Stem Cell Research Is Hot Button in Toronto World Premiere Chimera

News   Stem Cell Research Is Hot Button in Toronto World Premiere Chimera Toronto's Tarragon Theatre, committed to contemporary works, will launch the world premiere of Wendy Lill's hot-topic drama, Chimera, Jan. 2, 2007, toward a Jan. 9 opening.

Mary Vingoe directs the play, in which "the stem cell revolution is upon us," according to Tarragon. "Not since Charles Darwin wrote 'The Origin of Species,' have we found ourselves so immersed in a debate about what it means to be human. Reflecting on her seven years in federal politics, playwright Wendy Lill has crafted a political intrigue about scientific research."

The cast includes John Dolan, Philippa Domville, David Fox, Joan Gregson, David Jansen and Geoffrey Pounsett.

The play centers on Roy Ruggles (David Jansen), a journalist struggling to remake his reputation. He's got an axe to grind and he's found a likely target in his childhood friend Clare McGuire (Philippa Domville), the splashy new Minister of Justice. It's "Science on the Hill Week" and the Minister has announced in the House the anniversary of the passing of Bill C13, the Human Reproductive Technologies Act. But George Fanning (David Fox), MP backbencher from White Cloud, Alberta and his conservative colleagues refer to it as the "Murdered Embryo Act."

Roy's search leads him to Dr. Nell Harrier (Joan Gregson), the scientist conducting experiments in search of a cure for autism, and a furor erupts in the press and on Parliament Hill.

According to Tarragon, "From Parliament Hill's question period, to university research labs, to the political backrooms where men and women lobby and struggle for power, Chimera explores the promise and perils of scientific research and the personal ideals that fuel politics. These are compelling characters struggling with tough questions. With the possibilities of medical advances, what are the legal limits of research? What are the ethical ramifications of cross-species genetics, the creation of chimeras? Who, or what, are the most vulnerable in our society, and how do we best protect them?" Wendy Lill is a four-time nominee for the Governor General's Award and her plays include The Glace Bay Miner's Museum, All Fall Down and Corker. Her plays Memories of You and The Occupation of Heather Rose were both produced at Tarragon. For seven years she was the Member of Parliament for Dartmouth and the Culture Communications critic for the NDP.

The designers are Judith Bowden (set and costumes), Andrea Lundy (lighting), and John Gzowski (sound). Alison Peddie is the stage manager.

Performances of Chimera continue to Feb. 11, 2007.

For more information, call (416) 531-1827 or visit www.tarragontheatre.com.

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