MEDIA RELEASE FOR ONE LITTLE GOAT'S "MUSIC MUSIC LIFE DEATH MUSIC"

For Immediate Release: March 28, 2018 • Please include in your listings/announcements

“Toronto’s enterprising One Little Goat Theatre Company” - New York Times

PRESENTS THE WORLD PREMIERE OF

MUSIC MUSIC LIFE DEATH MUSIC
AN ABSURDICAL

 

WRITTEN, DIRECTED AND COMPOSED BY ADAM SEELIG
STARRING RICHARD HARTE, SIERRA HOLDER, THERESA TOVA AND JENNIFER VILLAVERDE

 LIVE BAND LED BY MUSIC DIRECTOR TYLER EMOND

MAY 25 TO JUNE 10, 2018 AT TARRAGON EXTRASPACE

TORONTO – One Little Goat Theatre Company, producer of the acclaimed Ubu Mayor and The Charge of the Expormidable Moose, presents the world premiere of MUSIC MUSIC LIFE DEATH MUSIC: An Absurdical. The show is written, directed and composed by Adam Seelig, and features original, live music and a stellar artistic team of multi-Dora Award nominees and winners, including actors Richard Harte, Theresa Tova, Jennifer Villaverde, and introducing Sierra HolderMUSIC MUSIC LIFE DEATH MUSIC runs from May 25 to June 10, 2018 at the Tarragon Extraspace (media night May 25).
 
An exploration of the unexpected dynamics between three generations of family—a grandmother, her daughter, son-in-law, and teenage grandson—MUSIC MUSIC LIFE DEATH MUSIC is a biting comedy with an original, catchy score depicting a family’s attempt to relate to each other, and the society they live in.
 
“Every family is ludicrous in its own way,” says author Adam Seelig, “and I’m excited to see how this particular family’s idiosyncratic blend of love and contempt, tenacity and fragility, trust and suspicion, joys and frustrations all play out on stage, with music.”
 
The production features a diverse, all-star cast including Richard Harte (Andrew Lloyd Webber'sThe Boys in the Photograph, One Little Goat's Antigone:Insurgency, Ubu Mayor); Theresa Tova (NOW Magazine Top Theatre Artist of 2017, Tough Jews, The Jazz Singer); Jennifer Villaverde (Soulpepper's Animal Farm, Dora Nominee for YPT's Hana's Suitcase); and introducing Sierra Holder (Sheridan College, Class of 2018).
 
Writer, director and composer Adam Seelig is the founder and Artistic Director of One Little Goat Theatre Company. He is the author of Every Day in the Morning (slow) (New Star Books, finalist for the 2011 ReLit Award in poetry) and his plays include Ubu Mayor (BookThug 2014), Talking Masks (BookThug 2009), Antigone:Insurgency (2007) and, for children, PLAY: A (Mini) History of Theatre for Kids (Toronto 2016-18).
 
The production also features live musical performances by renowned Canadian musicians, led by Music Director Tyler Emond on bass (2007 Oscar Peterson Prize), and includes Joshua Skye Engel on guitar (Eat A Peach), Lynette Gillis on drums (Overnight), and Adam Seelig on a vintage Fender Rhodes electric piano.
 
Performances are at the Tarragon Extraspace, 30 Bridgman Ave, Toronto, Ontario. To purchase tickets please visit www.onelittlegoat.org or call 416-531-1827. Performances run from Tuesday to Saturday at 8pm, and Sunday matinées at 2:30pm. Tickets range from $20 - $35.
 
 
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REQUEST INTERVIEWS:
B-Rebel Communications - Ashley Belmer – Ashley@ashleybelmer.com514-627-5151 –
Press Photos
 
 
ABOUT ONE LITTLE GOAT:
One Little Goat is North America’s only theatre company devoted to contemporary poetic theatre. Founded in New York in 2002, and based in Toronto since 2005, the company is acclaimed for its highly interpretive, provocative approach to international plays. One Little Goat's productions have been staged in Toronto, Philadelphia, Chicago and New York, where the company opened La MaMa's 49th season in 2010 – the final season led by the legendary Ellen Stewart. For more details www.onelittlegoat.org.

