Indie Theatre Lineup for 2016-17

Montreal professional independent theatre presents upcoming plays

By Barbara Ford

This 2016-2017 season, eight professional theatre companies, at the core of the local indie scene, satisfy a vast range of tastes and interests with stories that stimulate imagination, understanding, discussion and change. English-speaking audiences can become acquainted with French playwrights or young students can take their first step in a life-long appreciation of theatre. Home grown plays, lauded nationally and abroad, are presented by some companies while others play cultural ambassadors and tour their offerings inside and outside the province. Fact-based productions bring Canadian history to vivid life or delve into stories of other countries and cultures.

Theatre-goers will experience characters’ challenges and triumphs, embark on spiritual, emotional and historical journeys, see life through the eyes of the disenfranchised and the persecuted, or explore issues of sexuality, freedom, and power. An alphabetical list, by company, follows.

Black Theatre Workshop

Angélique (Mainstage Production)
Written by Lorena Gale, directed by Mike Payette
A co-production with Tableau D’Hôte Theatre
Segal Centre Studio, 5170 de la Côte-Ste-Catherine
March 16 to April 2, 2017

“In 1734, a Negro slave set fire to the City of Montreal…” This is how history writes it: Marie Angélique, a slave in a Canadian history book. But no one has spoken to the injustice that stoked the inextinguishable fire in her belly. No one can know for certain if she was responsible for the cinder and wreckage, the charred relics of a people’s pain. As Canadians, we have not told the real and forgotten story of Angélique. Not until now.

Written by Emil Sher, directed by Tamara Brown
Black History Month School Tour
February 2017

A play for young audiences, older audiences and unrepentant pirates! Ratt, Spatt and Knat are three red-nosed pirates who guide their cluttered ship wherever the scent of riches leads them. Life is predictable on the blustering seas until Ku, a confident blue-nosed pirate, washes up on deck. Bluenose, a music-filled play for young audiences, explores difference and acceptance from the perspective of a group of zany pirates.


Geordie Productions

Water Weight (Elementary School Tour)
Written by Jesse Stong, directed by Mike Payette
September 2016 to April 2017

On a hot summer day, when they wanna stay cool… all the kids go on down to the town’s swimming pool! A young girl with a chubby little puppy, and a young boy with a feisty feline friend, throw insults at a pool and spin out into a whirlwind of adventure. The magical swimming pool comes to life to make both their deepest wishes rise to the surface; as the boy starts to grow and the girl starts to shrink, everything begins to flow out of control! A show for children that plays with size while looking at issues with self-image; reminding us all that every water drop is a little bit different.

Instant (High School/CEGEP Tour)
Written by Erin Shields, directed by Dean Patrick Fleming
September 2016 to April 2017

Meredith wants to be a pop star. Jay wants to be a hockey star. Rosie just wants to help her father. Searching for fame in a world of instant communication drives all of them to make split-second choices that have lasting ramifications. Instant is a lightening-speed, multi-narrative story about three teenagers who are trying to be heard.

The Halloween Tree (Mainstage Production)
Based on the novel by Ray Bradbury
Adapted and Directed by Amanda Kellock
D. B. Clarke Theatre, 1455 De Maisonneuve W
October 21 to 30, 2016

On Halloween night, five friends meet up to go trick-or-treating. But their best friend, Joe Pipkin, is too sick to go. He tells them to meet at The House, an old, deserted place in the ravine that none of them have ever dared to visit on Halloween night, but when they arrive, instead of Joe they encounter a mysterious man named Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud… What follows is an epic journey into The Undiscovered Country to find out the hidden secrets of Halloween and to save Joe Pipkin.

jabber westmountmag.ca

Scene from Jabber – Image: Heather McCuen

Water Weight + Instant + Jabber
Geordie Theatre Fest
Studio Theatre at Monument National, 1182 St-Laurent
March 21 to 26, 2017

Three exciting shows to see for the whole family! This one-week special event will showcase the two-play touring shows (Water Weight and Instant) as well as the presentation of the award-winning Jabber by Marcus Youssef, playing in repertory. For the first time in Geordie’ s history, schools and the public will be able to see three exciting and beautiful touring plays on a professional mainstage which will have since traveled thousands of miles in Canada and parts of the United States


