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article imageGuns and Roses: The Play opens in Toronto January 13

By Bryen Dunn     Jan 4, 2010 in Entertainment
A different type of theatre is coming to Toronto this month - inspired by real Toronto teens and the city's headlines, Guns & Roses is a fast-paced, honest look into the lives of these teens and the often too-secret world they inhabit.
Rather than sentimentalizing or sugar-coating the high school experience, Guns & Roses uses authentic dialogue and situations to portray the lives of five teenagers - this is not a finger-waving after-school special. You will not hear the words "Just say no" and it is not about "bad kids" pressuring "good kids", it's about taking a real look at their pressures and reality - drug use and abuse, sexuality, violence at school and at home, racism, and more. It focuses on teens from Toronto's Rosedale neighbourhood, and various walks of life.
The play centres on five teenagers at the end of their Grade 11 year, finishing exams and gearing up for the summer ahead. When the summer plans involve a rich kid wannabe drug dealer chasing overnight glory, an existential crisis, masturbating in a math exam, duking it out with your folks, your dad's gun, and a little pill called ecstasy - the summer high comes crashing down all in one night. In what starts off as a high promising them a world of possibility, hope and love, their bliss and delirium quickly give way to reveal the harsh consequences that lie beyond their insulated world.
Written by one of Toronto's exciting emerging artists, Julian DeZotti (NOW Magazine's Top Ten Artists To Watch) , Guns & Roses first entered his head when overhearing his 16 year old cousins talk about their daily lives. DeZotti says, "It wasn't that long ago I was in high school, but for a lot of what they were saying, I just couldn't relate back to my own high school experience. They all have cell phones, gaming consoles, iPods and access to drugs that provide an adult experience, not pot, but things like ecstasy - very emotion heightening and strong chemical drugs. This just sounded like such a foreign world to me." This year alone saw a U.N. report on drugs that listed Canada as the top producer of ecstasy on the North American drug market, and another year of gun violence in the city of Toronto. While being a show for theatre-goers of any ilk, the show will resonate with teens, but hopefully even more so with parents. "There are some very adult experiences being had by todays teens, and some experiences other generations just didn't have, like sexting for example." says DeZotti.
The show features some of Toronto's fastest rising stars: Brendan McMurtry-Howlett (Upcoming: The Overwhelming, CanStage/Studio 180), Hannah Cheesman (Upcoming: Hannah Moscovitch’s In This World at LKTYP) , Colin Doyle (2 Dora Nominations, NOW Magazine Artists to Watch 2008), Amy Lee (half of the celebrated clown duo Morro and Jasp) and Ben Sanders (Upcoming; Praxis Theatre’s Section 98 at Harbourfront Centre and Suburban Beast's Post-Eden). The video projections are being created by Cameron Davis (The Red Light District/ Mirvish Productions THE MISANTHROPE, CanStage/Citadel Theatre's Rock N' Roll, Bluemouth Inc.'s Dance Marathon) with designer Tommy Taylor (Keystone Theatre's The Belle of Winnipeg and current Theatre Gargantua intern).
The show incorporates a live DJ (Toronto's very own DJ FASE, rated the city's top club DJ by NOW Magazine) and video projections (through which the characters send text messages, etc.) creating a vibrant, kinetic production. Guns & Roses was developed with playwrights Djanet Sears and Tom Walmsley, and through staged readings with the Canadian Stage Company and Roseneath Theatre.
To ensure authenticity, the production not only has worked with teens, but also has the support and research of Breakaway Addiction Services, a progressive organization committed to aiding youth and families with variety of harm reduction and addiction services. One teenage male in their program, asking to be identified as "X", said that "E makes you feel like a $10.00 bi-polar disorder for a day."
The Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts (Studio Theatre) is located at 5040 Yonge Street (on the west side of Yonge Street, north of Sheppard Avenue. - TTC - North York Centre subway station.
January 13, 14 and 15th at 8:00 p.m. - $20.00 GA or $15.00 students/seniors/CAEA
January 14 and 15, matinees at 10:30 a.m. - $12.00 GA
Each performance is approximately 60 minutes long (no intermission).
Tickets are available at the door and through .
WARNING: Contains mature language, sexuality, violence, drug use
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