The devil’s in the details in Theatre @ York’s 2010-2011 season

The mainstage playbill for the 2010-2011 season offered by Theatre @ York ranges from a contemporary Caribbean parable to a Jacobean classic, with some satire of truly biblical proportions thrown in. This year’s lineup tackles faith, hope, redemption and morality – and promises a devilishly good time in the process.

One of Nobel Prize-winning playwright Derek Walcott’s best-known works opens the Theatre @ York season. Ti Jean and His Bothers, directed by Marvin Ishmael, runs Nov. 7 to 13 at the Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre at York University.

Left: Playwright Derek Walcott’s Ti Jean and His Brothers will kick off Theatre @ York’s new season

This remarkable play, rarely produced in Canada, uses the structure of a simple fable to explore the complex issue of colonialism in the Caribbean. Deep in the tropical forest, three brothers contend in turn with the devil in three different guises in this magical, musical parable.

Trinidad-born Ishmael has been involved in the Toronto and Caribbean theatre scenes for over 30 years, as artistic director (Theatre Fountainhead and We Are One Theatre Productions), Dora Mavor Moore Award-winning playwright (for My Father My Hero in 1996-1997), producer, director and performer. His acting credits include most of the major stages in Canada, US tours and a leading role in the Broadway musical, Bombay Dreams (2004).

Satan makes his second appearance at Theatre @ York this season as one of many eclectic witnesses in Stephen Adly Guirgis’ 2005 hit, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, running Jan. 23 to 29, 2011 in the Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre. Set in a courtroom in Purgatory, the play re-opens the case against the Great Betrayer, with everyone from Mother Teresa to Sigmund Freud brought to the stand to testify. Paul Muir directs this hilarious, intellectually provocative dramatization of the trial of “God and the Kingdom of Heaven and Earth versus Judas Iscariot”.

Right: Stephen Adly Guirgis’ hit, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot,  is set in a courtroom in Purgatory

Muir has most recently been associated with Alberta’s Rosebud Theatre as a company actor and education director. His directing credits with Rosebud include Confessions of Paper Boy (re-mounted at the Vancouver Fringe in summer 2010), When the Sun Meets the Earth, The Homecoming, Salt-Water Moon, Crimes of the Heart, The Clearing and The Zoo Story.

The season concludes with The Witch of Edmonton, a sensational tabloid story set in an English village, penned in 1621 by William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford. It recounts the overlapping tales of the vindictive mischief of Mother Sawyer and her devil-dog, and a young man prompted to murder to solve a desperate predicament. Directed by Anita La Selva, the production runs March 20 to 26, 2011 in the Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre at York.

Left: A woodcut of the title page of the first quarto of The Witch of Edmonton, a play penned in 1621 by William Rowley, Thomas Dekker and John Ford

La Selva is a Toronto-based actor and director. Her performance credits include Madre (Aluna Theatre), The Carpenter and Carmela’s Table (Centaur Theatre) and numerous television series, including four seasons on Gene Roddenberry’s Earth: Final Conflict. She recently directed The Burning Bush at the Young Centre for Performing Arts, Toronto Fringe, Frigid New York festival and Vancouver Chutzpah Festival, picking up “best of the fringe” in Toronto and the audience choice award in NYC. Other directing credits include Igor Stravinsky’s A Soldier’s Story for Toronto’s SummerWorks festival (applauded by NOW magazine for outstanding direction and production), and Shiksas Sit Shiva (Toronto Fringe ‘patrons pick’ and NOW magazine’s list for outstanding production).

Ishmael, Muir and La Selva are all currently pursuing graduate studies in the MFA program in directing in York University’s Department of Theatre.

Now in its 42nd season, Theatre @ York is one of Toronto’s longest-running theatre companies. Every year, the company features some of Canada’s most promising performance and production talent in a challenging and entertaining slate of plays drawn from the contemporary and classical repertoire.

Theatre @ York’s 2010-2011 Season

  • Ti Jean and His Bothers
    : Previews from Nov. 7, opens Nov. 9 and runs to Nov. 13
    : 7:30pm nightly with 1pm matinees Nov. 10 & 12
    : Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre in York University’s Centre for Film & Theatre
  • The Last Days of Judas Iscariot
    : Previews from Jan. 23, 2011, opens Jan. 25 and runs to Jan. 29
    : 7:30pm nightly with 1pm matinees Jan. 26 and 28
    : Joseph G. Green Studio Theatre in York University’s Centre for Film & Theatre
  • The Witch of Edmonton
    : Previews from March 20, 2011, opens March 22, runs to March 26
    : 7:30pm nightly with 1pm matinees March 23 and 25
    : Sandra Faire & Ivan Fecan Theatre in York University’s Accolade East Building

General admission tickets are $17. Tickets for students and seniors are $12. Tickets for the preview performances are $5 each. A Come Play with US! season subscription is $40, students and seniors $25.

For more information, visit the Box Office website or call ext. 55888.