Imago Theatre

Intractable Woman
Written by Stefano Massini, translation by Paula Wing
Directed by Micheline Chevrier with designs by Peter Cerone, Eo Sharp, and Rob Thomson
With Deena Aziz, Laura Condlln and Warona Setshwaelo
Centaur Theatre, 453 St-Francois Xavier
February 9 to 18, 2017

“People sometimes pay with their lives for saying aloud what they think.” – Anna Politkovskaya (1958-2006)

Intractable Woman is the story of Anna Politkovskaya, the only Russian journalist to cover the war in Chechnya, a woman the State dubbed “not able to re-educate”, a person with courage in the marrow of her bones, and the faithful voice of those who lived through such a senseless and bloody conflict.

Artista (Mentorship Program for Youth)
Artista is a free youth mentorship program that supports young women as they explore their unique perspective and voice through theatre.

Artists in Residence
Imago Theatre supports the creation of projects in development by local theatre artists. These projects are new works exploring current and urgent topics, often presenting marginalized voices and always through the female perspective. All public presentations are Pay-What-You-Decide.

Les Voisines – Arianna Bardesono, with a theatrical event about Hasidic women,
“Could theatre facilitate an encounter between a Hasidic woman and a goy (secular person) like me without transgressing the religious rules of Hasidic Judaism?”

Home – Julie Tamiko Manning, with a play about homeless women,
“I want to reach out and touch people, change lives, dispel misunderstanding and fear, make the invisible visible, make things better…”

The Sound of Dogs – Jennifer Roberts, with a play about deaf culture,
“I want to explore the absurd decisions our society and politicians make in order to “normalize” anyone who is considered different.”

When the Light – Caitlin Murphy, with a play about care,
“I wish to create a lyrical meditation on care giving, but also a focused consideration of how we all feel about our deep vulnerability as human beings.”


Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal

Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal (PWM) is a leading national new play creation centre dedicated to developing new work for the stage.

PWM is proud of its development collaboration with Geordie Productions for their 2016-17 season: Jabber, Water Weight, Instant and The Halloween Tree. It also celebrates Youtheatre’s Ce monde-là, whose translation was developed through its Glassco Translation Residency in Tadoussac. It looks forward to the developmental collaboration with Imago Theatre on plays by Jennifer Roberts, Caitlin Murphy and Julie Tamiko Manning. It is an exciting season of new work for the stage in Montreal.

The 2016 Master Class will be led by playwright Marie Clements and the Exploring Practice series will be led by Clea Minaker. PVM is excited to announce the second year of its Young Creators Unit led by Jesse Stong. It is scheduled to begin in early October. Sarah Elkashef will lead a second creative cycle of innovative work by artists through the Interdisciplinary Writers Unit scheduled to begin in 2017. The 2016 Glassco Translation Residency in Tadoussac led by Bobby Theodore came to a close in late June. Invited artists were Charles Bender, Leanna Brodie, Pascal Brullemans, Derek Chan, Alexis Diamond, Beatriz Pizano, Jovanni Sy and Olivier Sylvestre. The bilingual Playwrights’ Residency in Gros Morne, with CEAD will be offered again this year – stay tuned for the call for submissions. PWM’s Cole Foundation Competition for Emerging Translators is well underway, led by Maureen Labonté. This year’s recipient is Jordan Arsenault translating Faire des enfants by Éric Noël. There are several projects at various stages of development by local and national playwrights. PMW looks forward to sharing this work with the community at its upcoming public readings.


Tableau D’Hôte Theatre

A co-production with Black Theatre Workshop
March 16 to April 2, 2017
Please see the BTW listing above for details.

hosanna westmountmag.ca

Scene from Hosanna
Courtesy of Talisman Theatre

Presented by Centaur Theatre in association with Just For Laughs and Montreal 375
Written by Michel Tremblay, translated by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco
Directed by Mike Payette
With Eloi ArchamBaudoin and Davide Chiazzese
Centaur Theatre, 453 St-Francois Xavier
July 6 to 23, 2017

When Hosanna, a.k.a. Claude Lemieux, returns home in tears after being pranked at a Halloween party, the Cleopatra impersonator is forced to face the illusions and insecurities that surround her. Passionate, fierce, and vulnerable… when the spotlight fades away, who is Hosanna? Wickedly funny, charming and tender.


