Performance Spring 2012, Factory Theatre’s annual festival of groundbreaking new work from the national scene, runs April 18 – May 13 and features productions from coast to coast, including the Toronto premiere of Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland’s Oil and Water; Vancouver-based Theatre Chop’s multimedia How to Disappear Completely as well as staged readings of Judith Thompson’s new play, Watching Glory Die.
Launching Performance Spring 2012 is Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland’s Oil and Water, written by Robert Chafe and directed by Jillian Keiley, April 18 – May 6. Artistic Director Ken Gass states, "We’re thrilled to present this large-scale, rich and resonant theatrical work by Jillian Keiley on the eve of her appointment to helm English Theatre at the National Arts Centre. The Keiley – Robert Chafe collaboration at Factory has yielded extraordinary results in the past (Tempting Providence and Fear of Flight),and we are confident Oil and Water will delight audiences and stimulate conversation among the theatre community.”
Oil and Water is a theatrical retelling of the incredible true story of Lanier Phillips. Shipwrecked in 1942, Mr. Phillips was the only African-American survivor. He was saved and openly embraced by the “people of St. Lawrence” and his life was forever altered. Lanier passed away this February, two days shy of his 89th birthday, his legendary story still resonating with relevance and power. A ten-person cast sings an a cappella score that blends the Newfoundland folk tradition with African-American gospel. The running time is 90 minutes, plus a brief intermission. For patrons attending the Sunday, April 29, 2 p.m., performance, a special post-show talkback with the cast is planned, as is an Oil and Water Mixer, at 4:30p.m., for the Newfoundland & Labrador expats. Playwright Robert Chafe and Director Jillian Keiley hope Newfoundlanders in Toronto get to see this play, which sold out in St. John’s before it opened, to celebrate Newfoundland culture, and, most importantly, “to have a good time with the crowd from home.” (http://www.factorytheatre.ca/concrete/concrete/index.php/season-and-subscription/oil-and-water/).
“Phillips” is played by Ryan Allen, “Adeline” by Neema Bickersteth, “Violet” by Petrina Bromley, “Bergeron” by Clint Butler, “Vonzia” by Starr Domingue, “Langston” by Mike Payette, “Levi” by Mark Power, “John” by Jody Richardson, “Lanier” by Jeremiah Sparks and “Ena” by Alison Woolridge. The music was written and arranged by Andrew Craig with additional arrangements and musical direction by Kellie Walsh. The set is designed by Shawn Kerwin, with costume design by Marie Sharpe, lighting design by Leigh Ann Vardy and sound design by Don Ellis. Keiley is assisted in direction by Clare Preuss. Dramaturgy is by Iris Turcott and Sarah Stanley. Technical direction is by Ron Snippe, production management is byErin French with stage management by Kai-Yueh Chen and assistant stage management by Mark Denine.
The second offering in Performance Spring 2012 is How to Disappear Completely, May 8 – 13, from Vancouver’s The Chop Theatre. This deeply-personal theatrical experience is written and performed by Itai Erdal (who is also an acclaimed lighting designer). It was created incollaboration with director James Long, dramaturged by Anita Rochon, sound designed by Emilia Symington Fedy and projection designed by Jaimie Nesbitt. In September of 2000, Itai Erdal received a phone call telling him his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer and had nine months to live. Itai, a recent film-school graduate promptly moved back to Israel to spend every moment he could with his dying mother. During that time he shot hours of film and hundreds of pictures, documenting the final months of her life. In a starkly simple yet deeply profound new work, Erdal invites us into the surprising circumstances surrounding his mother’s passing. At the heart of this story is Mery Erdal’s vibrant personality, the strong bond she had with her son and the personal yet universal story of how she bravely lived her life and faced her imminent death. The running time is 75 minutes, with no intermission. (http://www.factorytheatre.ca/concrete/concrete/index.php/season-and-subscription/how-to-disappear-completely/).
The Festival closes withworkshop readings of Judith Thompson’s Watching Glory Die, a chilling yet heartbreaking piece about three extraordinary women, inextricably bound by a tragic death. These three staged readings on Friday – Saturday, May 11 – 12, 8p.m., and Sunday, May 13, 2 p.m., are the final chance to see this work-in-progress before its world premiere next season at Factory. The new one-woman show, created and performed by Thompson, is a theatrical tour de force.
PERFORMANCE SPRING 2012 presentations are made possible by the generous support of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Canada Arts Presentation Fund. General-seating tickets for the Mainspace shows range from $30 – 40. The studio readings are Pay-What-You-Can (PWYC); however, seating is limited for the Watching Glory Die staged readings and interested patrons must call and reserve their seats in advance. Call the box office at (416) 504-9971 or visit in person during box office hours at 125 Bathurst Street, Toronto. For more information, visit www.factorytheatre.ca.
While in Toronto, Itai Erdal and Jillian Keiley are both leading industry workshops in their respective fields. “Building an Ensemble” with Director Jillian Keiley is for actors and directors working in a chorus or large ensemble (Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.). Lighting Designer Itai Erdal will give a Masterclass in lighting design, including a live demonstration and discussion of his techniques (Saturday, May 12, 2 – 5 p.m.). To register, visit Factory’s website at http://www.factorytheatre.ca/concrete/concrete/index.php/what-s-on/special-events/.
Currently playing on the Mainstage at Factory Theatre is Anosh Irani’s My Granny the Goldfish through to April 15, with a special $10 Rush Ticket holiday weekend offer for shows April 5 – 7.
Follow updates at Factory Theatre’s page at http://www.facebook.com/groups/2249250605/, as well as contests and other promotions online at Twitter @factorytheatre. Factory Theatre’s 2011/12 season is sponsored by BMO FinancialGroup.