AUDITIONS FOR ONE LITTLE GOAT'S "MUSIC MUSIC LIFE DEATH MUSIC"

AUDITION NOTICE – ONE LITTLE GOAT THEATRE COMPANY – TORONTO
Production name: MUSIC MUSIC LIFE DEATH MUSIC: An Absurdical
Deadline to submit: January 15, 2018
Audition date: week of January 22, 2018
Email applications to: OneLittleGoatTC at gmail.com
Contact name: Adam Seelig
Website: http://onelittlegoat.org/about/

“Toronto’s enterprising One Little Goat Theatre Company” (New York Times) is holding auditions for the world premiere of MUSIC MUSIC LIFE DEATH MUSIC: An Absurdical by Artistic Director Adam Seelig (Executive Producer, Derrick Chua; Assistant Producer, Annie MacKay).

Synopsis: DD and JJ’s romantic night at home is interrupted when B (DD’s mother) arrives unannounced, waking up PP (DD and JJ’s teenage son). MUSIC MUSIC LIFE DEATH MUSIC follows the unexpected dynamics between these four characters representing three generations of family.

Dates: performances May 25 - June 10, 2018 at the Tarragon Theatre Extra Space; rehearsals April 30, 2018 onward (precise schedule tbd).

We are seeking actors of the highest calibre with excellent singing abilities for the following roles - actors of all vocal ranges and cultural backgrounds welcome:

  • DD: a woman (age 40-50, any vocal range, any ethnicity)
  • JJ: a man, DD’s spouse (age 40-50, any vocal range, any ethnicity)
  • B: a woman, DD’s mother (age 65-75, any vocal range, any ethnicity)
  • PP: a boy, DD and JJ’s son (age 14-15, any vocal range, any ethnicity)

Note regarding the role of PP: only actors aged 16+ will be considered; the role may be played by an adult man or woman who can play a teenage boy.

Please submit résumé and headshot by email to Adam Seelig, Artistic Director, OneLittleGoatTC at gmail.com by 5pm, Monday, January 15, 2018. *Optional: if available, please forward a link to a sample of your singing abilities.

Only Equity (CAEA) members will be considered, except for the role of PP who can be played by a CAEA or non-CAEA actor.  Only those selected for an audition will be contacted. Actors will be engaged under a form of Equity policy.

One Little Goat is North America’s only theatre company devoted to contemporary poetic theatre. Acclaimed for its highly interpretive, provocative approach to international plays, One Little Goat consistently features leading Canadian theatre artists. MUSIC MUSIC LIFE DEATH MUSIC is the company’s second play-with-music for mature audiences (the first was UBU MAYOR by Adam Seelig, starring Michael Dufays, Richard Harte and Astrid Van Wieren).

10,000 kids experience One Little Goat's "PLAY: A (Mini) History of Theatre" thanks to Ontario Trillium Foundation

For Immediate Release: Toronto, June 29, 2017

Ontario Trillium Foundation grant enables 10,000 elementary students in Toronto Model Schools for Inner Cities to experience One Little Goat Theatre Company’s PLAY: A (Mini) History of Theatre for Kids

10,000Final lowres.jpg

Thanks to a year-long $34,800 Seed grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, made in June 2016, “Toronto’s enterprising One Little Goat Theatre Company” (New York Times) has performed the company’s first play for young audiences for 10,000 elementary school students. This completes the company’s tour of 39 of the Toronto District School Board’s Model Schools for Inner Cities, begun last fall and performed at no charge to the schools.

