Talk is Free Theatre (TIFT) is setting the stage for a memorable season. Some of the upcoming plays have music and comedic elements while others incorporate darker topics.

“Certainly the content is denser than is usually done,” said Arkady Spivak, TIFT artistic producer, citing subject matter that ranges from gender to mental health to corruption. “What I was more excited about is shaking the boundaries as to who does what (and) to stretch everyone’s contribution.”

In Hedwig and the Angry Inch, David Ball steps into his first lead role as a drag queen in a rock and roll band in Berlin. The late 90s off-Broadway musical has had a long, award-winning life with productions around the world, a movie and featured Neil Patrick Harris in the first Broadway show in 2014.

“It’s a leading role that every actor would kill for – (they) get to put on nice clothes and be a woman,” said Spivak, adding that he has been looking for a good part for Ball for a long time. “He is a Barrie kid. He usually does supporting parts but this is a leading part and difficult to play.”

The second show of the season, Every Brilliant Thing, is a reminder that joy can be found despite tragedy. Funny and at times heart-wrenching, the story charts the lengths people will go for their loved ones – in this play, a mother, and a young boy.

It stars Michael Torontow who knows well the lengths Spivak can go to mix it up but he enjoys the challenge. In last year’s Candide, he was one of five actors, the least number of people to tell the story in its 258-year history.

This year, his role in Every Brilliant Thing will be atypical as he known more for musicals than plays. It is also interactive with the audience.

The Gamblers is one of three plays written by 1800s Russian dramatist Nikolai Gogol. It’s a comedy about people who gamble, hustle and cheat and no one is what they seem.

The last show of the season is a double bill. Newfoundland-born, Toronto-based actor Allison Basha is paired with local musician and songwriter Alyssa Wright. Both wrote and star in their own shows.

Newfie Electra by Basha is a modern day adaptation of Sophocles classic Electra set in a  Newfoundland fishing village. It centers on Tanya who, in grieving the death of her ‘Fadder’ at the hand of her ‘Mudder’, contemplates revenge.

Music for the Changing Voice: my grandfather’s cello and all the tiny pieces, by Wright, is a tale of growing up in the musical shadow and oppression of the late Don Wright, a musician, composer, and educator. It includes music written by both and tells how the cello helped her heal from the past.

Single tickets and subscriptions are available through the TIFT box office at 705-792-1949.

photo: Arkady Spivak, artistic producer, of Talk is Free Theatre launches the 2018-19 season.

Photo credit: Scott Cooper


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