Tag Archives: Taylor Marie Graham

“Cottage Radio” opens tonight in FireWorks 2015

Last week, the Studio at Alumnae Theatre was a high school classroom. This week the set designer for FireWorks series, Marysia Bucholc, has transformed it into the Goderich, Ontario living room of the fictional Marley family. Chris Marley (played by Amanda Pereira) broadcasts her radio show from here. Oh, and there’s a tornado raging outside. That’s Taylor Marie Graham’s play Cottage Radio, directed by Julia Haist, which opens tonight and runs to Nov 15.

Amanda Pereira as Chris, Madeline Leon as Nadine in "Cottage Radio" by Taylor Marie Graham (FireWorks 2015 at Alumnae Theatre).  Photo: Bruce Peters.

Amanda Pereira as Chris, Madeline Leon as Nadine in “Cottage Radio” by Taylor Marie Graham (FireWorks 2015 at Alumnae Theatre). Photo: Bruce Peters.

Tonight’s performance is followed by an opening night party – audience is invited to join cast and crew for free munchies and a cash bar.

The other performances this week have post-show Talkbacks as follows:

Thurs Nov 12 Fri Nov 13 Sat Nov 14 Sun Nov 15
Directing:
Julia Haist
Sound/Lighting Design:
Gabrielle D’Angelo, Bill Scott
2 pm show – Costume Design: Peter DeFreitas, Toni Hanson, Trish Worrall.
8 pm show – Set Design: Marysia Bucholc
Playwright:
Taylor Marie Graham

FIREWORKS SHOWTIMES: 8pm Wed – Sat; 2pm Sat & Sun.

TICKETS:   $15 except Sun – PWYC.

Purchase tickets online (except for Sunday PWYC matinees) or reserve seats and pay cash at Box Office.

No credit or debit cards accepted for in-person sales.

Consider a 6-play Flex Pass – for $75, you get 6 tickets to be used however you wish. So one person could see 6 plays, or share the tickets with friends and all 6 of you come to one play!

 RESERVATIONS:   E-mail reservations@alumnaetheatre.com or phone 416-364-4170 Box 1.

For more into, and to purchase  tickets online for this and the last FireWorks play – Charles Hayter’s Radical (Nov 18-22) – please go to http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/fireworks.html

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Filed under 2015/16 season, FireWorks

“Cottage Radio” in FireWorks 2015 – Playwright & Director interview

The second play in this year’s FireWorks series is Taylor Marie Graham’s Cottage Radio, directed by Julia Haist.  It’s the story of a fictional Ontario family dealing with real events: the tornado that hit Goderich in the summer of 2011. The show runs Nov 11-15 in the Studio.   FireWorks 2015 - Cottage Radio

Q:   What inspired you to tell this story?  What was the germ of the idea?

A (Playwright Taylor Marie Graham): When I started my MFA in Creative Writing with the University of Guelph, I thought I would be writing about my life currently, in Toronto, living the life I live today, but it turns out my subconscious had other plans. I started writing about the small Ontario town I grew up in, and the tornado that hit there in August 2011. I became obsessed with the town of Goderich and the destruction and resurrection that the tornado forced on the community. What is home and what happens when it’s destroyed? Can it be rebuilt? Will it be the same? These are the questions that drove the development of the play that eventually emerged from the writing projects I put together for the following year.

 

Q: FireWorks is a showcase for full-length plays which have been workshopped and/or dramaturged through Alumnae Theatre Company.  What’s the history of your play?

A: A version of the play – at that time called Rotating Thunderstorm – was read as part of the New Ideas Festival in 2014. I was writing the play for my MFA thesis, and really enjoyed having the festival to use as a deadline of sorts while putting the script together. Writing for this festival really was great for my writing process! As I was writing I had a group of talented actors and a great director who worked with the script which meant I could immediately hear what I was writing. This is crucial for me as a playwright as I need to put voices to the words to give them life. The process at the New Ideas Festival gave me the opportunity to really hear was what working, what others found intriguing, and what was falling flat. This process also made it possible for the play to be ready for its premiere in Goderich, Ontario on the [third] anniversary of the tornado in August 2014.

