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News Release

Martha Henry
“First Lady of Canadian Theatre”
To Anchor 2004-05 SBC Theatre Season

April 2004


Montreal – SBC Theatre Artistic Director, Bryna Wasserman, proudly announced her 2004-05 season today, to be highlighted by Martha Henry’s debut at the SBC Theatre, in a solo performance of Rose (Feb. 6-20), directed by her long-time friend and collaborator, Diana Leblanc.

“I’ve always wanted the SBC to be a welcoming place for both established and emerging artists alike,” Wasserman said. “We greeted Uta Hagen here a few seasons back, and now we have the honour of hosting Martha. I couldn’t be more proud to welcome her to the family.”

Rose by Martin Sherman, has just one character. It responds to the SBC’s mandate for fostering intercultural relations through the arts. A twice widowed, 80 year-old woman in Miami Beach tells the history of twentieth century Jewish life through a personal lens. Like a bottle tossed on the waves, Rose has wandered from the Ukraine to the Warsaw Ghetto to Atlantic City and Florida, with a side trip to a hippie commune and an Israeli settlement on the West Bank.

“Home of the artists” might indeed be an appropriate moniker for the SBC Theatre, as witnessed not only by the appearance of luminaries like Henry and Leblanc, but also by the rise of talented young artists like director Madd Harold.

Already well known is Harold’s brief but productive career at the SBC Theatre where, as a founding member of Gravy Bath, he directed last season’s critically acclaimed adaptation of Shakespeare’s Coriolanus as part of the New Classical Theatre Festival at the Saidye B Off Centre. In 2004-05, Harold will make his main stage debut, directing Shakespeare’s The Tempest (Nov. 21-Dec. 12), starring Gareth Armstrong of Shylock fame and featuring Governor General Award winner, Douglas Campbell.

Shakespeare’s The Tempest remains a transcendent work for any artist and for any artistic organization. Its epic quality, its grand themes, the depth of ideas, the language of the writing makes it worth examining again and again in each generation. The themes of The Tempest continue to hold their relevance for today’s society: The value of personal and social freedom; the benefits and destructive aspects of colonialism; the blurring of lines between order and chaos; and the power of the natural world compared with social institutions.

Ms Wasserman herself will launch the 2004-05 season when she directs one of the all time great stage musicals, Man of La Mancha (Oct. 10–31). One of the most successful adaptations of Cervantes’ Don Quixote, Man of La Mancha tells the tale of the comic, and at times dramatic attempts, of an idealistic, dreaming hero to fight evil and right the wrongs of the world. It is theatre in the classic, epic style.

In early 2005, the SBC Theatre will present Infinitheatre’s production of Death and Taxes (Mar. 20-Apr. 10), written and directed by Montreal’s own Guy Sprung, noted author, director playwright, award-winning screenwriter and cultural critic. This collaboration highlights the Theatre’s commitment to supporting the development of the Montreal theatre community.

Death and Taxes explores the influence that greed and the seduction of power can have on a society whose ethical compass is spinning in circles under the force field of consumerism. It revisits the question of what gives true value to human existence.

The arrival of Spring 2005 will bring with it the heart-warming, Tuesdays With Morrie (May 2-22), a stage adaptation of the New York Times best-selling book by American sports writer, Mitch Albom. Tuesdays With Morrie is the true-life story of Albom and his college mentor Morrie Schwartz, with whom Albom reconnects after 16 years. Here begins a series of weekly visits, rekindling their loving teacher-student relationship while tackling a larger subject in their final “class.”

As a bookend to the season, Bryna Wasserman will direct the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre’s production of Lies My Father Told Me (June 5-30) by Ted Allan. The Yiddish Theatre originally produced the late writer’s poignant tale of intergenerational conflict in 1920’s Montreal nearly 20 years ago. This latest adaptation, however, will be a musical one, taking its cue from a more recent successful Yiddish Theatre musical adaptation, Duddy Kravitz.

The Saidye B Off Centre will again host Gravy Bath’s New Classical Theatre Festival in August 2005.

Sundays are sure to be marked on audience’s calendars in 2004-05 as the SBC Theatre presents an enhanced Sunday-@-the-Saidye lecture series. This past season alone the immensely popular, free-to-the-public, event featured the likes of Robert Adams, CJAD’s Dr. Laurie Betito, Dan Laxer, Trudie Mason and Kevin Holden talking up themes and issues presented in each of the season’s plays. And due to the tremendously positive turnout to each of these events, next season will feature an added preview matinee, immediately following each Sunday-@-the-Saidye.