The Launch MTL: Nine indie Montreal theatre companies unveil their 2018-19 artistic seasons

Leading English theatre companies reflect on how their art influences change


MONTREAL, May 23rd 2018. Nine independent Montreal theatre companies got together on May 23rd, 2018 at the Monument National to launch their respective 2018-2019 season as well as reflect on how their art influences change. Hosted by Holly Gauthier-Frankel, the evening featured artistic directors from different companies interviewing each other on their upcoming seasons.

The Launch MTL, founded in 2015, is a collective of independent professional Montreal theatre companies. It has annually held a joint season launch of a different combination of those companies for the past 4 years, including a virtual launch last year.


Members of the Montreal theatre community gather at Monument National on May 23rd for the live Launch MTL announcements.

Season 2018-2019 Recap

 

Black Theatre Workshop
http://www.blacktheatreworkshop.ca

Sound of the Beast

By Donna-Michelle St. Bernard
Directed by Andy McKim & Jivesh Parasram
Location: MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels)
Dates: October 3 – 14, 2018
Montreal Premiere, a Theatre Passe-Muraille production

In her solo performance ​Sound of the Beast​, produced by Théâtre Passe-Muraille, two-time Governor General’s Award Nominee Donna-Michelle St. Bernard speaks truth to power using spoken word, storytelling and hip-hop. Inspired by Tunisian emcee Weld-El 15 – who was jailed for his song ​Boulicia Kleb ​(​The Police Are Dogs​) – St. Bernard riffs on oppression, poverty and systemic injustice. ​Sound of the Beast ​highlights St. Bernard’s quick wit and quicker rhymes in a multimedia performance that reflects on questions of identity, the decision to call out authority and what happens when authority strikes back.

Angélique

By Lorena Gale
Translated by Mishka Lavigne
Location: Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui, 3900 St Denis Street
Date: December 15, 2018
A Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre presentation
A staged-reading of the french translation.

How Black Mothers Say I Love You

By Trey Anthony
Directed by Tamara Brown
Location & dates: February 27 – March 16, 2019; Centaur Theatre, Montreal
March 19 & 20, 2019; Rose Theatre, Brampton
Montreal Premiere

Starting a better life in Canada is a dream for many immigrants, but for Daphne the decision presents an unthinkable sacrifice. This is a story of separation and reconciliation infused with a bold original score that blends gospel, reggae, and R&B with classical music. Playwright Trey Anthony, the first Black woman in Canada to have her own television series, (​da Kink in my Hair​, based on the hit play of the same name), brings a new narrative to women’s issues and mother – daughter relationships​.

Scotian Journey

By Anne-Marie Woods
Directed by Jamie Robinson
Touring Schools in Greater Montreal
Dates: February 4 – March 2, 2019
World Premiere

Sierra Carvey is a young Black woman from Nova Scotia who, as she completes a university history paper, gets distracted by all kinds of thoughts about the history of African Nova Scotians. She recounts these experiences with song, spoken word and dance. Through humour and drama, the play reveals interesting stories about Nova Scotia that many of us are not fully aware of.

Angélique

By Lorena Gale
Directed by Mike Payette
Location & Dates: March 20 – 31, 2019; National Arts Centre; Ottawa
April 3 – 14, 2019; Factory Theatre; Toronto
A Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre production

Marie-Joseph Angélique keeps hope alive upon arriving in Nouvelle France, that this master will be better, that this time she will be happy. Lorena Gale’s tragedy ​Angélique​ is everything but happy for the titular character. Recipient of the 2017 Montreal English Theatre Award for Outstanding PACT production, this Black Theatre Workshop / Tableau D’Hôte co-production is the hidden history of Montréal, demystifying the myth that Canada was the promised land. Slaves and systemic racism were and still are present in Canadian society. The production, the cast and SIXTRUM Percussion Ensemble will travel to Ontario for the Ottawa and Toronto premiere of ​Angélique ​by Lorena Gale at the National Arts Centre and Factory Theatre.

