Preview: The November Ticket

THE NOVEMBER TICKET three shows running in rep. October 24 to November 29 at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen West)..


THE NOVEMBER TICKET three shows running in rep. October 24 to November 29 at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen West). $30 per show, two-show pass $50, three-show pass $60. 416-538-0988, novemberticket.com.

BUTCHER by Nicolas Billon, directed by Weyni Mengesha, with John Koensgen, Michelle Monteith, Andrew Musselman and Tony Nappo (Why Not Theatre/Butchers Block). Previews begin October 24, opens October 28 and runs to November 14.

WE ARE PROUD TO PRESENT A PRESENTATION ABOUT THE HERERO OF NAMIBIA, FORMERLY KNOWN AS SOUTHWEST AFRICA, FROM THE GERMAN SUDWESTAFRIKA, BETWEEN THE YEARS 1884-1915 by Jackie Sibblies Drury, directed by Ravi Jain, with Michael Ayres, Brett Donahue, Darcy Gerhart, Brendan McMurtry-Howlett, Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah and Marcel Stewart (Theatre Centre). Previews begin November 3, opens November 5 and runs to November 29.

LATE COMPANY by Jordan Tannahill, directed by Peter Pasyk, with John Cleland, Rosemary Dunsmore, Richard Greenblatt, Fiona Highet and Liam Sullivan (surface/underground/Why Not). Opens November 18 and runs to November 29.

During the next month, you can catch some of the best theatre Toronto has to offer, and in one location: The Theatre Centre.

A collaboration between the Centre and Why Not Theatre, The November Ticket brings together a trio of indie productions that explore justice and how to deal with a troubled past.

The three are Nicolas Billons Butcher, Jordan Tannahills Late Company and, along with those Canadian scripts, American playwright Jackie Sibblies Drurys We Are Proud To Present A Presentation About The Herero Of Namibia, Formerly Known As Southwest Africa, From The German Sudwestafrika, Between The Years 1884-1915.

Theyre all Toronto premieres, says Why Nots Ravi Jain, who is directing The Theatre Centres production of We Are Proud.

In the past two years, Why Not has presented a series called the Riser Project, which helped to develop new works. In contrast, these three pieces are finished productions like the Riser shows, though, theyll run in rep, smaller troupes co-producing with Why Not and The Theatre Centre, Butchers Block for Billons piece and surface/underground for Tannahills.

The series came about by fluke, admits Jain. Why Not was going to do Butcher and Late Company and The Theatre Centre was thinking about We Are Proud. The shows just lined up together in terms of timing and we decided to link them all with the option of a single ticket for all three productions.

Butcher, which premiered at Alberta Theatre Projects, opens with a man in a Santa hat and military uniform being dropped at a police station around his neck is a meat hook and a card that says arrest me. He speaks a foreign tongue when a translator is called in to identify him, the plot takes some surprising turns.

Its concerns are war crimes and forgiveness, notes Jain, who recently returned from touring his play A Brimful Of Asha to London, England. There are similar themes in We Are Proud, which looks at how to deal with the history of slavery and colonization and what weve inherited from them.”

Its characters are six young people, three black and three white, who collaborate on a play about the first genocide of the 20th century: Germany’s systematic killing of 80 per cent of the Herero people of Africa.

In telling the story, they go through the quandary that none of them is from Africa. All they have to work with is the white victors letters. In recounting history, they realize their own lives and relationships have an impact on the material.

No matter what else, if youre talking about staging history, youre always talking about yourself. Its a very theatrical piece, sometimes very funny…until its not.

The final play, Late Company, a 2013 SummerWorks hit in its workshop form, takes place at a dinner party a year following a tragic event. The two families involved are looking for closure around an incident that started with bullying, but instead they discover that what people say and what they feel are often very different.

We Are Proud marks the first time in a long while that The Theatre Centre is presenting a non-Canadian play, says Jain, who was artistic director in residence with the company for a time. Why Nots collaboration with the Centre is so easy Franco [Boni, general and artistic director of The Theatre Centre] is like a brother, open and generous.

Were both working toward the same goal: how to engage an audience with whats happening right now. You can expect The Theatre Centre to do work thats political at some level that these plays are also playwright driven rather than devised by a resident company is unusual for the Centre.

These shows look at how we forgive and find peace with the past. The more I think about it, thats what I care about in the world change is in the air. People dont like whats been happening and want something new that idea resonates in all three plays.

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