Algonquin Highway – Toronto Fringe 2017 Press Release

From the press release:

Algonquin Highway
By Wyatt Lamoureux

When cars and relationships break down, sometimes it takes an Algonquin Highway to set the fix.

2 childhood friends reunited after 5 years, a transgender twist, a trunk full of resentment, and one flat tire – whatever will they talk about?

Algonquin Highway is a comic-drama about the power and purpose of friendship…and a good left hook. Peterborough playwright Wyatt Lamoureux sees this play – premiering at the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival – as a conversation-starter about society’s obsessive and harmful need to label and codify gender and ethnicity.

Lamoureux spent 17 years working with marginalized youth at emergency shelters in Peterborough and BC, and is concerned that transgender youth comprise the fastest growing segment of the homeless youth community. Throughout the script development process, he sought feedback and involvement from LGBTQ2S and indigenous communities. He speaks honestly and articulately about his own part in the discussion: he is an older white-heterosexual-anglo-male who experienced the ease of changing his identity with a simple name change.

For transgender and visible minorities, he knows, change is not that easy, nor life as privileged, but feels acceptance shouldn’t be so hard to come by. “These days our media is filled with argument over cultural appropriation, diversity, and who should tell what stories. I was determined to make Algonquin Highway as authentic as possible. In the play, Alex is an indigenous lesbian, Nic is a transgender male – and we found this in our actors, Haley Vincent and Smith Purdy (who also identifies as Metis) who have both contributed positively to the work.”

It’s an awkward position in which Lamoureux finds himself, wanting to promote this play’s cultural and gender issues while positing that the point of the play is that neither of those things should matter between us. And while the story raises questions about gender, sexuality, and being an indigenous person in today’s society, it is ultimately about finding the bonds that connect us no matter how strained they’ve become. “I want to contribute to a positive awareness of the infinity of gender, and hope our audience will consider that this unreasonable fear of ‘the other’ is a learned response,” says Lamoureux. “Being transgender or indigenous is as natural as breathing”.

Details

  • Algonquin Highway plays at the Al Green Theatre. (750 Spadina Ave.)
  • Tickets are $12. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
  • Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Scadding Court, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain.
  • Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
  • Content Warnings: Sexual Content, Mature Language.
  • This venue is barrier-free. Note that only certain building entrances are wheelchair-accessible. Accessible seating is in front of the front row, and may have poor sightlines for certain productions.

Performances

  • Wednesday July 5th, 06:30 pm
  • Friday July 7th, 08:15 pm
  • Saturday July 8th, 01:45 pm
  • Monday July 10th, 10:15 pm
  • Wednesday July 12th, 05:15 pm
  • Friday July 14th, 12:30 pm
  • Sunday July 16th, 01:45 pm

Photo of Hayley Vincent by Charmaine Mullari Photography

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