MONTRÉAL, November 21st, 2019 – Continuing their mandate to showcase outstanding new plays that come from and speak to Québeckers, Infinithéâtre Artistic Director Guy Sprung is proud to present Season 22, Write from the Heart of Québec.
Infinithéâtre (IT) is the sole theatre in Québec (in French or English) whose mission is to develop, promote, produce and broker only plays written or adapted by Québec and Indigenous Canadian writers. Plays developed at Infinithéâtre regularly get produced as part of upcoming IT seasons and across the country.
Season 22 offers premieres, final-draft scripts, and crafted early readings of inspired, original work, including a favourite touring show, prize-winning scripts, transformative year-long new play mentorships, and an anticipated mainstage production—the final phase of a multi-character historical epic. The company stages stirring, entertaining, relevant theatre that explores and reflects the issues, challenges and possibilities of contemporary Québec from the perspective of its diverse English-language minority. Their professional work is driven by the fundamental belief that theatre that speaks to and about the lives, the hopes and the tragedies of its home community has the best possibility of creating an electric connection between stage and audience; the essence of great theatre. Post-show artist talks are held for every production.
Another central axiom in IT’s drive to stage exciting theatre is their view that creatively performing in non-traditional venues heightens and focuses the audience’s attention and renders the whole experience more alive. Tapping into a non-traditional venue gives a play both context and subtext. The final essential goal in Infinithéâtre’s programming is the conviction to reach out and dialogue with senior high school and college students. Season 22 production and outreach programming info below.
Infinithéâtre’s 2019-20 Season,
Write from the Heart of Québec
by Guy Sprung
Sept. 3-6 at Beijing’s Qinglan Theatre
Kafka’s Ape upends the notion of civilization and what it means to be human in a world of routinized inhumanity.
This lauded and touring (off-Broadway, Ontario, Québec, Tokyo, Beijing) tour-de-force starring Howard Rosenstein headed to Beijing after April in Tokyo. Audiences were wowed by the experience and the talkbacks. From Sprung: “We were treated with true hospitality and courtesy, and each night performed to larger audiences, with the final show sold out; an audience of polite, curious and enthralled young Beijingers, intrigued by the anti-war politics of the play. We had a talkback on the final night that went on for longer than the show itself and would have gone on even longer if we didn’t have to strike the set. We felt proud to represent Québec and build a small cultural bridge as the only Canadian theatre company invited to China during the current Canada/China diplomatic imbroglio.” Gabriel Safdie was instrumental in liaising with Chinese theatre artists to secure the privilege of an invitation to perform in Beijing, the theatre is proud to welcome him to the Board of Directors.
12th annual playwriting competition
Every year Infinithéâtre seeks innovative and challenging new works by dedicated Québec and Indigenous playwrights, with a jury of professionals deciding on the top scripts (2019 jury presided by Alexandria Haber and included Marianne Ackerman, Gerry Lipnowski, and Patricia Saxton). The first place winner receives the Kevin prize of $3,000, named after late Infinithéâtre board member and great supporter, Kevin Tierney. The second place winner receives $1,500. Winners also receive a professional staged reading in the highly regarded The Pipeline reading series. Write-On-Q! has been the major source of original plays for numerous seasons’ repertoires.
Winners of the 2019 Write-On-Q! competition:
1st Place Kevin prize—Colour Blind by Oren Safdie. From jury member Gerry Lipnowski: “A selection process for building the Smithsonian African American Museum of History and Culture provides the background for a substantial, convincing and entertaining look at racial identity and politics.”
2nd Place—Divide and Rule by Vishesh Abeyratne. From jury member Alexandria Haber: “An original and amusing take on a complex topic with a surprising outcome. It left me with the feeling that though the play in itself was light and comedic in style, the issue at hand carried a lot of weight.”
Annual reading series
Dec. 5-8 at Rialto Theatre and KIN Gallery
Free public play readings where the audience takes centre stage, offering valuable feedback that furthers script development and helps choose future seasons.
Colour Blind by Oren Safdie, Write-On-Q! 1st prize. A fictionalized account of the jury deliberations surrounding the selection of an architect for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.
Divide and Rule by Vishesh Abeyratne, Write-On-Q! 2nd prize. In a thrift shop in British Columbia, a heated exchange between two Sri Lankan employees breaks out into a fight.
Mazel Tov by Marc-André Thibault. Isabelle is Jewish, Patrick isn’t. They are getting married. The wedding is not the one we hoped for. The marriage is even worse…
Our Lady of the Ice by Alyson Grant. Set in Antarctica in a church carved out of ice presided over by an excommunicated, female Catholic priest. The piece has the feel of myth while hauntingly current.
The full production of this epic, historical recounting of the occupation and colonization of the Canadian West, inspired by the real life of Frank Dickens (son of Charles) during his service in the North West Mounted Police. In English, French, Cree and other First Peoples’ languages.
Said Sprung about the progression of the work: “We have consolidated and refined Part One and Part Two of Fight On! into a zany, entertaining evening of bent-history theatre. The feedback from audiences, actors and designers from the two staged developmental workshops has had a tremendous impact on the evolution of both the historical content and the entertainment potential in what we believe will be a memorable event on the cultural calendar of Montréal. We are also conscious of the incredible opportunity of performing in the extraordinary St. Jax space, a very special venue ideally suited to this ambitious production that will heighten audience enjoyment.”
Infinithéâtre’s Playwright’s Unit, Cohort 2019
The Unit is a 12-month process of committed dramaturgical support where jury-selected playwrights take an early draft of their play and transform it into a production-ready script. The year culminates with a week of free staged readings at notable Montréal theatres. This year’s cohort is Alice Abracen, Anna Burkholder, Corrina Hodgson, David Sherman, Kate Hammer and Paul Van Dyck.
This highly-developed school outreach program for senior high school and college students supports teachers by integrating theatre into school curriculums. Students’ imaginations and curiosity are stimulated by the plays while they learn how to articulate complex opinions on the performances. Interactive talkbacks are hosted after every performance.
Infinithéâtre is culturally-diverse-minority-language-proudly-English-Québecker-Canadian
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