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sep 27 – oct 16, 2016 Bluma appel Theatre

concord floral

# c sC o n c o r d A BRUBACHER/SPOONER/ TANNAHILL PRODUCTION PRESENTED BY CANADIAN STAGE

Written by

Jordan Tannahill Directed by

Erin Brubacher

&

Cara Spooner

ensemble

creative

FOX

PLAY WRIG HT

MADISON BAINES

JORDAN TANNAHILL

JOHN CABOT

DIREC TORS

THEO GALLARO ROSA MUNDI

ERIN BRUBACHER CARA SPOONER

OFA GASESEPE

ASSISTANT DIREC TOR

BOBOLIN K

ERUM KHAN

DAVINDER MALHI

LIG HTING DE SIG N

N E ARLY WILD

KIMBERLEY PURTELL

´ JOVANA MILADINOVIC

COMPOSITION & SOUND DE SIG N

BOB B IE

CHRISTOPHER WILLES

JESSICA MUNK

SOUND CONSULTANT

J UST JOE Y

MATTHEW PENCER

FRANCO PANG

VOCALIST

COUCH

ELEANOR HART

MICK (MICAELA) ROBERTSON

STAG E MANAG E R

CHAD DEMBSKI

G RE E NHOUSE

RASHIDA SHAW FORE VE R IRE N E

MELISA SOFI

This production runs approximately 80 minutes with no intermission

MEDIA SPONSOR


artistic director’s note Concord Floral had its very first iteration at Canadian Stage’s Festival of Ideas and Creation in 2012, where Jordan Tannahill and directors Erin Brubacher and Cara Spooner had the opportunity to explore and develop their collective vision in collaboration with a group of teenage performers from the GTA. Four years and several accolades later, Concord Floral is graduating to our main stage. So it is of particular relevance and excitement that we choose to inaugurate this new Canadian Stage season with Jordan Tannahill’s sublime and troubling portrait of suburban adolescence, that now includes cast members from various productions from across the country. The unwavering commitment demonstrated by these young artists throughout the creative process has been remarkable to witness. We are eager to follow what they do next. After last season’s triumphantly successful Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom, Canadian Stage is proud to be an artistic home for Jordan Tannahill as he continues to break new ground in Canadian theatre. Matthew Jocelyn, Artistic and General Director

ENGAGE YOUR CURIOSIT Y. THIS IS MY ROOM. LOOK A Photo Exhibit by Erin Brubacher (Bluma Appel Theatre lobby) Presented in conjunction with the production, this photo series by director Erin Brubacher captures the production’s ten teenage collaborators in their own bedrooms, in neighbourhoods across the country.

CONCORD FLORAL RELAXED PERFORMANCE: Saturday, Oct 1 – 1 pm

Pre-show chat: Oct 7 – 6:15 pm (Bluma Appel Theatre) A panel of young artists and past collaborators of the cast of Concord Floral speak about their early experiences with theatre and performance in this country. Free.

Relaxed Performances are “Speed Ideating” designed to welcome audience Pre-show provocation: members who will benefit from a Oct 14 – 6:15 pm more relaxed sensory experience (Bluma Appel Theatre) and casual performance environment, Engage in a series of speedy 2 including (but not limited to) minute discussions on the theme of patrons with an Autism Spectrum spaces of teenage refuge. Free. or sensory disorder, a learning disability, or parents with infants Post-show chats: and toddlers. For more info, Oct 5, 6, 12 (matinee and evening) visit canadianstage.com/online/ Moderated by the Concord Floral cast. accessibility 2


directors’ note We believe that how things are made shapes what is made—that how you do something matters, not regardless of the product, but alongside it. Concord Floral came into being over a three-year development process that we shared with Jordan Tannahill and a total of 21 Toronto teenagers over three iterations. In 2014 we premiered the production, with the cast with whom we had made it, and in 2016 we staged Concord Floral with an entirely new cast, first at the National Arts Centre and then at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Whitehorse. Re-contextualizing the piece in these places allowed us to find further relevance and meaning in the work, through hearing and seeing new voices and bodies perform it. It has always been crucial to us that the play be performed by actual teenagers so that their real presence and experiences inform what the work offers. This special presentation of Concord Floral at Canadian Stage brings together some of the original cast and most recent ensemble members. It has been a gift to revisit the piece with this team and find a collective deeper understanding of what we are making together that can only be found through time. We have, in our own ways, grown up with this project and it has been a privilege to witness our collaborators on their own journeys, for example: Theo Gallaro was in grade 8 when we began working together and is now 18; Erum Khan originated the role of Nearly Wild and is now assistant directing this production. Directing this show, we are perpetually reminded of the alchemy of this text and teenage voices: we watch our younger co-conspirators light-up as the words leave their lips, as they listen to a story they can claim as their own and offer back to us. This is a great honour to witness. We are grateful for a play that allows us to work in such fine company, and to learn from the hearts, minds and imaginations of a next generation of artists. Erin Brubacher & Cara Spooner, Directors