“I am always pleased to see arts programming offered to children in Ontario schools who might not otherwise have the opportunity to engage. Thanks to OTF, thousands of elementary school students in the TDSB’s Model Schools for inner cities can actively participate and learn from One Little Goat Theatre Company’s play – and hopefully many of them will choose to further engage in the arts.” – Peter Milczyn, MPP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore

Written and directed by One Little Goat’s Artistic Director Adam Seelig, PLAY: A (Mini) History of Theatre for Kids makes the case that dramatic play is rooted in childhood games, empowering children as natural-born play-makers. Actors Richard Harte (above right, masked) and “Mavis-the-Sometimes-Cat” (Jessica Salgueiro, above left, alternating with Rochelle Bulmer, below right) are featured in a performance that guides Grades 1-6 audiences through four distinct periods of drama: Early Beginnings: games around the fire; Ancient Greek Tragedy: Antigone by Sophocles; Japanese Noh Theatre: Zeami and 14th-Century Noh; Modern Theatre: Alfred Jarry, Gertrude Stein and Samuel Beckett.

“Sharing with young audiences some of the greatest moments in theatre, from the intensity of Ancient Greek tragedy to the absurdity of 20th-century modernism, is tremendously rewarding,” says Seelig. “All the learning, listening and laughing we do together in these gym performances, made possible by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, will contribute to the kids’ lifelong love of, and participation in, the arts.”

An agency of the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Trillium Foundation is one of Canada’s largest granting foundations. With a budget of over $136 million, OTF awards grants to some 1,000 projects every year to build healthy and vibrant Ontario communities. www.otf.ca

Now in its 11th year, the Model School for Inner Cities program identifies 150 schools throughout Toronto with a large concentration of students living with limited resources, and aims to provide them with the opportunities they need to participate fully and equally in their schools and communities.

One Little Goat, North America’s only company devoted to contemporary poetic theatre, “has done audiences a huge service” (Toronto Star) through its highly interpretive, provocative approach to new and international plays. For over a decade, the company's Canadian and world premieres have garnered praise from the New York Times, Globe and Mail, CBC and others. One Little Goat is a non-profit charity based in Toronto: www.OneLittleGoat.org 

One Little Goat gratefully acknowledges the following organizations in addition to the Ontario Trillium Foundation for their support in developing PLAY: the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council, Toronto Arts Council, TD Bank, Irish Cultural Society of Toronto, Embassy of Ireland in Ottawa, and Friends of One Little Goat Theatre Company.

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Contact: One Little Goat Theatre Company, 416.915.0201, info@OneLittleGoat.org

S—/W— Review: NOW Magazine

Disturbing Smyth/Williams avoids sensationalism

Staging of transcript of interrogation and confession of rapist/murderer Russell Williams – and the protests around it – focus on violence against women
by Jordan Bimm, March 7, 2017

 Deborah Drakeford, Lynette Gillis and Kim Nelson steer clear of sensationalism in disturbing verbatim play. (Yuri Dojc)

Deborah Drakeford, Lynette Gillis and Kim Nelson steer clear of sensationalism in disturbing verbatim play. (Yuri Dojc)

No one clapped after this piece of disturbing, controversial and powerful verbatim theatre. Even though there had been plenty of talent on display, the audience silently reached a collec­tive decision not to applaud the words of one of Canada’s most heinous rapists and murderers.

The show is an all-female staged reading [staging] of the OPP transcript of the interrogation and eventual confession of Russell Williams, the former Canadian Forces colonel who in 2010 pled guilty to raping and murdering two women, sexually assaulting two others and committing dozens of sexually motivated burglaries and thefts. The 128-page transcript of Detective Jim Smyth’s questioning of Williams was released publicly and is easy to find ­online.

Director Adam Seelig has boiled down the hours-long conversation to 90 minutes, and cast three women to present the material. Performers Deborah Drakeford and Kim Nelson alternate reading Williams and Smyth, a choice that tamps down the sensationalism and puts women in control of the story – a very different thing than if two men were realistically acting it out. Behind them, live drummer Lynette Gillis provides hard-hitting solos where sections of the transcript are redacted – an effective counterpoint suggesting the violence missing from the cordial interview.

