This fall Tarragon Theatre is going pink. The announcement of artistic director Richard Rose’s 2014/15 season sees the Annex-area space turn queerer than ever.
Under the mantle Lies, Sex & What Comes Next, the company’s season features a selection of plays chock full of both steamy and gay content, including the premiere of Morris Panych’s Sextet. The claustrophobic comic drama sees six sexually entangled musicians stranded in a motel by a massive blizzard trying to sort out their attractions and interactions while maintaining some sense of professional decorum.
Daniel MacIvor features a sextet of his own. His play Cake & Dirt follows six Torontonians over two weeks through parks, hotel rooms and bedrooms.
“I was inspired initially by the idea of outrage,” MacIvor says. “Specifically, the outrage of the people of Toronto about various events taking place in both small and large communities. I started asking questions about outrage, where it comes from, and whether expressing this outrage is really a way of making noise rather than taking action. Even though it’s a heterosexual story, I’d say the politics are radically queer.”
Writer/comedian extraordinaire Diane Flacks has turned to parenting as an inspiration before. Her 2009 solo show Bear with Me saw her chart her experiences of unexpectedly deciding to get pregnant, when it became clear her wife wasn’t able to conceive. Inspired by the first year of her son’s life, which was spent mostly in the hospital because of serious health complications, her new piece, Waiting Room, may be an unintentional companion to this earlier work.
“I was interested by what any of us would do when teetering on a life-and-death precipice,” Flacks says. “What if we were offered hope but the catch is there’s huge risk? How do we all cope in these moments? How do we keep on keeping on?”
Tarragon has a long history of producing some of the country’s finest theatrical fare but not necessarily dealing with works that touch so much on queerness. So does programming say anything about the direction Tarragon may be headed?
“I think Richard cares first about theatre, and I’ve never felt he’s made choices based on queerness,” MacIvor says. “I feel very much at home at Tarragon, regardless of the queerness of the work I was bringing to the table. The theatre is inclusive in the truest sense of the word.”
“I think what it says is ‘We win, Putin loses,’” Flacks adds. “I’m wildly thrilled to be a part of a season with such heavy-hitter writers, so many women, and of course, a good dose of The Gay. It’s all theatre I wouldn’t want to miss, and I hope audiences feel the same.”