PLAY WRIGHT’S NOTE As a teen growing up in the suburbs, my friends and I found refuges for ourselves in the abandoned or underused spaces of our neighbourhood: the oversized parking lots, the vacant bus shelters, the unlit parks and walking paths beyond our backyards. In the summer of 2011 I went to a party at Concord Floral, a million-square foot abandoned greenhouse in Vaughan. Judging from the piles of old cigarette butts, broken beer bottles, underwear, used condoms, and graffiti, I realized that the greenhouse was, and had likely been for several generations, a haven for youthful transgression- much like the ones my friends and I had claimed for ourselves as teens. Around the same time I was reading Giovanni Boccaccio’s The Decameron, a thirteenth century allegory in which ten youth flee plague-ridden Florence to an abandoned villa in the countryside for a hundred days. There was such a tangible connection in my mind between this medieval villa and Concord Floral: both were secret hideaways reclaimed by youth as shelters for their stories and coming of age. I see Concord Floral as a kind of fantastical portrait of my own suburban adolescence, informed by the adolescent experiences of both my collaborators, Erin Brubacher and Cara Spooner, and the teenagers we worked with. My neighbourhood was a far cry from the mundane suburbs depicted in popular culture: I experienced it as a place full of narrative, conflict, diversity, sex, fear, and the possibility of radical reinvention. But then perhaps that’s just adolescence anywhere. Jordan Tannahill, Playwright 3


SYNOPSIS Concord Floral is a million square foot abandoned greenhouse and a hangout for neighbourhood kids. Something has happened there. Something nobody wants to talk about. In a story of beauty, cruelty, mercy, and being human, Concord Floral re-imagines Giovanni Boccaccio’s medieval allegory The Decameron, in a contemporary Canadian suburb, in which ten teens must flee a plague they have brought upon themselves.

creative JORDAN TANNAHILL Playwright Jordan is a playwright and filmmaker. His plays have been presented across Canada and his films have been exhibited internationally at venues including TIFF, the Art Gallery of Ontario, and the British Film Institute. His work has garnered several prizes including the 2014 Governor General’s Award for his book Age of Minority: Three Solo Plays and Dora Awards for ‘Outstanding New Play’ in 2015 for Concord Floral and in 2013 for rihannaboi95. In 2015 Coach House Press published his book Theatre of the Unimpressed, called “essential reading” by The Globe and Mail. In collaboration with William Ellis, Jordan ran the alternative art space Videofag from 2012 - 2016. Jordan was the author of last year’s Canadian Stage Dora Award-winning hit Botticelli in the Fire & Sunday in Sodom.

cast in Concord Floral at the National Arts Centre and, subsequent to this Canadian Stage presentation, she will direct a Vancouver ensemble for the PuSh Festival. Erin holds an MA in International Performance Research, with distinction, from the University of Amsterdam. Her first book of poetry, In the small hours, was published by Gaspereau Press in 2016.

CARA SPOONER Director Cara Spooner is a Toronto-based choreographer working in dance, performance art and theatre. Her work has been presented at the National Arts Centre, Canadian Stage, Magnetic North, World Stage, Summerworks, The Theatre Centre, the Goethe Institut and Stromereien 11. She is also the Education & Training Manager at Workman Arts.

ERIN BRUBACHER

ERUM KHAN

Director Erin Brubacher is a director and multidisciplinary artist. She works with people, mostly through strategies of performance, photography and theatre. Current projects include: Vocabulary, first in development at the Banff Playwrights Colony (2015/16); 7th Cousins, involving a 700km walk from Pennsylvania to Ontario; and To Live in the Age of Melting (director) by Evalyn Parry. With Cara Spooner, she directed an Ottawa

Assistant Director Erum Khan is a Sociology and Cinema Studies student at the University of Toronto. In 2014 she performed the role of Nearly Wild in the world premiere of Concord Floral at The Theatre Centre and has been involved with the production since its earliest workshop in 2012. She recently completed her first short documentary film, Banjaare ka ghar (A Nomad’s Home), which screened at the 2016 Toronto Independent Film

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Festival. Her first play, Noor, has been in development through the Tarragon Theatre Young Playwrights Unit and the OAC Theatre Creators Reserve.

