Skip to main content Skip to local navigation

Playwright discusses his recent work onstage in January

Playwright discusses his recent work onstage in January

Toronto-based playwright and director of theatre and opera, Alistair Newton will digitally screen some of his work and engage in a discussion and Q&A with film Professor Marie Rickard, the master of York’s Winters College, in January.

The event, Queering Theatre in Toronto, will take place Thursday, Jan 5, 2012, from 2 to 4pm in Winters Senior Common Room, 021 Winters College, Keele campus.

Right: Marie Rickard

Newton, a recently appointed Winters College Fellow, is the founding artistic director of Ecce Homo Theatre. His newest musical, Loving the Stranger or How to Recognize an Invert, is scheduled to run from Jan. 5 to 15, 2012, as part of the 2012 Next Stage Theatre Festival at the Factory Theatre in Toronto.

Written and directed by Newton, Loving the Stranger or How to Recognize an Invert, introduces the audience to Montreal’s Peter Flinsch, a theatre designer, visual artist and gay survivor of Nazi Germany, who was arrested in 1942 for kissing a friend at a Luftwaffe Christmas party. It takes in everything from the cabarets of 1920s Berlin and the battle over gay marriage to the office of the Prime Minister, and is billed as a provocative expressionist cabaret.

“The goal of my work is to balance politics and entertainment, to combine dance, music, text and design into a total theatrical experience in the hopes of challenging my audience intellectually and emotionally,” says Newton.

“I agree with Schiller's notion of the stage as a moral institution and I endeavor to create work on big themes for troubled times. My output as a playwright and director with Ecce Homo Theatre seeks to achieve intimacy through artifice using a queer aesthetic as a tool for destabilization, to draw attention to hypocrisy and deflate the un-ironic. As one of my former teachers, Charles Marowitz, once said, “Laughter can be a hammer-stroke in the hands of deft satirists.”

Newton is a contributor to the forthcoming collection, TRANS(per)FORMING Nina Arsenault: An Unreasonable Body of Work (Intellect Ltd.), edited by York theatre Professor Judith Rudakoff.

His previous work includes three consecutive productions for the SummerWorks Theatre Festival in which he was playwright and director of The Pastor Phelps Project: a fundamentalist cabaret, The Ecstasy of Mother Teresa or Agnes Bojaxhiu Superstar and Loving the Stranger or How to Recognize an Invert. Newton’s work has also been performed at the Rhubarb Festival – Leni Riefenstahl vs the 20th Century – and the Victoria Fringe Festival – Woyzeck Songspiel.

In addition, Newton was a participant in the inaugural presentation of The Ark at The National Arts Centre English Theatre in 2006, and is a past member of the BASH! Emerging Artist Program at the Canadian Stage Company, the Ante Chamber Creator’s Unit with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and the Director’s Lab of the Lincoln Center Theater.

He has also served as apprentice director for the Ensemble Studio of the Canadian Opera Company for its 2009-2010 season, where he directed a production of Pergolisi’s La Serva Padonra. Newton’s recent work includes a stint as director/dramaturge for Bella: The Color of Love with Teresa Tova and Mary Kerr at the Philadelphia Theatre Company. It was a commission for the 2011 Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts.

The show is being supported by the Toronto Arts Council, the Ontario Arts Council, the Next Stage Theatre Festival and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.