Thursday, September 15, 2011

EVENT: (Toronto) The Life and Times of Mackenzie King

VideoCabaret presents
The Life and Times of Mackenzie King
The History of the Village of the Small Huts, 1918-1939

Written and Directed by Michael Hollingsworth
Starring Paul Braunstein, Greg Campbell, Richard Alan Campbell,
Mac Fyfe, Jacob James, Geza Kovacs, Linda Prystawska

Toronto, September 14, 2011 - VideoCabaret proudly presents Michael Hollingsworth's The Life and Times of Mackenzie King, The History of the Village of the Small Huts, 1918-39, at The Cameron House, previewing from October 30 and opening on November 10 for a limited run.
Michael Hollingsworth's History Plays always bring the past to vivid life, and simultaneously remind us of today's headlines. The Life and Times of Mackenzie King spans the Roaring Twenties and Dirty Thirties, and resonates powerfully in our boom/bust times. The play stars Canada's most eccentric and enduring Prime Minister, and features a panoramic cast of power-brokers, war vets, socialites, fascists, communists, gangsters, work-camp hobos, crystal ball readers, booze-smugglers, and other Canadians.
ÍÍÍÍ     "Go see it and be wowed"     -Globe & Mail

In VideoCabaret's signature 'black-box' staging, the performers conjure up more than forty characters in tiny shards of light with Dervish-level choreography. Wearing eloquent costumes by Astrid Janson, the actors magically appear and vanish in the stage design by Andy Moro. The acting company this year features virtuosos of the style: Paul Braunstein (as King), Greg Campbell, Richard Alan Campbell, Mac Fyfe, Geza Kovacs, and Linda Prystawska; joined by VideoCab newcomer Jacob James.
The Life and Times of Mackenzie King premiered at The Theatre Centre in 1993, winning Dora Awards for PRODUCTION and LIGHTING, Nominations for PLAY, SET, COSTUMES, MUSIC, ACTING. (In all seven categories, King vied with VideoCab's The Great War, which won for Play and Costumes.) King also earned the Chalmers Award for Outstanding PLAY; and in 1995 was remounted with Factory Theatre. VideoCab's plays and stagecraft have won more than twenty Dora Awards and over sixty Nominations.

VideoCabaret News:
o At the 2011 Dora Awards, Michael Hollingsworth was honoured by the SILVER TICKET AWARD:
  "There are few artists whose work one can truly call 'essential' - whose absence would leave a gaping
  hole not just in the theatrical landscape of our city, but of our entire country....(He) has pushed the
  boundaries of theatrical form and content, challenging our notions of who we are as a people and a
  nation....the brilliant, uncompromising, and still dangerous, Michael Hollingsworth."  -Philip Akin

o Summer 2012, the STRATFORD SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL presents a co-production of Michael 
  Hollingsworth's The War Of 1812, to run for 55 performances in a newly-created theatre space.
   "I have admired Michael Hollingsworth's work since the 1970s. Not only is VideoCabaret's
  The History of the Village of the Small Huts a substantial Canadian theatrical achievement,
  it also represents the life's work of this extraordinary playwright."   -Des McAnuff

Media from the most recent installment of The History Plays: The Great War, which ran for 94 performances last year:
ÍÍÍÍ " VideoCabaret is at the top of its game Š The staging is remarkable, Andy Moro's multi-cue lighting is a tour de force, and the costumes of Astrid Janson and Sarah Armstrong are as imaginative as ever. If you've never seen VideoCab's unique work this is the perfect place to start, if you have, you certainly won't want to miss this one" 
-Toronto Star

ÍÍÍ  "Skillfully negotiates a bayonet's edge between farce and tragedy Š brilliant"  -Globe & Mail

 N N N N   "A finely drilled team of artists in one of the season's best shows Š Hollingsworth's meticulous attention to detail, use of vivid colours and fluid storytelling transform the past into a graphic novel come to life" -NOW Magazine

Play Synopsis:
The Life and Times of Mackenzie King begins with the end of World War I, and ends with the beginning of World War II - a zeppelin-ride through the soaring twenties and the diving thirties with Canada's longest-running Prime Minister. As the grandson of the notorious rebel William Lyon Mackenzie, King was driven by a sense of destiny and spurred by ghostly outriders. He fell in love regularly but never married, preferring the companionship of other men's wives, and seances with his late mother and other great departed souls.

