Stage Door News

Toronto: Lucid Ludic with Why Not Theatre presents “Brain Storm” February 27-March 8

Monday, January 20, 2020

A poetic, visually arresting and comically haunting look at the ramifications of brain surgery and how one woman finds her way in a reality that is forever different. BRAIN STORM takes you into the operating theatre, to dissect the question; are our brains magic, machines – or both?

Writer/Director Taliesin McEnaney draws on the work of famous Canadian neurosurgeon Dr. Wilder Penfield, the writings of her spiritual medium grandmother, and a brain injury in her own family to craft this unique piece of physical theatre. Created in collaboration with the cast, BRAIN STORM will have its World Premiere in February 2020 following a critically-acclaimed workshop production at Toronto Fringe. 

“Outstanding Production + Outstanding Direction + OutstandingEnsemble – The visually striking and thoughtful Brain Storm was oneof the best shows at the festival.” (NOW Magazine)

Winner of the Toshi Knife Cutting Edge Award at the 2017 Toronto Fringe Festival

BRAIN STORM features and was co-created by performers Hayley Carr, Maïza Dubhé, Alexandra Montagnese and Shayna Virginillo. The design team consists of Melissa Joakim (lighting and projection), Olivia Shortt (composition and sound), Will Bezek (set and costume) and Ellen Brooker (set and costume assistant). 

Why Not Theatre’s Artistic Director Ravi Jain says, “We’re thrilled to be supporting the return of BRAIN STORM, a beautiful, complicated show told with physical rigor and nuance. The ideas on offer are so multi-layered and creatively executed, it will make you see the world differently after you leave the theatre.”

BRAIN STORM is a relaxed run, with every performance a relaxed performance. Five performances will also feature open captions. LUCID LUDIC is partnering with the Brain Injury Society of Toronto (BIST) and Community Head Injury Resource Services (CHIRS) on this production to raise awareness of the challenges facing those living with brain injury. The CHIRS community group Hand of Hope Collective will be performing The Hand You’re Dealt, a play inspired and performed by people living with Acquired Brain Injuries, before the February 29 performance of BRAIN STORM.

Writer/Director Taliesin McEnaney says, “Those living with brain injury know that the linear narrative of a triumphant journey of recovery is often not available. In BRAIN STORM, we look to theatre not to give us a comforting narrative arc, but to provide us with the tools to explore something that defies explanation. Having a tenuous relationship to the shared reality is a state that many people can relate to. So here we ask audience members to approach this piece as both the surgeon and patient: with an attitude of curiosity combined with vulnerability, allowing oneself to be explored and even prodded throughout the process, to discover the many ways we all might be simulating reality in order to survive.”


Created & Directed by: Taliesin McEnaney

Co-created by & Featuring: Hayley Carr, Maïza Dubhé, Alexandra Montagnese & Shayna Virginillo

Stage Manager: Tara Mohan

Set & Costume Designer: Will Bezek

Assistant Set & Costume Designer: Ellen Brooker

Projection & Lighting Designer: Melissa Joakim

Composer & Sound Designer: Olivia Shortt

Production Manager: Suzie Balogh

Associate Producer: Annie Clarke

Brain Injury Consultant & Dramaturg: Shireen Jeejeebhoy

Dramaturg: Jess Watkin


Dancemakers Studio Theatre, 9 Trinity Street #313, Toronto, ON M5A1G3

Wheelchair accessible venue. Directions and full accessibility info:


Thursday, Feb. 27, 8pm - Opening Night

Friday, Feb. 28, 8pm

Saturday, Feb. 29, 8pm (Open Captions) - Hand of Hope Collective performance 3pm

Sunday, March 1, 2pm (Open Captions)

Tuesday, March 3, 8pm (Open Captions)

Wednesday, March 4, 8pm (Open Captions)

Thursday, March 5, 8pm

Friday, March 6, 8pm

Saturday, March 7, 8pm

Sunday, March 8, 2pm (Open Captions)


Pay-What-You-Can-Afford: $8/$18/$40/$60 | or at the door.


LUCID LUDIC: Facebook / Twitter @lucid_ludic / Instagram@lucid_ludic / 

Why Not: Facebook / Twitter @theatrewhynot / Instagram@theatrewhynot / 

#BrainStormPlay |

Photo: Maïza Dubhé. © 2020 Dahlia Katz.