The Heiress (January 16-25, 2014)

An American Drama by Ruth and Augustus Goetz

First seen in 1947, this juicy, high-toned melodrama was recently revived on Broadway to great acclaim. Based on Henry James’ short 1880 novel Washington Square it recounts the conflict between a dull but sweet daughter and her domineering father. The plot is based upon a true story told to the author by his close friend, British actress Fanny Kemble. Somehow, this makes the play even more chilling. Stage Centre Productions presented The Heiress in 1993 and we are looking forward to this restaging.

Taking Sides (November 6-9, 2013)

Taking Sides is set in post-World War II Germany and contains offensive language and subject matter which some may find disturbing. Discretion is strongly advised.

Taking Sides View trailer

Directed by Michael James Burgess

Designed by Karen Edgley

 

Taking Sides, a Drama by Ronald Harwood, best known for his plays for the British stage as well as the screenplays for Quartet, The Dresser and The Pianist, was first presented by Stage Centre Productions on March 7th, 2013. It is now being remounted for five performances only at the Al Green Theatre starting November 6th, 2013.

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The action takes place in the American Zone of occupied Berlin, in 1946…

…where the De-Nazification Tribunal has convened to take over the questioning of Wilhelm Furtwängler, one of the outstanding conductors of his time. Furtwängler was at the height of his career in 1933, just as Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. As the terrors of Nazism spread, many of Furtwängler’s colleagues fled the country but Furtwängler chose to stay. Did he stay to do as much good as possible in the face of evil, or did he stay to serve Hitler? The Tribunal’s evidence has been prepared firstly by the British, and then taken over by two groups of Americans: one in Wiesbaden which assisted in Furtwängler’s defence, the other in Berlin which helped build the case against him.

Little is known of the motives and methods of this group, which is the focus of Taking Sides. What is known is that Furtwängler was humiliated, pursued and, even after his acquittal, disinformation followed him. This may or may not have been justified – it all depends on the side you take.

 

Special features

Rehearsal photographyRemount Trailer Time Lapse of set constructionTime Lapse of set construction

 

Comments from the audience
following the standing ovation curtain call on March 9th

“Wow!”

“Incredible!”

“Stupendous!”

“The best-acted play I have ever seen anywhere!”

“Absolutely outstanding!”

“Astonishing!”

“Fabulous!”

“Brilliant!”

“Wonderful!”

“Thank you for having the guts to do this play.”

“The finest production Stage Centre Productions has ever done.”

“The director inspired the company to give their best.”

“The Company should feel very proud of themselves.”

“An extraordinary evening in the theatre.”

“Not to be missed!”

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More about the author

Ronald Harwood is also the author of Quartet. Background:

Dustin Hoffman makes his directorial debut with this tale of four aging opera singers (Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins).

One of the most celebrated actors in world cinema, multiple nominee and two-time Academy Award® winner Dustin Hoffman steps behind the camera for the first time with this charming adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s eponymous play. Having played a variety of roles spanning generations, from Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman to Jack Crabb in Little Big Man, it’s fitting that Hoffman’s first effort as director addresses the theme of aging, and does so with grace, gusto and wonderfully wry humour.

Quartet tells the story of retired opera singers and lifelong chums Wilf (Billy Connolly) and Reggie (Tom Courtenay) who, together with their former colleague Cissy (Pauline Collins), reside in the Beecham House retirement home. No ordinary residence, Beecham is host to an entirely musical clientele, from orchestra members to operatic luminaries. Each year on Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday, the residents arrange a concert to raise funds for their home. It is usually a smooth-running, perfectly pleasant event, evoking warm memories of old times and grand traditions. Enter stage right Jean (Maggie Smith), Reggie’s ex and the fourth, most famous member of the former quartet. Having recently fallen on hard times, the aged diva checks into Beecham, and it’s not long until long-buried grievances rise to the surface, rivalries resume, and plans begin to fall apart. Reconciliation is not on the program, but the show must go on — right?

Under Hoffman’s affectionate and attentive gaze, these marvellous veteran actors shine. Connolly is as wise-cracking and boisterous as ever, while Smith is divine as a charismatic old tigress who can make one wither with the slightest glance. The music enchants and the banter is steady and playful. Beneath all the tensions and the fun there is a quiet fire, an urge to feel alive again, to use art as a way of raging against the dying of the light. This is a sweet, delightful and moving film—and an auspicious debut.