A turning point is reached when Smyth convinces Williams to drop his feigned innocence and confess. That confession includes Williams’s description and characterization of the crimes, and this part will likely be the hardest for people who’ve been affected by sexual assault or violent crimes.  

The work’s troubling power was underlined before the show by a group of protesters outside the theatre led by a close friend of one of the victims. They distributed an open letter to audience members citing a lack of consent from the victims and their families and the potential for the show and resulting media coverage to retraumatize the surviving victims and their loved ones.

“We have had no choice or opportunity to have our thoughts, comments or criticisms integrated into the content you are about to see.” The letter points to an online petition calling for the production to cease, which has 2,200 signatures. In the program, One Little Goat addresses “those who have reached out with concerns,” arguing that “there will never be a ‘good’ time to address horrific, traumatic events, yet we cannot afford to wait if our ­society is to make progress in their wake.”

It’s easy to feel empathy for the protesters, who raise valid concerns about the balance between protecting victims’ rights and pursuing positive change through remembering, confronting and learning from horrible moments in history. Their presence at the theatre added an important dimension to the experience of the show. No matter who is right, this is a deeply thought-provoking, well-crafted work that makes a good-faith attempt to avoid true-crime sensationalism and focus on the problem of violence against women.

S—/W— Review: Life with more cowbell

Getting to the truth, & touching on the why, about violence against women in the thought-provoking, chilling S—/W—

  Deborah Drakeford, Lynette Gillis & Kim Nelson in  SMYTH / WILLIAMS— photo by Yuri Dojc

Deborah Drakeford, Lynette Gillis & Kim Nelson in SMYTH / WILLIAMS—photo by Yuri Dojc

War and violence against women not only have similar social, cultural, and religious supports, they are mutually reinforcing. These supports allow societies to tolerate conditions in which a third of women and girls can be treated violently, without mass outcry and rebellion. When we challenge the attitudes and norms that enable violence against women, we are also helping to confront the conditions that support war.—Reverend Susan Thistlethwaite (included in the program notes for SMYTH / WILLIAMS)

Trigger warning: This post reviews a verbatim theatre production based on the transcripts of a police interview with a convicted serial killer rapist.

One Little Goat Theatre Company opened its all-female staging of the Ontario Provincial Police (O.P.P.) transcript of Detective Jim Smyth’s interview of stalker and serial killer Russell Williams in the Theatre Passe Muraille (TPM) Backspace last night. SMYTH / WILLIAMS was devised and directed by Adam Seelig.

Staged in a dramatically rendered police interview room (set by Jackie Chau and lighting by Laird Macdonald), including two microphone stands, two chairs and two copies of the transcript, the set also includes a drum kit, situated up centre, behind a pile of cedar chips on a floor that depicts a map. The transcript is a notable prop, not only for its occasional and specific use by the two actors (Deborah Drakeford and Kim Nelson), but for the extent to which it’s been redacted—in some parts heavily so—and those portions of the conversation between Smyth and Williams are filled in on stage by drum solos (Lynette Gillis).

The over seven-hour interview, which took place on February 7, 2010, has been pared down to about 90 minutes in this staged verbatim performance, with Drakeford and Nelson switching back and forth between characters, both playing Smyth and Williams at various points in the interview. The trajectory of the conversation begins with Williams being questioned as a person of interest in multiple crimes in the Ottawa and Belleville areas, to his arrest as evidence becomes available and search warrants executed on his homes, to his confession.

The cast is to be commended for their specific, respectful and focused performances of this difficult, disturbing material. Drakeford and Nelson establish a compelling dynamic between Smyth and Williams. Smyth is presented as the classic “good cop,” conducting the interview in a respectful, methodic but gentle way. Williams is the strong, silent type; a military man of few words who serves his country and appears to cooperate in the interest of serving his community in this investigation. The result is a pairing of strong feminine and masculine energies, with the interview shifting from more easy-going conversation to urgent strategizing as new information surfaces during the course of the investigation.

