The world premiere of February will happen on September 21, at Toronto’s Alumnae Theatre. Playwright Lisa Moore, who adapted her own novel, will be in attendance. She’s staying in town for the weekend, so will also be there for the Talkback following Sunday’s matinee on Sept 23.
If you can’t score a ticket for opening night, despair not. The show runs until October 6, with performances Wed – Sat at 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. To make a reservation, phone 416-364-4170 box 1 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. It’s cash only at the Box Office, but if you wish to purchase online, please visit www.totix.ca Note: Tickets are NOT available online for opening night, or for any Wednesday or Sunday.
Alumnae Theatre Company is very proud to present
the WORLD PREMIERE of
by Lisa Moore
Directed by Michelle Alexander
Lisa Moore’s second novel February was described as “luminous” and “soaring” when it was published in 2009, and it was nominated for several prestigious literary awards, including the Man Booker Prize. The New Yorker raved that Moore’s book “evok[es] memory and grief in pitch-perfect detail.” The literary festival Winterset in Summer in Moore’s home province of Newfoundland commissioned her to write a stage adaptation, and a longtime member of Alumnae Theatre Company happened to see a staged reading there while on vacation in summer 2011. She brought it to the attention of Alumnae’s Programming Committee, and just over a year later, we proudly present the world premiere of Moore’s beautiful new play.
February is the time-shifting story of Helen, left a young widow with four children when her husband is killed in the sinking of the oil rig Ocean Ranger in February of 1982. Twenty-seven years later, Helen still struggles to escape the memories and move forward with her life, and past and present are interwoven as her now-adult son John deals with a dilemma of his own.
Director Michelle Alexander was impressed by the heart and humour in the script. “This is the essence of what drew me to the piece,” she says. “In rehearsal, we are constantly asking ourselves ‘where is the humour in this scene? Where is the light in this scene? What and where is the point of tension?’. Given the gravity of this type of tragedy, it would have been easy to have written and directed a play purely based on sadness and despair – but real people are more complex than that. Grief has as many colours as the people dealing with it. Lisa Moore’s script is so compelling because it doesn’t shy away from all of these colours with all their complexities. Rather, it asks the question: how do those complexities that come with losing a loved one, change and shape who we are and who we can become?”
The design team completes the vision: set designer Karen Elizabeth McMichael imagined the set with a tower or pile to represent “the edifice of memory. Something with straight lines, sharp angles, imposing and human.” Gabriel Cropley useslight to delineate the present vs. the past. Megan Benjafield’s sound design blends concrete and abstract sounds to mirror the sense of immediacy and memory in the script. Costume designer Peter DeFreitas took inspiration from Newfoundland’s wild seas, its landscapes, and fishermen in red & black plaid.
Alumnae Theatre Company’s world premiere of February features Lavetta Griffin as Helen; John Fray as Helen’s husband Cal; Justin Skye Conley as their son John; Kathleen Jackson Allamby as Helen’s sister Louise; Trevor Cartlidge playing multiple roles, including Cal’s bereaved father; Victoria Fuller as John’s former love interest; and Steve Switzman as a lovable carpenter renovating Helen’s house.