Voices of Pomona [Deborah/Fay]


We’re in the middle of week two.

Our PM extraordinaire, JP, has now created some semblance of what our stage will be for us to play on, explore, negotiate, hide in…

We’re getting a handle on our characters.

We’re puzzling out this world.

Remember from our Day One post where Chris said Nick hands out Rubik’s Cubes?

Yah. I’m obsessed. I met with a 13 year old wizard who worked with me on it. I CANNOT walk past an unsolved one without solving it. I have a mission: solve it under two minutes. My best time so far is 2:10. Not good enough. My colleagues all have a cube and just LEAVE THEM, lying there, UNSOLVED. What the hell?

Carlos says Let it go Drakeford.

Bahareh says Hey! That was mine!

Andre says Here. Do mine.

Aviva and Liza grin at me.

Ryan laughs.

Chris says Yah. The Rubik’s Cube. I don’t know if that says the right thing.

I groan and collapse.

Chris says Oh I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of days but didn’t want to say anything because I thought Drakeford will kill me!

I get up. Cube in hand.

I say I’m really proud that I know how to solve this thing.

My company applauds me.

I play Fay. She wants answers. I love her. She has qualities I hope I have.


DD Thumb

Deborah Drakeford

Deb has worked across the country from Kamloops BC to PEI.

She has been on the Artistic Committee for ARC since 2006 and has performed Moment, Bea (Dora nominations), The City, A Kind of Alaska as well as numerous staged readings and now is very excited about Pomona.

[Read more]

 [Buy tickets here!!!]

Voices of Pomona [Liza/Gale]


M.C.Escher’s “Relativity”

This is what the dive into the script sometimes feels like. With snacks. And laughter.


Alistair McDowall’s Pomona: It has me up at 3am thinking about moral codes. OK, living in 2016 has me up at 3am thinking about the same thing. But let’s focus on this incredibly addictive puzzle of a play. And moral codes.

The Universal Moral Code, created by a Dr. Kent M. Keith in 2003:


  • Do not do to others what you would not like them to do to you.
  • Do not lie.
  • Do not steal.
  • Do not cheat.
  • Do not falsely accuse others.
  • Do not commit adultery.
  • Do not commit incest.
  • Do not physically or verbally abuse others.
  • Do not murder.
  • Do not destroy the natural environment upon which all life depends.


  • Do to others what you would like them to do to you.
  • Be honest and fair.
  • Be generous.
  • Be faithful to your family and friends.
  • Take care of your children when they are young.
  • Take care of your parents when they are old.
  • Take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.
  • Be kind to strangers.
  • Respect all life.
  • Protect the natural environment upon which all life depends.

I play Gale. She runs a business. I’d call her upper (middle) management.

I’d suggest that the above code is nowhere in the vicinity of her bedside table.

I suspect that she sleeps well.


Maybe not.

It’s only week 1.


Liza Balkan

Liza is an actor, theatre and opera director, librettist, writer and educator. Pomona marks her first show with ARC.

Over the past three decades, Liza has appeared in multiple productions in Toronto and across the province and country, as well as in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington DC. She received a Dora Award for her performance in Theresa Tova’s Still the Night (Theatre Passe Muraille/Tapestry/Tova Ent). Upcoming: KISS (Theatre Smash/ARC/Canadianstage)

[Read more]

 [Buy tickets here!!!]

Pomona | And So It Begins…

My laptop is lying temporarily abandoned sixty-some KMs to the left of me. But there’s work to do. So. Day one. This is a record and a portrait and a bit of fiction and a rambling stream of consciousness typed via bluetooth onto the tiny screen of my phone.

— Chris


We talked about the scaffolding. We talked about the blood. We talked about the moment when the world falls apart. We talked about the mulch, and the plastic. We talked about the garbage piles, and the truth, and the unsolvable mystery. We talked about violence.

Andre said: This company takes risks, with intelligence, and thought, and sensitivity – but we should never apologize. (I suddenly thought about the cult of politeness that has lived for so long in so much of our theatre, and how much I rage against that.)

Early on, Aviva said something like: If they pay close enough attention to what I’m doing, they’ll solve the riddle.

I told Carlos what I wanted his character to wear, and he said: This guy isn’t a mob boss. But he’s not a cabby either. Don’t tell me what he wears yet. The clothes are part of the process of discovering who this guy is. I told him I thought the guy’s father could be Jesus.

At one point Ryan said: Maybe the play starts with Zeppo’s father.

Liza reminded us that the play gives us so much room to find strength and agency for its female characters – and reminded us to trust that. Later, when we argued the scenes into one of many (many) possible chronologies, she said: The only thing that’s important is that I know my own chronology.

(THIS EXCITES ME LIKE CRAZY. A chronology that works for each character is all we can aim for here. Good. That makes sense to me. Time, as physicists keep telling me in books and received knowledge and PBS YouTube videos, is relative. And no one observer has the right to claim their time is correct, or universal. I like that. I like what that might do to the way we play these scenes.)

Deb said: This is the second scene – for me.

