Sometimes, to grow personally or
to deal with new circumstances, we need to push beyond the limits of our past
lives. The perfect example is Billy Elliot, the boy from a gritty mining town
who leaps beyond locally acceptable views of masculinity to become a dancer. In
such moments of risk, we look to our family and friends, who care for us but
are often themselves part of the past that we’re seeking to move beyond. Will
our former identity be a foundation or a prison?
seed of this season’s theme was planted in my mind more than a decade ago, when
I brought the wonderful book Trickster
Travels, by renowned Canadian scholar Natali Zemon Davis, to renowned
Canadian playwright Wajdi Mouawad. That book’s story of a 16th-century Ottoman
diplomat inspired Wajdi to write an award-winning play about a modern Israeli
family: Birds of a Kind. We have
paired this new play with a brilliant piece from the Enlightenment: Gotthold
Ephraim Lessing’s Nathan the Wise.
Breaking the boundaries of identity figures prominently in both these works.
so it does in our Shakespeare offerings. Desdemona fatefully defies her
father’s will by marrying the Moorish general Othello. The “Merry Wives” of
Windsor defy convention by taking matters into their own hands to cure a husband
of his jealousy and teach the outrageous Sir John Falstaff a life lesson. In Henry VIII, the boundaries of faith, family
and the nation itself are pushed to the breaking point.
Henry VIII has
been paired with an engrossing new work: Kate Hennig’s Mother’s Daughter, the third part of her
popular Tudor series. As Elizabeth watches, Mary struggles to assume the
throne amid religious turmoil and political subterfuge.
boundaries makes for great comedy in The
Front Page, as we enter the farcical world of hack journalists who, despite
their seediness, are our only means of exposing political corruption. And
the boundaries of both divorce and marriage get twisted and broken in Noël
Coward’s exquisite comedy Private Lives.
Arthur Miller’s great drama The Crucible,
a man’s effort to conceal his own indiscretion leads to a literal witch hunt
that threatens to destroy him and all he holds dear. Destruction of a botanical
kind looms large in Little Shop of
Horrors, as a young woman seeks to break free of an unhappy
perhaps as storytellers, our season’s most telling journey of growth is that of
a child who finds the key to inner strength and courage in The Neverending Story.
we’re breaking boundaries of our own with the building of our new Tom Patterson
Theatre Centre. Opening in 2020, it will be not only a beautiful theatre but
also a home to our many extraordinary Meighen Forum events, our artistic Laboratory and
our educational activities.
be Stratford bound – and break into laughter or tears.