Last week we closed The Wolves, a co-production between The Howland Company and Crows Theatre. This was by far the largest direction project I have ever taken on, and ranks up there as one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life, thanks to the amazing cast and creative team. Here is a round of of links on the piece (compiled by the amazing Hallie Seline):
3.5/4 Stars - The Globe and Mail The Wolves is worth cheering on, and loudly. The impressive teamwork does indeed make the dream work.
3.5/4 Stars - Toronto Star The Wolves is a gloriously frank and intense depiction of extraordinary young women.
NNNN - NOW Magazine The Wolves is so riveting it will make you howl.
Mooney On Theatre “Go see The Wolves. Please. It’s moving and howlingly funny and as full of life as the most suspenseful soccer game… This production, by The Howland Company and Crow’s Theatre, brims with vitality, humour, and heart; it’s one of the best shows I’ve seen in some time.”
My Entertainment World “Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves is one of the finest pieces of theatre I’ve had the pleasure to see. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Howland Company’s production has everything. It’s fresh, witty, heartwarming, moving and tragic. Rarely could I recommend a play so wholeheartedly.”
4/5 Stars – My Gay Toronto “Riveting, fresh and surprising and exhilarating. A lot of that has to do with the ensemble, all of whom are individually powerful but also so tightly interlocked that teamwork is not just a metaphor but a virtuoso demonstration.” – Drew Rowsome
Broadway World Toronto “Sarah DeLappe’s first foray into playwriting is a complete knockout, and is brilliantly directed by Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster and produced by The Howland Company and Crow’s Theatre.”
The Slotkin Letter “The Wolves is a terrific play given a wonderful, compelling production… Beautiful.” - Lynn Slotkin
PREVIEWS AND REFLECTIONS:
The Toronto Star - Post-Show Reflection & Interview – The Wolves, Dry Land and School Girls provide a new platform for teenage girls’ stories” by Carly Maga “I told them that this is your opportunity to retrain your ears to hear voices that we are all collectively, myself included, trained to miss,” Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster, Director.
Dispositio Blog, by Holger Syme “Necessary Wolves” “I got to watch a group of actors – all either female or non-binary – be extraordinarily present physically, irreducibly present, in the moment, as bodies: bodies that spoke and bodies that moved, with total commitment to specific situations”
CBC Radio’s Here and Now Interview – Heath V. Salazar & Hallie Seline
CBC Sports – Post-Show “Women in Sports” Panel Reflection by Signa Butler - “For women in sports, you need to see yourself to believe in yourself… The Wolves show how vital sport can be for the empowerment of young women.” – Signa Butler, CBC Sports & Olympic Broadcaster
She Does The City Interview & Review “THE WOLVES IS AN INTELLIGENT AND FRESH PERSPECTIVE ON THE LIFE OF TEENAGE GIRLS” – SHE DOES THE CITY “We get Mean Girls and things like Clueless, but we rarely get to see a band of young warrior women going through a trial together and coming out the other side.”
In the Greenroom Interview with Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster “What inspires me are brave change-makers and storytellers. And people who listen”
Sesaya Interview with Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster “This show demands so much of its performers – they have to be physically fit, good at soccer, and so agile with their bodies and minds as they race through a script that moves at a very fast pace. It has been a tremendous challenge for all of us,” Courtney explains. “They have met it and exceeded it. I dare anyone to come to the show and not fall in love with each and every one of them.”
I have spent the last month learning so much! I'm directing Gray, a fantastic modern adaptation of Oscar Wilde's 'A Picture of Dorian Gray', written by Toronto playwright Kris Van Soelen. I've been very fortunate to work with the most generous team: Producer Michelle Langille, SM Hannah MacMillan, Designers Lindsay Woods (set/costumes/props), Steph Raposo (lights), Andy Trihardt (sound), and performers Tennille Read, Michelle Langille, Ximena Huizi, Sydney Violet-Bristow, Mamito Kukwikila, and Edward Charette. Here's a little interview on the show.
