MTYP 2014-15 sea­son re­turns to seven shows

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - KEVIN PROKOSH

MAN­I­TOBA Theatre for Young People will cel­e­brate the first an­nual Is­lamic His­tory Month in Oc­to­ber by kick­ing off its 2014-15 sea­son with a play about a hi­jab-wear­ing girl taken away from her high school due to an­tiMus­lim graf­fiti. Jab­ber (Oct. 27-Jan. 16), by Van­cou­ver play­wright Mar­cus Youssef, is the story of an Egyp­tian-born teen at­tracted to a nonMus­lim boy with a bad rep­u­ta­tion. Jab­ber is a col­lo­qui­al­ism for a fe­male who wears a hi­jab.

“It’s one of those ex­cel­lent so­cial-is­sue pieces that also speaks re­al­is­ti­cally to teens in their own ver­nac­u­lar,” says MTYP ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer Derek Aasland. “It deals with an is­sue that is so par­tic­u­lar to our times in a way that is so dis­arm­ing.” What’s note­wor­thy about MTYP’s 33rd sea­son is that it is re­turn­ing to a seven-show play­bill af­ter down­siz­ing this sea­son to only five of­fer­ings. This is the first sea­son Aasland has as­sem­bled and rep­re­sents the first step in restor­ing the com­pany to promi­nence in both the Win­nipeg and Cana­dian theatre com­mu­ni­ties af­ter a fi­nan­cially tu­mul­tuous 2012-13 sea­son that cli­maxed with the dis­missal of artis­tic di­rec­tor Leslee Sil­ver­man. “I was tasked with find­ing what the op­ti­mum num­ber of shows for MTYP is given the bud­gets we are given. Nor­mally MTYP did nine to 10 but we’re go­ing with seven and will ex­pand that num­ber when it be­comes fi­nan­cially fea­si­ble,” says Aasland. Next sea­son will be high­lighted by the re­in­sti­tu­tion of a Christ­mas show, Peter Pan (Nov. 27-Dec. 24), with chil­dren’s mu­sic star Fred Pen­ner repris­ing his role as Cap­tain Hook, which he first per­formed at MTYP in 2000. “My first pri­or­ity was to bring back the fun of an MTYP sea­son that had been de­flated through a year of hard­ship,” says Aasland, who projects a “pretty good” sur­plus on the cur­rent sea­son. MTYP is host­ing four tour­ing shows, be­gin­ning with Pinoc­chio (Nov. 6-15), pre­sented by Que­bec’s Tout è Trac. The new take on Carlo Col­lodi’s clas­sic tale fol­lows the mar­i­onette from log-hood to boy­hood. Black Vi­o­lin (Jan. 7-17) from Florida will be back for an encore af­ter a suc­cess­ful de­but in 2010. It fea­tures a pair of clas­si­cally trained vi­o­lin­ists on a mis­sion to in­spire with a fol­lowyour-dreams mes­sage driven by a funky mix of hip hop, jazz, R&B and Bach. Aasland will bring back New Cana­dian Kid (Feb. 4-13), Den­nis Foon’s ever-top­i­cal 1978 work, which is said to be the most pro­duced Cana­dian play ever. The story about im­mi­grant chil­dren in Canada ex­plores the ex­pe­ri­ence of be­ing an out­sider try­ing to fit in. Theatre Terra from the Nether­lands will drop by for spring break to stage Spot (March 23-April 2). From the com­pany that brought Lit­tle Don­key to Win­nipeg comes an­other pup­pet show, this time cel­e­brat­ing one of chil­dren’s lit­er­a­ture most beloved dogs. The sea­son wraps with Ka­put (April 16-26), a word­less trib­ute to slap­stick com­edy of the silent-film era. The Aus­tralian stage ex­port fo­cuses on an ea­ger handy­man/pro­jec­tion­ist try­ing to screen a film with a tem­per­a­men­tal pro­jec­tor.

Xavier Dolan’s film Mommy is up for the top prize.

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