When we read the play, Joelysa’s hypnotic score pulsed beneath us. Beneath the words, the thoughts, the inner lives of these people. A strange serpent winding through the empty spaces of Pomona, moving so slowly, ever present, ever watching. A ghost in a window, her lips opening and closing as if to speak. A warning half heard.

Bahareh said: They’re towing your car.

We laughed. We took some pictures.

At the end, Nick handed out Rubik’s Cubes.


 [Buy tickets here!!!]

There is a hole…


POMONA by Alistair McDowall

A woman is missing. Her sister is searching. As she comes closer to revealing the dark truth, the fabric of her own life becomes twisted into a strange loop, until she can no longer be sure what is fantasy, what is myth, and what is the very real result of a society that looks the other way in the face of human evil.

There is a hole. A hole in the middle of the city.

3-19 November 2016 (previews 1-2 November) at GEARY LANE | 360 Geary Ave, Toronto


| Read More |


Square v1

ARC has been making groundbreaking international theatre in Toronto since 1998. But you ain’t seen nothing yet. We’re unveiling our full programming slate for 2016/17. And it’s our biggest year ever.

Come celebrate with us, and support the work of this incredible ensemble. There’s food. Drinks. Music. Shenanigans. A mystery celebrity host. And more. (Possibly.)

It’s ARC 2.0, y’all. Come see.

7pm July 13, 2016
The Spoke Club
600 King Street West
Toronto, Ontario

Go to Eventbrite now to get your tickets!

$25 Arts Worker
$75 ARC Supporter (includes charitable receipt)

ARC partners with Theatre Smash and Canadian Stage for the North American premiere of Guillermo Calderón’s KISS.

It’s just too beautiful, right?  

So beautiful that you had to keep it a secret.

Theatre Smash and ARC are proud to announce they are joining forces as part of Canadian Stage’s 2016/2017 season. Theatre Smash and ARC, in partnership with Canadian Stage, will present the North American premiere of KISS by Guillermo Calderón, directed by Ashlie Corcoran.

KISS runs March 28 – April 16, 2017 at The Berkeley Street Upstairs Theatre. Previews March 28 and 29, 2017. Opening Night on Thursday, March 30, 2017.

Two couples meet for dinner to take their minds off the war raging around them. An unexpected profession of love, an untimely proposal, and one kiss later, one of the foursome lies dead on the floor. Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón’s newest play breaks open cultural barriers as a group of western actors interpreting a Syrian play slowly realize the limits of their own understanding, and the suffocating effect of an oppressive, omnipresent regime.

Ashlie Corcoran and Christopher Stanton say this of KISS: “We are thrilled to tackle this exciting, troubling and timely play. Through our process, two Canadian companies will interpret a Chilean playwright, who, while living in NYC, wrote a ‘Syrian’ play commissioned by a German company. All of this overlap makes the play a thrilling vehicle with which to explore how artistic practices can comment upon current international events – while raising major questions about cultural representation and permission.”

Theatre Smash was established in 2005 and is run by Artistic Producer, Ashlie Corcoran and General Manager, Stacey Norton. Theatre Smash develops and produces Canadian premieres of international contemporary work. Theatre Smash engages audiences with international writing through the exploration of text, movement, space, and design. Theatre Smash also commissions new translations of international scripts into English. Theatre Smash has been nominated for twelve Dora Mavor Moore Awards and is the recipient of two for The Ugly One. Theatre Smash is currently in partnership with Canadian Stage and in association with the Thousand Islands Playhouse to produce the North American premiere of Philipp Löhle’s DAS DING (THE THING) as the first year of the artist in residency program at Canadian Stage, Berkeley Street Theatre.

ARC, led by Artistic Producer Christopher Stanton, is a diverse company of resident theatre artists dedicated to three central pursuits: presenting contemporary international works that have rarely – if ever – been staged in Canada; taking a rigourous, energetic, and innovative approach to re-imagining world theatre classics; and mining international literature to devise original theatrical work. Since 1998, ARC has been nominated for twelve Dora Awards and won two. Their most recent show, Deirdre Kinahan’s MOMENT staged on two floors of a converted commercial space in Leslieville — was nominated for six awards and found its way onto many critics’ Best Of Stage lists that year. They are currently preparing their next production for November 2016.

Guillermo Calderón is an award-winning Chilean playwright currently based in New York City. The New Yorker recently called himan authentic genius of the theatre.” In 2006, Calderón won Best Play of the Year as chosen by the Art Critics’ Circle of Chile. He also won three Altazor Awards in 2007, including Best Director and Best Playwright. 

For more information, visit www.canadianstage.com or, call 416 368-3110.

arc logo 500px TheatreSmash_10YearLogo


Job Posting: General Manager – fu-GEN Theatre Company & ARC

A great opportunity with two great companies. ARC & fu-GEN – two of Toronto’s most exciting independent companies – are partnering to look for an energetic and innovative individual to play a role in shaping the future of theatre in this city.

Click here to see the official posting and for information about how to apply.

Note that the application deadline is Friday, January 27th at 5:00 pm EST.

Thanks to all who apply, and good luck!