We’ve seen the hashtag #realtalk used flippantly on social media, but one of the pioneers of modern Canadian theatre truly deserves that millennial moniker.
Director Joel Greenberg often takes an unflinching gutsy look at the human condition in his productions, which he’s been doing for decades with his company Studio 180. But now he’s partnering with Tarragon Theatre for the first time to probe another complicated and important facet of life – dealing with dementia.
You Will Remember Me was written in French by Quebec playwright François Archambault, and will have an English translation for this Toronto premiere. It will run at Tarragon Theatre from March 9 to April 10.
The play looks at an aging patriarch of a modern family who suffers from dementia, and how the people who love him struggle to understand his disease and care for his well-being.
“There’s a larger metaphor in the play about collective memory,” Greenberg tells The CJN. “What does one generation work hard to achieve, and how does the next one work hard to not ignore it?”
Greenberg goes on to say he was attracted to the play’s larger theme about what a generation will be passionate about in a given moment, and how successive generations are expected to take on those same missions.
“You Will Remember has that human connection, of watching a family in crisis,” adds Greenberg.
Bringing this production to Toronto echoes Studio 180’s core goals: put on plays that deal with hard complex issues. “I don’t think we’ve done any play that ties up neatly at the end,” notes Greenberg.
Studio 180 has tackled homophobia (The Laramie Project), the Middle Eastern conflict (The Arab-Israeli Cookbook), the George W. Bush administration (Stuff Happens), black-white relations (Parade) and class war (Clybourne Park). If it’s dense, dark but still offers flashes of humour, Studio 180 will be on top of it.
Greenberg, a native of Montreal who moved to Toronto in 1971, is keen on partnering with other theatre groups, he says, as he’s done with Mirvish Productions and Canadian Stage. In this debut partnership with Tarragon Theatre, Greenberg says it’s a good fit, because “this is a new writer to English Canada and Tarragon audiences are very appreciative of new work.
“Part of the excitement of a partnership is you get to have more ideas, when someone is looking at the same work in different ways.”
You Will Remember Me runs from March 9 to April 10 at Tarragon Theatre, 30 Bridgeman Ave. For tickets call 416-531-1827