Four Plays Shuffled Together Create Generous, a World Premiere, in Toronto

News   Four Plays Shuffled Together Create Generous, a World Premiere, in Toronto
Tarragon Theatre in Toronto is staging the world premiere of Michael Healey's Generous, comprised of four new interconnected two-act plays about beneficence, starting Sept. 19 in its Mainspace.
Michael Healey
Michael Healey

Individually titled PMO, One-Party Rule, Lily and The Death of the Alberta Report, all four first acts succeed each other, with connecting plots and intertwined characters. According to Tarragon, the connections are revealed after intermission, with the final acts of each play.

"Taken as a whole, the work explores the central question: what happens when members of society not known for their generosity become overwhelmed with the desire to help?," according to Tarragon, the respected resident company known for contemporary plays. "Spanning 15 years, the play looks at the familiar centers of power — political, judicial and corporate — in a comic exposé of selflessness among people who are highly unfamiliar with the concept."

Opening is Sept. 26. Daryl Cloran directs a company that includes Tom Barnett, Ari Cohen, Yanna McIntosh, Michelle Monteith, Jordan Pettle and Fiona Reid.

The creative team includes set and costume designer Yannik Larivée, lighting designer Michael Walton, sound designer Lyon Smith and stage manager Krista Blackwood.

"I'm mostly interested in the moral dilemmas created by the impulse of generosity," Healey said in production notes. "I wanted to look at altruistic acts that flow from questionable motives — if you know your kind act will end badly for you and its recipient, is that any reason not to engage in it? I also wanted to examine the notion of public service — the desire to help society as opposed to individuals — because I find that impulse a mystery. The play's structure, (four brief two-act plays), allows me to examine these interrelated themes." Generous will be the fourth Michael Healey premiere presented at Tarragon Theatre. The first was a pair of comedies, co-written with Kate Lynch, under the title The Road to Hell, in September 1999. Plan B, a co-production with Shaw Festival, premiered in January 2002 and it won the Dora Award for the Best New Play that year. His most recent work at Tarragon, Rune Arlidge, premiered in March 2004. As an actor he has appeared in the CBC series "This is Wonderland" written by George F. Walker. At Tarragon he was last seen in Morwyn Brebner's The Optimists and will next appear in its companion piece The Pessimist at the end of the season. Michael Healey has been a playwright-in-residence at Tarragon Theatre since 1999.

Kate Alton is the choreographer and Simon Fon is the fight director.

For more information, call (416) 531-1827 or visit

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