by Jani Lauzon & Kaitlyn Riordan
Anticipating a visit by King George VI, an English teacher at a church-run Residential school in Northern Ontario enlists her students in a production of All’s Well That Ends Well. But her rigid ideas of how Shakespeare should be performed are challenged as her actors find parallels between themselves and the characters in the play – and, far from letting themselves be defined by colonial expectations, set out to make Shakespeare’s bitter-sweet comedy defiantly their own.
Born of both family legacy and calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, ‘1939’ has been guided by Indigenous Elders, Survivors, and ceremony throughout its several years of development.
Jani Lauzon and Kaitlyn Riordan have been researching and developing this piece since 2017. Along with Research Dramaturg; Sorouja Moll, they have travelled to Sault-Ste-Marie, Kettle Point, and many spots in between to speak with Elders, consult archives, and visit sites of former Residential Schools. Jessica Carmichael came on as their Dramaturg at the end of 2019.
- World Premiere at The Stratford Festival (Studio Theatre) – Sept/Oct 2022
- Developed through The Stratford Festival Lab and supported by the Canada Council for the Arts through Shakespeare in the Ruff
- Purchase the script here
Portia’s Julius Caesar
Adapted from Shakespeare’s classic political thriller, this hybrid script refocuses the plot onto the female characters, with 50% Shakespearean text and 50% new writing, in iambic pentametre.
As Caesar reaches ambitiously for more power, Brutus, Cassius and a band of conspirators plot to stop him – by bloody means. In this radical adaptation, we discover Portia, Brutus’ wife, as she tries to keep the peace in Rome, all while protecting her best friend Calpurnia, her new son and the democracy she believes in.
- Produced in 2018, by Shakespeare in the Ruff
- Produced in 2019 at Hart House Theatre
- Purchase the script here
Riordan’s feminist interpretation resonates with present-day politics, specifically the #MeToo movement and the Trump presidency. But it also casts the entirety of the Bard’s canon in a new light, inviting all to imagine what other plays might look like if given a similar treatment.
NOW Magazine 4/5 stars
Half the script is Riordan’s own writing; the other is drawn from 17 Shakespeare plays, including Julius Caesar, 4 sonnets, and a poem. Her achievement in weaving this all together so it comes across as a single – and credibly Elizabethan – voice is considerable.
The Toronto Star 3.5/4 stars (named Top 10 Toronto shows of 2018)
I Sit Content – A Story of Emily Carr
An exploration of the value of art, this Canadian history play entangles us with two of Canada’s most celebrated artists; Emily Carr & Lawren Harris.
For almost 15 years, during her middle age, Emily Carr stopped painting. The exhaustion of poverty, the sting of rejection, and the isolation of the artist’s life were too much to contend with. Then, in her late 50’s, after meeting Lawren Harris – defacto leader of The Group of Seven – she began painting again with a vengeance. Their unexpected, volatile relationship, foils to each other’s lives, play out in ‘I Sit Content’, asking us all to consider the worth of art.
- Developed through the Playwright’s Unit at The Thousand Islands Playhouse
- Supported by The Canada Council for the Arts, The Toronto Arts Council, and The Tarragon Theatre