Announcement: Buddies In Bad Times Theatre Announces Programming for its 2011- 2012 Season

From Press Release

For its 2011/12 Season, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre offers a collection of some of the world’s major dramatists including Jean Genet, Martin Crimp, Caryl Churchill, Larry Kramer and Margaret Atwood. It is a season of bold re-imaginings and revisions of canonical works and sacred stories that furthers Buddies’ position as one of the country’s most dynamic theatre companies.

The season kicks off with Artistic Director Brendan Healy’s production of Jean Genet’s The Maids, in a translation by Martin Crimp. Featuring Stratford veterans Diane D’Aquila, Ron Kennell and Maria Ricossa, this queer reclaiming of Genet’s masterpiece will delve deeply into the play’s abject sexuality and its ruthless position against social subjection.

The Maids is followed by the presentation of another queer classic: The Normal Heart by Larry Kramer, produced by Studio 180 Theatre. This depiction of the struggle to get government officials to take action against the HIV/AIDS epidemic could not feel more salient at a time when our city’s current mayor has made several remarks about cutting funding to HIV/AIDS service organizations.

Buddies’ commitment to offering theatre that challenges the norm is broadened by Modern Times Stage Company’s production of Hallaj, a theatrical account of the martyrdom of beloved 10th century Sufi mystic Mansur e-Hallaj who bravely stood up against the religious orthodoxy of his time to promote a message of liberty and compassion.

Next, two of Canada’s leading female writers radically revise two texts from the Western canon. With Nightwood Theatre’s production of The Penelopiad, Margaret Atwood offers a feminist retelling of Homer’s Odyssey. With free as injuns, Native Earth Performing Arts’ new Artistic Director Tara Beagan re-appropriates Eugene O’Neill’s classic play Desire Under the Elms to write a powerful interrogation of Canadian racial hierarchy.

As always, the Rhubarb Festival returns for its 33rd edition, with Festival Director Laura Nanni at the helm for her second season.

Caryl Churchill meets Céline Dion in Bliss, a darkly surrealistic dissection of celebrity culture and its alienating effects by a rising star of the Québecois stage, Olivier Choinière. Churchill’s translation of this internationally acclaimed play was originally presented at the Royal Court in London, UK. Buddies is thrilled to present the English-Canadian professional premiere of Bliss, in association with Candles are for Burning.

Sky Gilbert’s Cabaret Company returns with Dancing Queen, a collaboration with the infamous Keith Cole that tells the story of an inter-generational love triangle through dance and theatre.

The season caps off with seminal New York City feminist duo Split Britches (Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver) performing on Buddies’ stage for the first time in their thirty-year history. Split Britches bring us a limited run of their latest piece Lost Lounge.

Please join us for a season of fearless theatre that advocates rebellion in the face of oppression, celebration in the face of shame and self-assertion in defiance of erasure. Artistic Director Brendan Healy remarks: “This past year, we have witnessed many communities feel the pressures of an increasingly conservative political climate, the queer community included. In response to this shift, I offer a season of brave works that speak to the struggles and victories of our pasts as marginalized peoples. I believe that by remembering our histories through the theatre, we will gain wisdom and power as we work together to ensure that our futures remain bright.”




Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents


By Jean Genet

Translated by Martin Crimp

Directed by Brendan Healy

Starring Diane D’Aquila, Ron Kennell and Maria Ricossa

Production Designer Julie Fox

Lighting Designer Kimberly Purtell

Music and Sound Designer Richard Feren

September 17 – October 9, 2011

1933. French police find Madame Lancelin and her daughter face down, in their living room, mutilated. Upstairs, two maids are found naked, huddled together in one of two single beds. Their motive: self-defense against an abusive mistress. This true story was the inspiration for queer iconoclast Jean Genet’s masterpiece. A powerful statement against servitude, this psychosexual thriller is brought to you by the creative team behind last season’s acclaimed production of Sarah Kane’s Blasted.


Buddies in Bad Times Theatre proudly welcomes a Studio 180 Theatre production


By Larry Kramer

Directed by Joel Greenberg

Featuring Alex Poch-Goldin, Sarah Orenstein, Mark McGrinder and Mark Crawford

October 14 – November 6, 2011

Larry Kramer’s landmark play chronicles the rise of the AIDS crisis in New York City as seen through the eyes of writer/activist Ned Weeks, the gay Jewish founder of a prominent HIV advocacy group. The Normal Heart’s political and sexual polemics polarized the gay community when it was first performed in 1985. It has since been recognized as an important document of queer history and is widely considered to be one of the most significant plays of the 20th century. Buddies is pleased to welcome back Studio 180 Theatre, seven years after their celebrated production of The Laramie Project.


