2012/13 is a season of anniversaries and "firsts". It's Alumnae's 40th year in this historic building at 70 Berkeley Street. It's the 25th anniversary of the New Ideas Festival. And for those keeping track, the company is closing in on Alumnae's 100th birthday – February 2013 will mark # 95! Alumnae will officially celebrate its 100th season in 2019/2020 and present Molière's Les Femmes Savantes, which was Alumnae Theatre's very first production, in February 1918.
Alumnae launches this season with the world premiere of Newfoundland writer Lisa Moore's February (tonight, Sept. 21 – Oct. 6, 2012). Based on Moore's acclaimed 2010 novel, this adaptation is the story of Helen, left a young widow with four children when her husband is killed in the Ocean Ranger oil rig disaster in 1982. Twenty-seven years later, Helen still struggles to escape the memories and move forward with her life, while her son John deals with a crisis of his own.
Climb up to the haunted Studio for a trip to Edwardian England with The Drowning Girls (Nov. 16 – Dec. 1, 2012), written by Canadians Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson, and Daniela Vlaskalic, and based on a real Scotland Yard murder case. Between 1908 and 1914, George Joseph Smith seduced and married seven women, stole from them, and drowned them in bathtubs. The Drowning Girls is told from the perspective of three of his unfortunate brides, who reflect on the misconceptions of love and married life of the period. "Not-so-happily-ever-after," indeed.
Although Oscar Wilde's delightful comedy A Woman of No Importance (Jan. 25 – Feb. 9, 2013) is not the official Retrospective Choice of the season, it has actually been staged at Alumnae before: in 1954 (an adaptation by British screenwriter Paul Dehn), and in the 1981/82 season (directed by Cicely Thomson). Set in late 1890s England, A Woman of No Importance is classic Wilde – a social commentary masquerading as satirical comedy – replete with witty lines, scandalous affairs and mistaken identities.
The New Ideas Festival (March 6 – 24, 2013) marks its 25th anniversary this year! New Ideas is one of the few juried theatre festivals in Canada in which submissions are read "blind" – the selection committee does not learn the writers' identities until a script is chosen. Writers from all over Canada and beyond submit original short plays which have never before been produced, so every play in the Festival is a world premiere. New Ideas features a different lineup each week, plus talkback sessions that encourage audiences to provide immediate feedback to writers and directors.
We close the season (April 12 – 27, 2013) with our "Countdown to 100" Retrospective Choice that is also another "first": respected Canadian poet James Reaney's first play, The Killdeer. It premiered for Alumnae Theatre (then located in the Coach House on Bedford Road) in 1960, and was directed by Pamela Terry. This tightly-plotted macabre comedy about murder, mystery and social mores in a small Ontario town has also been described as "poetic and magical", and earned Reaney the Governor General's Award for Drama.
Directors: 2012– 2013 Season
MICHELLE ALEXANDER - February • September 21 – October 6, 2012
Selected directing credits: co-directing The 2012 Lawyer Show: Much Ado About Nothing(Nightwood Theatre); assistant directing The Happy Woman (Nightwood Theatre); directing Secretary! (The WriteNOW Festival); Bedtime Stories, The Road Less Travelled and Four Stories: Pieces from our Past (Seeds and Salt Theatre, Vancouver Island, BC); On the Job(The Building Bridges Labour Studies Conference). Selected acting credits: Agamemnon (Theatre Cipher); As You Like It (Flower City Festival); Private Lives (Alumnae Theatre). Michelle is currently the Associate Artistic Producer at Nightwood Theatre. She has a BFA in Acting from the University of Windsor. Her next project, currently in development, is Well Born by Celeste Percy-Beauregard.
TARYN JORGENSEN - The Drowning Girls • November 16 – December 1, 2012
Taryn Jorgenson is a director and actor who is excited to be working with Alumnae once again. Acting credits include: Richard III (Ryerson), Serious Money (Nightwood 4x4), This Still Night (Prague Fringe 2010), Dianne and Me (Hamilton Fringe/Theatre Aquarius), Thumb (Prague Fringe 2011), and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Forward Theatre). Directing credits include: The Past Is The Past (Ryerson), The Breeding Of Guns (New Voices), Crookback: Richard III (Beacon Theatre, AD), Elephants (InspiraTO 2011), As You Like It (Shakespeare-In-Action, AD), After Mrs. Rochester (Alumnae Theatre, AD), Beyond Where The Horizon Lies (InspiraTO 2012). Taryn is a graduate of The Ryerson Theatre School, and has recently finished working with Hydrama on Aeschylus' Agamemnon in Hydra, Greece.