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Taking Sides (March 7-16, 2013)

Taking Sides is set in post-World War II Germany and contains offensive language and subject matter which some may find disturbing. Discretion is strongly advised.

Taking SidesView the trailer (contains Nazi imagery and sounds) | View an edited version of the trailer with Nazi references omitted

Directed by Michael James Burgess

Designed by Karen Edgley

 

Taking Sides, a Drama by Ronald Harwood, best known for his plays for the British stage as well as the screenplays for Quartet, The Dresser and The Pianist, opened on March 7th, 2013.

 
[fbphotos id=506966566011557 limit=5 rand=1]
 

The action takes place in the American Zone of occupied Berlin, in 1946…

…where the De-Nazification Tribunal has convened to take over the questioning of Wilhelm Furtwängler, one of the outstanding conductors of his time. Furtwängler was at the height of his career in 1933, just as Hitler became Chancellor of Germany. As the terrors of Nazism spread, many of Furtwängler’s colleagues fled the country but Furtwängler chose to stay. Did he stay to do as much good as possible in the face of evil, or did he stay to serve Hitler? The Tribunal’s evidence has been prepared firstly by the British, and then taken over by two groups of Americans: one in Wiesbaden which assisted in Furtwängler’s defence, the other in Berlin which helped build the case against him.

Little is known of the motives and methods of this group, which is the focus of Taking Sides. What is known is that Furtwängler was humiliated, pursued and, even after his acquittal, disinformation followed him. This may or may not have been justified – it all depends on the side you take.

 

Special features

Rehearsal photographyRehearsal photography Time Lapse of set constructionTime Lapse of set construction

 

Comments from the audience
following the standing ovation curtain call on March 9th

“Wow!”

“Incredible!”

“Stupendous!”

“The best-acted play I have ever seen anywhere!”

“Absolutely outstanding!”

“Astonishing!”

“Fabulous!”

“Brilliant!”

“Wonderful!”

“Thank you for having the guts to do this play.”

“The finest production Stage Centre Productions has ever done.”

“The director inspired the company to give their best.”

“The Company should feel very proud of themselves.”

“An extraordinary evening in the theatre.”

“Not to be missed!”

[fbphotos id=506966566011557 limit=5 rand=1]

More about the author

Ronald Harwood is also the author of Quartet. Background:

Dustin Hoffman makes his directorial debut with this tale of four aging opera singers (Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly and Pauline Collins).

One of the most celebrated actors in world cinema, multiple nominee and two-time Academy Award® winner Dustin Hoffman steps behind the camera for the first time with this charming adaptation of Ronald Harwood’s eponymous play. Having played a variety of roles spanning generations, from Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman to Jack Crabb in Little Big Man, it’s fitting that Hoffman’s first effort as director addresses the theme of aging, and does so with grace, gusto and wonderfully wry humour.

Quartet tells the story of retired opera singers and lifelong chums Wilf (Billy Connolly) and Reggie (Tom Courtenay) who, together with their former colleague Cissy (Pauline Collins), reside in the Beecham House retirement home. No ordinary residence, Beecham is host to an entirely musical clientele, from orchestra members to operatic luminaries. Each year on Giuseppe Verdi’s birthday, the residents arrange a concert to raise funds for their home. It is usually a smooth-running, perfectly pleasant event, evoking warm memories of old times and grand traditions. Enter stage right Jean (Maggie Smith), Reggie’s ex and the fourth, most famous member of the former quartet. Having recently fallen on hard times, the aged diva checks into Beecham, and it’s not long until long-buried grievances rise to the surface, rivalries resume, and plans begin to fall apart. Reconciliation is not on the program, but the show must go on — right?

Under Hoffman’s affectionate and attentive gaze, these marvellous veteran actors shine. Connolly is as wise-cracking and boisterous as ever, while Smith is divine as a charismatic old tigress who can make one wither with the slightest glance. The music enchants and the banter is steady and playful. Beneath all the tensions and the fun there is a quiet fire, an urge to feel alive again, to use art as a way of raging against the dying of the light. This is a sweet, delightful and moving film—and an auspicious debut.

