#327 – The Cast of Three Ordinary Men

Starring Tristan Claxton, Jamar Adams-Thompson and Jack Copland, Three Ordinary Men takes us to the final day in the lives of civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, James Chaney & Andrew Goodman in 1964 Mississippi. Helmed by Taitt in her directorial debut as Artistic Director of Cahoots Theatre, Three Ordinary Men will debut in June of 2022 — the 57th anniversary of the Freedom Summer Murders.

Play by Steven Elliott Jackson
Directed by Tanisha Taitt

Tristan Claxton

Tristan is a Toronto based actor and earned a BFA in acting from the University of Windsor and an MA in classical performance from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) in the U.K.

Instagram: @tri_axton

Jamar Adams-Thompson

Jamar is a Jamaican-Candian actor and storyteller. Hailing from Mississauga, Ontario he holds a BFA-in Acting degree. He is constantly looking for new chances to tell exceptional stories. Film Credits Include: Flee The Light, Black Liberators WWII, and Kubrick. Catch Jamar next as James Chaney in Cahoots Theatre’s, Three Ordinary Men

Instagram: @jamaremery

Jack Copland

Jack is a Toronto-based actor, writer, educator, and producer. His long list of acting credits includes principal voice over (Total Drama Island), repertory theatre (Theatre on the Ridge), and internationally screened independent films (Pink Rabbit). Jack also writes and produces projects with his production company Rainy Day Films. In his free time, Jack volunteers as an instructor and assistant director with the Young People’s Theatre. Graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business and the George Brown Theatre School.

jackcopland.com

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#326 – Laura Piccinin

Laura was born to tell stories. Whether as a dancer/aerialist with Tokyo Disney, a playwright and performer for the new Canadian musical, Every Silver Lining, or her solo show, Lesbihonest, premiering at Toronto Fringe 2022, a teacher at the Toronto District School Board, or as a comédienne in Footloose with Just for Laughs, Laura’s unstoppable passion in life lies in telling people all sorts of eccentric stories, whether they want to hear them or not.

Instagram: @lpiccinin

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#325 – John D. Huston

John D. Huston has performed in Canada, the U.K. & the States. A member of Canada’s Metis Nation, John’s lively career “culturally misappropriating the works and identities of dead white guys”, includes playing Tommy Douglas in Saskatchewan, William Lyon MacKenzie in Toronto, Shakespeare in England, & Charles Dickens across Canada. In 2017 he was privileged to portray Louis Riel for the 50th anniversary production of Canada’s longest running dramatic presentation, “The Trial of Louis Riel”.

In 2016, John performed Mark Leiren-Young’s, controversial play, “Shylock” at UNO, Canada’s festival of solo work. “SCREWTAPE”, John’s adaptation of C.S. Lewis’ “The Screwtape Letters”, garnered him a Best Actor nomination in 2015 from the Ottawa Capitol Critics’ Circle. His performance of “A Christmas Carol” earned him a second such nomination in 2016, the only non-Ottawa actor to be nominated two years running.

Twitter: @bythebookprodu1
Instagram: @bythebookproductions
Tickets to CIVILIZED: https://ottawafringe.com/shows/civilized/#showtimes_list

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#324 – Santiago Guzmán

Santiago Guzmán (he/him) is a writer, performer, director and producer for theatre and film originally from Metepec, Mexico, now based in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Santiago is the Artistic Director of TODOS Productions, an organization that seeks to promote, produce, and support work of under-represented artists in Newfoundland and Labrador.

He is the Artistic Associate for Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre in Halifax, NS and General Manager for Neighbourhood Dance Works in St. John’s, NL. He is a proud member of The Quilted Collective, whose first anthology, Us, Now, has been published by Breakwater Books in 2021.

www.sguzman.ca
Twitter: @santiguzjan
Instagram: @santig1

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Where are the stars in Canada?

Have you noticed that we don’t have stars in Canada? Now I don’t mean those people that we all know the names of who’ve gone to the U S or to England to become famous, but we still claim them as our own. No, I mean, we don’t have any home grown and fostered theater stars. By that. I mean, we don’t have names that are a draw. We don’t have actors whose names can go on a poster. And just by being there become a draw in other countries, like in the U S and in the UK, an actor’s name can work as a draw, but in Canada, That’s such a rare thing. And sometimes we don’t even see any actors names on a poster.

