Stage Door News

Toronto: Coal Mine Theatre announces a two-show season for 2022

Thursday, November 18, 2021

After a too-long absence, Toronto’s acclaimed and beloved off-off Broadview stage - COAL MINE THEATRE - is thrilled to announce plans for the re-opening of their doors with a distinguished two-show mini-season welcoming theatre lovers back to the Danforth.


The seventh season for the company –who last presented a Dora Award-winning production of MARJORIE PRIME starring the late Canadian theatre icon Martha Henry­ in early 2020– COAL MINE THEATRE’s return resumes the company’s mandate to present challenging, provocative, and entertaining contemporary work in a refreshingly intimate and entirely authentic setting.


“It’s hard to believe that we have been dark since closing the most successful show we've ever done, Marjorie Prime, almost two years ago,” comment company co-founders Diana Bentley and Ted Dykstra. “After this long and challenging time, we are delighted to be coming back with two plays that really exemplify the spirit of COAL MINE – they’re smart, dramatically-charged, beautifully written and fundamentally entertaining.”


The season begins in January with the Canadian premiere of the most recent offering from the endlessly celebrated, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Annie Baker – THE ANTIPODES. An exploration of the fundamental and pervasive nature of storytelling, in THE ANTIPODES a group of people sit around a table endlessly theorising, categorizing and telling stories. Their real purpose never quite clear. Part satire, part sacred rite, this contemporary masterwork asks what value stories have for a world in crisis. The second production of Baker from the COAL MINE who presented THE ALIENS in 2017, THE ANTIPODES will be directed by COAL MINE co-founder Ted Dykstra and feature Simon Bracken, Joshua Browne, Ari Cohen, Sarah Dodd, Colin Doyle, Murray Furrow, Qasim Khan, Varun Saranga and Kelsey Verzotti


“Toronto loves Annie Baker, and we're honoured to be presenting another play from America's hottest playwright” say Bentley and Dykstra. “A writer's room secluded from a troubled society is the setting of THE ANTIPODES. It speaks to the elemental nature of theatre – humans need to make stories, tell stories, and to create sense and meaning from experiences. But of course, Baker approaches it with the signature incisiveness and wit that distinguish her writing. We laugh and we sigh every time we read it. This play feels like the perfect note to come back on.”


In April, the company will present the Toronto premiere of the Pulitzer-finalist and 2013 Obie Award-winner for Best New American Play, Lisa D’Amour’s DETROIT, directed by Dora-winner Jill Harper (pool (no water), Byhalia, Missippi). A darkly-comic, searingly acute observation of the effects of deep economic uncertainty on the middle-class, D’Amour’s play revolves around two suburban couples meeting at a barbecue in a first-ring suburb just outside a city that might be Detroit. As the action unfolds, one couple reveals that they met at rehab, and neither is employed, and a quintessential cookout quickly turns into something more dangerous. Casting for DETROIT will be announced later in the season.


“DETROIT was first produced in 2013, and it feels even more prescient today as our world goes through what will undoubtedly be a long economic recovery,” add Bentley and Dykstra. “It must be said though that D’Amour doesn’t treat her subject preciously – DETROIT is unsettling while also bracingly funny.”


For 2022, COAL MINE has decided to limit seating to ensure complete comfort for audiences but will offer extended runs for both productions. Performances will run Tuesday – Saturday at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm. Tickets are available now at www.coalminetheatre.com beginning at $35 for previews and arts workers and at ranging from $60-72.50 for regular performances.


COAL MINE THEATRE 2022 SEASON:


THE ANTIPODES

January 23rd – March 6th

Opening night: January 26th


Written by Annie Baker

Directed by Ted Dykstra


Starring: Simon Bracken, Joshua Browne, Ari Cohen, Sarah Dodd, Colin Doyle, Murray Furrow, Qasim Khan, Varun Saranga and Kelsey Verzotti


In Annie Baker’s THE ANTIPODES, a group of people sit around a table telling, cataloging, and theorizing stories. Their purpose is never clear: are they brainstorming ideas for a TV show? A film? A mythology? This is a world where ghostly fables co-exist with mundane discussions of snacks and sexual exploits, where the vague instruction to tell stories about “something monstrous” though “it might not be a literal monster” becomes maddeningly impossible. Part satire, part sacred rite, THE ANTIPODES asks what value stories have for a world in crisis.



DETROIT

April 10th – May 22nd

Opening night: April 13th


Written by Lisa D’Amour

Directed by Jill Harper


In a first-ring suburb just outside a city that might be Detroit, Ben and Mary see sudden signs of life at the deserted house next door and invite their new neighbors Sharon and Kenny over for a barbecue. As the action unfolds, we learn that Sharon and Kenny met at rehab, neither is employed, and they don’t own a stick of furniture. The quintessential American back-yard party turns quickly turns into something more dangerous—and filled with potential.



ABOUT THE COAL MINE THEATRE


Since this artistic home for Toronto’s East End was founded in 2014 by co-artistic directors Diana Bentley and Ted Dykstra, The Coal Mine Theatre has become one of the most talked-about and critically acclaimed theatres in Toronto. It was modeled after the Off-Off Broadway theatres in New York and branded as Toronto’s Off-Off-Broadview Theatre. In its intimate space on the Danforth, The Coal Mine has for six seasons presented some of the most challenging, stimulating, and award-winning scripts from Canada and around the world.