Q:   Julia, how did you get involved?  Did you work on any of the play’s previous incarnations?

A (director Julia Haist):   I had participated in Alumnae Theatre Company’s Write Now event [a weekend-long playwriting challenge devised by the company’s New Play Development group, which culminates in a staged reading of the scripts] and through that, I was contacted when the theatre was looking for directors for the FireWorks festival. After I expressed interest in directing, they sent along copies of the scripts, and though all three scripts were fantastic, I fell in love with Cottage Radio; I recognized and connected with these characters as someone who grew up in Southern Ontario. I felt I understood the relationships, as well as the frustration and futility that can come with being a young adult in this generation. I also loved the original music that came along with the script, and was so excited at the possibility of playing with it. After meeting with the whole creative team, I met one-on-one with [playwright] Taylor Marie Graham and had a wonderful connection with her over shared experiences and these characters. I originally signed on as assistant director, musical director and dramaturg, but after the show’s original director had to step down due to unforeseen circumstances, I was called on rather suddenly to man the helm, and I’ve been gleefully absorbed in Cottage Radio ever since.

 
Q: Anything specific you would like the audience to know, or to watch out for in the production?

A (Taylor): I’m really excited for what [director] Julia Haist and the actors have done with the script for this production! I mean, it’s always pretty amazing to see your script interpreted and performed by a group of talented individuals, but I think there’s something truly special happening in the rehearsal room this time around. From what I have seen there’s a lot of raw talent combined with solid hard work going into this show and the result is, well, remarkable. Their ability to bring these characters to life and make them as real as possible makes a writer like me feel like sitting all alone in a room making people up is worth all the trouble after all!

A (Julia): Taylor has done a beautiful job of paying homage to Goderich by incorporating the true events of the tornado into the writing. Many of the details of the storm that are written into the script are either directly factually accurate or inspired by first-hand accounts from the community members who were affected by the tornado. There are also plenty of metaphorical parallels between the events of the tornado and the story that takes place within the cottage. Many of the designers followed her lead in taking inspiration from the tornado, and we’ve tried to incorporate elements of it in the performance as well. I think that those would be interesting to keep an eye out for during the show.

 

Q:   Taylor, do you have future plans for your play?

A : This play has brought me on such a colourful journey so far and continually surprises me with the next chapter of its development. I’m always excited to have new audiences hear the work, and am so lucky to have been able to see the play go through the journey it has so far.

 

FIREWORKS SHOWTIMES: 8pm Wed – Sat; 2pm Sat & Sun.

TICKETS:   $15 except Sun – PWYC.

Purchase tickets online (except for Sunday PWYC matinees) or reserve seats and pay cash at Box Office.  No credit or debit cards accepted for in-person sales.

Consider a 6-play Flex Pass – for $75, you get 6 admissions to be used however you wish. So one person could see 6 plays, or share the tickets with friends and all 6 of you come to one play!

 RESERVATIONS:   E-mail reservations@alumnaetheatre.com or phone 416-364-4170 Box 1.

 POST-SHOW TALKBACKS – “Behind The Curtain”:
Thursdays: Directors Pamela Redfern, Julia Haist or Neil Affleck with their Assistant Directors Melissa Chetty, Lisa Alves, Ingryd Pleitez.
Fridays: Lighting Designer Gabrielle D’Angelo and Sound Designer Bill Scott.
Saturday Matinees: Costume Designers Peter DeFreitas, Toni Hanson, Trish Worrall.
Saturday Evenings: Set Designers Marysia Bucholc, Mark Cope.
Sunday Matinees: Playwrights Chloe Whitehorn, Taylor Marie Graham or Charles Hayter.
For more into, and to purchase  tickets online for this and the last FireWorks play – Charles Hayter’s Radical (Nov 18-22) – please go to http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/fireworks.html

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Filed under 2015/16 season, FireWorks

“Divine Wrecks” review

LifeWithMoreCowbell called Chloë Whitehorn’s Divine Wrecks (directed by Pamela Redfern) a “heartbreaking and powerful tale of forbidden love”. Read the whole review at https://lifewithmorecowbell.wordpress.com/2015/11/05/fireworks-divine-wrecks-a-heartbreaking-powerful-tale-of-forbidden-love-erotic-wickedly-funny-engaging/

This play has 5 more performances – tonight through Saturday at 8pm, also Sat and Sun at 2pm.