The Mountaintop

By: Katori Hall
Directed by ahdri zhina mandiela
Location: Great Canadian Theatre Company;
Ottawa Dates: January 24 – February 10, 2019
A Black Theatre Workshop & Neptune Theatre production

Katori Hall’s Award-winning play ​The Mountaintop,​ is a fictional account of the last night of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s life on the eve of his assassination​.​ Set in the very hotel where King was gunned down and following the delivery of his famous speech ​“I have been to the Mountaintop”​ King receives a visit from a mysterious stranger with ominous tidings that force him to look at his life and legacy in the American Civil Rights Movement. This Black Theatre Workshop & Neptune Theatre co-production continues its Canadian Tour, heading to Ottawa for Winter 2019.


Geordie Productions
www.geordie.ca

Geordie Theatre Fest

Date: January 30 – February 10, 2019
Location: Monument-National’s Studio Hydro-Québec (1182 Boul St-Laurent)

It’s back! This two-week special event gives audiences of all ages the chance to discover great works in Theatre for Young Audiences with staged readings, our acclaimed 2Play touring shows (​Little Witch​ and ​The In-Between​) on a mainstage platform, as well as, for the first time in Geordie’s history, a play for babies – ​One Thing Leads to Another​!

One Thing Leads to Another

Quebec Premiere
Recommended Ages: 3 to 12 months, suitable for up to 24 months.
Commissioned by Young People’s Theatre, Toronto
Developed from the original concept, research and theme by Maja Ardal
A collective collaboration by Maja Ardal, Audrey Dwyer, Mary Frances Moore and Julia Tribe

An innovative work created specifically for infants, One Thing Leads to Another transforms everyday objects into fabulous, fanciful phenomena. As they develop and thrive, babies use all of their senses to learn about the world. In this play, performers will engage with Geordie’s youngest-ever audience using music, enticing visuals, and tactile experiences. When the show is over, kids and caregivers can experiment with objects from the play right on the set – to have their own additional play experience. One Thing Leads to Another is sure to engage, stimulate and delight baby and parent or adult companion alike.

Little Witch

English-language Premiere
By Pascal Brullemans
Translated by Alexis Diamond
Directed by Arianna Bardesono
Developed with the support of the 2017 Banff Centre Playwrights Lab
Recommended Ages: 6+

Deep in the woods lived Little Witch, her beloved cat and her mother, Old Witch. One day, the ailing Old Witch finds an ogre caught in a trap. As a reward for saving him, Old Witch strikes a deal with the ogre to take care of her daughter when she is gone. All too soon, Little Witch finds herself living in the ogre’s kingdom. However, when Little Witch encounters the curious Hunter Boy near her new home, the ogre’s appetite takes over and she is forced to make a difficult choice: save the boy or save herself?

The In-Between

World Premiere
By Marcus Youssef
Directed by Mike Payette
Developed in partnership with Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal and with the support of the 2017 Banff Centre Playwrights Lab
Recommended Ages: 13+

Lily feels trapped. When a conflict between her best friend Brit and the guy she likes, Karim, breaks out after other students share racist, anti-Muslim memes, a misunderstanding leads to a school lockdown. Lily finds herself right in the middle, forced to make hard choices about which friend’s truth she’s going to believe. Illustrating the real-life challenges of immigration, income inequality, and fears of violence in our schools, The In-Between is a realistic, relatable exploration of the complex social circumstances students must navigate in today’s world.

Reaching for Starlight

World Premiere
By Donna-Michelle St. Bernard
Directed by Mike Payette
Choreography by Véronique Gaudreau
Date: April 26 – May 5, 2019
Location: Playing at the D.B. Clarke Theatre (1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd)
Recommended Ages: 7+
Script developed in partnership with Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal

Reenie wants to dance, like her mother did before her. Along with her classmates, she believes she has what it takes to earn the coveted solo at the year-end recital. But when she discovers that Maestra is not holding everyone to the same standard, Reenie begins on a quest to investigate why her friend Maia is being counted out. If competition makes us stronger, then when comes the moment when winning doesn’t always mean coming out on top? An urgent portrait of a young girl’s journey of breaking barriers illustrated through the glorious infusion of theatre and ballet, contemporary, and hip hop dance.