I recently started writing a feature for Intermission Magazine about being a parent and a performer. Writing is a new experience for me, and I was pretty nervous when the piece was published. But it has opened up a lot of great conversations with friends and strangers alike. My first interview is with the wonderful Michelle Monteith - you can read it HERE!
I'm performing as The Wife in Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding, directed by Erin Brandenberg at Soulpepper Theatre Company. We start previews next Wednesday and run until April 9th.
On January 31st, I'm capitalizing on my junior-highschool debate team experience to bring the pain at Truth'n'Lies Theatre's wacky fundraiser, Feminist Debaters:
"Inspired by the CBC radio show The Debaters, this event will pair hilarious individuals from Toronto's theatre and comedy community in a battle of feminist wits! Witness the tongue-in-cheek feminist fun, stay for a beer, and score a deal at our stellar silent auction (includes gift certificates for restaurants and rehearsal spaces, theatre tickets, tarot card readings, and more!)"
I'm a little nervous!
I am currently assistant directing the Soulpepper production of The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine by Robert Morgan, Martha Ross and Leah Cherniak, directed by Leah Cherniak and starring Raquel Duffy and Gregory Prest. Previews start on January 25th, 2016, and the production opens on February 2nd.
I have never felt like more of a rock star than when I was performing in Alligator Pie at Soulpepper this past month. This family show was created using Dennis Lee's poems, and the wit, wisdom, music and magic of Ins Choi, Gregory Prest, Raquel Duffy, Mike Ross and Ken MacKenzie. Watching kids watch us perform it is indescribable.
Marat/Sade just opened at Soulpepper. I'm playing one of the singers, Polpoch - mine is a smaller contribution to this huge piece, but I'm finding a lot of joy creating my own corner of the asylum, and finding a story for my own sweet, broken character.
We're on tour! The Dining Room, which we performed at Soulpepper this past winter, is on tour for a couple of weeks in sunny Port Hope. It's nice to revisit the shiny dining table, and our various WASPish characters. Plus, I'm planning on eating in every restaurant in Port Hope while I'm here.
The Howland Company is remounting our hit production of 52 Pick-Up! We sold out our Fringe and Best of Fringe runs last year, and now we're bringing the show to the intimate Fraser Studios. Directed by me and Paolo Santalucia, the show features four separate casts. Each night, a different cast performs 52 scenes about a relationship - and here's the really tricky bit, the show is performed in a random order every time. The actors have a deck of cards, and each scene title is written on a card. The deck is shuffled and tossed in the air, and the performers perform each scene as they pick up a card. Paolo and I performed in the original run, which was awesome and EXHAUSTING, so this time around we've brought two new fantastic actors on board. The four casts are: Hallie Seline and Cam Laurie, James Graham and Alex Plouffe, Kristen Zaza and Llyandra Jones and Ruth Goodwin and Alex Crowther. This show has pretty much been my directorial debut, and it's definitely given me the bug - it helps to be surrounded by a great team of performers, and company-mates who share the work of producing.
Last night at the Dora Mavor Moore awards, the cast of 'Of Human Bondage' was honoured with a Dora for Best Ensemble. We were missing a number of castmates when we took the above photo, because they were on stage in 'Angels in America' and couldn't attend. The production also picked up 6 other Dora awards! The entire event was a complete thrill, and the award is a big honour.
We open "The Tin Drum", an original adaptation of the novel by Gunter Grass, TOMORROW! Wow! Hard to believe we've put this epic story on stage with just three weeks of rehearsal. Chris Hanratty and Shira Leuchter have worked so hard adapting this novel into a strange, moving, funny, crazy play. I play about six characters and we all have SO many props and costume bits and cues. Madcap and amazing.
Only five more performances of the Flood Thereafter at Canadian Stage! We've had great houses and very thoughtful responses for this mysterious Greek-myth Fairy-tale poetic mash-up.
