"... theater at its most elemental..." -- New York Times, 2007
Winner of the 2007 Lawrence Olivier Award for Best New Play
Fifteen years ago, when Una was 12 and Ray was 40, they had a sexual relationship.Their lives have been distorted because of it, however it is uncertain whether either of them recognize its profound effects. After serving his sentence, Ray changed his name and began a new life. Una has tracked him down to confront him in his workplace. But what does she want?
"... is Una, the young woman in the play, after revenge or closure, or does she want to restart it? Is Ray, who has been sent to prison and is (he claims) attempting to rebuild his life, a mendacious aggressor, or as much of a victim as she is?..." "...questions far outnumber the answers..." --The Guardian, 2017
Why We Are Doing It:
David Harrower captures the bewildering and brutal realities that young victims of sex abuse often face as they grow older. We follow Una on her confusing journey, as she navigates the conflict of her young infatuation with Ray, and her adult understanding of the trauma that came of his actions. Harrower masterfully navigates her emotional roller coaster and does not shy away from the tough questions, while providing few answers.
"I distrust statements," Harrower says, "I want to undercut them, look under them." --The Guardian 2017
Harrower writes Ray with surgical accuracy, as a fully fleshed out human being, with his own defenses and reasoning that he has created around his actions. This invites the audience to see Ray in a light different than just a base monster, and to empathize with him, a position that creates the same kind of confusion in the audience as it does in Una.
Since its first production, BLACKBIRD has proven itself to be one of the most enduring modern plays. The subject matter remains potent and immediate. The treatment of it is human and true, refusing to fit itself in neat compartments. The depth of the writing allows for a variety of dynamic interpretations. The roles of Una and Ray are ones that attract powerful actors. Panthea Vatandoost is known for the raw honesty of her work, which draws from deep emotional resources. The involvement of renowned singer/songwriter Rodney DeCroo will attract audience members who are not regular theater goers. Director David Bloom brings his rigorous and unsentimental vision to the project, Stephanie Wong will be creating a unique, vital world that the audience will share with the performers, while Samantha Pawliuk lends her capabilities as stage manager.
Where Your Money Goes:
The money raised through this campaign will be used to defray the material costs of producing this show. Members of the ensemble are putting their own resources into this project and will only be paid for their work from box office receipts once material costs have been covered. Your contribution will make this show happen, effectively making you a co-producer.
Location: What is Backspace?
Backspace is the studio of Vancouver based artist Blake Williams. What began purely as a work space has evolved into a multi-use event space. While the studio aesthetic remains, the studio is capable of being transformed into a venue capable of hosting public and private events, Past events held at Backspace have included concerts, pop-up coffee shops, art shows and parties. Backspace is an environment that is constantly being created and recreated.
BLACKBIRD takes place in the break room of a warehouse in an industrial area. This production will be immersive, with the audience being right in the room with Una and Ray, as intimate as breath. Working in this venue will make this production of BLACKBIRD unique.
Who We Are:
David Bloom (Director): Playwright, director and actor David Bloom founded Felix Culpa (with Linda Quibell), for whom he directed Judith, Und, and The Monument (Jessie nomination, Best Director - Large Theater). Last season he performed in The Nether at the Firehall Theater for Redcurrent Collective, and Realwheels' multiple award-winning revival of Creeps. Other favorite performances include Apres Moi (Ruby Slippers), Oleanna (Mamet on Main), King Lear (Honest Fishmonger), Three Sisters (Only Child Collective), The Designated Mourner (Felix Culpa). Currently: King Charles III at The Arts Club. He has choreographed fights for companies across Canada, including multiple productions each of King Lear, Macbeth, Hamlet, As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet (including two productions of the opera), Dreaming and Duelling, and Carmen. His plays have been produced by Green Thumb, Studio 58, Felix Culpa, Carousel, Axis Theater, Canadian Phoenix, and Theater at UBC. He won a jessie award with co-directors Katrina Dunn and Mindy Parfitt for direction of Palace of the End (Felix Culpa/ Touchstone/ Horseshoes & Hand Grenades). Television appearances include iZombie, Supernatural, Fringe, Arctic Air, Da Vinci's Inquest, Cold Squad, Psych, Stargate, various Hallmark movies, and The X-Files. He graduated from Studio 58 in 1980, and currently teaches Solo Show for the program.
Rodney DeCroo (Ray): Rodney DeCroo is a singer-songwriter, poet and playwright. He has released 7 full-length albums, an album of poetry set to music (Allegheny), two books of poetry (Next Door to the Butcher Shop, and Allegheny, BC) and a theatre production (Stupid Boy in an Ugly Town) that received critical acclaim at several Canadian fringe and writers festivals. DeCroo’s albums and performances draw upon his greatest natural resource—his poetry.
Panthea Vatandoost (Una) A graduate of Vancouver Film School in 2008, Panthea has continued her studies with various studios in Vancouver and is currently training at Railtown Actors Studio. She started her theatre career with a staging of The Owl and the Pussycat at the PAL Theatre and has since worked on a number film and TV projects. Short film SAHAR, in which she played the title character, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, for which she was nominated for a Leo (Best Performance by a Female in a Short Drama).
Samantha Pawliuk (Stage Manager) Samantha is a Vancouver-based stage manager and performer. Stage management credits include The Last Five Years (Dramarama Theatre), Footloose (Schmooze Productions), Generation Post Script and Distractingly Sexy (Nebula Theatre), and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Theater Crossing). Acting credits include Nancy in Oliver! (Bulldog Theatre), The Player in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (Malaspina Theatre), Johdell Lovelien in Square: A Stage Pornography (Schmooze Productions – Pick of The Fringe Winner 2014), The Nurse in Romeo + Juliet (The Chop Theatre), and Emily Carr in The Train Carr (Studio 58). Samantha is also a proud member of Vancouver’s thriving drag community with her alter-ego Anita D. She is a graduate of Vancouver Island University, where she won the Mike Monych Memorial Award for inspiring excellence by example, and Studio 58, where she was awarded the Jennifer Wade Family Endowed Scholarship for showing the most kindness and caring toward others.
Stephanie Wong (Designer) Stephanie Wong is an Asian Canadian actor and multidisciplinary artist. Born in Hong Kong and raised in Canada, she has based her career in Vancouver, where she recently graduated from Studio 58’s acting program. She is interested in how different elements and mediums of art can integrate in the interest of storytelling, and her focus is to explore her career as an actor, designer, and creator. Previous credits include: Elbow Room Cafe: The Musical (Zee Zee Theatre), East Van Panto: Little Red Riding Hood (Theatre Replacement), 42nd Street, Angels in America: Millennium Approaches, Risky Nights: Oblique Strategies, Four Plays: The Classroom (Studio 58), and Hair (Renegade Productions). During her time at Studio, she was the recipient of the Jennifer Wade Endowed Scholarship, the Earl Klein Memorial Scholarship, and the John F. Parker Scholarship. Upcoming projects include Gateway's production of A Christmas Carol, and Green Thumb's touring show Land of Trash.
Tonic Records (Co-Producer) Tonic Records is a Vancouver-based, boutique record label founded in 2003. With a diverse roster of artists and over 10 years of experience in the industry, they believe in real music for real people. (Note: Tonic is not putting money into this project; they are helping with administration and publicity.)
Risks and challenges
Our biggest challenge right now is raising the funds to put on this play. We have a passionate, hard-working cast and crew, a phenomenal play and an exciting space.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)