King's occult companion Mrs. Joan Patteson, beloved dog Pat, political foes Prime Ministers Meighen and Bennett, contemporaries James Shaver Woodsworth and Samuel Bronfman, are joined in the play by Joe and Vince, a couple of Great War veterans who find employment in the rum-running business, and Molly, a war widow with nothing left to lose.  Vince rolls it all on the gal and the hooch, while Joe never stops fighting whatever is fighting him - union-busters, gangsters, mortgage-holders, work-camp bosses.

Between the shadows of two world wars, ideas clash and markets crash. The action spans the Winnipeg Strike of 1919, the One Big Union movement, the King-Byng Crisis, the Great Depression, the 'On To Ottawa Trek', Mackenzie King's infatuation with the Third Reich and many other events that show how Canada discovered its inner communist.

The History of the Village Of The Small Huts a.k.a. Canada's History Plays:
Michael Hollingsworth has written and directed twenty-one plays dramatising Canada's history from Chief Donnacona and Jacques Cartier to recent times - stories that capture Canadian society high and low, seized by powerful ideas and passions. In each play, seven actors portray dozens of characters, the legends and losers who made this country what it is.  Michael's wildly original scripts are matched by the ensemble's extraordinary staging technique and visual style. The History Plays premiered 1985-99, delighting audiences with spectacle and substance. VideoCabaret is now re-inventing the Repertoire, and winning new audiences and honours for these classic plays. The 2010 production of The Great War played to capacity crowds for six weeks in the spring and a further six weeks in the fall.

New France, Parts I-IV o The British, Parts I-IV o Mackenzie/Papineau Rebellion o Confederation
Red River Rebellion o Canadian Pacific Scandal o Saskatchewan Rebellion o Laurier o The Great War 
The Life & Times of Mackenzie King
WWII o The Cold War o Trudeau & The FLQ o Trudeau & The PQ o The Life & Times of Brian Mulroney

The Company: 
VideoCabaret's stagecraft is beloved by audiences, and celebrated by many awards and honours. The company has premiered more than fifty plays, operas, and multi-media cabarets, written and directed by Michael Hollingsworth and Deanne Taylor, and staged with designers Astrid Janson, Andy Moro, and Shadowland. VideoCab plays in a cozy theatre space in the Cameron House; their studio on the 2nd floor serves also as the costume-wig-prop-shop and dressing-room. The all-inclusive venue enhances the mind-meld required among the many collaborators, allowing six-week rehearsals with lights and sound to integrate hundreds of cues, scores of props, dozens of costumes. 
VideoCabaret presents
The Life and Times of Mackenzie King
The History of the Village of the Small Huts, 1918-1939
Written and Directed by Michael Hollingsworth
Starring Paul Braunstein, Greg Campbell, Richard Alan Campbell, Mac Fyfe
 Jacob James, Geza Kovacs, Linda Prystawska

Associate Director Deanne Taylor o Lighting and Set Andy Moro o Costumes Astrid Janson
SM/PM Andrew Dollar o ASM Laurie Merredew o Props Brad Harley o Wigs Alice Norton
Music Brent Snyder  o Sound Design Jake Blackwood, Brent Snyder
Sound Operator Jake Blackwood o Stage Hand Patrick Wilkie
Producer Jim LeFrancois

Previews from Sunday October 30, Opens Thursday November 10 for a Limited Run
Schedule: Tuesday - Saturday, 8pm, Sunday 2:30pm
VideoCabaret at The Cameron House, 408 Queen Street West (just west of Spadina), Toronto
Tickets: Previews, Tuesdays & Wednesdays $20,Thursdays & Sundays $30, Fridays $35, Saturdays $40
Box Office: 416-703-1725           For more information:

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