Bygone Theatre’s 2017/18 Season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 26, 2017

Bygone Theatre Announces its 6th Season

TORONTO, ON (Tuesday September 26, 2017) – Now entering their sixth season, Toronto based, indie nonprofit, Bygone Theatre announces their season lineup, which includes a classic 1965 British farce, a unique night of vintage Vaudeville, and the World Premiere of a new Canadian play.

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LOOT by Joe Orton
Directed by Emily Dix

England, 1965; Only hours before her intended burial, the late Mrs. Leavy is removed from her coffin by her son, Hal, and his best pal, Dennis, who have together just robbed a bank and need the coffin to stash the loot. Absurdity abounds in the dark, 1965 farce that examines attitudes surrounding death, police integrity, and the Catholic church.

This timely classic will run from March 8-17th (11 performances) at the Alumnae Theatre, 70 Berkeley St., Toronto. Casting TBA late 2017.

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JOE by Rachel Ganz

England, 1967; Joe and Kenneth live together. Following their experience in jail for a crime they believe was just an excuse to criminalize their homosexuality, Joe and Kenneth begin planning for their future. Kenneth believes they should break up to avoid further persecution but Joe believes they should die together as a desperate statement against policy. As Kenneth attempts to leave, Joe attempts to die. The domestic dispute exemplifies the ways in which public policy can affect private living and the small flat the men share fills with tension until Kenneth kills Joe with a hammer. Inspired by the real-life murder of playwright, Joe Orton.

ABOUT RACHEL GANZ: Rachel Ganz is a Toronto-based playwright. She is a recent playwriting graduate from The National Theatre School as well as the Artistic Director of Newborn Theatre and the Co-Creator of The Odds and Ends Festival. Works include: Blip/I Didn’t Need To Know You (Newborn Theatre, 2017), Plucked (Newborn Theatre, 2016), Vacuum (The National Theatre School, 2016), The Dumb War (Newborn Theatre, 2015), Teach Me (Newborn Theatre, 2014), Rhyme Reason or Otherwise (Hart House Players, 2014), Plasterface (Newborn Theatre, 2014), The Long Run (Sunnybrook Hospital/Newborn Theatre, 2014).

Staged Reading – April 8, 2018, the Social Capital Theatre, 154 Danforth Ave., Toronto

World Premiere – June 21-23, 2018 (limited engagement, 5 performances), the Alumnae Theatre Studio, 70 Berkeley St., Toronto

VAUDEVILLE REVUE – in partnership with the Revue Cinema

A one-night-only performance of vintage Vaudeville acts combined with classic silent films. Exact date TBA.

Visit http://www.bygonetheatre.com for details and updates on casting.
Tickets: available at http://www.bygonetheatre.com/tickets
Media Contact: Artistic Executive Director Emily Dix, Emily@bygonetheatre.com, 647-343-5965

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Friends of Bygone – Newborn Theatre

Rachel Ganz is the Artistic Director of Newborn Theatre and a good friend of Bygone Theatre; our AD, Emily Dix directed her show “Plasterface” in November of 2012, and both Emily and Producer Matt McGrath were involved in last year’s Odds and Ends Festival.

Rachel Ganz

Rachel Ganz

1. What is your role with Newborn Theatre and “The Odds and Ends Festival”?

Artistic Director/God and I direct one show this year

2. Give us Newborn Theatre’s history – how and why did it get started?
We have been around for over a year now, producing and supporting the works of writers who are under thirty.  The whole point to the company is to give young artists the opportunity to grow and be featured amongst their peers.

3. Give us a quick run-down of “The Odds and Ends Festival”
5 shows. 5 playwrights from across the continent. 40 local cast and crew.  Most of the shows are dark and one is just insane.  
It’s at unit 102 from August 22-25.

Each show goes up every single night.

Super multi-cultural, super strange sexual things happening, characters of all ages, theatre in the round, glow in the dark, mud wrestling….cotton ball fights….gun shots…swords…clowns…..classical music….what am I missing??? OH YEAH THE BLACK HURRICANE KATRINA SHOW.  Good times.


4. What has been your favourite part of working on “The Odds and Ends Festival”?

Odds and Ends Festival 2013

Odds and Ends Festival 2013

Working with the playwrights is always the best.
Reading and selecting from 165 works is actually a great time.  I performed them all in my living room…solo.  Sober.


