Nightwood Theatre is thrilled to present the World Premiere of Rose Cullis’ The Happy Woman. The play will open March 7 and run until March 24, 2012 at The Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs. Fast on the heels of success with The Penelopiad and reuniting the same production trio of Thornton, Karn and Purtell, Nightwood is delighted to bring this new Canadian play to the Toronto stage.
Cassie wants to be normal, Christian wants to be perfect and Margaret just wants to be happy. But what’s lurking beneath this family’s glossy veneer? The Happy Woman is a darkly comic exploration of what happens when bliss gets in the way of truth and threatens to destroy the very foundation we rely on.
Cullis’ play explores our struggle for “the pursuit of happiness” and the tension between truth and idealism. It depicts a few months in the life of a seemingly typical middle-class family. Margaret, the matriarch of the family, eagerly awaits the birth of her first grandchild. Her son Christian aims to pacify his wife Stasia who is beginning to unravel as her due date approaches. Her daughter Cassie, a ‘colourful’ performance artist, is unhinged and possibly manic. Is she merely a narcissist or is her behaviour a fair response to the family secrets she’s keeping under wraps? Her impulse to tell the truth conflicts with Christian’s desire to keep all things status quo as he prepares for fatherhood. Margaret seems oblivious to these conflicts as they come to a head and does her best to be “happy, happy, happy” while Margaret’s neighbour, BellaDonna keeps commentary throughout.
Kelly Thornton, Nightwood’s Artistic Director and Director of The Happy Woman, remarks, “Cullis’ play is provocative in its themes and yet savagely funny in its execution. Her whimsical sensibility is matched by a fierce wit as she paints this larger than life portrait of family dysfunction like no other. I am thrilled to bring this world premiere to the stage.”
Rose Cullis, Playwright
The Happy Woman was first presented to Toronto audiences as a thirty-minute workshop production in Summerworks Theatre Festival. Other plays by Rose Cullis include The DinnerParty (Rhubarb), Baal (Buddies in Bad Times, Mainstage), Pure Motives (Theatre Centre) and That Camille Claudel Feeling (Toronto Fringe Festival). Her plays and short fiction have been published in a variety of anthologies including Outspoken, Two Hands Clapping, You’re Making a Scene, and in Red Light: Saints, Sluts & Superheroes. In addition to The Happy Woman, Rose is currently developing That Camille Claudel Feeling into a full-length play, and collaborating on a film script based on her short stories about Scarborough in the seventies. She is a member of the Playwright’s Guild of Canada.
Kelly Thornton, Director/Artistic Director
Kelly has been at the helm of Nightwood since 2001 where she has directed The Penelopiad, Between the Sheets (The New Groundswell Festival), The List, That Face, Wild Dogs (all in association with Canadian Stage), The Danish Play (Toronto 2002 & 2007, Aveny-Teatret, Copenhagen, Magnetic North Theatre Festival & National Arts Centre), Bear With Me (Toronto, Grand Theatre & Magnetic North Theatre Festival), Mathilde, China Doll and Finding Regina (Globe Theatre/Theatre Passe Muraille). Elsewhere she has directed The Comedy of Errors (Canadian Stage’s Dream in High Park); This Hotel (Theatre Passe Muraille/Planet 88 – Dora Nomination for Outstanding Direction); So Many Doors (Magnetic North Theatre Festival, Sour Brides/Yukon Arts Centre); Peep Show (Buddies in Bad Times); The Dumb Waiter (SummerWorks/Sometimes Y). Kelly received the Pauline McGibbon Award for her outstanding work as a Director and was recognized for her commitment to training and mentorship of young women in the performing arts by being named a YWCA Woman of Distinction (Arts & Letters). In 2010 she was named the Associate Director of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Directing Program.
