Launch of TfT’s 50th anniversary

Théâtre français de Toronto unveil its 2017-2018 season
50th anniversary of a francophone institution that continues to reinvent itself to great acclaim!

A true cultural institution, a space for creation and place for all Torontonians – Théâtre français de Toronto (TfT) looks to the future as it turns 50! As an integral part of Toronto’s artistic community, TfT continues to pursue its goals of inclusion, exchange, and discovery. Today, the company announces the eight productions and collaborations that will mark its 2017/18 season. The 50th season is the first to be curated by Joël Beddows, who took on the role of TfT’s artistic director in July 2016. Entitled Éclats Manifestes, this lineup expresses the new artistic director’s wish to expose francophone audiences to new theatrical realities and to proudly demonstrate the strong presence of francophone artists and creators in Toronto – the metropolis from which they draw their inspiration.

The season starts with a special event, marking a new fifty-year-old’s debut: Ici, les arbres s’enracinent dans l’eau (“Where trees take root in water”), a surprising show filled with charm and daring that highlights the writings of Toronto authors. This show will be free to our subscribers, with single tickets available at 50% off the regular price, a way for TfT to start the festivities and thank its most generous supporters.

Also at TfT this season: the company will present by Claude Guilmain from Théâtre la Tangente, a play questioning our need to save face – even with our families – in spite of our dashed aspirations. We then offer the sixth edition of Les Zinspirés, a series of shows that has won numerous awards at the Doras since 2012; and Michel Ouellette’s Le Dire de Di (“The Telling of Tel”), a co-production with Théâtre la Catapulte, which will enjoy its world premiere at the Berkeley Street Theatre before moving on to the National Arts Centre in our nation’s capital.

TfT is also showcasing theatre for young audiences, notably with Petites bûches (“Small Stakes”) by Jean-Philippe Lehoux, and Avant l’archipel (“Countries shaped like stars”) by Emily Pearlman. Co-produced with Québec’s Irréductible Petit Peuple and the winner of the Prix Coup de foudre at Réseau Ontario and the Prix Acadie-RADARTS, this playful and poetic show is directed by Joël Beddows. It will tour from Vancouver to Moncton via Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Sudbury, Ottawa, and Laval.

For the general public, the company will present F**king Carl, created and performed by Louis-Philippe Roy and Caroline Yergeau, and named best production at the 2014 Ottawa Fringe Festival and new work of the year at the Prix Rideau Awards 2015. TfT then closes its season with Le Menteur (“The Liar”), the baroque comedy by Corneille – the first time this author’s work has been produced at TfT.

Joël Beddows is also working closely with several creators on new works, including Alain Doom, playwright-in-residence in 2017/18. During his tenure, Doom will complete his work, Un quai entre deux mondes (“A quay between two worlds”), and continue to work on a play about the Dionne quintuplets.

Given their popularity, TfT will continue to offer evenings with surtitles every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Post-show discussions,providing an opportunity for meaningful exchanges between artists and the public, take place one evening a week, while pay-what-you-can nights are now offered twice a week, on Wednesdays and Thursdays.

And in May 2018, look forward to a spectacular festive gala to mark the launch of a new 50-something!

List of the 2017-2018 productions

October 26 to 28, 2017
Come and discover the voices of Toronto authors – both the famous and the lesser known. They are the explorers who take pleasure in redefining our collective existence. In a rhythmic and festive happening orchestrated by Marie-Claire Marcotte and Maxime Robin, their writings cast an unexpected light on our city and serve as windows on an uncertain world. Whatever the subject, whatever the form, local artists celebrate the local through music, literature and theatre. They remind us that in this magical place once called Takaronto, “where trees take root in water,” the poetry of our language with its many flavours and accents remains the unifying force at the heart of the metropolis.