Talisman Theatre

Written by Sarah Berthiaume, translated by Nadine Desrochers
Théâtre La Chapelle, 3700 Saint-Dominique
Directed by Geneviève L. Blais
With Julia Borsellino, Jasmine Chen, Chip Chuipka, and Justin Manyfingers
October 13 to 29, 2016

KATE: I think, I want to become a Greyhound bus, get tattoos of dogs on my ribs and walk in a straight line until I see the ocean. I think, I want to get trampled by a bison herd, become a squished Mama Burger, forgotten between two snow banks. I think, I want to inflate myself with landscape and explode like a birthday balloon; become a rain of confetti that would snow, peaceful, in the sharp Yukon night.

Main drag, Whitehorse. Kate is hitchhiking in her Harajuku dress while Yuko, Garin, and Pops look for enough resilience to get through the winter. Robert Pickton’s trial is starting on TV. Goldie, the Native woman who vanished 20 years earlier from the Downtown Eastside, returns to dance on the couch. Outside, the raven soars. It’s minus 45 degrees.


Teesri Duniya Theatre

Written by Stephen Orlov
Staged reading at Centaur Theatre, 453 St-Francois Xavier
September 15, 2016 at 7 pm

Birthmark is a dark-comedy thriller about two Montreal families – Jewish and Palestinian – grappling with religion and politics. Generations and cultures clash, as questions surrounding a DNA test and the mystery of a child’s disappearance drive the suspense, leading toward life or death scenarios for both families.

refugee hotel westmountmag.ca

Scene from Refugee Hotel – Image: Gregory Solis

The Refugee Hotel (in English with Spanish subtitles)
By Carmen Aguirre
Directed by Paulina Abarca-Cantin
With Charles Bender, Pablo Diconca, Braulio Eliser, Craig Francis, Ziad Ghanem, Shanti Gonzales, Juan Grey, Gilda Monreal, Mariana Tayler and Sally Singal
Segal Centre, 5170 de la Côte-Ste-Catherine
October 27 – November 13, 2016

A dark comedy about exile, love and the Canadian resettlement experience. Told from the point of view of a young woman looking back on the past, award-winning writer Carmen Aguirre poignantly chronicles the true story of a wave of Chilean refugees who are resettled at a hotel in Montreal in 1974 in the aftermath of brutal Chilean coup d’état, one of the watershed moments of the Cold War.



Delete (Ages 8-12 yrs.)
Devised by Daniel Iregui and Michel Lefebvre,
Eastern Bloc, 7240 Clark, 2nd Floor
November 15 to 30, 2016

Delete is a site-specific interactive installation speaking directly to “digital natives” audiences. Delete asks: In a world where the line between what’s real and what’s virtual has disappeared, what part of what makes us human do we want to keep? Delete will also offer schools a customized platform to be used in the classroom prior to the presentation, which will help shape the content of the installation. Supported by the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)’s Community Investment Program.

The Law of Gravity (Ages 14+ yrs.)
By Olivier Sylvestre, translated by Bobby Theodore
Directed by Frédéric Sasseville-Painchaud
Segal Centre, 5170 de la Côte-Ste-Catherine
2-week school tour following Segal Centre dates
January 23 to 27, 2017

The Law of Gravity (working English title) is the first script for young adults by Olivier Sylvestre, a 2015 Governor General’s Literary Awards Finalist. Youtheatre will produce the world premiere, directed by recent NTS graduate Frédéric Sasseville-Painchaud. Following the unlikely friendship between Fred and Dom, the play asks what it means to be a male in a heteronormative society. Over the course of a school year, the two friends question their gender, sexual identity and the pressure they feel from their peers, while gazing across the river to a dream-like place called ‘The City’.

Ce monde-là (For young adults)
By Hannah Mosvovitch, translated by David Paquet
Presented in French
February to April 2017

Ce monde-là, the French adaptation of the award-winning In This World, is part of Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM) en tournée 2016-17. Follow Bijou, a pretty teenaged girl from a privileged background, and Neyssa, the daughter of a Jamaican immigrant family, as they wait in detention after getting into a vicious fight at school. As the girls confront each other about what happened, they realize that a deeper tragedy lies between them.


Feature image: Scene from Yukonstyle – Courtesy Talisman Theatre

barbara ford westmountmag.caBarbara Ford is a free-lance media relations and PR specialist.



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