KIMBERLEY PURTELL Lighting Designer Kimberly is a Toronto based lighting designer for theatre, opera and dance. Previously for Canadian Stage she designed lights for Race, Rock ’n’ Roll, It’s A Wonderful Life among others. Most recently she designed lights for Bunny, Breath of Kings: Rebellion, Breath of Kings: Redemption (Stratford Festival), Our Town, Mrs. Warren’s Profession (Shaw Festival), Life Reflected (National Arts Centre Orchestra), Alice Through the Looking Glass (Citadel Theatre), You Will Remember Me (Tarragon Theatre), The Gay Heritage Project (Canadian Tour), Barber of Seville (Pacific Opera Victoria). She is the recipient of three Dora Awards, the Pauline McGibbon Award and a Montreal English Theatre Award.

CHRISTOPHER WILLES Composer & Sound Designer Christopher Willes is an artist and composer based in Toronto and Montreal. He studied music and dramaturgy, and he received an MFA from Bard College (NY, USA). Moving between music, performance and visual art contexts his work appears across a range of media including concert works, sound/audio art, performances, installations, site interventions, objects, and writings. His recent work has been presented at the Art Gallery of Ontario, SummerWorks, Intersite Visual Arts Festival, and Open Ears. He maintains regular collaborations in experimental dance and theatre with Public Recordings, Urbanvessel, Adam Kinner, Suburban Beast, Small Wooden Shoe, and Dancemakers. He is a 2016 recipient of a Chalmers Art Fellowship.

MATTHEW PENCER Sound Consultant Matthew Pencer explores the effective dynamic objectivity of audible spectral content to maximize value-added super premium frequency acquisition experiences. Using the very latest in cutting edge digital technologies, Matthew has created results-driven sound solutions for premier international theatre, best-selling Radio and all-purpose concerts globally. In 2012, Matthew received the 2012 Richard Zylog Award of Excellence. He lives and works in Toronto.

CHAD DEMBSKI Stage Manager Chad is a creator, performer, and director of original, devised performance with companies such as Public Recordings (/dance/ songs/, Manuel for Incidence and relay), Small Wooden Shoe (Dedicated to the Revolutions, Perhaps in a Hundred Years) and Bluemouth Inc. (Something about a River, Dance Marathon). Chad collaborated with Dustin Harvey on FAREWELL, a site-specific performance produced in Aarhus (Aarhus Festival 2012), Cork, Ireland (Cork Midsummer Festival 2013), Montreal (Usine C/Image d’Temps Festival), Victoria (Winterlab Festival 2014), and Vancouver (PushOFF Festival 2015). Chad runs his own independent experimental company, surprise performance, that has presented works at Videofag (TELL ME WHAT YOU WANT, WHAT YOU REALLY, REALLY WANT), Chapter Arts Centre (Hamletown) and the Rhubarb! Festival.

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ensemble MADISON BAINES Fox Madison Baines graduated from high school in Ottawa and started her first year at York University this fall. She first played Fox in the Ottawa production of Concord Floral at the National Arts Centre, and subsequently at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in 2016. She hopes to inspire other young actors to pursue their dreams.

THEO GALLARO John Cabot Theo Gallaro is a multidisciplinary artist. Having attended various art focused educational institutions, he has dabbled with various ways of making. As a visual artist he has shown work in group exhibitions at the Albright Knox in Buffalo and the Narwal Gallery in Toronto. He also curated an exhibition of process called Cutting the Whale as a part of the Here is how you listen collective. In 2014 he originated the role of John Cabot in the world premiere of Concord Floral at The Theatre Centre and has been involved with the production since its earliest workshop in 2012 when he was in grade eight. He is happy to return to the role at Canadian Stage.

OFA GASESEPE Rosa Mundi Born and raised in Botswana, Ofa Gasesepe immigrated to Montréal in 2006 before finally settling in Ottawa. Her passion for the dramatic arts sparked, at the age of twelve, when she saw Steven Spielberg’s The Color Purple for the first time. She first began work with Concord Floral as part of the Ottawa ensemble who performed the piece at the National Arts Centre earlier this year. She hopes that her pursuit of the stage will help pave way for future 6

artists of colour. A 2016 high school graduate, Ofa enjoys human rights and social justice studies as well as reading and creative writing.

DAVINDER MALHI Bobolink Davinder Malhi holds a high school diploma and the back half of an English-German pocket dictionary. Since graduating from Crescent Heights in Calgary, he has taken up stick and poke tattoos, moved to Toronto and started at York University this fall. When he wasn’t busy getting last place in all of his track and field events, Davinder worked on many productions at school, at Theatre Junction Grand and at the Ignite! Festival for Emerging Artists. He has written and directed two plays in the past year, both which were showcased in his school fall and spring productions. This is his debut performance in Concord Floral.

