Homeless Man Is Center Stage in Panych's Toronto World Premiere, Benevolence, Sept. 18

News   Homeless Man Is Center Stage in Panych's Toronto World Premiere, Benevolence, Sept. 18
 
Stephen Ouimette, one of Canada's major stage actors and a veteran of TV's "Slings & Arrows," is a devious homeless man in Tarragon Theatre's world-premiere production of Morris Panych's Benevolence.

Colin Heath, Tom Rooney, Jennifer Wigmore and Gina Wilkinson appear in the Toronto staging, starting Sept. 18 toward a Sept. 26 opening at the Tarragon mainspace (to Oct. 27). Panych directs his own work at the respected resident theatre devoted to contemporary plays.

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"He's passed him on the street a million times before," according to Tarragon production notes. "Only on this day, Oswald Eichersen (Tom Rooney) impulsively decides to give the homeless Lomy (Stephen Ouimette) a generous gift. Reluctantly, Oswald agrees to meet Lomy in a seedy porn house — and that's where his troubles begin, and a simple act of generosity becomes a life-changing event for both the recipient and the benefactor. Oswald finds himself forced to re-evaluate his relationship with girlfriend Audrey (Jennifer Wigmore), and begins an awkward friendship with street prostitute Jackie (Gina Wilkinson) — she wanted to be a paranormal psychologist, but strayed. And so begins Oswald's downward spiral from orthotics shoe salesman to fugitive — all masterminded by the fascinating and devious Lomy, who wants to return the favor to his new friend. With Panych's typical dark humor and desire to illuminate the unseen, he turns the tables on what true benevolence means."

The creative team also includes set and costume designer Ken MacDonald, lighting designer Andrea Lundy, music and sound designer Thomas Ryder Payne and stage manager Maria Popoff.

Panych plays that have debuted at the Tarragon include The Dishwashers; Earshot; Vigil, which since its 1996 presentation has had over 30 productions in Canada, the U.S., and Europe; Lawrence and Holloman, nominated for a Chalmers Canadian Play Award; The Ends of the Earth, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama and was produced in New York in 1996; 7 Stories, which has been produced in New York, London, England and Hungary, and also received a Chalmers nomination; and Girl in the Goldfish Bowl, which also won the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama in 2004, as well as the Dora Award for Outstanding Direction and Best Play. He is also an award-winning actor. He has directed over 30 productions in Toronto, including two Dora nominations for directing: White Biting Dog at Tarragon and The Overcoat at Canadian Stage. Panych's adaptation of Moby Dick was recently announced to have a production at Ontario's famed Stratford Shakespeare Festival in 2008.

For more information visit www.tarragontheatre.com.

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