Friday, June 21, 2019



After botching a major publishing deal, 
two estranged children's book writers 
return to their hometown to revitalize 
the local newspaper. From the best-selling, 
award-winning losers behind 2018 Patron's Pick, 
“Everyone Wants A T-Shirt!,” and 
“Madeleine Says Sorry,” comes a new comedy 
about fake news, self-improvement and a home printer named Stanley.

Theatre ARTaud and Lal Mirch Productions in association with Prairie Fire, Please and the 2018 Toronto Fringe Festival present:
a new comedy by Madeleine Brown
at The Annex Theatre (736 Bathurst Street) from July 4 to 14, 2019

Exuberant, absurdist and smart...
a great find! -
My Entertainment World
(A- Letter Score)
This smart, funny, and unpretentious comedy about the perils of charsing success if just what we need.” -
Kendra Jones
 photos by Graham Isador

Madeleine Brown
Andrew Cromwell
Charlin McIsaac
Rouvan Silogix
Greg Solomon

Madeleine Brown
Director: Aaron Jan
SM: Aidan Shepherd
Set/Lighting Designer:
Logan Raju Cracknell
Sound Designer: Ross Somerville
Thurs. July 4 – 6:30 PM
Sat. July 6- 10:30 PM
Sun. July 7 - 2:45 PM
Tues. July 9 - 7:30 PM
Wed. July 10 - 5 PM
Fri. July 12 – 3 PM
Sat. July 13 - 12:45 PM



"Adults are like kids, Phoebus. 
Big, ugly kids."

Madeleine Brown (Playwright/Co-producer/Actor - WINNY): It's Prairie Fire, Please's biggest production yet--the design, the cast and the scope of the script. I'm excited--and terrified--by the goals we've set this year and how it will all come together. I'm also excited to return to my favourite audiences: Fringe audiences. There's never a crowd more accepting and fun than them. And to return to them with a comedy makes me even more excited. As far as the script itself, of course I'm delighted to hear how audiences will engage with it and its subject matter. I love those conversations outside the theatre and at the Fringe Tent. It means something entirely different to me when I'm not just a performer, but also the playwright.  

Aaron Jan (Director/Dramaturg/Co-Producer): As a left wing guy, I'm always excited to see work that takes a shot at liberals. I think it's really important to see where we mess up and make mistakes. I also really adore fringe. It's the only time where everyone in the city seems excited about theatre universally and willing to take a chance on unknown artists.

Charlin McIsaac (Actor - JOY): News Play excites me because it asks complicated questions – how do we properly care for others while pursuing our own success? Whose responsibility is it when a relationship is fractured due to mental illness or addiction? Should a home printer be named Stanley and spoken to as if it was a real guy? There's something interesting, something appealing about discussing serious things irreverently. I like the tone of it. And the family relationships at the heart of the story are what pull me in most. For me personally, I'm drawn to the complexity of the dynamic between Joy and Winny – how do you love someone who is dangerous to you? How do you love someone who can't help herself? It's a question that I've encountered a couple times in my life. I keep finding new answers to it.

Greg Solomon (Actor - PHOEBUS): NewsPlay excites me because we are exploring themes and social issues while making you laugh. Hopefully. Maybe only we’ll laugh. It excites me because this show feels like something new, something unique. It’s a new way of exploring the saviour complex. This show is a Prairie Fire, Please classic, and being a part of that is exciting enough for me. 

Andrew Cromwell (Actor- ART): Very recently, I've wanted to step back on stage to work on a theatre project. Over the last 5 years the bulk of my performing experiences have been either in a recording studio booth or as an improviser. This play is a chance to get back to traditional theatre. I'm excited to get back into a rehearsal process with a director who's vision is able to pull out my strengths and challenge my performing skills. It's always a pleasure to work with an ensemble that is talented, and it is my sincere hope that I will be able to perform at half the level of intensity they bring to the rehearsal process. They're a good bunch.

Rouvan Silogix (Actor - LYLE): There is a subversive biting politic that encompasses the show; our society's guilt, saviour complex, tokenism-ing, and fascination with pain. Are these things innate to our present-day society, or are they embedded in our humanity? Modern journalism is often categorized as sensationalist torture porn - where everything is "breaking news", and everything is exaggerated to be better or worse than the truth - so there will be more viewers, so the companies can generate more advertising revenue. But, the reason that has worked successfully, is because it taps into a very base human desire. The play is also hilarious - an impressive artistic feat in and of itself. 

