Why Not Theatre presents RISER Project 2017

Four World Premieres of New Canadian Plays
The Theatre Centre, April 17 – May 13, 2017

Why Not Theatre presents RISER Project 2017, a collaborative producing model for local emerging and indie artists, April 17-May 13 at The Theatre Centre. RISER Project 2017, featuring the world premieres of four new Canadian plays; The Draupadi Project, Pearle Harbour’s Chautauqua, El Retorno/I Return and Two Birds One Stone, is being presented as part of Why Not Theatre’s 10th anniversary season.

The fourth edition of the RISER Project begins with Sharada Eswar’s The Draupadi Project, a half-history, half-mythology, wholly-magical reimagining of the ancient Indian epic, “The Mahabharata”. In this contemporary retelling, the spirit of Draupadi, an important feminist icon in the tale, is channeled through the character of a 19-year old girl confined in a cell, wrestling with the voices in her head and grappling with the status of women in today’s society. Karin Randoja directs The Draupadi Project which features the playwright, storyteller and musician Sharada Eswar.

Chautauqua is a place, a movement, and a mindset. American World-Wartime gal Pearle Harbour, Toronto’s most cerebral drag queen, is literally pitching her tent in The Theatre Centre for Pearle Harbour’s Chautauqua, a show that’s part revival, part cabaret, part drag and part salvation. Created and performed by Justin Miller, accompanied by Steven Conway, Pearle Harbour’s Chautauqua is directed by Byron LaViolette. In our Chautauqua tent, we come together because we’re falling apart.” #liveyourtruth

Playwright and director Marilo Nuñez presents El Retorno/I Return, a search for answers to childhood questions when, for one year, her family was part of The Return Plan – the return to Chile to help fight against the brutality of the Pinochet dictatorship. Utilizing verbatim interviews and fractured memories, El Retorno is a personal and political journey into the heart of Latin America. Augusto Bitter, Ximena Huizi, Anita La Selva, Sofia Rodriguez and Francisco Trujillo star in El Retorno.

Rimah Jabr and Natasha Greenblatt first met in Toronto. Rimah was born a Palestinian Muslim. Natasha was born a Canadian Jew. Is this just an ordinary meeting between two women or has some force conspired through time and across continents to bring them together? Two Birds One Stone is a fictional documentary that investigates the two artists unknown shared history, discovering truth isn’t always better than fiction.

Each RISER Project also brings together a community of senior leadership to support the new work, mentor the participating artists, and collaborate for future productions. The 2017 RISER partners are Necessary Angel, Modern Times Stage Company, Nightwood Theatre, The Theatre Centre and fu-GEN Asian Canadian Theatre Company.

The RISER Project is one of Why Not’s many initiatives to accelerate the creative process of fellow theatre artists, in this case, by providing a shared resource opportunity and mentorship through physical production.

Past RISER productions include: from 2014 Ahuri Theatre’s Dora Award-nominated Ralph + Lina which toured internationally; from 2015 Quote Unquote Collective’s Dora Award-winning Mouthpiece which has also toured and was presented by Nightwood Theatre at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre; and from 2016, the Dora Award-nominated A Theatrical MiXtape, presented by MotionLive Collective in association with It’s A Freedom Thing and Newface Entertainment, being presented as part of the 2017/18 season at Tarragon Theatre.

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