Sonnets For An Old Century – Toronto Fringe 2011 Press Release

From press release:

Toronto – Clownfire and Column 13 Actors Company, two feisty independent theatre companies, are to collaborate to perform the Canadian premiere of SONNETS FOR AN OLD CENTURY by José Rivera at the 2011 Toronto International Fringe Festival.  The production will run for just 7 performances at the festival, which runs from July 6-17th, 2011.

This work by Obie-winning, Academy Award-nominated playwright and screenwriter José Rivera asks the question, “Where do we go when we die?”, and if you were offered the chance to comment on your life, at 80, What would you say about the life you’ve lived?”. In a waiting room for the afterlife, a crowd of ordinary souls are en route to their final resting place and are given one last chance to share with the universe their parting thoughts. Part poetry, part magical realism, this dreamscape play offers profound insights and revelations.
SONNETS FOR AN OLD CENTURY is a dreamscape filled with poignant, funny, lyrical and haunting monologues from recently deceased individuals.

Playwright José Rivera’s plays have been translated into seven languages and seen at New York’s Public Theater, South Coast Rep, Circle Rep Theater, the Goodman Theater, the La Jolla Playhouse, the Berkeley Rep, and the Lee Strasberg Theater, among others.  Honors include Obie Awards in Playwrighting for MARISOL and REFERENCES TO SALVADOR DALI MAKE ME HOT, as well as a Fullbright Arts Fellowship, and a Rockefeller Grant. He studied writing with Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and was writer-in-residence at  London’s Royal Court Theater.  He co-created and produced the NBC series Eerie, Indiana and wrote the Academy Award nominated screenplay for The Motorcycle Diaries.  Other plays include CLOUD TECTONICS, MASSACRE (SING TO YOUR CHILDREN), and SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS. He is a member of the LAByrinth Theater Company in New York City.

Clownfire and Column 13 are thrilled to come together to bring this exciting project to Toronto audiences for the first time at the Toronto International Fringe Festival.  The play will run at the Annex Theatre from July 6-17th, with performances on July 8, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, and 16th (see below for show times).

This production features a diverse, that features Jonah Allison, Bronwyn Caudle, Samantha Coyle, Chantal Forde, Angela Hanes, Edward Heeley, Ami Helle, Jason Jazrawy, Stephen MacDonald, Adam Sikora, Katie MacTavish, Kaumil Manzoor, Becky McMahon, Meghan McNicoll, Duane Murray, Sarah Okafo, and Kevin Yeboah.  The play is directed by Brandon Thomas, with design and production management by Lin Joyce, costume design by Danielle Poirier, stage management by Marvin Araneta, lighting design by David Sweeney, and sound design by Andy Byles.

Column 13 is a diverse, actor based company who wish to tell relevant stories using a raw and honest approach.  The ensemble believes in THEATRE NOW; that our work should be immediate to the society in which we live. Through the creation of new, as well as existing works, Column 13 strive to use theatre as a means to challenge and incite the human spirit.

Column 13 Actors Company has been gaining a reputation as a gritty, tenacious, actor-based ensemble since its official inception in 2004, and has been consistently bringing audiences the Toronto premieres of both American and Canadian plays ever since.  In a recent review of THE LONG RED ROAD, Eye Weekly Critic Christopher Hoile wrote: “Again, Toronto owes Column 13 a debt of gratitude for daring to stage plays of such complexity and emotional force and to do so with such focus and passion.”

Clownfire is a Toronto-based arts collective founded by Adam Sikora in 1997.  Symbolized by the juxtaposition of its’ ‘burning clown’ logo, Clownfire’s mandate has always been to produce and support challenging theatrical, artistic and musical material for an audience with an appreciation for dark humour with a sometimes cynical edge.  We’re happy to see the ‘fire spread, and convert unsuspecting members of the general public along the say-thanks for your support!

Adam Sikora, the Artistic Director of Clownfire, is a Toronto writer/playwright living in Toronto, has penned past Fringe shows ‘3-0!’ (2001) and ‘Archie Andrews, What the Hell Happened?!’ (2006).  A regular contributor to Driftwood Theatre’s ‘Trafalgar 24’ series, Adam has also been a past short-lister for the International 3-day Novel Contest.

WHAT: The Canadian Premiere of SONNETS FOR AN OLD CENTURY by José Rivera

WHO: Clownfire in Association with Column 13 Actors Company

WHERE:  The Annex Theatre, as part of the Toronto International Fringe Festival,
736 Bathurst Street (At the Randolph Centre for the Arts).

WHEN:  Opens July 8th, running July 8-16th with the following schedule


Fri, July 8 5:15 PM
Sun, July 10 1:15 PM
Mon, July 11 8:30 PM
Wed, July 13 3:30 PM
Thu, July 14 11:00 PM
Fri, July 15 4:00 PM
Sat, July 16 5:45 PM

PRICE: $10

FOR TICKETS: Via the Toronto Fringe at 416.966.1062 and

FOR INFORMATION: Call 416.966.1062, visit our website at http://www.column1=.orgor

MEDIA CONTACT: Angela Hanes 416.732.7786

Praise for Column 13:

“Column 13 is not a theatre company that shies away from risks…Column 13 must be praised for bringing an eerily relevant but too often forgo=ten corner of American history and of American drama to light.” -Christopher Hoile, Eye Weekly

“Column 13 is an actor-driven ensemble under Jonah Allison and Angela Hanes that puts on provocative plays…By introducing new playwrights and  bringing back classics, Column 13 plays a significant role in the Toronto theatre scene.” -Paula Citron

“The two productions reveal a company with a grasp of powerful ensemble acting equal with the best in the city…director Jonah Allison again roves his ability to galvanize his entire cast to deliver strong, vibrant performances.” -Christopher Hoile, Eye Weekly


“Now we have a SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY to call our own, a work whose scope and insights begin to suggest an OUR TOWN for our generation. The only question left involves what we do with the information. It is a fearsome enough thing. Its name is SONNETS FOR AN OLD CENTURY. Much as Edgar Masters did nearly ninety years before—with a much larger sample from a much smaller town—playwright Jose Rivera gives eighteen characters from present-day Los Angeles and environs one final chance in this collection of dramatic monologues to speak their peace about their lives, apparently from just the other side of the grave.”
-Byron Woods, The Independent

“This is a deceptively simple work. Yet it builds in its intensity as each storyteller brings his or her own story to life. These are people that we would meet on the street; they are ordinary souls. But their stories are not. They focus power center-stage with their individual stories and what they learned from them. There is not a plot here; there are sixteen individual plots. And each story, small as it might be in and of itself, fills the space, and our ears and our minds, with feeling; joy, fear, rage, love, sorrow; and makes each one expand to fill this void. We as listeners are  forced to face these ravaging emotions, even as we contemplate the death of the storyteller. This work is simple, and simply potent in its impact. And while it seems to do without the trappings of stagework, set, plot, scenes etc, it is powerfully theatrical.”
-Alan R Hall, Front Row Center