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Theatre Outré's new play explores love amidst chaos of Toronto bath house raids

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Theatré Outré returns to the stage with a harrowing new play penned by local playwright and performer Jay Whitehead, Sept. 28-Oct. 2.

 

“333 is an exciting new play by Jay Whitehead,” said director Kathy Zaborsky, who is also composing the soundscape for the one act play.

 

“It’s a fictional love story set amongst the bathhouse raids in Toronto in 1981,” she continued.

 

Garry Williams performs a scene in 333, Theatre Outré's new play. Photo by Richard Amery

 The play stars Andres Moreno from Edmonton, Halifax actor Garry Williams and Calgary resident and U of L graduate John Tasker.

 

“It’s the collision of a young man trying to find himself amidst the chaos and destruction of the bath house riots. It was the largest mass arrest in Canadian history and the birth of the Pride movement in Canada,” Zaborsky summarized.

 

“Veteran performer Garry Williams plays Rue-Barb Crumble, an aging queen who finds herself caught up in the raid,” according to a Theatre Outre press release about the play. Wiliams is co-founder of Da PoPo Theatre and a frequent collaborator with Theatre Outré.

 

“ Rue's story bridges the gap between the earliest gay rights movements and a much broader and sophisticated kind of queer activism we see today,” Williams says in the press release.

 

 The cast and crew have been rehearsing and workshopping the play since Sept. 12  and fine tuned th eplay with Calgary dramaturge Jennifer Taylor.

 

 

“She helped structure the play and checked the historical references and helped it’s dialogue,” Zaborsky said, adding she was familiar with the bath house riots before she started working on the production.

 

“I was just a child then. It’s been great to work  with everybody in this raw and personal journey,” she said, noting tickets are going quickly for the show as there is limited capacity in Didi’s Playhaus due to Covid restrictions.

“I’m excited to see the result,” said playwright Jay Whitehead, who thought the bathhouse raids, which result in 300 people being arrested, deserved  more attention.

 

“I’d heard of it. I didn’t get to talk to anybody who was part of it for the play, but I read a lot of newspaper articles and new reports about it,” Whitehead said, adding he was shocked by the brutality.

 John Tasker and Andres Moreno performs a scene in 333, Theatre Outré's new play. Photo by Richard Amery

 

“It happened in Canada of all places. The sheer violence and brutality to the queer community— the men there must have been so scared,” he said, praising Jennifer Taylor for her assistance with the research.

 

“She helped with a lot of the research and made a lot of structural improvements to the play. She helped the play run as efficiently as possible,” he said.

 

“I didn’t want to sugarcoat the brutality or the violence on the part of the police. So there is nudity and violence in the play,” he said.

“It’s very gut wrenching and visceral,” he said, noting Keith Miller choreographed and staged the fight scenes.

 

“We started rehearsals on Sept. 12, so it’s been a great process. Because of Covid, we had to get a lot done in a short time,”he said.

 Tickets for 333 are $26.50 for adults and $11 for students and music be  purchased in advance through www.theatreoutre.ca

 

Due to the intimacy of the space, proof of double vaccination and passing a wellness screener is required at the door. Single vaccinations and negative test results will not be accepted. For a complete list of COVID-19 Safety requirements please see: https://www.theatreoutre.ca/visiting-didi-safety-information.

— by Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor

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