[fbphotos id=506966566011557 limit=5 rand=1]

Twelve Angry Jurors (November 8-17, 2012)

Twelve Angry JurorsA drama by Reginald Rose | Adapted from the television play by Sherman L. Sergel

A 19-year-old boy has just stood trial for the fatal stabbing of his father. It looks like an open-and-shut case-until one of the jurors begins opening the others’ eyes to the facts. During the discussions each juror reveals his or her own character as the various testimonies are re-examined and the murder is re-enacted before their own eyes! Tempers get short, arguments grow heated, and the jurors become twelve angry people. Their final verdict and how they reach it provides an electrifying and thought-provoking experience and will, we hope, keep audiences on the edge of their seats.

Director’s Notes

Twelve Angry Men was penned by Reginald Rose as a television play in 1954. Rose later wrote the screenplay for and co-produced the 1957 movie with actor Henry Fonda, who played Juror number 8. The story was inspired by Rose’s own experience of serving on a jury in a manslaughter trial. Although written before the fruition of the civil rights struggle, the subject matter remains fresh and relevant. Until the 20th century, both Canada and the United States had relatively open immigration policies for European immigrants. As Canada has become increasingly multicultural, the United States has become increasingly restrictive in its immigration policy.

In the play, a young man is on trial for murder. His race is never disclosed, but he is different and certainly an immigrant. The play touches on themes of race, class, prejudice, family and anonymity, as none of the characters’ names are ever revealed. Each juror is representative of class of persons, or backgrounds, races or creeds. No one in America (and Canada) is not represented by at least one of the twelve jurors.

From time to time, a comedian or celebrity will make a racial comment that will spark enormous debate. Such debates are always heated and the criticism acerbic and vitriolic. We take offence easily and give offence freely, secure in the knowledge that we are not prejudiced. “Well, I’m not prejudiced, but…” It is only in the aftermath of such an event that we take the time to look within. Within the context of that self-denial, each character is called upon to face their inner demons as they are confronted by one another during the deliberations.

The concept of Nature vs. Nurture debates the importance of the relative importance of an individual’s innate qualities versus one’s personal experience. Not easily resolvable, it is one of the subjects that forms part of the jury room deliberations you’re watching today.

I hope you enjoy Twelve Angry Jurors as much as we have enjoyed preparing it for you. And remember, we have three more fabulous shows to come: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Taking Sides and Romantic Comedy.

Tony Rein
Director

Jitters (September 27 – October 6, 2012)

JittersA comedy by David French

September 27 – October 6, 2012

This extremely funny play has become a Canadian classic. It begins on the set of The Care and Treatment of Roses, an ambitious work by a budding young local writer, which is now in final rehearsal by a provincial Canadian theatre company. Whatever can go wrong does so but the show, despite all, goes on, even though the New York producer who has promised to attend never arrives, and the surprisingly good (if somewhat sententious) opening night notices set the cast members at each other’s throats — all lending special credence to a remark by one of the actors who, when the rattled director implores his cast to behave like adults, replies: “We’re not adults, we’re actors.”

Bus Stop (March 15-24, 2012)

A Drama by William Inge

In this warm and affecting hit drama, with romantic and some comedic elements, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright William Inge examines some of the many faces of love. Bus Stop is about a group of strangers travelling by bus stranded in a rural Kansas diner during a freak snowstorm. The compelling narrative observes eight characters as they experience frustration, tears and laughter, examine their own motivations and forge unlikely romantic connections in a single night.

Crown Matrimonial (November 17-26, 2011)

A Drama by Royce Ryton

This year sees the 75th anniversary of the 1936 abdication crisis which brought the diffident and stuttering King George VI to the throne, an event depicted in the recent highly successful film, The King’s Speech. It is this crisis which is at the heart of Royce Ryton’s play, showing us the volatile relationship between Queen Mary and her son King Edward VIII caused by his love affair with a divorced woman, Wallis Simpson. The author shows us the King’s conviction that without Mrs. Simpson he could not do his job, and his readiness to sacrifice his throne and his family, espe-cially his stammering younger brother, who must succeed him.

The Winslow Boy (September 29 – October 8, 2011)

A Drama by Terence Ratigan

Based on a true incident, The Winslow Boy is considered by some to be the finest work of the brilliant British writer Sir Terence Ratigan, a master of the “well made play” and immensely popular at the box office during his life time. In the play, young Ronnie Winslow is accused of theft and is expelled from the Royal Naval College at Osborne without a trial. Ronnie protests his inno-cence to his father, who is determined to clear his son’s name no matter what the cost. It is the father’s fight to “Let Right Be Done” in the face of injustice that captivates and enthrals the audience.

Praise for The Winslow Boy