TotoToo has hit a snag in this year’s local playwrights’ series.
The series began in August with Mary Harvey’s season opener, A Fateful Meeting of Les Femmes Fatales, and was set to continue at the end of November with Daniel Drolet’s His Grace, a fictional account of the final days of the Duke of Connaught, a man 12th in line to the throne who reportedly died of natural causes while visiting Rideau Hall in 1943.
Sadly, due to a personal emergency on the part of one of the cast members, the locally written play will not be making its debut on Nov 30, as planned.
“It was just an emergency that one of the lead actors had to deal with less than a month from when we were [supposed] to be onstage,” says David Ferguson, artistic director of TotoToo and a veteran actor and director for the company. “It made it impossible to continue with the production. These are the chances that you take in community theatre, right? You don’t have a backup plan really; you don’t double-cast a role like you do in professional theatre. You’re kind of at the mercy of the gods.”
Because the emergency took the cast member in question out of town, it became impossible to continue with the production. The two commitments were incompatible and, with a small cast of six, each and every actor is central to the success of the production.
“See, the thing is, it’s an ensemble cast. Unlike many plays where you have main roles and secondary roles, they’re all important in this particular play,” says Ferguson. “We did weigh all the options of what to do. Ultimately, the committee decided that we didn’t want to compromise the quality of the production. It frankly would have been compromised because the cast was really starting to gel.”
The good news is that Ferguson has rebooked Arts Court for the end of May; he hopes to mount His Grace at that point.
“I hope it’ll even be the same cast. We’ll wait and see if everybody is available and willing.”
Now at the five-year mark, TotoToo is really starting to come into its own. The group’s totally new direction this year is a testament to its expanded vision for local, queer theatre. This season’s three homegrown, never-before-produced plays by Ottawa playwrights include Mary Harvey’s A Fateful Meeting of Les Femmes Fatales (Aug 31-Sept 3, 2011); Richard Marquis’s Other Eyes (April 4-7, 2011) and Drolet’s His Grace (end of May, 2011; exact dates TBA).