Toronto's Tarragon Has "Musical Noir" Little Mercy's First Murder in 2002-03 Season

News   Toronto's Tarragon Has "Musical Noir" Little Mercy's First Murder in 2002-03 Season
Tarragon Theatre in Toronto has announced its 2002-2003 season of new and new-to-Toronto works, including the premiere of Little Mercy's First Murder, a "musical noir."

Tarragon Theatre in Toronto has announced its 2002-2003 season of new and new-to-Toronto works, including the premiere of Little Mercy's First Murder, a "musical noir."

The season begins Sept. 17-Oct. 27 with the Mainspace staging of Morris Panych's farce about a family in the era of the cold war, Girl in the Goldfish Bowl. The author directs his work, about an 11-year-old girl who "is practicing to be a member of the royal family, when the warning signs the cold war sound." The season announcement asks, "Can a goldfish save her family from collapsing around her, let alone change the course of human history?"

Warren Leight's Side Man (a Toronto premiere), about a jazz player's commitment to his work at the expense of his family, follows in the Mainspace Nov. 6-Dec. 15. Associate artistic director Andy Mc Kim directs the Tony Award-winning script.

Michel Tremblay's Impromptu on Nun's Island makes its Toronto premiere Dec. 27-Feb. 2, 2003. Diana Leblanc directs the play about an opera diva returning from a disastrous engagement in Paris to find her mother and daughter, both actresses, "determined to strip away her illusions." It's billed as a tour-de-force about "art, life and politics." The work is co produced with Centaur Theatre.

Lyricist-librettist Morwyn Brebner and composers Paul Sportelli and Jay Turvey penned Little Mercy's First Murder, a "musical noir" co-poduced with the Shaw Festival. It plays the Extra Space Jan. 14-Feb. 23, 2002. In it, "celebrity crime photographer Weegee spirits Mercy Callaghan away from her mother's murder into the volatile Manhattan night. Everything is new to her: the fire, the opera, the party in the bar." Ed Holmes directs. Susan Coyne's Kingfisher Days, makes its world premiere, directed by Albert Schultz in the Mainspace, Feb. 18 March 30, 2003. The work is described this way in the announcement: "One summer, in an old stone fireplace beside her family cottage, a little girl discovers a letter from a delightfully self-absorbed fairy princess. Thus begins a poignant friendship between the child, the princess and an elderly neighbor, to whom the fairy princess dictates her letters."

The premiere of The Domino Heart by Matthew Edison, follows in the Extra Space March 18-April 28, 2003. "Kara's husband is killed in a car accident," according to the announcement. "Mortimer is sleepless in his hospital room. Leo is camped out in his office on the 62nd floor. In the night sky above, a helicopter carries the organ that will connect them all." Michael Kessler directs the drama. It's a co-production with Jack in the Black Theatre.

Chris Earle's Russell Hill, "a darkly comic look at the junction of life and disaster" with a 1995 Toronto subway crash used as a linking metaphor for a series of dramatic scenes about missed warning signals. Chris Abraham directs. It plays the Mainspace April 15-May 25, 2003.

Tarragon, one of the leading Off-Broadway-style theatre companies in Toronto, continues its search for a new artistic director following the December 2001 death of artistic director Urjo Kareda. The fall 2002 season was planned with Kareda. General manager Mallory Gilbert and associate artistic director Andy McKim announced the season March 19. For information, visit


According to Tarragon's mission statement: "Tarragon is primarily a playwright's theatre. Its mandate is to develop, encourage and produce new work; to attract or train artists and technicians to interpret new work; and to inform and develop an audience for new work. Tarragon's mandate also deems it important to produce new work from all parts of this country — from the west, from the east, and from Quebec — as a complement to the new work which is created here; and also, on occasion, to revive a significant Canadian work from our dramatic literature both to provide a context for new creation, and to introduce these received texts to a new audience. In every instance, we emphasize high production standards, both to entertain our audience and to stimulate other new writers. Intensive, hands-on dramaturgy is a priority at Tarragon, for writers in the Playwrights Unit, playwrights-in-residence, playwrights whose work is being produced, and for playwrights who submit unsolicited scripts from across the country. Finally, it is part of Tarragon's mandate to use all its resources, programs and facilities inclusively — for instance, the booking of The Extra Space, the availability of the Tarragon Studio as a creative developmental 'lab,' and the programming of the Spring Arts Fair — to promote and encourage other groups of artists or individual artists who are developing new work, in new forms, in new processes, for new audiences."

The theatre was founded in 1970 by Bill and Jane Glassco. In 1982, Urjo Kareda took over as artistic director. In 1987, Tarragon purchased and renovated the building that has been its home since 1971. There are two playing spaces: Mainspace (205 seats), The Extra Space (100 seats). Both have flexible seating. The Tarragon Studio has three rehearsal halls, one of which can be converted to a 60-seat performance space.

— By Kenneth Jones

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