Motivational Speaker Goes Off Track in World Premiere, Living Tall | Playbill

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News Motivational Speaker Goes Off Track in World Premiere, Living Tall Living Tall, a fake motivational sales monologue featuring Ker Wells, will begin a world premiere run Sept. 19 at Tarragon Theatre's Extra Space.

This production by HopScotch Collective follows developmental presentations. The "high-powered, offbeat comedy" is a collaboration between veteran Toronto theatre artists Ker Wells (performer) and Karin Randoja (director), and Cleveland writer Michael Geither.

Opening is Sept. 20 for a run through Oct. 7. Refinements and revisions have come since its Summerworks Theatre Festival work-in-progress outing in Toronto.

In the show, "salesman Jeffrey Weaver's presentation is going well as he guides his audience through the steps of 'Living Tall,' his high-octane and delightfully strange motivational program to increase sales and earn respect in the business world. But, haunted by his own tale of loss and redemption, Weaver goes off the rails and impulsively reveals the story of what happened to him when he wandered into an Italian funeral procession after a bad job interview in Genoa. By turns touching, bizarre and hilarious, 'Living Tall' bares the hollowness of the marketplace as well as the resiliency of the human spirit as Weaver acknowledges a loss he had endured but never confronted."

Performer Ker Wells is an actor, director and teacher. A founding member of Winnipeg's physical theatre company Primus Theatre (1989 to 1997) and Toronto's Number Eleven Theatre (1998-2006), Wells has trained, performed and taught extensively in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. In 2004 he created The Confessions of Punch and Judy with fellow performer and former Primus colleague Tannis Kowalchuk and director Raymond Bobgan. Punch and Judy has since toured widely in Canada and the U.S, and most recently to Brighton, England and Belgrade, Serbia.

Director Karin Randoja was also a founding member of Primus Theatre, and she has since directed, acted and composed music primarily for original theatre performances. She is a member of Independent Aunties for which she directed the acclaimed Clean Irene and Dirty Maxine. Playwright Mike Geither's Stars Fell All Night premiered to great acclaim at Cleveland Public Theatre in March 2007. He has served as Cleveland Public Theatre's playwright-in-residence.

The artistic team includes lighting designer Flavia Hevia and stage manager Colin Edwards.

After Toronto Living Tall will travel to the Catskill Festival of New Theater in Highland Lake, NY (Oct. 12-13), and returns to the Cleveland Public Theatre Feb. 28-March 2, 2008.

Tarragon Theatre Extra Space is located at 30 Bridgman Avenue in Toronto. For more information call (416) 531-1827.

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