Next week Wednesday (Nov 11), the FireWorks series continues with Taylor Marie Graham’s Cottage Radio.

 

TICKETS:   $15 except Sun – PWYC.

Purchase tickets online (except for Sunday PWYC matinees) or reserve seats and pay cash at Box Office.  No credit or debit cards accepted for in-person sales.

 

RESERVATIONS:   E-mail reservations@alumnaetheatre.com or phone 416-364-4170 Box 1.

POST-SHOW TALKBACKS – “Behind The Curtain”:
Thursdays: Directors Pamela Redfern, Julia Haist or Neil Affleck with their Assistant Directors Melissa Chetty, Lisa Alves, Ingryd Pleitez.
Fridays: Lighting Designer Gabrielle D’Angelo and Sound Designer Bill Scott.
Saturday Matinees: Costume Designers Peter DeFreitas, Toni Hanson, Trish Worrall.
Saturday Evenings: Set Designers Marysia Bucholc, Mark Cope.
Sunday Matinees: Playwrights Chloe Whitehorn, Taylor Marie Graham or Charles Hayter.

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Filed under 2015/16 season, FireWorks

Casting Call for FireWorks 2015

The FireWorks Festival runs November 4-22, 2015 with three plays each running for one week of the festival. For more information on the festival please see the FireWorks page of www.alumnaetheatre.com.
Below are the character breakdowns for each play. Auditions will be scheduled August 17-23, and callbacks the last week of August.
FireWorks 2015
TO REQUEST AN AUDITION: e-mail FWauditions@gmail.com
Be sure to include your RESUME, HEADSHOT, AGE RANGE and your PHONE NUMBER.  Candidates selected to audition will be contacted. Please come prepared with a monologue. Directors from more than one play may be present at the audition. Callbacks will be done separately for each play.
Members of Alumnae Theatre Company will be given priority consideration.
The scripts are available at the Toronto Reference Library, 5th floor, Performance Desk, 789 Yonge Street.
Auditions will be held at the Alumnae Theatre, 70 Berkeley Street (at Adelaide).
AUDITION DATES:                       August 17-23
CALL BACKS:                                  August 26-31
REHEARSALS:                               September 10 – November 3, 10, 17
PERFORMANCES:                        November 4-8, 11-15, 18-22.

Divine Wrecks by Chloe Whitehorn
(performances November 4-8, 2015)
Synopsis:
​A high school god falls for the wrong girl, his teacher.  A dark tale of heart break and revelations, Divine Wrecks explores the nature of love without boundaries. A modern take on a classic tale.

Character Breakdown:
(Note: We expect to cast actors in their early twenties for the teenage roles due to the mature nature of the roles)
EDDY: male, sixteen, troubled star athlete. After a tragedy he feels disconnected from everyone and is looking for meaning.
CASS:
female, thirties, high school English teacher. Is haunted by her past.
CHORUS 1:
male, teenager, confident jock. At the top of the school hierarchy but not the “steal your lunch money” type.
CHORUS 2:
female, teenager, fluffy pretty cheerleader. Extremely confident and used to getting her way.
CHORUS 3:
female, teenager, alternative look. Bit of a slacker “f**k-the world if the world doesn’t care” attitude.
CHORUS 4:
male, teenager, prep nerd. Shy but eager to be included.


Cottage Radio by Taylor Marie Graham
(performances November 11-15, 2015)
Synopsis:
Inspired by the true events of the Goderich, Ontario 2011 F3 class tornado, Cottage Radio explores the effect of the horrific storm on the fictional, yet very recognizable Marley clan. The family is forced to deal with the horrific events of the storm that is currently bringing them together, while confronting all the past events that kept them apart for so long. The play includes gorgeous original indie rock songs performed by members of the collective live on stage, while the play gently and graciously combining humour and drama in surrounding scenes. The premiere production in Goderich, Ontario left audiences moved and the Toronto re-imagining is sure to do the same.

