Unity (1918)

Black and white photo of grave stones on the prairies.  Poster image for playWritten by Kevin Kerr

Directed by Andy Houston

Performances: November 18 - 21st, 2015

Matinees: November 18 & 20, 2015 

Venue: Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages Building  

In the fall of 1918, as soldiers return to Canada from distant battlefields, a world devastated by four years of war is suddenly hit by a mysterious and deadly plague – the “Spanish flu”. The illness strikes anybody, even people in the prime of life. The rapid progression toward mortality brings home the terror, the panic, and the sense of helplessness of World War I; more people die of this epidemic than are killed in battle throughout the war.

UNITY (1918) offers a moving and revealing examination of what happens when a deadly virus arrives in a town in the middle of Saskatchewan that was thought to be safe – too distant, too remote – from an epidemic devastating populations elsewhere. Canadians tend to assume such tragedies happen elsewhere, to other people. With UNITY (1918) playwright Kevin Kerr takes us back to this moment in Canadian history, and poetically places the unthinkable threat of a deadly virus in our midst. In a town where every day, familiar things become deadly, Kerr turns his focus on those with the most to lose, the youth, and how they find the strength to face illness, isolation, and death.

Directed by Professor Andy Houston, this production was theatre for people that are trying to overcome the ‘me, myself and I’ culture that comes with social media and smart phones. When the stakes are high, and a performance may offer a sense that we are ultimately ‘all in this together’, theatre isn't a communication device, it's a site of communion. Andy was joined by Toronto designer Arun Srinivasan (lighting) and student designers Maddy Samms (Set) and Mark Haasnoot (Costumes). 
They turned the Theatre of the Arts into a shared destination, and that place is Unity.

Check out the Dramaturgy Hub for the show.

Cast

Beatrice - Mollie Garrett 

Sissy - Abbi Longmire 

Sunna - Sam Mercury 

Hart - Sam Beuerle 

Michael - Erik Van Dijk 

Mary - Jackie Mahoney 

Rose - Emma Mann 

Doris - Nivan ElSeweify 

Stan - Cameron Smith 

Ardell / Voice / Woman / Chaperone - Brooke Barnes  

Thorson / Glen / Man 1 - Isaac Ellmen 

Spooner / Man 2 / Chaperone - Zac Gungl

Creative Team

Director – Andy Houston

Set Designer – Madeline Samms

Costume Designer – Mara Haasnoot

Props Designer/ Fight Choreographer – Shaw Forgeron

Lighting Designer – Arun Srinivasan

Sound Designer – Colin Labadie

Vocal Composition – Meghan Bunce

Dramaturgy Team – Mollie Garrett, Cameron Jolliffe, Meghan Landers, Stefan Radic, Carla Rodrigo

Supervising Dramaturg – Toby Malone

Production Team

Production Manager – Janelle Rainville

Technical Director – Gill Lesperance

Production Faculty – Paul Cegys

Head of Wardrobe (Dept) – Sharon E.Secord

Stage Manager – Clare Flood

Assistant Stage Managers – Alyssa Almeida, Cody Burns

Head of Carpentry / Paint / Props – Alexandra Porter

Lead of Lighting – Chelsea Vanoverbeke

Head of Wardrobe – Sandy Thi

Head of Makeup/Hair – Meghan Landers

Head of Publicity – Zachary Haime

Crew - Jennifer Addesso, Brooke Barnes, Annaijah Dacres, Darius Hahn, Tausha Hanna, Rebecca Reid, Erik Van Dijk, Christine Varga

Special Thanks

Angus Audio

Lance Harrison

Mollie Bostock

Donna Hociung

Brian’s Foto Source

William Innes

Jane Britton

Paul and Graeme Landers

Taras Cymbalisty

James McCrae

Tess Morgan

Kristi Dukovic

Wendy Philpott

Doug Dye (Safety Office)

Samantha Polzin

Charlie Fitton

Brian Rainville

Bruce Garrett

Fr. Myroslav Shmygelsky

Mark Haasnoot

Karolina Szymczyk

Warren Haasnoot

Theatre Aquarius