Hudson Village Theatre
www.villagetheatre.ca

Trudeau Stories

Written and performed by Brooke Johnson
Dates: May 9 to 13, 2018

The season opens in May with HVT’s presentation of the critically-acclaimed ​Trudeau Stories​, written and performed by ​Brooke Johnson​ whose friendship with Pierre Elliott Trudeau began when she was a student at the National Theatre School in Montreal. Through reminiscences, journal entries and correspondence, Brooke’s surprising insights into the private life of a complex man, alongside her own poignant personal reflections, speak to the power of unlikely friendships. Touring since 2007, when it premiered at Toronto’s Theatre Passe Muraille, ​Trudeau Stories​ has played across Canada sparking curiosity and warming hearts wherever it goes.

Across the Pond: The British Invasion, Then and Now

Performed by Leisa Way and the Lonely Hearts Club
Band Dates: June 13 to 24, 2018

In June, HVT is proud to present ​Across the Pond: The British Invasion, Then and Nowperformed by ​Leisa Way and the Lonely Hearts Club Band​. Celebrating over fifty years of British pop and rock music, from The Beatles to Adele, ​Across the Pond ​boasts knockout musical performances, and fascinating tales of legendary artists and how their songs came to be. Over the past eight years, Leisa Way and Way-To-Go Productions have created ten successful concerts and performed to sold-out houses at over sixty theatres across North America. Their latest production promises to ​sweep Hudson’s audiences away on a musical journey half-a-century in the making.

The Savannah Sipping Society

By Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten
Directed by Ellen David
Dates: July 4 to 22, 2018

HVT’s first production of the season, ​The Savannah Sipping Society​ by ​Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten​, is a comic romp featuring four quirky women drawn together by a disastrous hot yoga class. After a restorative evening of liquid refreshment, they devise a plan to break out of their stifling routines and embark on a series of hilarious adventures with the goal of rekindling their lust for life. Directed by ​Ellen David​, an accomplished performer and director who helmed Centaur Theatre’s recent production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning ​Clybourne Park​, HVT’s production of The Savannah Sipping Society is destined to be a laugh-out-loud celebration of the triumphs of female friendship.

Art

By Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Dean Patrick Fleming
Dates: August 8 to 19, 2018

HVT’s final production, ​‘Art’ ​by Yasmina Reza and translated by Chrisopher Hampton​, injects an element of sophisticated wit into the season. Serge has just bought a very expensive painting: it’s about five feet by four, all white with white diagonal lines. His friend Marc, in a fit of unbridled honesty, tells Serge he’s been had: surely, Yvan, their mild-mannered friend, agrees with him. But Yvan refuses to take sides, and the three men are launched into a fierce debate that tests the bonds of their longstanding friendship. A multiple award-winner – including the 1998 Tony Award for Best Play – its recent production at London’s Old Vic demonstrates ​’Art’ is as funny and relevant now as it was twenty years ago. Director ​Dean Patrick Fleming​, who has over 50 theatre productions to his credit, including last season’s Norm Foster hit ​Jonas and Barry in the Home​, will direct this witty modern classic on the limits of honesty among friends.


Imago Theatre
www.imagotheatre.com

Other People’s Children

Playwright: Hannah Moscovitch
Director: Micheline Chevrier
Location: Centaur Theatre
Dates: October 25-Nov. 4, 2018

In ​Other People’s Children​ by “Canada’s Hottest Playwright” (The National Post). Ilana and Ben, a wealthy young Canadian couple, hire Sati, a live-in nanny from Sri Lanka, to help them care for their baby. The play explores the expectations of motherhood, the ingrained nature of privilege and the power dynamics involved in the labor export of migrant caregivers.

Elsewhere

Playwright: Joy Ross-Jones (co-created with Cristina Cugliandro)
Director: Cristina Cugliandro
Location: Centaur Theatre
Dates: January 2019

Elsewhere​ is a one-person show that uses mask and storytelling to reveal the thoughts, tribulations and fears of six people who are doing their best to adapt to Venezuela’s quickly deteriorating political and economic climate. The six characters engage the audience offering a human lens, at times funny, at times disturbing, on Venezuela’s crisis, deepening our understanding of what feels far away.