Madeleine: Exhausting! And exhilarating. I wouldn't have been able to pull any of it off without Aaron Jan though. He challenges me and forces me to push myself further than I ever think I'm capable of. It's been a major learning curve. I'm also simultaneously studying in the Second City Consevatory program and feel that has fed hugely into my writing process this Fringe. Another major component of our experience is the cast. I admire them a lot. It's a group of people whose work I've admired from afar, and apart from Charlin, have never had the chance to work alongside before. They're also funny. And nothing wins over my affection more than a good sense of humour. 

Aaron: Quite exhausting, but also really rewarding. It's been incredible seeing Madeleine delve deeper into the questions she's exploring and to be gifted with a cast willing to take that dive with her.

Charlin: The cast and crew are both made up of the best and most generous people. I love the wacky energy in the room and I think we’re all great at listening to each other and offering the best version of ourselves. Madeleine and Aaron are an incredible team - they really push each other to always bring their A game and they ask the tough questions. There's really no ego involved from anybody, nobody is bringing energy into the room that's defensive or too possessive or precious. We work really well together and I think that we take ourselves seriously while still allowing a lot of levity and play, and especially with a new work I think that's very exciting. It gives us room to improvise or ad-lib and it makes the process really organic. As an actor, I'm given the opportunity to follow my instincts or to make offers based around my knowledge of the character, and that knowledge grows and changes as we progress through rehearsals. It's fun! And it's freeing to have a voice in the room.   

Greg: Working on this show has been a delight. Getting to watch Aaron Jan and Madeleine Brown transform this script draft-to-draft, day-to-day is a masterclass in creative collaboration. Between the cast and creative team, there are no egos in the room. We all get to try things out, laugh together, and tell each other when “that’s stupid, keep it.” 

Andrew: Four months ago, I welcomed my beautiful son into the world. As a new father, it has been an incredible experience. My partner is an amazing and supportive woman. Outside of the rehearsal process I have a full time job, auditions, a second show I'm working on, and its a juggling act to say the least. The production team has been incredibly generous and accommodating of my schedule, which is only half as busy as that of my new mom partner...

Rouvan: The team is great. Aaron is legitimately a fantastic director - and as a Kafka scholar snob who has worked around the world - there is something quite refreshing about the no-bullshit approach taken to creating the art. The high-minded ideas can only work well if the performance creation is grounded with a realistic approach to the mindset and ideas.Also, the play is hilarious - what's not to love?

Madeleine: I never feel there’s enough comedic plays on Toronto stages. (Or maybe I’m just a glutton for them.) Otherwise I like to believe News Play is a catalyst for conversations about news, sure, but also our fascination with victim-based narratives, small town culture and family dynamics around mental illness. We’re a young, energetic and silly team. I like to think that energy will radiate from the show itself. And who doesn’t want to be around young, excitable, beautiful people being ridiculous? Also Aaron, our set and lighting designer, Logan, and me are on the cover of this year’s program guide, so we’re basically celebrities. You should want to see celebrities.

Aaron: We're the only show to light a fire in the Annex this year. The very thought of our show strikes fear into the Fringe technical team. You can also come and see how our faces have changed since the fringe cover shoot. Mine has gotten rounder and more wrinkly.

Charlin: If you want to laugh hard and see a tight piece of theatre with good pacing, come see this show. If you wanna spice up your life with a little absurdity, come. If you want to see Rouvan act the shit out of being an entire bus, come. I think that anyone who's into any sort of surreal millennial/Gen Z energy and humour is going to find something they like in this piece. It's got a good grasp of that sort of youthful spirit and zany meme energy that is kind of the calling card of our generation, along with that determination to improve, to make the world better, to find someone to blame, to call out and call to action

Greg: Audiences should see this play because there’s something for everyone to glean. Exploring themes and issues such as fake news, utilitarianism, selfish social justice, sensationalism, pyromania, and offering support to the ones you love even when you don’t like them, this show will make you laugh, and unpretentiously make you think. 

Andrew: The production teams knows what they're doing. Madeleine knows what she's writing. Aaron knows what he's directing. Greg, Charin, and Rouvan know what the scene's require. Put it all together and BAM, you've got a play. I just happen to be on stage from time to time.

Rouvan: I'm not sure if I've mentioned this, but the show is hilarious. In these dark and ever changing times, perhaps we all need some levity - a hilarious reminder about the lighter side of life; with the subversive politic still ringing true. I'm also very handsome, just ask my mother she'll tell you.

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