Led by acclaimed director Soheil Parsa, Modern Times Stage Company was founded in 1989 in the belief that individual voices, experiences and backgrounds can unite in a common vision and create theatre that expresses the essence of a shared human spirit. Over the years, Modern Times has explored stories from across the globe, producing adapted, translated and original works for audiences in Canada and internationally.
This March, Modern Times returns to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre with the remount of one of its most successful productions to date, Federico Garcia Lorca’s Blood Weddings | Blood Wedding (in co-production with Aluna Theatre). The 2015 premiere of Blood Weddings received overwhelmingly positive critical reception, won six Dora Mavor Moore Awards, two Toronto Theatre Critics Awards, and landed on NOW Magazine’s Top Ten List for the season.
“We are thrilled to have a chance to share this production again after the wonderful response it received in 2015,” says Soheil Parsa. “In this year, at this time in history, a play dealing with social conventions that stand in the way of individuals being able to freely be themselves, seems immediate and absolutely necessary. Blood Weddings also looks at how humanity can easily slide into tribal mentality and the dangers of that – which of course we are seeing in many ways around the world right now. To me, this play is a timeless mirror.”
When the production was first mounted, it was praised for its diverse casting, though Parsa emphasizes that there was no political imperative driving his choices. “My work is not about the politics of identity,” he says. “What I look for in actors is what they as individuals will bring to a character, and to paint the most vivid picture on stage that I can. In a way, the classics, being somewhat removed from contemporary temporal limitations, allow the most freedom for me as an artist. The cast of our production is a reflection of a full spectrum of humanity, which is what I feel theatre should be.”
Blood Weddings was lauded in the Globe and Mail as ‘…a quintessentially Canadian approach to the classics – one that isn’t about a nebulous idea of diversity, but simply emphasizes the individuality of the performers.”
The spirit of Parsa’s Blood Weddings serves as an illustration and impetus for Modern Times’ next project launching in April – Postmarginal. Parsa and Modern Times’ co-founder Peter Farbridge have collaborated on the Postmarginal project which combines a multi-disciplinary workshop for theatre practitioners, ‘Subject and Creation’, with a three day symposium entitled ‘Beyond Representation: Cultural Diversity as Theatrical Practice’. The symposium will offer a knowledge-base on how to transition cultural diversity in the theatre from exercises in identity politics into a form of contemporary theatrical practice. As a partner on this project, TAPA will host a roundtable on Gender Fluidity as part of the event. The Beyond Representation symposium will be held at Daniels Spectrum, 585 Dundas St. East, from Sunday April 9 – Tuesday April 11.
Tickets for Blood Weddings are now on sale at buddiesinbadtimes.com/show/blood-weddings
Registration for Postmarginal is also now open. Visit the project’s website at postmarginal.ca for more information and to register as a delegate.
Photo Credit : Brian Damude - from Blood Wedding 2015