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Ottawa playwright Hannah Moscovitch. Photo supplied.

GCTC’s new season confides in young female playwrights

By Greggory Clark on March 7, 2017

Hometown favourites, an adult-only dating adventure, millennial comedies… Last weekend, Great Canadian Theatre Company unveiled its 2017–18 season during a subscribers event at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre.

Programmed by Artistic Director Eric Coates, the company’s 43rd season is dominated by female playwrights – young female playwrights. “This is partly due to our commitment to gender equity, but more so because these are the plays that arrested me,” says Coates. “These plays stopped me in my tracks. There is a powerful movement to reflect the millennial experience in today’s playwriting and I am very excited by it.”

Promo image for You Are Happy by Rébecca Déraspe. Photo by Emily Cooper.

Promo image for You Are Happy by Rébecca Déraspe. Photo by Emily Cooper.

The 2017–18 season begins in September with You Are Happy by Québécoise playwright Rébecca Déraspe. Translated by Leanna Brodie from Déreaspe’s Deux ans de votre vie. Her inquisitive dark comedy explores “millennial love, sibling loyalty, conformity and an uncomfortably close shave.”

“I am tickled by a love story that delves into the surreal,” says Coates. “When the simple act of love is reduced to market research; you either have to give up, or laugh in spite of yourself.”

“These plays stopped me in my tracks. There is a powerful movement to reflect the millennial experience in today’s playwriting and I am very excited by it.”

Ottawa playwright Hannah Moscovitch.

Ottawa playwright Hannah Moscovitch.

Award-winning Ottawa playwright Hannah Moscovitch has a powerful play in What A Young Wife Ought to Know. In 2016, Moscovitch became only the second Canadian recipient of a Windham-Campbell Literature Prize. The $150,000 prizes are given out to eight or nine writers of drama, fiction and non-fiction from around the world each year.

Moscovitch is known for her comedy which is clear, though not always comfortable. In a review of Young Wife’s Halifax premiere, theatre critic Meghan Hurley wrote, “[Moscovitch’s] signature pairing of the ugly and the comedic is at its best blend to date.” What A Young Wife Ought to Know will open in January 2018 and run for three weeks.

Other highlights include Ordinary Days, a New York musical which stands out as the season’s only piece by a male playwright and by an American, Adam Gwon.

Another departure from the usual is Rebecca Northan’s Blind Date, billed as an adults-only show. Northan’s show is forced to be rather spontaneous by bringing an audience member on stage to play opposite her character, who has been stood up by her date. The show changes every night.

Tess Degenstein in Blind Date. Photo by Banko Media Inc.

Tess Degenstein in Blind Date. Photo by Banko Media Inc.

GCTC’s season closes with Gracie by Joan MacLeod. In Gracie we see the story of a teenage girl in a polygamous community. MacLeod takes us into young Gracie’s world, where we discover the increasing pressure she feels to conform in an uncommon environment.

In addition to the new season of plays, a second season of the sold-out smash hit, Chefs & Shows was announced. Curated by Sheila Whyte (Thyme & Again) and Chef Michael Moffatt, GCTC will bring six new chefs from top restaurants to showcase at Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre. Tim Stock (Play Wine Bar) and Christopher Deraiche (Wellington Gastropub) are among those tasked to create unique menus inspired by a show in the 2017–18 season.

Propeller Dance will return for a fourth season as GCTC’s company-in-residence and the Ottawa School of Art will continue to curate exhibitions in Fritzi Gallery at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre.


Visit www.gctc.ca to see the full 2017–18 season. Great Canadian Theatre Company’s 43rd season opens on September 21 at Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre (1233 Wellington W). Subscriptions cost $137–275.

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