5. Any fun rehearsal/performance stories or anecdotes you’d like to share?
The only thing I  can think of is Jessica Brown loving her costume so much that she didn’t want to take it off to go get food at break. So she wore sequins underwear and a blonde wig out in Parkdale.

6. Where and when can everyone see the show?
Unit 102, Queen and Dufferin.  22-24 at 8 pm. 25th at 2 pm.


7. Anything else we should know?
It’s an extraordinarily small house…come early!

Review – “Teach Me”: Newborn Theatre, Toronto Fringe

This afternoon I had the pleasure of seeing Newborn Theatre’s “Teach Me” at the George Ignatieff Theatre. My fourth Fringe show this year, and by far my favourite.

The show stars Mara Zigler as Stacey, Jessica Brown as Lauren and Robert Rainville as Mr.P, and tells the perverse story of two high school girls who catch their teacher masturbating in his car after school. A risque topic to be sure, but one that playwright Rachel Ganz approached with humour and sincerity in a way that made the story not just entertaining, but very real.

The play started a little slowly, with the two actresses seeming to struggle somewhat with their lines. Minimal movement meant that the focus was all on the dialogue, which was funny and well written, but came out a little jumbled at the start. However, the actors quickly grew into their parts, and by the time Rainville entered, I was completely enthralled.

I have tried with other reviews to focus on the acting and staging above the script or story, but in this case I don’t think I can do the show justice without including a few spoilers. For those who don’t wish to have the story given away, stop reading here and just know this is one show you should definitely not miss!

***SPOILER ALERT***

The ambiguity in this story is what drives it. It is impossible to be certain from one moment to the next who holds the power and who really knows the truth. This may be a frustrating show for some, because so many questions were asked, but the end comes abruptly, answering very few of them. When I first read this script months ago, my biggest worry was that the humour in the text could leave some people feeling that the issues of rape and abuse were trivialized, however, the cast’s acting ability helped to support what I think was Ganz’s intention; to show the complexity of these issues, rather than to focus just on sympathizing with the victims, or crusading against the abusers.

It certainly isn’t a show for someone with a weak stomach. Stacey’s detailed description of her own encounters with sexual abuse is raw and disturbing, especially as it comes in such strong contrast to her earlier, funnier remarks about men and sex. Watching Mr. P. try every tactic in the book to convince the girls not to turn him in, is equally upsetting, because until the very end of the show, I found myself sympathizing with him most.

Things take a bizarre turn after Stacey finally makes a move and angrily gives Mr.P. a hand-job – while this moment could ring as untrue, her earlier comment should be remembered here; “Nothing like a blow job to make a rapist forget he was going to rape you”. Given, it was a hand job instead (this is still live theatre!), but remembering that line makes the moment seem much less like a Lolita-esq move and more like a frightened girl trying to put on a brave face. Certainly disturbing. As Mr. P. falls to the ground and watches the girls, we see him take on a sort of animalistic transformation; his back to the audience, I was curious as to what was really happening, and this is one moment where I felt things could have been a bit clearer. When he drags Lauren to the ground for the very brief but upsetting rape scene, it is difficult to imagine what is going on in the minds of the characters. Lauren initially smiles, then cries out in a somewhat insincere voice; I am unsure as to whether this was a choice or just a weak acting moment. Mr. P. does not seem human in this moment, but rather just the “dog” Stacey had earlier referred to him as. Again, this is a moment where I would have liked to understand his change a bit more. Stacey is who carries in the scene here, as she switches from badass teenager to frightened child, calling out in a voice that made me almost sick. It was a very bold choice for an ending, and personally I left feeling a little ill, but leaving a show about rape feeling anything else would probably be more disgusting than that.

Despite a few slow moments at the start, and somewhat dull blocking, the text and the actors made this show one of my all time favourites. You will leave shaken and likely disgusted, but certainly not without something to say. A show that will get people talking this way is one that needs to be seen, and I would highly recommend it to anyone (except maybe children!).

-E.

SHOW TIMES
Wednesday, July 3, 2013 – 8:45pm – 9:45pm
Saturday, July 6, 2013 – 1:45pm – 2:45pm
Sunday, July 7, 2013 – 3:00pm – 4:00pm
Monday, July 8, 2013 – 10:15pm – 11:15pm
Wednesday, July 10, 2013 – 5:45pm – 6:45pm
Saturday, July 13, 2013 – 12:30pm – 1:30pm
Sunday, July 14, 2013 – 7:30pm – 8:30pm

George Ignatieff Theatre

All Fringe tickets are $10.