Buddies in Bad Times Theatre proudly welcomes a Modern Times Stage Company production


By Peter Farbridge and Soheil Parsa

Directed by Soheil Parsa

Featuring Stewart Arnott, Steven Bush, Peter Farbridge, Keon Mohajeri, John Ng, Beatriz Pizano, Costa Tovarnisky and Bahareh Yaraghi

Lighting Design Andrea Lundy

Sound Design Thomas Ryder Payne

Costume Design Angela Thomas

November 18 – December 4, 2011

Hallaj tells the story of the legendary 10th century Sufi mystic, Mansur e-Hallaj, whose poetry and teachings inspired the love of his people and the wrath of the religious orthodoxy. In the current age of political and social upheaval in the Middle East, Hallaj offers a powerful message of compassion from a culture so often perceived as “other”. Hallaj marks Modern Times Stage Company’s return to Buddies for the first time since their stunning production of Macbeth in 1995.


Buddies in Bad Times Theatre proudly welcomes a Nightwood Theatre production


By Margaret Atwood

Directed by Kelly Thornton

Designed by Denyse Karn

Lighting Designer Kimberly Purtell

January 10 – 29, 2012

The iconic Margaret Atwood offers a daring revision of Homer’s Odyssey by giving voice to Penelope. Condemned to spend eternity in Hades, Penelope recounts her life’s story and the murder of her twelve handmaidens by her vengeful husband Odysseus. Atwood’s acerbic wit brings one of history’s most powerful myths to the contemporary imagination. The Toronto premiere of The Penelopiad is helmed by award-winning director Kelly Thornton, Artistic Director of Nightwood Theatre, Canada’s national women’s theatre company.


Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents


Toronto’s 33rd annual convergence of contemporary performance

Festival Director Laura Nanni

February 8 – 19, 2012

Canada’s premiere experimental performance festival offers Toronto fresh, live encounters with contemporary theatre, performance art, dance and music. For two weeks, hundreds of local and international artists descend on Buddies to share new ideas in performance creation with adventure-loving audiences.


Buddies in Bad Times Theatre proudly welcomes a Native Earth Performing Arts production

free as injuns

by Tara Beagan

Directed by Ruth Madoc-Jones

Featuring James Cade

Lighting and Set Designer Andy Moro

February 28 – March 18, 2012

In a provocative retelling of the American classic Desire Under the Elms by Eugene O’Neill, free as injuns tells the story of Even Cabot and his struggle to reclaim his late mother’s land from the oppressive hands of his father. Questions of land ownership, identity and birthright are the battleground for a bitter family war. Award-winning playwright and newly-appointed Native Earth Performing Arts Artistic Director, Tara Beagan, pens this provocative interrogation of Canadian racial hierarchy.


Candles are for Burning in association with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents


By Olivier Choinère

Translated by Caryl Churchill

Directed by Steven McCarthy

Featuring Delphine Bienvenu, Jean-Robert Bourdage, Trent Pardy and France Rolland

Set and Costume Designer James Lavoie

Sound Designer Diane Labrosse

Lighting Designer Andrea Lundy

March 27 – April 8, 2012

Céline Dion speaks through an Oracle to a group of cashiers at a Wal-Mart. She takes us on a journey from her triumphant farewell concert to the bedroom of her number one fan, who has spent most of her life chained to a bed by her family. Our insatiable appetite for celebrity is the topic of this darkly surrealistic play by Québécois dramatist Olivier Choinière. Buddies is thrilled to present the professional English Canadian premiere of this internationally acclaimed play, in a translation by Caryl Churchill.


Buddies in Bad Times Theatre proudly welcomes a Cabaret Company production


Written and Directed by Sky Gilbert

Choreographed by Keith Cole

Featuring Nick Green, Ryan Kelly and David Tomlinson

Set and Lighting Designer Andy Moro

Costume Designer Sheree Tams

April 18 – 29, 2012

A beautiful young man moves to the big city. There he meets two older men. He falls in love with one and the other falls for him. Dancing Queen plays on gay culture’s fear of aging to ask scandalous questions about sex, love and monogamy. Buddies founding Artistic Director, Sky Gilbert, collaborates with notorious performance artist Keith Cole to tell the story of an intergenerational love triangle through dance and theatre.


Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents


By Split Britches (NYC)

Written and performed by Peggy Shaw and Lois Weaver (Split Britches)

Sound and music by Vivien Stoll

Choreography by Stormy Brandenberger

May 3 – 5, 2012

Legendary New York performance group Split Britches offer up a tribute to what we have lost in the rising sea of urban gentrification. Lost Lounge is a refuge for a culture that sits on the edge of extinction. Through loving recreations of seminal lounge acts from the glory days of NYC’s Bowery Corridor, Lost Lounge resurrects the people and places that are quickly fading into a black and white memory. Since 1980, Split Britches has transformed the landscape of queer performance with their vaudevillian satirical gender-bending performances. Buddies is thrilled to welcome this internationally-acclaimed feminist company to our stage for the first time.



Buddies Season Passes are now on sale. Save up to 50% on tickets and reserve priority seating for any of the following shows: The Maids, The Normal Heart, Hallaj, The Penelopiad, The Rhubarb Festival, free as injuns, Bliss, Dancing Queen and Lost Lounge. Season Passes are 100% flexible. You can use your pass to bring a gang on the cheap, or see everything in the season.


8 Ticket Pass $130

4 Ticket Pass $85

Under 30 / Arts Worker

8 Ticket Pass $100

4 Ticket Pass $65