November 15 to 18, 2017
The Cardinal family gathers to celebrate a birthday. Six characters, all of the same family, make small talk throughout the evening, although each one is living a personal drama shared only with the audience. As the saga unfolds, the mysterious disappearance of Joseph Cardinal, their grandfather, will take us from 1940’s New York to that dark day in Dallas in November 1963. None of them knows when or where their grandfather died, but the unraveling of his fate will have a very different impact on each one of them. Inspired in part by his trip to Afghanistan while working on a documentary for the National Film Board of Canada, Claude Guilmain’s play questions our fascination with the American dream. Tell me what haunts you and I will tell you who you are…

December 1st to 9, 2017
There’s a popular theory that says six steps connect all living things to one another. Theatre tells us that words can bridge the distances that separate us. As vehicles of emotion and thought, no matter how brutal, disjointed or oddball, they communicate our vision of the world and bring us closer to each other. Five young authors have set out to “bridge the gaps” in this sixth installment of Les Zinspirés. They have honed their stories through workshops with experienced playwrights and their words will once again help bridge generations as their tales reveal the universality and agelessness of our desires, our griefs and our joys. Director Chanda Gibson returns to direct this production of texts developed through a competition coordinated by Pierre Simpson.

December 16, 2017
Young Marco is lost in an Eastern European city, far from his parents and his home. Near an old and rusty carousel, he befriends two homeless girls who dream of exotic places and of a frightening old Italian clown. They help him discover this brutally poetic foreign city. An endearing story about meeting others and harnessing the power of chance in every journey. In Petites Bûches, Jean-Philippe Lehoux addresses the difficult issues that children hear about every day with tact and humour: war, poverty, migration. Most importantly, his characters embrace hope, friendship and the joy of living.

LE DIRE DE DI (The Telling of Tel)
January 24 to 28, 2018
Di lives with her mother Makati, her father Paclay, and the handsome Mario Morneau, her mother’s second husband. One day, this marvellous yet fragile existence is brutally upset by the arrival of Peggy Bellatus and her terrifying mining machines. The earth trembles as desires and secrets shatter. In this one-woman show, Michel Ouellette explores a playful and poetic style of writing in which characters are shaped like poems, and express themselves in lively, colourful language full of gaps and ricochets.

AVANT L’ARCHIPEL (Countries shaped like stars)
March 2, 2018
Lénaïque la Magnifique cries every day to water the dragon fruits growing in her peninsula orchard. At the Continental Market one day, she catches the eye of a young man, Brévalaire Spectaculaire – it’s love at first sight! They decide to see each other every Sunday and between each meeting they count the steps that separate them. But without Lénaïque’s tears, her trees begin to wither. To save her fruit, she begins to cry – so much so that her peninsula turns into an island. Thus begins her quest to reach her beloved… A marriage of folktale, improvisation, poetry and songs, Avant l’archipel is full of surprises. Joël Beddows offers a playful and poetic show, while through games and interactions, actors Danielle Le Saux-Farmer and André Robillard invite us to witness the birth of new love and the joyous splash of change that it brings.

March 22 to 24, 2018
It started with a personal ad on Kijiji. Leading to a hook-up. A beer, then two; one curse followed by another; a festival then a second. But suppose they want to expand their family from two to three? It’s up to the audience to decide whether this couple should be given the responsibility of adopting a child by asking the question: what defines an “acceptable” family in today’s society? They’re rude. They’re foul-mouthed. Can they persuade you to let them welcome a child into their home? Winner of the Ottawa Fringe Festival’s 2014 Outstanding Production Award and the Prix Rideau Awards’ 2015 New Creation of the Year Award, this original production from authors and performers Louis-Philippe Roy and Caroline Yergeau is presented for the first time in Toronto. As it challenges prejudices with its irresistible sense of humour, come discover a comedy that’s zany, trash and touching – all at once.

April 11 to 22, 2018
New to Paris, young Dorante is immediately lifted into a world of gallantry and prestige. Intoxicated by this new environment, he invents a fictitious identity. But a misunderstanding about two young women’s names, Lucrèce and Clarice, together with his father’s wish that he marry one of the two, leads to a tangled web in which truth and lies are lost in fantasy. A baroque comedy by Corneille, Le Menteur invites us to reflect on the role truth and lies play in social interactions.  Through its misunderstandings, the play highlights the strange peculiarities of young Parisians living in the golden age of the 17th century.  With humour and subtlety, this timeless classic offers lively language of rare virtuosity.