Lion in the Streets
February 12 – 21, 2015
By Judith Thompson
Directed by Conrad Alexandrowicz
Although set in an ethnic Toronto neighbourhood, this award-winning Canadian masterpiece actually takes place somewhere between reality and dreams, memories and fantasies. Isobel, a lost Portuguese girl, wanders frightened and looking for answers, and witnesses a series of dark moments in the intertwined and troubled lives of several strangers in her community. As Isobel watches them try to hold on to their humanity, she finds understanding, forgiveness and ultimately redemption.
LION IN THE STREETS was first produced by Taragon Theatre (Toronto) in April 1990.
Author’s Agent: Great North Artists Management/ 350 Dupont Street/Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5R 1V9
Open for individual show sales: February 3 – February 21, 2015
Director's Bio & Notes
Conrad Alexandrowicz is a director, writer and choreographer, and the artistic director of Wild Excursions Performance. He holds a BFA in Dance from York University, and performed with a number of Canadian dance companies, principally Dancemakers, where he began to produce his own work, much of which featured original text.
Based for many years in Toronto, in 1994 he moved to Vancouver where he founded Wild Excursions Performance, which has been the vehicle for his creative endeavours since then. The Wines of Tuscany, his dance-play for two men, toured across Canada and received numerous awards. In 2002 he completed an MFA in Directing at the University of Alberta, and then returned to Vancouver to restart the company and his professional career. To date he has created over fifty dance and physical-theatre works, some of which have been presented across Canada, in New York City, France and the UK.
In 2007, for Toronto’s Young People’s Theatre, he directed i think i can, a play for one actor and eight tap dancers by Florence Gibson and Shawn Byfield. In 2011 it was remounted in Toronto at the National Arts Centre. In the same year he received a generous SSHRC grant to explore using poetry as the textual point of departure for the creation of physical theatre, in collaboration with poets Lorna Crozier and Erin Mouré. Mother Tongue, the final stage production resulting from this activity, was presented in Vancouver last May. A short film is to be made as the final component of the project.
When I first began to look at this play it seemed to be a series of fairly realistic scenes contained within a completely non-realistic frame, amounting to a kind of allegory; but then I came to realize that nothing about this play is realistic. This sits well with me as, coming from a background in dance and text-based performance, I am compelled by the possibilities of scripts that emphasize the physicality of the actor, that acknowledge the fact of the live event, and that evade completely the terms of representation that define television and film.
My approach throughout has been to be honest about the fact that a group of actors is presenting a play to an audience, and to keep this in active play by abiding by various methods of dislocation: of actor from role, of the act of speech from its physical and spatial frame, of the semantic meaning of text from the facts of performance, and of the inner life of one character from their perception by another. And, as you will see, I have tried by means of the extensive use of movement and gesture to reveal the interiority of characters’ experience.
This much-produced play—already 25 years old—seems to be enjoying a resurgence of interest, I suppose because its themes are universal, and its mode of embedding these themes in dramatic situations continues to be compelling. In my view the work suggests that the dark potentials of the human psyche may be situated along a continuum: what are the steps that one takes from an evil thought to an outright crime? Thompson asks us to consider how evil acts perpetuate themselves across generations, and to find compassion in our hearts for the most flawed characters, because their stories could be our own. I hope you are struck by the truths this play reveals, and that they will stay with you after you leave the theatre.
About The Playwright
Judith Thompson is one of Canada’s most celebrated playwrights. An Officer of the Order of Canada, her plays have been produced nationally and internationally, earning her numerous awards including two Governor General Awards, the Toronto Arts Award, two Chalmers Awards and the Walter Carsen Performing Arts Award. Born in Montréal in 1954, Thompson graduated from Queen’s University in 1976 and later studied acting at the National Theatre School, graduating in 1979. Settling in Toronto, she formed a close working relationship with Tarragon Theatre where most of her plays have premiered. Her works include The Crackwalker (1980), White Biting Dog (1984), I Am Yours (1987), Lion in the Streets (1990), Sled (1997), Perfect Pie (2000), Habitat (2001), Capture Me (2004), Such Creatures (2010) and Watching Glory Die (2014). Since 1992 she has taught at the University of Guelph while continuing her career as a playwright, director, actor, screenwriter and producer.
Lion in the Streets was workshopped as part of the first Public Workshop Project at the Tarragon Theatre in 1990. It won the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award For an Outstanding Canadian Play in 1991 and went on to be produced by many other companies. It has been translated into French as Lions dans les rues.
PREVIEWS @8pm: February 10 & 11
Preview night tickets are $7 and are available to the general public on the same day as the performance day begining at 5pm.
EVENINGS @8pm: February 12 – 21
Mondays through Saturdays
MATINEE @2PM: February 21
Cast & Creative
Director Conrad Alexandrowicz
Set Designer Allan Stichbury
Costume Designer Emma Welsh
Lighting & Projection Designer Bryan Kenney
Sound Designer Colette Habel
Stage Manager Becca Jorgensen
Featuring (in alphabetical order):
Sarah Cashin Sue, Joanne, Joan
Lindsay Curl Isobel
Sean Dyer George/Maria, Isobel’s Father, Father Hayes, Edward
Logan Mitev Bill, Rodney, Ben, Scalato (Schoolyard Bully)
Arielle Permack Scarlett, Jill, Lily
Levi Schneider Timmy, Ron, David, Michael, Martin (Schoolyard Bully)
Zoë Wessler Laura, Christine, Nellie (Schoolyard Bully)
Nikola Whitney-Griffiths Rhonda, Sherry, Rachel (Schoolyard Bully), Ellen
Listen To Lecture
Click below to listen online to faculty member and director Conrad Alexandrowicz talk about the history of Judith Thompson’s award-winning play and his process of collaborating with the actors to develop this production.
Pre-show lectures take place on the first Friday night of each production and are recorded and posted online the following week. Feel free to look back over past shows to listen into previous lectures.
WARNING: Mature subject matter. Disturbing content and strong language. Recommended for ages 17 and over.