Les Voisines

Playwright and director: Arianna Bardesono
Location: Audio walk in the Mile End
Dates: May 2019
An urban artistic event about the life of Hasidic women of Montreal.

A woman’s journey into the everyday life of the other turns into a theatrical experience for citizens that don’t mingle. For a brief moment a wall is pierced, a distance cut short. What does “meeting the other” truly says about us?


Repercussion Theatre
www.repercussiontheatre.com

Romeo & Juliet: Love is Love

Playwright: William Shakespeare
Director: Amanda Kellock
Location: Touring parks across Montreal and beyond
Dates: July 5th until August 8th, 2018

Come celebrate Repercussion Theatre’s 30th season of Shakespeare-in-the-Park with a contemporary, gender-bent take on a classic love story: ​Romeo & Juliet: Love is Love. ​In this tragic tale of young love and old grudges, we enter a world calcified by hate. As two young people gallop full speed towards love, they are broken by (and ultimately break down) the walls erected by the previous generation. With a cast of 10 dynamic performers, an eye-catching design and live music, this show is not to be missed.

Staged Public Readings

Thy Woman’s Weed

Playwright: Erin Shields
Dates: Fall 2018

whispers

Playwright: Jeff Ho
Dates: Fall 2018

Following a contest in 2017, Repercussion Theatre has commissioned two new works inspired by Shakespeare in collaboration with Playwright Theatre Workshop. ​Thy Woman’s Weed,​ by Governor General award winning Erin Shields, and ​whispers,​ by rising star and Repercussion Theatre alum Jeff Ho, will be presented in a staged public reading in the fall of 2018.


Tableau D’Hôte Theatre
www.tableaudhote.ca

Blackout: the Concordia Computer ​Riots​

World Premiere
Director: Mathieu Murphy-Perron
Location: D.B. Clarke Theatre
Dates: January 29th ​–​ February 10th 2019

In 1969, students occupied the computer centre on the 9th floor of the Hall Building of what is now Concordia University to protest the university’s mismanagement of a racism complaint lodged by West-Indian students against their biology professor. Riot police were called in when an agreement to end the occupation fell through, resulting in widespread damage, a mysterious fire, and over a hundred arrests. Created and devised by some of Montréal’s most prolific artists (notably: Tamara Brown, Kym Dominique Ferguson, Lydie Dubuisson, Michelle Rambharose, Warona Setshwaelo, and Dakota Wellman) , ​Blackout ​re-examines the events the led to the occupation and protests, asking how race relations have changed in Québec over the last 50 years, if at all.

Angélique

Playwright: Lorena Gale
Director: Mike Payette
Location & Dates:
March 20 – 31, 2019; National Arts Centre;
Ottawa April 3 – 14, 2019; Factory Theatre; Toronto
A Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre production

Marie-Joseph Angélique keeps hope alive upon arriving in Nouvelle France, that this master will be better, that this time she will be happy. Lorena Gale’s tragedy ​Angélique​ is everything but happy for the titular character. Recipient of the 2017 Montreal English Theatre Award for Outstanding PACT production, this Black Theatre Workshop / Tableau D’Hôte co-production is the hidden history of Montréal, demystifying the myth that Canada was the promised land. Slaves and systemic racism were and still are present in Canadian society. The production, the cast and SIXTRUM Percussion Ensemble will travel to Ontario for the Ottawa and Toronto premiere of ​Angélique ​by Lorena Gale at the National Arts Centre and Factory Theatre.

Encore

English Montréal Premiere
Playwright: Marc Prescott
Director: Liz Valdez Dates: May 2019

A symbolically nameless couple chart their 50-year relationship by recreating their first encounter on every anniversary. Madame has carefully written the script of their original encounter and they believe they can recreate the intoxicating feeling of falling in love by saying the same lines year after year but always fall short of this goal and are doomed to disappointment. They yearn to be seduced by the exact words of their original encounter but time and circumstance have changed the meaning of these words. Liz Valdez returns to Tableau D’Hôte with this intimate, universal, bilingual love story.

