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article imageBuddies in Bad Times 35th Season of Queer Programming

By Bryen Dunn     Apr 15, 2014 in Entertainment
Toronto - Artistic Director Brendan Healy unveiled an ambitious line up for the upcoming 2014/15 Season, which is packed with new Canadian works, bold re-imaginings of classic texts, new partnerships, and a national tour.
The year is marked by a focus on the family and intergenerational relationships. In announcing the season, Healy remarks: “We are thrilled to be welcoming some of the country’s leading theatre creators into the building next year. It is a season that takes a close look at how queer lives and experiences are reshaping our understanding and experience of families.”
The season begins with a heart-warming story about queer families from playwright Lois Fine. Freda and Jem’s Best of the Week is a story of family making and family breaking that turns a queer gaze on universal ideas of familial love and reveals the changing face of the modern family. Award-winning playwright and director Judith Thompson (Rare, Palace of the End, Enoch Arden) directs a cast that includes venerated comic actor Diane Flacks (Bear with Me, Take this Waltz) and Kathryn Haggis (Dyke City), with live music by Lorraine Segato of Parachute Club.
In the spring, Buddies welcomes Eda Holmes to direct celebrated writer Michel Marc Bouchard’s gripping psychological drama Tom at the Farm. Bouchard’s script follows a young man who becomes trapped in a savage game of sex and violence when he meets his dead lover’s family for the first time. This erotic thriller probes the darkest reaches of human desire and uncovers the place where loathing and longing intersect. The Buddies production stars Jeff Lilico (Parfumerie, Clybourne Park), Christine Horne (Andromache, Between the Sheets), and Gord Rand (Wide Awake Hearts, Goodness), with production design by Camellia Koo (Obaaberima and The Wanderers at Buddies). Bouchard is the author of over 20 acclaimed works that have been produced the world over, including the Dora and Chalmers Award winning Lillies. Tom at the Farm has been staged in the original French on stages in Canada and Europe and has been adapted for the screen by acclaimed Quebecois filmmaker Xavier Dolan.
The season will see the return of The Rhubarb Festival for a 36th instalment. The festival will be run by newly-appointed Festival Director, Mel Hague. Mel is an accomplished dramaturge who has worked with Factory Theatre, b current, The Paprika Festival, and is currently the Play Development Coordinator at Obsidian Theatre. Mel also joins Buddies as Company Dramaturge and will be overseeing the company’s rapidly expanding Artist Residency Program, which has developed such recent hits as Of a Monstrous Child, Obaaberima, and The Gay Heritage Project and the upcoming Freda and Jem’s Best of the Week.
Also returning in 2014/15 is Insatiable Sisters, Buddies’ iconic celebration of queer women and trans folks in performance (formerly Strange Sisters). Kim Crosby returns as the festival’s curator and will be joined by co-curator Gein Wong and space activator Jade Lee Hoy.
Rounding off the season, critically acclaimed theatre creator and songwriter Evalyn Parry (Breakfast, Clean Irene and Dirty Maxine) revives her 2011 smash hit SPIN for a special limited engagement. This loving tribute to the bicycle features a collection of original songs and stories about the history of the bicycle, advertising, and women’s liberation. Since premiering at Buddies in 2011, SPIN has toured to stages across North America and has been hailed as “brilliant” (Toronto Star) and “an ingenious mixture of songs, monologues, and modern technology” (Torontoist).
Buddies’ season will also feature productions from five guest companies that represent the vibrancy of Toronto’s theatre community. b current will bring its new play series afteRock Plays to Buddies in the fall, featuring works by Sebastien Heins, and Catherine Hernandez. Acclaimed physical theatre company Theatre Rusticle returns for a second year with The Stronger Variations, an adaptation of Strindberg’s 1889 classic ‘The Stronger’. Canada’s National Women’s Theatre Company, Nightwood Theatre, returns to Buddies with HER2, a riveting story of survival and strength from playwright Maja Ardal and featuring an impressive ensemble of performers that includes Diane D’Aquila, Nancy Palk, and Chick Reid. In an exciting partnership between two of Toronto’s most distinctive indie companies, Modern Times Stage Company and Aluna Theatre will present Blood Wedding, a 20th Century masterpiece from Spanish playwright Federico Garcia Lorca. Finally, Asian-Canadian company fu-GEN Theatre teams up with Theatre Smash to present American playwright Julia Cho’s darkly funny family drama Durango, directed by Theatre Smash Artistic Director Ashlie Corcoran and starring fu-GEN Artistic Director David Yee.
Click here for a complete listing of show descriptions, dates, times, and ticket information.
As well, in recognition of this being the theatre’s 35th year of operations, the organization has launched a fundraiser aiming to get 350 people to make a donation in support of queer programming. Donate online here.
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