Studio 58, the professional theatre training school at Langara College has announced a season which will include a gender-reversed production of a Shakespeare tragedy, a contemporary adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey, and an Off-Broadway musical about toilets.
Opening the season in September is a gender-reversed production of Shakespeare’s tragedy Antony & Cleopatra. Directed by Studio 58 graduate Cameron Mackenzie, it was the Queen of the Nile who became his biggest influence in the creation of his drag alter ego, Isolde N. Barron.
“She is one of Shakespeare’s most complex characters and one of history’s most fascinating figures,” says Mackenzie in a press release. “An incredibly accomplished states-person and intellectual, she co-ruled with her father from 14, was crowned at 18, commanded armies at 21, spoke nine languages including the common Egyptian Arabic and was the only ruler in her family’s 300 years that did so. She brought 22 years of stability and prosperity to the kingdom she fought so hard to protect. Using this historical perspective, I am so excited to delve into this love story.”
In November another Studio 58 graduate, Carmen Aguirre, returns to her alma mater to direct Anon(ymous), Naomi Iizuka’s modern take on Homer’s Odyssey. Set in the present-day it is the story of a teen refugee who crosses the United States in a quest to find his mother who has disappeared.
“This play is an ode to refugees everywhere, and a compelling exploration of the question: what defines home?,” says Aguirre in the release. “Epic, intimate, whimsical, poetic, horrifying, and funny, the plays biggest draw is that it spotlights the invisible brown work force of North America.”
In the New Year, Studio 58 faculty member Courtney Dobbie will direct a production of the satirical musical Urinetown. This Tony Award-winning musical is set in a drought-filled future where a large corporation has a monopoly on all toilets, as it explores such themes as the legal system, capitalism, social irresponsibility, populism, and bureaucracy.
“Musicals operate on a high emotional plain; their larger-than-life physical and vocal style vibrate in our blood, guts, and bones making for visceral theatrical experiences. Urinetown, the musical, does this and then some. It embraces the showmanship of the art form as well as political and social agenda,” says Dobbie in the release.
The season will also include the return of FourPlay: New Work by Excited Writers in March. This 13th edition of this festival of one-act plays features original work by Studio 58 students and recent graduates, under the guidance of award-winning playwright Aaron Bushkowsky.