Staged Readings

Angélique

Playwright: Lorena Gale
Translator: Mishka Lavigne
Location: Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui (3900 St Denis St)
Date: December 15th, 2019
A Black Theatre Workshop & Tableau D’Hôte Theatre presentation
A staged-reading of the first french translation of Lorena Gale’s Angélique.

Mizushōbai (The Water Trade)

Playwright: Julie Tamiko Manning
Director: Sophie Gee
Dates: Spring 2019

Mizushōbai (The Water Trade) tells the tale of Kiyoko Tanaka-Goto, a brothel ​owner​ who lost everything when the ​Canadian ​government set up internment camps for ​people of​Japanese​ ancestry during World War II​. The playwright writes, “I want to explore her life, not as a ​clichéd ​dragon-lady ​madam, nor a​s a​ dutiful daughter, nor ​as ​a​ submissive and​​​sexualized female Asian body, but as a valuable member ​​of Canadian society who had to fight against expectation, ​and for ​autonomy and recognition every step of the way.” Mizushōbai (The Water Trade) was the ​recipient of TDHT’s inaugural ​More than a footnote commission.


Talisman Theatre
www.talisman-theatre.com

Clean Slate

 Playwright: Catherine Chabot, translated by Jennie Herbin
Director: Leslie Baker
Location: La Chapelle Theatre
Dates: ​March 18-30, 2019

Clean Slate is a portrait in real-time of six young women, friends since childhood, who come together in a timely contemporary bacchanal. Facing the incurable illness from which one of them suffers, the women find strength in each other and use this moment as a turning point. They have made a pact to take control of their lives and start afresh – throwing off the sour relationships and self-imposed constraints. Unrestrainedly intimate, Clean Slate allows the audience to eavesdrop on a brave, messy and above all authentic discussion of millennial womanhood, sexuality, and empowerment.


Teesri Duniya Theatre
www.teesriduniyatheatre.com

Birthmark

Playwright: Steven Orlov
Director: Michelle Soicher under the mentorship of Liz Valdez
Location: MAI
Dates: Nov 3rd ​​to 18th, 2018

BIRTHMARK thematically challenges mainstream depictions of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and youth radicalization in Canada. Set primarily in Montreal on the eve of Donald Trump’s incendiary presidency, this mixed-genre play of family drama, political thriller and dark comedy crosses the social and cultural divide between Canada’s Jewish and Palestinian diaspora communities.

Jewish writer David Stein tries desperately to sabotage his son Nelson’s plan to quit McGill and join an ultra-Orthodox Israeli settlement in the West Bank by revealing a family secret about Jamila Hassan, a Palestinian teacher. Jamila’s adopted daughter Hana suddenly disappears from UQAM on a mysterious political mission abroad, provoking a CSIS investigation. Both single parents must reluctantly ally to help save each other’s only child from life-or-death scenarios that compel us to ponder the essence of our common humanity.



Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal
www.playwrights.ca

This 2018-2019 season, PWM is a proud development collaborator to Repercussion Theatre (for ​Thy Woman’s Weeds​ and ​whispers​), Imago Theatre (for ​Elsewhere​ and ​Les Voisines​) and Geordie Theatre (for ​The In-Between​ and ​Reaching for Starlight​).

In addition, many of the pieces that were created and developed in the latest edition of PWM’s Young Creators Unit will be on stage this summer (see below).

Finally, PWM is proud to announce the participants in the Glassco Translation Residency at Tadoussac. The 2018 edition includes 5 projects and 4 different languages.

Young Creators Unit

The following plays were developed with the support of PWM’s Young Creators Unit:

Maskulin(e)

Playwright: ​Alexandre Lang, Curtis Legault
Director: Michelle Rambharose
Location: MainLine Theatre
Date: May 24-27, 2018

A bilingual performance that follows two actors who perform half-mask vignettes which portray stories of men who are rewarded for conforming to masculine norms or punished for rejecting them, all while learning about their own relationship to these norms. The performance poses the questions: how do we continue unlearning harmful patriarchal thinking even when we think we already have? How can we be both perpetrator and victim of toxic masculinity?

