What is a face? What does it mean to “lose face”? And what if it was literal? Theatre of Catastrophe founder – and enfant terrible of contemporary British theatre – Howard Barker explores these questions of identity and power in the poetic, violent and, at times, humorous Wounds to the Face, presented by Randolph College for the Performing Arts at the Toronto Fringe Festival, July 4-15, 2018. Wounds to the Face is directed by Matjash Mrozewski.
Mrozewski, who is a multiple Dora Award nominee, brings a unique background comprising 20 years in dance and the last five years immersed in text, to his work on Wounds to the Face, paying equal attention to text, design and the physical body in space. “Barker’s work is not easy – for the audience or the actors – but it stretches our imaginative capacity,” says Mrozewski. “Barker’s text is so muscular and precise, I want the audience to experience that without distraction. The command his characters have of their language is thrilling; we should all be alive again to the power of carefully chosen words and articulate, powerful expression.
He continues, “As with all of my work, there will be a theatrical lift. I want to invite the audience into this strange and disturbing world to witness a range of human behaviour that shocks, disturbs and delights.”
Considered one of the major writers of modern European theatre, yet largely unknown in his home country of Britain, Howard Barker is known for plays that fearlessly explore power, sexuality and human motivation. Like a taut piece of chamber music, Wounds to the Face weaves themes and variations dealing with how we perceive ourselves and those around us. While touching on myriad subjects–beauty, decay, disguise, vanity, injury and propaganda–this play moves beyond how we read and, in turn, wish to be read by others, and examines how we choose to move through life. To accept or defy? With cruelty and wit, Howard Barker sets his characters in a time of upheaval, and we witness their struggles to dominate or conciliate.
The cast features a troupe of emerging artists who are all in their final year of training at the Randolph College for the Performing Arts. On working with a group of emerging artists, Mrozewski says, “Randolph College is going in lots of exciting directions in terms of its programming and this work is a bold choice. Howard Barker’s imagination and language challenge the actors and the audience in a way that few playwrights do. For these young actors, his plays are an immense gift in terms of text and dramatic possibilities.”
Randolph College in association with The Toronto Fringe Festival presents Wounds to the Face by Howard Barker, directed by Matjash Mrozewski, and featuring: Angelica Bonacini (Italy), Abigail Carey (Nova Scotia), Hope Clarkin (Ontario), Amanda Coochey (Quebec), Rachel Fehr (Saslatchewan), Kayla Ironside (Ontario), Nikki Kuehnel (New Brunswick), Diana Lavelle (Ontario), Adriana Longo (Ontario), Lee-Orr Orbach (Ontario), Catherine Ouimet (Quebec), Justin P. Douglas (Ontario), Talia-Marina Street (Ontario), and Arthur Yip (Ontario).
An amateur production presented by the Randolph College in community partnership with the Toronto Fringe Festival.
Performances: July 6 at 3 p.m., July 8 at 9:15 p.m., July 9 at 2:45 p.m., July 11 at 8:45 p.m., July 12 at 7 p.m., July 13 at 4 p.m., July 15 at 12 p.m.
Randolph Centre for the Arts — Annex Theatre, 730 Bathurst Street, Toronto
Please note that there is absolutely no latecomer seating.
Tickets: $13 ($11 + $2 service charge) – ON SALE JUNE 7
If available, at-the-door tickets will be sold at the Annex Theatre starting one hour prior to show time, cash sales only, limit of 4/person
Purchase online: fringetoronto.com
By Phone: 416-966-1062
In Person: During the festival at Fringe Festival Box Office, Scadding Court – 707 Dundas Street West.