Character Breakdown:
Gordon Marley – 55 years old. Uncle to Christina and Nadine; son of Susan. Recently lost his house in the tornado. Over-indulges with alcohol, silence, and solitude. Past competitive rower.

Christina (Chris) Marley – 32 years old. Sister of Nadine, granddaughter to Susan, niece to Gordon, childhood best friend of Jasper.   Past drummer in the band Huron Haven; host of COTTAGE radio.
Would prefer to be 17 and full of potential again rather than 32 and full of pain and regrets, so
she stifled her maturity at 17 years old and expects everyone around her to do the same. Uses sarcasm to deflect.

 

Nadine Marley – 27 years old,. Sister of Christina, granddaughter to Susan, niece to Gordon, friend of Jasper. Guitar and vocals in the band Huron Haven. Is afraid to admit she misses everyone, has made some poor choices in the new people in her life away from family, and can’t handle everything all by herself all the time.
Jasper Taylor – 30 years old. No blood relation to the Marleys. Guitar and vocals in the band Huron Haven. Can’t let go of a fantasy version of reality where actions do not have consequences, and
everything is ok if it feels right. Very charming. Adventurous.
Susan Marley – 84 years old, grandmother to Christina and Nadine, mother of Gordon. Is getting old and sees her family being ripped apart and unable to make proper adult decisions. All she can do is try to remind them of their ties to each other and their home before she passes on. Very dedicated to the tornado clean-up effort.

 

 Radical by Charles Hayter
(performances Nov 18-22, 2015)
Synopsis:
The story of a forgotten Canadian hero, Dr. Vera Peters, and her fight to alter breast cancer treatment. Spurred on by patient outrage, memories of her mother’s suffering, and her own diagnosis of breast cancer, Peters embarks on a quest to find a gentler alternative to the mutilating radical mastectomy – and in the process sets the surgical world against her.

Character Breakdown:
HELEN, female, sixtyish, prim, conservative, fiercely loyal, wryly humourous nurse.
ROSE, female, early fifties, brash, earthy, fiesty, feminist, political, professor of sociology.
VERA, female, early fifties, caring, compassionate, yet quietly driven, chain smoking cancer specialist, accomplished medical professional, very “put together”.
FRANK, male, early thirties, young, impressionable, thoughtful, ambitious greenhorn surgeon.
BERNIE, male, fifties, conservative, intelligent, chauvinistic, surly, blunt, yet vulnerable Chief of Surgery.

Alumnae Theatre encourages diversity in its membership and casting. This is a non-paying engagement.

 

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Perception, alternate & artificial realities, & memories masked in New Ideas Week Three program

Actor Dana Thody (who played Marjorie in Simprov) tweeted last night:

“Our director is awesome. She even stepped into a role tonight. The show must go on. “

Normally the role is played by a man, Michael Scott.  With director Stephanie Williams in the part, it would have given that play  a whole other layer…

life with more cowbell

NIF2014-banner-1024x725Another exceptionally strong program of short plays at Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival (NIF) this week – Week Three, the final week of the fest.

Here’s what’s on the menu for Week Three:

Polish Your Pole, performed by Brenda Somers, is a hilariously funny, innuendo-filled pre-show piece in the upper lobby, featuring – you guessed it – what remains of the Firehall No. 4 fire pole across from the box office. Somers is brilliant in this very short piece, an added big fun element of the fest with one final performance tonight at 7:30 p.m. Always thought that pole was going underutilized. And it now has a name.

Airport Tale,by Carol Libman and directed by Carys Lewis, has a travelling senior citizen getting some life advice from an unlikely source when she’s detained at the airport. Jane Carnwath is a delight as the feisty, no nonsense Evalina…

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Filed under 2013/14 Season, New Ideas Festival 2014