Playwright Alex Poch-Goldin’s first big hit, This Hotel, about a man who goes on a journey through his subconscious after coming home to find his wife with another man, will be remounted just north of Toronto.
A surreal fantasy, This Hotel was written for the 1999 Toronto Fringe Festival.
“We didn’t have a play, so I started scouring my journals. I found a premise of a dream and I used it for a launching pad to explore the play,” he said. In This Hotel, after his wife’s rejection, the character Lester “goes into a place in his mind where he visits a hotel, and a bellhop emerges who is a kind of shape-shifting guide who takes him on a tour of his subconscious and takes him through a series of rooms,” Poch-Goldin said.
“He encounters people who are in one sense aspects of his subconscious, but also other tenants of the hotel who have suffered some kind of love loss or love pain.”
This Hotel sold out when Theatre Passe Muraille presented it in 2000, and it received six Dora Award nominations. It opens in Barrie, Ont., on March 3.
Poch-Goldin, a busy actor who’s appeared in films, plays and on television, has been writing since he was a child growing up in Montreal.
“When I wasn’t working as an actor, I still needed to be creative, so I found an outlet in playwriting instead of waiting for the phone to ring,” he said.
He’s the author of The Right Road To Pontypool, about a resort in Pontypool, Ont., where Toronto Jews vacationed from 1916 to the early 1960s. He won the 2002 Toronto Jewish Playwriting Award for his play Yahrzeit, which explores conflict and the hard choices we must make to find peace in our lives and in our world. Translated into German, Yahrzeit toured Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
Last summer, Poch-Goldin’s play The Bad Luck Bank Robbers, about a daring 1961 daylight robbery of the Toronto-Dominion Bank in Havelock, Ont., was sold out for its eight weeks at 4th Line Theatre in Millbrook, Ont. The show is back at 4th Line this August.
Poch-Goldin is also the author of the libretto for Against Nature/À Rebours, a music, dance and theatre piece about a man who turns his back on society, to be presented by Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie in Toronto this May.
For his next acting job, though, he won’t be waiting for the phone to ring. He’s got a gig lined up playing a waiter in Soulpepper theatre’s production of Arthur Miller’s Incident at Vichy, to be staged in May and June. The play is about Jews who have been brought in for interrogation in France during the Nazi era.
“It has to do with individual culpability and responsibility in the face of fascism and terror – what we can do to help instead of just thinking about ourselves,” Poch-Goldin said.
Pondering his two-pronged career, Poch-Goldin said that “as a writer, the work lasts. It’s there, it can be produced.” He said an actor’s work exists only in the minds of the people who see the performance. “It’s a different thing than being a playwright, where there is something tangible that is a blueprint where people can tell your story from when you’re gone.”
This Hotel runs from March 3 to 12 at Talk Is Free Theatre in Barrie, Ont. For tickets, click here.
For tickets to Against Nature/À Rebours, May 4 to 8 and May 11 to 15, click here.
For tickets to Incident at Vichy at Soulpepper theatre in May and June, click here.
For tickets to The Bad Luck Bank Robbers at 4th Line Theatre from Aug. 2 to 27, click here.