Coming to Toronto Fringe 2009: LOVE AND HUMAN EXTINCTION

From Press Release


Best of Fringe Contender!


When an unknown event results in human extinction, what happens to two men fighting for the love of the last woman at the end of the world? Personal obsessions, alliances and community survival become entangled in "Love and Human Extinction," a tragicomedy
written/produced by Shaista Justin (whose book, “Winter, the Unwelcome Visitor” was endorsed by Nobel Prize Winner JM Coetzee). Directed by Saniya Ansari (“Oh Sweet Sitha” & “Damme”), the play will be presented by the Toronto Fringe Festival from July 2 through July 11.

"Contemporary theatre about environmental issues tends to be didactic, re-telling audiences what they already know," says poet and playwright Shaista Justin. "People are tired of being talked at — they want interesting conundrums to think about."

By stripping away present-day society, Justin enables the audience to look closely at communities in their barest form to examine how personal interests disadvantage group survival.

"In my play, the worst has already happened, the debate about what could happen is over,” she says. “I wanted to write about the actual consequences of our negligent behaviour towards the earth and each other.”

The three-person cast includes: Jennifer Neales, Damien Gulde and Matthew Manhire. The cast members are enthralled with the disturbing plot-line, and excited to take on such diverse character roles. "The script is thought-provoking, for example, what scientific phenomenon causes extinction in the play,” says Manhire, who plays gun-totting
Andy. “There are so many issues an audience can explore.”

A businessman and a construction worker bring the issue of masculinity to the fore as they compete for the love of the last woman alive. Is it the wheel of God or the inevitability of human behaviour which causes their demise? "Shaista’s writing is mischievous, poetic and
layered as it weaves a story of uncompromising truth," says director Saniya Ansari.

With a largely South Asian creative team of women involved in the production the relevance of contemporary global issues are inherent in the process as well as the play. “Extreme global circumstances continually shape our perception,” says Ansari. “At a drastic time of Taliban resistance I wanted to focus on male and female oppression in
the play”.

‘Oh Susanna’ (Juno Nominee 2007) and Aidan Mason (former guitarist for Anne Murray) will collaboratively work on writing an original score for the play, creating a symbiotic fusion of Justin’s lyrical play-writing and indie-folk melodies.

The 60-minute play is presented by the Toronto Fringe Festival, and will have a seven show run. The first show is on Thursday, July 2 at Royal St. George Theatre (120 Howland St., Bathurst & Bloor) at 7:00 pm. Tickets ($10) can be found at or can be purchased at the doors. For more information, go to