this hilariously unsettling play inspired by A Raisin in the Sun. Studio 180 Theatre presents the Canadian premiere of Clybourne Park, a satirical look at demographics, history, home and heart.

Matthew describes the production as a brilliantly funny, daring new take on the complexities of racism as it persists in America today.”

the High Park Amphitheatre

The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare (June 28 to Sept. 4, 2011)

As previously announced, BC’s Caravan Farm Theatre‘s artistic director, Estelle Shook, will take the helm of the first staging of the Shakespeare play at the Dream in High Park. The Winter’s Tale is one of Shakespeare’s most compelling and confounding pieces, neither tragedy nor comedy but labelled a “problem play.” It is a beautiful, psychologically-driven drama commenting on the nature of art itself. I am exstatic to see it in the summer in High Park!

Dream in High Park
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Estelle Shook

The fairytale worlds of Bohemia and Sicilia will come to life under the direction of Estelle Shook, former artistic director of British Columbia’s renowned outdoor theatre company Caravan Farm Theatre. One of Shakespeare’s classic tales filled with kings and queens, shipwrecks, statues that come to life and a bear in an enchanting, high-energy and celebratory story for the whole family to enjoy. This is the first time The Winter’s Tale will be performed at the Dream in High Park.

Festival of Ideas and Creation (May 7 to 19, 2012)

The 5th annual festival fostering new creative talent will focus on “music in contemporary performance.”

The fifth annual Festival of Ideas & Creation is Canadian Stage’s flagship event promoting the development of artists and new works. The Festival supports established artists and fosters the next generation of artistic innovators. It also brings together local, national and international artists to spark new creative projects and encourages cross-pollination between artistic disciplines. The 2012 festival will focus on music in contemporary performance.

Photo by by Sylvie-Ann Paré of Dorotea Saykaly in Orpheus and Eurydice.