I was a bit baffled at first as to how the drum solos were going to work in the context of filling in redacted sections of the transcript (this info provided by Drakeford and Nelson at the beginning of the play; they also hold up their copies, showing the large blacked-out portions of the text in these instances). Drums are a primal, beat-driving percussion instrument; and Gillis is a skilled musician, drawing out the larger redactions with kick-ass precision. It’s an interesting and innovative piece of staging for what cannot be said—and one can only imagine that the redacted sections contain the more horrific details of Williams’ crimes. As the confession unfolds, there is an increasing Riot Grrrl vibe to Gillis’s performance—the drums beating out in anger and protest.

The production has not been without controversy. Terra Dafoe, a friend and neighbour of Jessica Lloyd, one of the women Williams abducted, raped and murdered, is at the forefront of a group that’s spearheaded a protest against the presentation of SMYTH / WILLIAMS, which they argue is a non-consensual and re-traumatizing production that sensationalizes violence against women. Dafoe was present at the opening last night, handing out a one-pager that states their case and includes a link to their Lead Now petition. Here’s a sampling of interviews from both the production (via News 1130) and the protest (via CBC).

Full disclosure: I was wary of seeing this production. Although I’m a big fan of TV crime procedurals, SMYTH / WILLIAMS is not a TV crime procedural. It’s real life. This is not fictitious, made-up dialogue—this conversation really happened, between a real detective and a real rapist/murderer. The women Williams stalked, harassed, raped and killed were real people. And, like those protesting the production, I was concerned about the details that would be revealed, as well as the traumatic effect of the subject matter. I decided to see it because I was curious as to whether such a production would have anything of value to say about violence against women. And, naively, I was hoping to find a ‘why.’ Why did he do it?

What I saw was a production that does not serve up salacious details—in fact, the disturbing details are kept to a minimum and what is included is presented in such a way as to show Williams’ apparent detachment from his actions, as well as the atrocity of those actions, when the actors peer out from their male characters and speak as women. Ironically, the turning point for Williams comes as he learns that search warrants are being executed on his homes—and he becomes deeply concerned about the negative impacts on his wife and the Canadian Armed Forces. Whether his concern came from a place of love and honour, or from a place of losing his grip on domination and control, it appears to be what ultimately spurred his confession. And an even bigger question mark is why he did what he did. Even if Williams knew, he wasn’t saying.

While I agree that seven years may be too soon for a theatrical examination of this case, I also have to wonder how one puts an arbitrary time limit on loss, grief and that deeply troubling ‘why.’ Theatre is a medium that helps us to explore all aspects of humanity and human experience—from the gods to the monsters—and I believe SMYTH / WILLIAMS and its opening night audience treated this real life piece of the more horrific side of humanity with respect and dignity.

The quote included at the beginning of this post, taken from the program notes, connects the dots between war and violence against women. While not a fulsome answer to the ‘why,’ it does give us a glimpse into the workings of a social infrastructure that supports ongoing violence against women and girls; and one from which a man like Williams emerged. I believe that widespread outcry and rebellion are growing, and that such push-back is amplified by the grief and rage incited by crimes like these, as well as the election of misogynists to high office.

There was no applause after the cast left the stage. No curtain call. A moment of silence for several moments followed before the audience gradually began hushed conversation and exited the space. This was not a reflection on the performances. Like the production, the audience wanted to treat the memories of the women that Williams harmed and murdered with respect and dignity—and in this way, the production and the petition are in agreement.

Getting to the truth, and touching on the why, about violence against women in the thought-provoking, chilling SMYTH / WILLIAMS.

This is not a production for everyone. If you decide to see SMYTH / WILLIAMS, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself. Why are you going to see it? Do you think the production contributes to the conversation about violence against women in a meaningful way? And if you happen to cross paths with Dafoe or another protestor, treat them with respect, hear what they have to say and read the hand-out. Free speech goes both ways—and both the protest and the production have important things to say.

SMYTH / WILLIAMS continues in the TPM Backspace until Mar 12; book in advance onlineor call 416-504-7529.