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Left to right: Justin Fry, Reena Jolly and Alistair Wright perform in Nothing Sacred from the Black Hole Theatre Company // Photo by Chris Reid

Nothing Sacred launches Black Hole Theatre Company season

George F. Walker play opens 2017-18 season

November 7, 2017 — 

The Black Hole Theatre Company raises the curtain on their 2017-18 season starting with George F. Walker’s Nothing Sacred.

The play is a re-imagining of Ivan Turgenev’s novel Fathers and Sons.

The show takes place in 1859, shortly before the emancipation of the serfs (a domestic reform that saw the end of serfdom in Russia). Two Russian university students return to their home district for the summer. Arkady Kirsanov is caught between the values of his landowning family and those of his friend, the nihilist Yevgeny Bazarov, who wants to tear down the social system so that something better can be built in its place, and who is prepared to throw bombs to further his cause. Bazarov becomes embroiled in a conflict with Kirsanov`s uncle, a particularly decadent and unrepentant aristocrat.

“This is a play I’ve thought about for a long time, and about which I’ve written several times,” said Christopher Johnson, director of the play. “I saw the original production in 1988. I have very high expectations of myself for this show. For me, there’s a lot at stake.”

Technically and structurally, Johnson says it is a very complex play with multiple locations and many exits and entrances.

When it comes to the show’s cast, he says one of the main reasons he chose to do this play was that there were so many great roles for university students to take on.

“Most of the characters are young,” said Johnson. “In the production I dreamed about for so long, I cast University of Manitoba alumni to play the “fathers” of Turgenev’s story because the difference in ages, the conflict between generations, is so important. So, when I got the chance to actually do the show, that’s what I did, casting Gary Jarvis and Tim Webster (who were both theatre students at the U of M in the early 1990s, and who are both still very active in the Winnipeg theatre scene).”

Johnson says he hopes the audience, after the show, will be inspired to think about the relationship between people of different generations, about the inevitable conflict between the young and the old, about ways in which reconciliation occurs (or doesn’t) and how social progress comes about.

This is the fifth play by Walker that Johnson has directed for the Black Hole Theatre Company.

“I’m particularly attracted to Walker’s brand of dark comedy. I have wanted to do this show for years. It has come together and everybody worked beautifully to make the show a memorable one.”

Nothing Sacred runs in the John J. Conklin Theatre at the Gail Asper Performing Arts Hall, November 8-11 and 14-18 at 7:30pm. On November 12, there is a 2pm matinee.

Tickets are $12 for students and $18 for the public.

For reservations and group discount rates, contact the box office at 204-474-6880.

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