Stage Door News

Toronto: Modern Times Stage Company creates an experimental theatre troupe

Friday, September 15, 2023

Modern Times Stage Company is delighted to announce the creation of The Post Modernists, an ambitious new, one-of-a-kind experimental theatre creation troupe. Over the course of the next year, the troupe will investigate, dismantle, explore, and push the boundaries of live theatre as we understand it, within our diverse, contemporary, global and Canadian context.

“The catalyst for The Post Modernists was a need to try something new, to experiment, and continue our objective of bucking the trends of performing arts and associated entertainment that gravitates more and more towards monetization, sequels, and regurgitations of the same tired forms, narratives, and ideas. Modern Times believes in the NEW; new structures, new forms, new and better ways to exist, to come together, to engage in art, through multiple facets of life. Modern Times is, and will always be, proud to be an artistic organization pushing the edge, creating and exploring art that exists on the forefront of the issues and times faced by our global society.” - Rouvan Silogix, Artistic Director | Modern Times Stage Company

Phase one of The Post Modernists begins September 15 with a focus on writing. A talented team of imaginative and radical writers has been formed who will collectively and individually explore different themes of the moment that are rooted in issues at the forefront of our society.

We are thrilled to announce the members of Cohort #1 - the first team of participants in The Post Modernists project: playwrights Jeff Ho, Coleen MacPherson, Rafeh Mahmud and Luke Reece. Together, these writers will be the core creative unit in residence during the troupe’s first iteration. They will be joined by additional fellow artists and non-artist collaborators. Phase 2 of the project, in a couple of months, will introduce actors into the mix.

About the Artists:

Ho Ka Kei (Jeff Ho) is a theatre artist, originally from Hong Kong. As an actor, he has toured as Ophelia in Why Not Theatre's Prince Hamlet across the country and the US over the last five years. As a playwright, his works include: cockroach, the LAMBDA Award winning and Governor General's Literary Award Finalist Iphigenia and the Furies (on Taurian Land) and Antigone and trace. You can find his plays published by Playwrights Canada Press. He is the Associate Artistic Director of the Tarragon Theatre.

Coleen MacPherson is an international theatre artist, playwright and director based in Toronto. She trained at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris and is the artistic director of Open Heart Surgery, a female-led physical theatre company that creates new devised work that is poetic, relevant and experimental. She has been making theatre since 2014; as a half Parsi-Indian, Irish-Canadian theatre maker, her work often engages with ideas of cross-cultural collaboration, bending borders and aims to speak to the current moment. Coleen has taught Playwriting at The University of Toronto, Brock University, Sheridan College and Hairpin Arts and was Assistant Director at the Stratford Festival for Antoni Cimolino's Richard III in the 2022 season. She is currently Creator in Residence at Cahoots Theatre (Toronto).

Rafeh Mahmud is a Pakistani-Tanzanian-American, recent Canadian immigrant, Daytime Emmy award winning Producer, Writer, Director and Editor, new-immigrant to Canada. His latest film When Life Gives You Lemons (2022) has 6 Official Selections, 1 Award, & 2 Nominations for Best International Short Film & Best Editing, including Oscar-qualifying festivals Martha's Vineyard AA Film Festival Virtual Experience & St. Louis International Film Festival.

Rafeh has worked for ABC News “Good Morning America” and for Light Iron/Panavision on Netflix's "Queen's Gambit", Amazon's "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel", CBS's "The Good Fight" among other TV-shows and films. Since moving to Toronto, he has worked on Lifetime Network "Jodi Arias: Bad Behind Bars", CBC Gem's "Virgins" and "True Dating Stories”, and CTV’s “Black Community Mixtapes.” He has also worked with the Canadian Opera Company, Stratford Festival, Crow's Theatre and Modern Times Stage Company.

Outside of his work in film, Rafeh works as a director, playwright and actor in theatre, and is a multiple grant-winning theatre artist. Prior to his recent immigration to Toronto, he lived and worked in New York City and Karachi, Pakistan.

✦ In a failed attempt to escape Presto, Luke Reece left his hometown of Mississauga under the guise of becoming a Toronto-based artist. He strives to share authentic and engaging stories with audiences through his work as an award-winning producer, playwright, poet and educator. Luke is the Associate Artistic Director at Soulpepper Theatre, one of Canada’s leading non-profit theatre companies. Through Luke’s work as an artistic leader within the national arts community, he advocates for engaging and nuanced storytelling that challenges Canadian audiences. In 2021 Luke was included in York University’s inaugural Top 30 Changemakers Under 30 list.

Luke is one of Toronto’s most decorated slam poets, becoming the Toronto Poetry Slam (TPS) Grand Champion in 2017, winning the Canadian Festival of Spoken Word as the captain of the TPS team and then again in 2018 as the team coach. In 2018 he placed 2nd in Canada individually which earned him a spot representing the country at the 2019 World Cup of Poetry Slam in Paris, France where he placed 4th. He continues to give back to the Toronto Spoken Word scene as a board member for the Toronto Poetry Project. In the spring of 2020 Luke was featured performing for former Toronto Raptor and NBA Champion Serge Ibaka on his Instagram Talent Show. His body of work also includes a radio play, animated short and a praised short film featured on CBC titled Notice.

Thank you to Toronto Arts Council for funding this project through the Open Door Grant.

Modern Times Stage Company creates original Canadian art, reimagines classic work, and adapts plays in different languages and contexts to bring holistic and innovative forms to our contemporary and diverse Toronto audiences. The company’s most recent projects include No Save Points produced by Outside the March, created and performed by Sebastien Heins, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo in a co-production with Crow’s Theatre, directed by Rouvan Silogix, and a co-production of Lorca’s The House of Bernarda Alba with Aluna Theatre, directed by Soheil Parsa.

Modern Times is committed to exploring, imagining and creating exciting, radical, performing arts in Toronto, while empowering voices that have been historically and presently marginalized – focusing on artists who have immigrated or sought asylum in Canada. Modern Times is the only Toronto-based Theatre company that prioritizes empowering immigrants, newcomers and refugees as part of our core mandate.

Stay tuned for further updates on The Post Modernists!