The Hysteria Triptych

Playwright: Erin Lindsay
Director: Cristina Cugliandro
Location: Rialto Studio
Dates: May 22-27, 2018
Produced by: Odd Stumble

In The Hysteria Triptych, 3 women try to transform their female bodies into something other than:
– object of desire.
– mother.
– property.

The poetic play explores the costs of having a female body and the ways in which the “female condition” of hysteria has punished, controlled and oppressed those who throw stones in system wheels. Those who desperately try to break free.

Linge Sale

Playwright: Avery Burrow
Director: Murdoch
Location: Studio Jean-Valcourt du Conservatoire de musique et d’art dramatique Dates: June 7-17, 2018
Part of 2018 Montreal Fringe Festival.

Natalie and her homophobic mother are forced to reunite to scatter her father’s ashes in this new bilingual play about intergenerational queerness and loss.

Messy Blueprints to Sexual Freedom

Playwright & Directors: Oprah Lemorin & Avery Reid
Location: MAI (Montréal, arts interculturelles)
Dates: June 7-17, 2018
Part of 2018 Montreal Fringe Festiva​l.

In a blend of absurdity and realism, two women hilariously and honestly navigate their thoughts on what it means to be sexually free.

Don’t Read the Comments

Playwright & Director: Sarah Segal-Lazar
Location: Studio MMP
Dates: June 6-14, 2018
Produced by: Sermo Scomber Theatre Part of 2018 Montreal Fringe Festival

DON’T READ THE COMMENTS holds up the warped mirror of clown and bouffon to the conversations around the “grey areas” of sexual encounters and consent.

Mid Knight

Playwright: Laurent McCuaig-Pitre
Director: Alain Mercieca
Location: Théâtre Sainte-Catherine
Dates: June 6-14, 2018
Produced by: Creative Expression
Part of 2018 Montreal Off-Fringe Festival

Little Charming is on a daring mission: to save his parents’ marriage before the clock strikes Mid Knight!

The Woods Witch

Playwright & Director: Murdoch
Location: Manitoba Theatre for Young People Mainstage (Winnipeg)
Dates: July 19-28, 2018
Part of 2018 Winnipeg Fringe Festival

Emma is having a MYTHICALLY bad day! She fought with her mom, got lost in the dark woods and… a witch turned her brother into a swan! Now Emma must outsmart sphinxes, sirens and giant spiders to save her brother while working through her own feelings about her dad passing away. An exciting adventure for the young at heart, using Greek mythology, puppetry and magic to explore how to handle difficult feelings at any age.

Nonna’s Story

Playwright: Antonio Bavaro
Director: Alison Louder
Location: TBD
Dates: August 16-26, 2018
Part of 2018 Winnipeg Fringe Festival

Nonna’s Story is a solo show with a few different characters about an immigrant Neapolitan-Italian-Canadian matriarch’s life, and that of her big fat italian family. It is told through the lens of the very queer, performing artist grandchild who struggles with their place in the family; yet yearns to keep their rich traditions, stories & culture alive.

The Glassco Translation Residency at Tadoussac

Dates: June 13-23, 2018
Location: Tadoussac
This year’s participants include the following projects:

Art Object
Translated from English into French
Playwright: Michael Mackenzie Translator: Alexis Martin

Instructions for a Socialist Government Looking to Abolish Christmas
​Translated from English into Spanish
Playwright: Michael Mackenzie
Translator: Jaime Arrambide

The Enchanted Loom
Translated from English into Tamil
Playwright: Suvendrini Lena
Translator: Dushy Gnanapragasam

Marguerite
Translated from French into Innu-aimun
Playwright: Jasmine Dubé
Translator: Joséphine Bacon

Acha Bacha
Translated from English into French
Playwright: Bilal Baig
Translator: ​Olivier Sylvestre



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