Now, a cynical person would think that maybe this is a tactical decision on the part of the producers, because weighing the value of a star. They have to think that perhaps it’s better to pay actors less than to have actors whose name have recognition because a star can make demands. A star has power.

So perhaps the wisdom is to ensure that we have no stars, no names that can be a draw so that we keep everyone just thankful to be working so that no one questions how much they’re paid. And that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. We’ve seen the death of theater, journalism, and arts journalism as a whole, as the media landscape shrinks.

And it becomes harder for theater companies to get media attention, then promoting the actors in the show and pushing them to any media that still pays attention to the theater would not only be a way to keep audiences coming, but an investment in the future because an actor with name recognition is a draw a way to sell tickets.

But of course you can’t do that if you have no recognizable actors and I’m not talking about actors whose names are recognizable within the theater community, we have lots of those. Those names might be well-respected, but they don’t necessarily sell tickets. I’m talking about names that can be recognizable to the general public.

But we can’t have that. If an actor is largely unnamed from show to show, I can’t think of a Canadian theater actor who could star in a play whose name would make the general public want to purchase tickets. Occasionally in the past, there have been productions of shows that have brought in an actor who was legitimately famous.

For example, there was the famous – or was it infamous – production of Hamlet that started Keanu Reeves. And it’s obvious that this was stunt casting and attempt to bring in a movie star to sell tickets. But why does something like that happened with a movie star who I’m sure was paid a lot of money, but there’s no chance of that with a Canadian theater actor who isn’t already a movie star.

The movie star is allowed to be an above the title draw but what other Canadian actor can boast the same? Is the problem the lack of entertainment coverage in Canada? As a member of the media, I am regularly sent press releases for shows, and those press releases always list both the cast and creative team.

Now I’m a weekly podcast with a modest reach, and I try to interview as many people as possible, but I can only get to so many, but with a daily paper, with a large reach, you would get so many more press releases than I do. And often the ones that stand out are the ones with a PR person that the reporter knows.

And in those cases, the PR or public relations person is going to try and get some kind of write-up for the production. And maybe this might’ve been easier years ago when there was more coverage, but there are so few publications doing regular theater coverage. It seems nearly impossible now. So maybe the death of arts coverage is part of the problem, but that isn’t all of it because the problem has existed for longer than the recent deterioration of the media landscape, because we haven’t ever really had theater stars in Canada.

And I know that while there might be good things about a star system, there’s also plenty of bad. Isn’t it? Nice to think that all the actors get this same, that there’s an egalitarianism to being a working actor in Canada, but that’s not quite true because if I have the lead in a show, I do get paid a little more, but I’m not a star. Not really not like in other places.

Of course, anyone who’s spent any time paying attention to the entertainment industry in Canada knows that we don’t have stars. And we don’t really consider anyone a star until they’ve had success elsewhere. And for a while, I thought that was just a part of being Canadian, but on reflection, I don’t think it is.

Maybe it’s more about the entertainment media that we do have spending more time talking about American artists than it does our own home grown talent. Maybe that combined with producers who want actors to just be thankful to be working, keeps the Canadian artists small. But I think that we deserve better.

We deserve to have homegrown talent that stays here and becomes a household name. Canadians need to see themselves on their stages. And that includes seeing Canadian names above the title and celebrated for being a Canadian artist who stayed in Canada rather than leaving for the U S.

#323 – Natércia Napoleão

Natércia Napoleão is a multifaceted Brazilian theatre artist and community advocate.

Over the past eighteen years, she has had a wide influence within the Albertan theatre community, with experience in site-specific theatre, dance theatre, multimedia performance, television, musicals, and a wide range of classical and contemporary theatre. Performance highlights include the acclaimed Fado: The Saddest Music in the World (JAYMAC Outstanding Production Award) at the Firehall Arts Centre in Vancouver.

