Stage Door News

Toronto: “Shove It Down My Throat” premieres at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre March 30–April 14

Monday, March 4, 2019

Buddies in Bad Times’ 40th anniversary season continues next month with the world premiere of a new play by Johnnie Walker, Shove It Down My Throat, a co-production with Toronto indie company Pandemic Theatre (Daughter, Take d Milk, Nah?, The Only Good Indian). A fierce and freewheeling exploration of a powerful true story, Shove It Down My Throat was created through the Buddies Residency Program, marking the company’s tenth main stage production to emerge from the program.

In 2013, Luke O’Donovan was arrested after a knife fight at a New Year’s party in Atlanta, Georgia. The media portrayed him as a maniac who went on a stabbing spree, while Luke said he was the victim of a queer-bashing, punished for fighting back. In 2014, theatre artist Johnnie Walker began corresponding with the incarcerated O’Donovan, leading to online research, interviews with O’Donovan’s friends, a trip to the scene of the crime, and the creation of a new play.

Hailed by Xtra as “the top of Canada’s queer theatre class”, playwright Johnnie Walker (Redheaded Stepchild) brings his unique flair to a riveting true crime story that puts queerness, identity, and complicity through a theatrical kaleidoscope. At a time when media is increasingly polarized and online comments allow everyone to weigh in, Shove It Down My Throat speaks to our desire for a simple narrative and an ever-elusive truth, as Johnnie sifts through the various versions and accounts of the incident, and of Luke himself.

Pandemic Theatre’s artistic director Tom Arthur Davis (Take d Milk, Nah?, Mahmoud) directs Walker in the piece, performing alongside an ensemble cast bringing together the worlds of theatre, drag, burlesque, and comedy. Featuring Daniel Carter (The Youth/Elders Project), Willard Gillard (BoylesqueTO), Kwaku Okyere (The Seat Next to the King), Craig Pike (LULU v.7 // aspects of a femme fatale), Heath V. Salazar (The Wolves), and Anders Yates (Second City). The world of Shove It Down My Throat is brought to life by set and costume designer Anahita Dehbonehie (Brotherhood, the Hiphopera; Stratford’s Breath of Kings), lighting designer Rebecca Vandevelde (Take d Milk, Nah?, Sound of the Beast), and sound designer Jivesh Parasram (Take d Milk, Nah?, They Say He Fell).

A Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Pandemic Theatre production


 by Johnnie Walker
directed by Tom Arthur Davis
starring Johnnie Walker, Daniel Carter, Willard Gillard, Kwaku Okyere, Craig Pike, Heath V Salazar + Anders Yates
set + costume design by Anahita Dehbonehie
lighting design by Rebecca Vandevelde
sound design by Jivesh Parasram
assistant directed by Rhiannon Collett

stage managed by Waleed Ansari

production management by Oz Weaver

Previews: March 30th + 31st, April 2nd  

Opening Night: April 3rd
Closing Performance: April 14th  

Runs: Tues-Sat 8pm, Sun 2:30pm

Tickets: PWYC - $40

Box Office 416-975-8555 or

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, 12 Alexander Street, Toronto ON

The script for Shove It Down My Throat was developed in collaboration with Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal.

A relaxed performance will be held on Thursday, April 4th at 8:00PM. Patrons can book $10 tickets in advance using the code “RP10.”

In celebration of the company’s 40th anniversary Buddies has substantially expanded its program of Pay-What-You-Can tickets. Every Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Sunday a block of tickets will go on sale at noon for that day’s performance, and you pick the price. Whatever fits your budget, that’s what the ticket costs. Pay What You Can tickets are available until 7:00pm on weekdays and 2:30pm on Sundays, or until they sell out – whichever comes first.

Photo: Johnnie Walker. © 2019 Tanja-Tiziana.