Since premiering in Toronto more than two decades ago, Lilies hasn’t had enough attention. Written by gay Canadian playwright Michel Marc Bouchard, it is a story of murder, a gay love triangle and revelations in a prison chapel. This year the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives celebrates 40 years of recovering, preserving and providing public access to Canadian queer historical artifacts. A fundraiser for such an institution could hardly have a more fitting focus than a play that is due for a revival read by a motley crew of artists and performers.
Ryan Kelly, who is reading one of the roles, was recently nominated for a Dora Award for his part in The Normal Heart. He says he frequently acts or performs in “politically charged, sometimes historical” productions and says the CLGA is a great cause because “we can learn a lot about how to deal with 'the now' by looking back, and the CLGA helps make that possible.”
Arts and culture journalist (and History Boys columnist) Michael Lyons directs a cast that, in addition to Ryan Kelly, includes Cole Alvis, Ryan Anning, Keith Cole, Sebastien Heins, Ryan G Hinds, Richard Lee, Chris Mitchell and Evan Vipond. “There will be a lot of diverse talent in the room, with performance artists, cabaret artists, radio personalities and singers,” Kelly says.
Most people are probably better acquainted with John Greyson’s 1996 film adaptation of Lilies, which won a plethora of awards, including several Genies and a 1998 GLAAD Media Award. Lilies is an especially appropriate choice, given that Greyson is currently being held in a prison in Cairo after Egypt’s recent “Day of Rage.”