Maev Beaty, Cassie
Maev Beaty’s coming out party was Canadian Stage’s 2008 season where she played Helena in Dream and premiered in Judith Thompson’s Palace of the End. Shakespeare’s Titania and Kate followed and she has since performed in 10 Canadian Premieres, gathering 3 Dora nominations for performance in Dance of the Red Skirts (Theatre Columbus), and for performance and writing of Montparnasse, which she co-created with Erin Shields and Andrea Donaldson. She has been a proud ensemble member of huge theatre endeavours such as Nightwood Theatre’s The Penelopiad, TheatreFront’s The Mill series and Volcano Theatre’s Another Africa (Luminato/Canadian Stage) and is Co-Artistic Director of Sheep No Wool Theatre Company and an Artistic Associate of Groundwater Productions. www.maevbeaty.com
Ingrid Rae Doucet, Stasia
Ingrid has performed in many theatres across Canada including Neptune Theatre, Theatre New Brunswick, Mermaid Theatre, YPT, Ships Company Theatre, Magnus Theatre and Theatre and Company. She is proud to be a member of Project Undertow with whom she produced and starred in the Summerworks hit Melancholy Play. Ingrid is also a puppeteer and she recently performed with Toronto Masques Theatre in the James Reaney / John Beckwith collaboration Crazy to Kill directed by David Ferry.
Barbara Gordon, Margaret
Barbara Gordon is a very happy woman who has been lucky enough to make a living in the Canadian theatre community for around forty years. She has enjoyed discovering the country through working in many of its theatres. Barbara especially relishes working on new scripts, The Happy Woman among them. Recent theatre work in Toronto includes the 50-woman cast of Tout Comme Elle, a Necessary Angel/Canadian Stage production, and Calendar Girls at the Royal Alex. She completed two independent films last summer, “Unlucky”, and “Still”, and has been featured in television roles in “Little Mosque on the Prairie”, “Todd and the Book of Pure Evil”, “Life With Derek”, “This is Wonderland”, “King”, and many TV movies.
Martin Happer, Christian
Martin Happer was most recently seen in On the Rocks and The Admirable Crichton at the Shaw Festival, for his sixth season with the company, which also included Getting Married, A Month in the Country, Bus Stop, and tours of Belle Moral (NAC) and Saint Joan (Chicago Shakespeare Theater). In Toronto he was last seen in Theory (SummerWorks Theatre Fesitval) and A Boy Called Newfoundland (Theatre Smash). As well, he acted in The 39 Steps (Chemainus Theatre Festival); The 39 Steps (Arts Club); Age of Arousal (Arts Club & Touchstone); Thy Neighbour’s Wife (Theatre North West); Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Lyndesfarne Theatre Projects); Mary’s Wedding (TheatreOne); Vincent in Brixton (Theatre Network); The Tempest, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Richard III, As You Like It (Free Will Shakespeare Festival). For TV he has appeared in Mayday, Murdoch Mysteries, Sue Thomas F.B. Eye, The Eleventh Hour, Breaker High. Upcoming he will appear in The Millionairess and French Without Tears (The Shaw Festival).
Maria Vacratsis, Bella Donna
Over the last 35 years Maria has appeared in theatre across the country including The Stratford Festival, The Shaw Festival, Persephone Theatre, National Arts Centre, Theatre Calgary, Theatre New Brunswick, Theatre Aquarius and The Centaur. In Toronto most recently she appeared in Through The Leaves (The Company Theatre), Such Creatures (Nightswimming/Passe Muraille), The Way of The World (Soulpepper/NAC) and Tout Comme Elle (Necessary Angel). She has done multtiple productions at Necessary Angel, Soulpepper and Tarragon. This season she will be appearing in You Can’t Take It With You, Home, The Crucible and Endgame at Soulpepper Theatre. Maria is the recipient of two Dora Awards along with three Dora and Gemini nominations and a National Radio Award nomination.
ABOUT NIGHTWOOD THEATRE
Nightwood Theatre – Artistic Director Kelly Thornton, Producer Denyse Karn and Chair Karon Bales
As Canada’s national women’s theatre since 1979, Nightwood has launched the careers of countless leading theatre artists in the country. We have won Canada’s highest literary and performing arts awards and more than ever our success proves the need for theatre that gives voice to women and celebrates the diversity of Canadian society. We remain actively engaged in mentoring young women and promoting women’s place on the local, national and international stage.
The Happy Woman Details
DATES: March 5 to 24, 2012
MEDIA/VIP: Wednesday March 7, 2012
SHOW TIMES: Monday to Saturday at 8:00 p.m., Wednesday 1:30 pm, Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
LOCATION: The Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs, 26 Berkeley Street, Toronto
TICKETS: Tickets are available by calling (416) 368.3110 or www.nightwoodtheatre.net
Prices range from $22-$46