Here's an interview I did with NOW Magazine's Jon Kaplan about the show (read it online here)
It has been a very satisfying and challenging process, putting this piece together under the excellent direction of Ker Wells. We workshopped the show for three weeks last March, and then returned to it at the end of August, so in a sense it has been on my mind almost all year. Definitely a special project--and not only because it's the first show where I've performed in the nude!
I've been having such a blast in my first ever Summerworks show. The whole festival has a great vibe, everybody is working together to put up great shows on a shoestring. Teamwork is huge - under the leadership of our stage manager Andrea Schurman, our Director Jennifer Brewin and our designed Glenn Davidson, we managed to tech in our allotted 6 hours of prep time in our venue, (Theatre Passe-Muraille) complete with a stumbly run-through and then we opened the next day. To make it happen, everybody has their jobs placing set pieces or dealing with costumes, and of course we're all doing as much promotion as we can! We've had four shows (and three more to come) with great houses. Seems like that John Millard-Peter Anderson toe-tapping music really gets under the skin in the best kind of way.
We've had some nice press too:
I was also really honoured to be named one of 10 "Artists to Watch" in NOW Magazine's Summerworks Preview:
Fingers crossed for three final sell-out performances!
I've seen a number of other great shows at Summerworks, including the riviting iShow, featuring Sarah Berthiaume who is the playwright behind the Flood Thereafter, which is the next show I'll be involved in.
I also loved the heartbreaking shows Late Company and Wild Dogs on the Moscow Trains. And with a formidable title for a formidable show, THE ART OF BUILDING A BUNKER OR PADDLING THE CANOE OF MY SELF DOWN THE RIVER OF INCLUSIVITY AND INTO THE ASS OF THE WORLD is a beast of a one man show, totally gripping, hilarious and horrifying...it left me reeling and I loved it.
I'm looking forward to seeing more great theatre before the week is out!
After a great run of The Barber of Seville, I'm thrillied to continue working with John Millard (whose adaptations of Rossini were so fun and challenging to sing) on a second project, his original show with Peter Anderson, "The Ballad of Weedy Peetstraw". We've just started rehearsals with director Jennifer Brewin, and it's glorious. "Deep and strange", the show tells the tale of Weedy Peetstraw and the Faustian bargain he makes for the love of a banjo. We'll be playing in Summerworks, running from August 8th to 17th, 2013. After that, I'm heading home for a week to visit the family (including my very new baby niece!), before starting rehearsals for "The Flood Thereafter" at Canadian Stage.
I'm thrilled to announce that I will be playing the role of Rosina under the direction of Leah Cherniak in Soulpepper's upcoming production of "The Barber of Seville", a new and hilarious adaptation by Michael O'Brien with music by John Millard (adapted from Rossini). I'm honoured that Soulpepper is having me back this season - after the great gift of last year's training with the Soulpepper Academy, my cup runneth over!
I'll have more info on this exciting production in the New Year!
I'm looking forward to workshopping a very cool project in development at Canadian Stage in the new year (more on that soon). Lots of lines to learn over the holidays!
This past weekend I participated in Lynne Cormack's on-camera audition class, and I HIGHLY recommend it, I had a great time and learned lots. Check out The Audition Lab!
I also recently recorded voice-over for some TV ads, so don't be alarmed if you hear me coming from your TV set (especially if you're a curling fan...).
We made it! Last week we opened both The Crucible and the Royal Comedians at Soulpepper. We had already performed several previews in front of audiences, but it does feel different to finally be open! For one, it frees up my days to start rehearsing the third show I'll be in this summer - the remount of Death of a Salesman! Tickets and details at Soulpepper.ca, and discounts for under 30s at Stageplay.ca We've had great audiences for The Crucible so far...I'm really enjoying playing the part of Mary Warren. It is such a good play!
PS: And the reviews are in!