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Posts tagged ‘new canadian theatre’

“No one story is the same. No one mental health case is the same.” In Conversation with director Brittany Cope for GREEN IN BLUE

Interview by Brittany Kay

BK:  Tell me a little bit about the show you directed – Green in Blue:

Brittany Cope: Daniel and Curtis are two strangers who were destined to meet on this one bench at Woodbine Beach. Both are going through a personal crises and both unknowingly end up helping each other. Curtis fails to help Daniel in his biggest time of need, which results in personal tragedy. After having thought about everything Daniel told him that night, Curtis is changed. He tries to express his gratitude to Daniel’s mother, only to be shut down. Daniel saved Curtis’ life, now Curtis must try to keep Daniel’s legacy alive.

BK: This play has been performed before? What has the development been, if any, from its first installment?

BC: This play was first performed as a staged reading last summer and then we [Greenlight Theatre] produced a workshop production in Windsor, ON last fall. As far as development goes, the major changes we’ve made this time around have taken place in little character nuances. We’ve focused on clarifying responses and making sure only the words that need to be said on stage are actually spoken. The second act has changed the most. We wanted to really understand these two characters [Daniel and Curtis] and their views on mental health; why they think the way they do about the main actions in the play.

BK: Why the title, Green in Blue?

BC: Green in Blue actually comes from a Miles Davis song titled Blue in Green which we use in the show. It was flipped around because of a line one of the characters says in the play (you’ll have to come see the production to figure it out!)

BK: Why this piece right now?

BC: This piece is important right now because it looks at mental health and suicide in a different light. With shows like 13 Reasons Why becoming so popular and inciting conversations about the “correct” ways to look at and discuss suicide, I think it is important to open ourselves up to new and different perspectives. No one story is the same, no one mental health case is the same, so instead of judging, I think it is important to be open to a wide scope of experiences.  

BK: This is Greenlight Theatre’s first production. Are there future productions in the works? What sets you apart as a company?

BC: The goals for the future of Greenlight Theatre are simple: We want to continue creating new Canadian work by emerging artists. This mandate seems straight-forward and seems to be what we hear all the time in audition postings, but we really want to focus on the emerging artist aspect of it. We want to give these artists the opportunity to work at a professional level when they produce their work. Just because you’ve applied for several grants and never received one, doesn’t mean that your show doesn’t deserve to be seen. We want to foster those opportunities. As for the near future, we are hoping to put up another show later this fall and we will be hosting our annual Backyard Play-Reading Evening this summer to hear new work and hopefully find some collaborators for the future!

BK: What do you want audiences walking away with?

BC: I want our audiences to walk away with questions. I’d like everyone to question their own ability to listen to others instead of focusing solely on themselves. I think we all need to question our pre-conceived notions of how people “should” cope with the issues surrounding mental health and suicide. What would it be like in those final moments? The suicide in this play isn’t the climax of our story – it’s about the people who are affected by it.

BK: Describe the show in 3-5 words.

BC: Dark, quick, witty, thought-provoking.

Who:
by Duncan Rowe
Directed by: Brittany Cope
Featuring: Kevin Doe, Kasia Dyszkiewicz, Stacey Iseman and Duncan Rowe
Produced by: Emma Westray

What:
Daniel and Curtis are two strangers who were destined to meet on this one bench at Woodbine Beach. Both are going through a personal crises and both unknowingly end up helping each other. Curtis fails to help Daniel in his biggest time of need, which results in personal tragedy. After having thought about everything Daniel told him that night, Curtis is changed. He tries to express his gratitude to Daniel’s mother, only to be shut down. Daniel has saved Curtis’ life, now Curtis tries to keep Daniel’s legacy alive.

Where:
Beach United Church
140 Wineva Ave., Toronto, ON
(a wheelchair accessible venue)

When:
May 11-13, 2017 at 7:30pm

Tickets:
Tickets are $20 cash at the door, or you can buy $15 advanced tickets at http://greeninblue.bpt.me.

Connect:
fb: /GreenlightTheatreProductions
ig: @greenlighttheatre

Talking Canadian Stories & the Upcoming Production of AGENCY with actor Ben Sanders

Interview by Shaina Silver-Baird

Shaina: What’s different about working on a new play like this that’s never been done before, compared with something that has been in the theatre canon for awhile?

Ben Sanders: It’s very liberating when you don’t have to worry about the burden of a precedent for your character. Rather than doing the ten thousandth Mercutio, I get to be the very first Peter Gottschild (my character in Agency). There’s a great freedom that comes with that. My impulses and choices are brushstrokes on a fresh canvas.

Shaina: What is a ‘Canadian’ story? Would you say this is a Canadian play?

Ben: Canadian stories are anything dreamed up in the mind of a Canadian (including brand new Canadians) or anything set in Canada. Aside from some of our indigenous stories, just about all Canadian stories involve relationships to other countries. Agency is set in Germany, and features all German characters, but it also has a whole lot of the heart and soul – and some of the heritage – of Eva Barrie, a Canadian artist.

Photo of Eva Barrie & Ben Sanders by Greg Wong

Photo of Eva Barrie & Ben Sanders by Greg Wong

Shaina: What’s been the biggest challenge and biggest joy in tackling your character so far?