´ JOVANA MILADINOVIC Nearly Wild Jovana Miladinovic´ was born in Belgrade, Serbia and raised in Toronto. Like several of her fellow cast members, she became involved in Concord Floral after participating in the Spring Training Project at Tarragon Theatre where she met program director Erin Brubacher and artist Cara Spooner. Jovana was invited into the cast and gave her debut performance at The Theatre Centre in the fall of 2014. Since then, she has completed the International Baccalaureate program at Parkdale Collegiate Institute and began her first year of studies in Life Sciences at the University of Toronto this fall. Jovana is delighted to be performing in Concord Floral for the second time in this Canadian Stage production.


JESSICA MUNK Bobbie Jessica Munk is a theatre enthusiast who discovered her love of acting in the Tarragon Theatre’s Spring Training Project. As an avid Shakespeare fan she performed with the Stratford Shakespeare School Theatre for four years. She also began exploring her dramaturgical side in the Paprika Festival in 2015. Jessica performed the role of Rosa Mundi in the premiere production of Concord Floral at The Theatre Centre and is incredibly thankful to have the opportunity to take on the role of Bobbie in this iteration, and continue to be a part of the project’s evolution.

FRANCO PANG Just Joey Franco Pang was born in Markham and raised in Richmond Hill. He studies at the University of Ottawa and is currently completing a double Major in Psychology and Theatre (Production). He is presently developing a piece for submission to the 2016 Fresh Meat Theatre Festival with Second Step, a theatre company he co-founded. Franco played John Cabot in the Ottawa production of Concord Floral at the National Arts Centre in 2016, and again at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival in Whitehorse. He is thrilled to join this Toronto cast in the role of Just Joey.

MICK (MICAELA) ROBERTSON Couch Born and raised in Ireland, Mick (Micaela) Robertson immigrated to Toronto in 2012 at the age of fifteen. Mick began working with Erin and Cara in 2014 when she participated in Tarragon Theatre’s Spring Training Project. Since then she has written directed and performed in a variety of works including: I’ll Miss You A Little (Paprika Festival, 2016) and The Rhythm Method (Rosedale Heights Fringe Festival, 2016). She was also a

core member of the Here is how you listen project. Mick was the Assistant Stage Manager for the inaugural 2014 production of Concord Floral at The Theatre Centre and Youth Consultant for the 2016 production at the National Arts Centre. Transitioning from her backstage positions to the role of Couch may be challenging, but ‘sofa, so good’. Mick began studies at the University of Toronto this fall.

RASHIDA SHAW Greenhouse Rashida Shaw is a theatre creator interested in the beauty of everyday moments. She co-produces the Small Wooden Shoe Fun Palace Radio Variety Show (live show and podcast) and recently co-produced both Extremophiles and This Is The August at the 2016 SummerWorks Performance Festival. Performance credits include Vitals (Outside The March) and Chorus (Art Spin). Rashida was part of the original cast of Concord Floral and is grateful to have been part of the project since its inception in 2012.

MELISA SOFI Forever Irene Melisa Sofi was born in Albania and moved to Canada at the age of six. She always wanted the arts to be a part of her life, but only thought of it as a serious career choice after participating in the Spring Training Project at Tarragon Theatre in 2014 where she first worked with Erin and Cara, who invited her to perform in the 2014 production of Concord Floral at The Theatre Centre. Melisa just graduated from Newtonbrook Secondary School and is starting her first year at OCAD University studying Illustration. Melisa is grateful for this work with Concord Floral and is always looking for experiences that will teach her something new and allow her to continue growing as a person. 7


JORDAN TANNAHILL

ERIN BRUBACHER

CARA SPOONER

ERUM KHAN

KIMBERLEY PURTELL

CHRISTOPHER WILLES

MATTHEW PENCER

CHAD DEMBSKI

MADISON BAINES

THEO GALLARO

OFA GASESEPE

DAVINDER MALHI

JOVANA Miladinović

JESSICA MUNK

FRANCO PANG

MICK (MICAELA) ROBERTSON

RASHIDA SHAW

MELISA SOFI

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constellations BY

Nick Payne DIRECTED bY

Peter Hinton STARRING

Graham Cuthbertson Cara Ricketts A CANADIAN STAGE AND CENTAUR THEATRE COMPANY PRODUCTION

production sponsor

“A romantic bombshell” - Variety

Bluma appel Theatre

nov 8 - 27

16.17 Concord Floral Program