Recent directing credits include Hummm (Climate Change Theatre Action/ New Harlem Productions); Orange Skies (Tarragon Theatre’s Young Playwright’s Unit); and the multidisciplinary theatre piece, Threshold (The Lobbyists collective/2021 Chinook Series).

Natércia is an associate producer with Dora Award nominated manidoons collective having recently supported the sold-out production of esteemed playwright Yolanda Bonnell’s White Girls in Moccasins, in co-production with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

Natércia is currently developing her first full-length play, Michener Park, alongside renowned Chilean author, playwright and activist, Carmen Aguirre.

As a community advocate, Natércia spearheads and contributes to grassroots initiatives regularly. She is a strategic planner working with institutions and companies exploring equitable practices, such as Musical Stage Co. and Outside the March.

Natércia is the incoming CAEA representative for the Alberta North/N.W.T region.

Intstagram: @natercia_napoleao

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#322 – Crystal Lee

Crystal’s interest in technical theatre and management began in her home province of New Brunswick where she worked as a Theatre Production mentor at the University of New Brunswick. She’s since trained in the Opera Management Program at the Banff Centre for the Arts and is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada. Previously, Crystal has worked at the National Arts Centre on the management team, and began her independent career as a freelance Production Manager in Toronto where she received a Harold Award for her contributions to the community. Crystal is also the co-founder of What by When (WxW), a production firm advocating for culturally/environmentally sustainable and standardized Production Management and Technical Direction practices within the industry. Crystal has continued her involvement in production advocacy through her membership in the collective, Means of Production, and through her national board seat on the Canadian Institute of Theatre Technology. She now works full time with Why Not Theatre as their Production & Technical Manager.

Instagram: @crystallee.__

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#321 – Fanny Dvorkin

Fanny is a recent graduate of Dawson College’s Professional Theatre Program. A writer and actor, they are most interested in how the classics can intersect with contemporary performance. As a queer artist, they focuses on how their identities can inform art, both personally and politically. These themes can be seen in their NTS ArtApart short film, SMASHCUT: INT. CHANGING ROOM. Prior to beginning their theatre training, they were an editor and academic, pursuing a Masters in Medieval Studies at York, where they portrayed MAry Magdalene in the Cornish Resurrection Cycle with the Lords of Misrule. They love a good mystery play, as long as it’s a little gay.

Twitter: @fannystage
Instagram: @fannydeedee

SMASHCUT: Int. Changing Room: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vzb0Ops7qmA

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#320 – Stefan Dzeparoski

Stefan is a Serbian-born, Toronto-based international director and creative producer. He is best known for his interdisciplinary stage practices merging film, digital and live performance. Stefan’s work has been seen on stages in Europe, Canada, and Off-Broadway. He is a Director and Creative Producer at Toronto’s award-winning BirdLand Theatre.

Among other things, Stefan is the founder of a creative StartUp Digital Dream Society.
Stefan is alumnae of Directors Lab at The Lincoln Center in New York, and fellowship recipient of International Theatre School at University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

His work has been featured in the New York Times, New York Magazine, Globe and Mail, National Post, Toronto Star, and in many online publications.

Twitter: @DzeparoskiS

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#319 – Daniel Levinson

Daniel Levinson has been performing, directing and teaching stage combat professionally since founding Rapier Wit in 1991. Rapier Wit is Canada’s oldest stage combat school and production company. Daniel is proud to be counted among Fight Directors Canada’s Fight Masters. He has had a long history with FDC. He was one of the founding advanced actor combatants at FDC’s inaugural workshop. Daniel has created fights for companies such as The Stratford Festival (5 seasons), Canadian Stage, Jesus Christ Superstar on Broadway, Volcano Theatre, Actors Repertory Company, Second City, A.C.T. Productions, Shakespeare In the Square, Factory Theatre, Shakespeare in the Rough, Theatre Aquarius, The Actor’s Repertory Company, Theatre Passe Muraille, The Tarragon Theatre and The Guild Festival Theatre. Daniel is proud of his years teaching at the University of Waterloo, Sheridan, and the University of Toronto Mississauga.

www.rapierwit.com
Twitter: @RapierWitCombat
Instagram: @Rapierwit

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