Ben: We’re playing with time and memory in the play. Sometimes my character is onstage as a part of someone else’s memory, rather than really being there. So I can’t be too picky about my “reality”, or my circumstances. The biggest joy, so far, is the crackling dialogue – Eva’s lines just roll off your tongue. Makes my job easy!

Shaina: Describe the show in 5 words.

Ben: Suspense. Surveillance. Betrayal. Obsession. Turtlenecks.

Photo of Earl Pastko & Ben Sanders by Greg Wong

Photo of Earl Pastko & Ben Sanders by Greg Wong

Shaina: Do you think it’s important for the other characters to explore the past as they do? At what point is this exploration positive and at what point is it detrimental to get trapped in the past?

Ben: Everybody’s got skeletons in the closet… everybody. So if you want to dig into your own past, or your family tree, you’ve got to do so with empathy, and brace yourself for unseemly discoveries. A family history is just a story we’ve been told, usually edited and revised for our benefit by people who care about us. Do you really want to challenge that story? It takes a lot of courage and offers little reward. But, then again, some stories demand to be told, and don’t ask politely.

Photo of Earl Pastko & Ben Sanders by Greg Wong

Photo of Earl Pastko & Ben Sanders by Greg Wong

Shaina: Did you have to do any research into the specific events of 1980s Berlin to tackle this play? What was the most interesting fact your discovered?

Ben: The extent of the surveillance state was pretty astounding, especially the network of “Inoffizieller Mitarbeiter” – informal collaborators. These were not official Stasi agents, just ordinary people feeding the authorities information on their acquaintances. Friends reported on friends; family reported on family. Once the wall fell, and it all came out in the open – once the hundreds of thousands of shredded files were pieced together by hand – reconciliation was not easy.

One of the most moving stories was of a woman who was devastated to learn, after the wall fell, the names of all the friends that had been reporting on her behind her back. At the end of her research into her file, she was reminded that she, also, had briefly informed on her friends, and completely forgotten about it. Surveillance and betrayal were just a part of everyday life.

Photo of Earl Pastko, Ben Sanders & Eva Barrie by Greg Wong

Photo of Earl Pastko, Ben Sanders & Eva Barrie by Greg Wong

Shaina: There is so much going on in the city right now, why should people come see this play? What will they get here that they won’t get anywhere else?

Ben: Eva Barrie is a major new talent. Her writing is totally engrossing: it’s got an impressive technical complexity – lots of tasty plot – but also a very natural, relatable tone that will catch you off-guard. And she’s written a terrific role for Earl Pastko to act the hell out of. Which he does.

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Photo of Earl Pastko, Ben Sanders & Eva Barrie by Greg Wong.

 

About Ben Sanders:


headshot-ben-sanders

Ben Sanders is a Toronto-based actor. He has performed at the Shaw Festival for seven seasons, appearing in 14 productions, including The Intelligent Homosexual’s Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with the Key to the Scriptures, The Sea, Major Barbara, Cabaret, Our Betters, French without Tears, Misalliance, Serious Money, and four world premieres: Michel Marc Bouchard’s The Divine: A Play for Sarah Bernhardt, Peter Hinton and Allen Cole’s musical version of Alice in Wonderland, Lisa Codrington’s adaptation of The Adventures of the Black Girl in Her Search for God, and Michael Healey’s reimagining of On the Rocks. He also performed with The Grand Theatre (A Christmas Carol, Dry Streak, Playwright’s Cabaret) and with Toronto’s Praxis Theatre (Objections to Sex and Violence, Tim Buck 2). In 2015, he was named one of NOW Magazine’s Top 10 Theatre Artists of the year, and the My Theatre Awards Performer of the Year. He trained at Ryerson University.
Up next, Ben will be back at the Grand Theatre in The Lion in Winter.

Agency

A New Play by Eva Barrie

agency-banner

Who:
Presented by Yell Rebel
Written by Eva Barrie
Directed by Megan Watson
Dramaturged by Thomas Morgan Jones
Featuring: Earl Paskto, Ben Sanders & Eva Barrie

Set & Costume Designer: Karyn McCallum
Lighting Designer: Mikael Kangas
Sound Designer: Lyon Smith
Stage Manager: Théa Pel
Technical Director: Tamara Vuckovic
Design Assistant: Echo Zhou
Producer/Production Manager: Noah Spitzer

What:
In the height of the Cold War, Hannah’s father is killed as her family makes a desperate escape out of East Berlin. Years later, she reads her father’s Stasi files and unearths a 25 year old mystery. The only one who can help her solve it: the man who spied on her father. Demanding answers and getting far more than she bargained for, Hannah takes a trip into the past.

Where:
The Theatre Centre, 1115 Queen Street West

When:
November 10th – 20th
Tuesday – Saturday 7pm
Saturday/Sunday 1pm

Tickets:
General Admission: $22.00
Arts-worker/Student $18.00
PWYC Performances: Nov. 10th (7pm), Nov. 12th (1pm), Nov. 13th (1pm) & Nov. 19th (1pm)
tickets.theatrecentre.org

Connect:
w: yellrebeltheatre.com
fb: /yellrebeltheatre
t: @yellrebelTO