From Press Release
KEN GASS launches CANADIAN REP THEATRE with plays by
WAJDI MOUAWAD, GEORGE F. WALKER & JUDITH THOMPSON
November 26, 2012 (Toronto) Artistic Director, Ken Gass, today announced plans for the launch of Canadian Rep Theatre in 2013 and early 2014 with major new projects by three of Canada’s leading playwrights: PACAMAMBO by Wajdi Mouawad; DEAD METAPHOR by George F. Walker and WATCHING GLORY DIE by Judith Thompson.
Gass states, “Canadian Rep Theatre has been a dream of mine for the past four decades, with the long-term goal of building a major repertory company predicated on both classical and innovative approaches to the contemporary Canadian canon.” Working with Producer Andre du Toit and a team of volunteers to launch the company, Gass is thrilled to announce three confirmed premiere productions that will take place over the ensuing 18 months.
In April/May 2013, Canadian Rep Theatre presents the English-language premiere of Wajdi Mouawad’s Pacamambo, translated by Shelley Tepperman and directed by Ken Gass with a multi-racial cast. (Venue, designers and casting to be announced in early January/2013.)
First produced in 2000, Pacamambo is a remarkable achievement, a lyrical, emotionally powerful, and hugely life-affirming play for children about death. It is the story of Julie, teetering between denial and rage, who disappeared for 19 days and was discovered in the basement with her dog, Growl, and with the decomposing body of her grandmother. Gass states, “I have been passionate about this work for years and am thrilled to finally produce it. Pacamambo is a magical theatrical experience for audiences of all ages.”
In the fall of 2013, Canadian Rep Theatre will produce the Canadian premiere of George F. Walker’s Dead Metaphor, following its launch at the prestigious American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco this winter. (Directed by George F. Walker. Venue, design team and casting to be announced in February/2013.)
Dean is a young ex-sniper, just back from Afghanistan, struggling to find work. His family is disintegrating before his eyes, his wife is ready to divorce him a second time, yet players on both ends of the political spectrum find Dean’s special talents oddly appealing. Gass states, “This startling dark comedy is destined to become a Walker classic, a play that sits dangerously, eerily and hilariously on the razor edge between desperation and disaster.”
In April/May, 2014, Canadian Rep Theatre proudly presents the world premiere of Judith Thompson’s tour-de-force, Watching Glory Die, performed by Judith Thompson and directed by Ken Gass. (Venue and Designers to be announced in February/2013.)
Though deliberately fictional, Watching Glory Die takes a bold dramatic leap from recent news stories-re the treatment of chronically disturbed young women in our prison system-to forge the kind of visceral lyricism that is the hallmark of Judith Thompson at her most powerful. Gass adds, “This riveting yet deeply compassionate portrait of three women, inextricably linked by shared helplessness in the face of tragedy, yields a disturbing but unforgettable theatrical experience. Not to be missed.”
Further notes on Canadian Rep Theatre:
Ken Gass, founder and former artistic director of Factory Theatre (1970-79; 1996 – 2012) began Canadian Rep Theatre in the mid-1980s, producing several notable productions, including the first Robert Lepage outside of Quebec (Circulations) in 1985 and Carbone 14’s acclaimed Le Rail, directed by Gilles Maheu in 1986, along with A Day At The Beach by John Palmer directed by Eric Steiner. The company also produced a revival of Hrant Alianak’s film noir classic, Lucky Strike, for the Quinzaine Festival in Quebec; a production of Esker Mike & His Wife, Agiluk by Herschel Hardin for Harbourfront’s World Stage festival, as well as productions of Claudius and Amazon Dream by Gass in the 1990s, prior to his return to rescue the beleaguered Factory in 1996.
However, as Gass explains, “It had always been my intention to segue back to Canadian Rep Theatre over the next few years. Given my sudden and unexpected departure from Factory this summer, I now see a golden opportunity to fast-track that ambition and to re-build Canadian Rep project by project before attempting to launch a full repertory season in the near future. Key to this work will be creating a strong resident company of artists committed to risk and to continual renewed training and experimentation, and who, as an ensemble, reflect the face of our richly diverse country.”
Beginning in January, 2013, Canadian Rep Theatre will also present a series of monthly public staged readings of major Canadian plays with a resident ensemble of performers, along with a wide-reaching program of educational workshops and professional master classes.