Celebrating 15 years

Our Class

OUR CLASS

by Tadeusz Slobodzianek
English version by Ryan Craig

April 4–30, 2011
Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs
in association with Canadian Stage

NORTH AMERICAN PREMIERE

Dora Award Nomination: The ensemble – OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE IN A FEATURED ROLE / ENSEMBLE

In 1925 Poland, a group of Jewish and Catholic schoolchildren declare their ambitions: to be a fireman, a film star, a doctor. As the children grow up their country is torn apart by invading armies, and internal grievances deepen as fervent nationalism develops. The tension escalates into violence as these ordinary people carry out an extraordinary and monstrous act.

Our Class explores the events leading up to a dark moment in history and follows the fortunes of ten one-time classmates from one century into the next. This haunting play is a courageous examination of loyalty and treason, individual bravery and collective cowardice and the actions that ripped apart a small community during the Second World War.

In October 2010, Our Class won the 2010 NIKE Award, Poland’s top literary prize – the first time the prestigious award has gone to a play (read more). The premiere production ran in its English version from September 2009 to January 2010 at London’s National Theatre in the UK. The play had its Polish premiere at the ‘Na Woli’ Theatre in Warsaw, in October 2010.

Studio 180’s production was the North American premiere, and our third offering as part of the Berkeley Street Project initiative at Canadian Stage. Our Class was listed among the theatrical highlights of 2011 by the National Post, the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail and Theatromania.ca, and as one of the top 10 productions of the year (alongside The Normal Heart) by Lynn Slotkin of The Slotkin Letter/CIUT 89.5 FM.

DIRECTED BY Joel Greenberg
FEATURING David Beazely, Jonathan Goad, Jessica Greenberg, Ryan Hollyman, Mark McGrinder, Kimwun Perehinec, Alex Poch-Goldin, Dylan Roberts, Michael Rubenfeld & Amy Rutherford
SET & COSTUME DESIGN John Thompson
LIGHTING DESIGN Kimberly Purtell
SOUND DESIGN Michael Laird
MUSICAL DIRECTOR Lily Ling
ORIGINAL SCORE Sophie Solomon
STAGE MANAGER Robert Harding
ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER Liz Campbell
PRODUCTION MANAGERS Derek Bruce & Nathaniel Kennedy
MOVEMENT Trevor Copp
HEAD OF WARDROBE Michelle Bailey


Season Sponsor 2010/11


BMO Financial Group

2011 END-OF-YEAR REVIEWS

Listed among the theatre highlights of the season by

NATIONAL POST
GLOBE AND MAIL
TORONTO STAR
SLOTKIN LETTER/CIUT 89.5 FM (Top 10)
THEATROMANIA.CA (Top 12)


“Superb theatre! Brilliant performances! Joel Greenberg’s staging and the work of his entire cast in this Studio 180 production are excellent!”

TORONTO STAR


“The place was packed… and you could have heard a pin drop. A compelling, moving, soul-shaking production! Theatre at its best! Should not be missed!”

THESLOTKINLETTER.COM


“MESMERIZING! Director Joel Greenberg’s cast is a true ensemble. Don’t miss this finely staged show!”

NNNN NOW MAGAZINE


“Tremendously powerful! Heart-rending… Necessary viewing!”

★★★★ EYE WEEKLY


“Daring… gripping play! The acting ensemble brims with talent. Director Joel Greenberg is a storytelling wizard.”

★★★1/2 GLOBE AND MAIL


“Powerful! Outstanding! Remarkable! Amazing! An emotional evening… theatre at its best! I highly recommend it!”

MOONEYONTHEATRE.COM


“Studio 180’s Joel Greenberg and a dedicated 10-member cast tackle the story with unflinching courage.”

★★★★ TORONTO SUN

“Both my wife and are were extremely moved by the story and the performances. When the end of Act 1 arrived, we both sat quietly, as if in shock, and it took a few minutes before we were able to bring ourselves to say anything or to do what we would normally do during an intermission. By the end of the play, we were both in tears! Also, being of Polish descent, I find stories based in Polish history and events especially compelling. Growing up in Canada, and not having had the experience of living in those circumstances, I often wonder whether I would have had the courage to resist. Seeing the play has made me want to read the book from which it was taken.”
Richard P.

“[Our Class] was one of the most powerful plays I have ever seen.”
Ida A.

“An excellent and very moving production. While the audience tittered when the names of the extended American family of the rabbi were recited, tears rolled down my face as I recalled all those whom he had lost in the pogrom in Poland. I applaud Studio 180 for bringing socially relevant theatre to Toronto.”
Barbara M.

“As a non-practicing Christian, I lived in Israel between the Six Day War and the Yom Kippur War (1967-72) teaching high school. I taught Arabs, Jews, Muslims, Armenians and ex-pat English-speaking teenagers. The events in the play sent me immediately into my memory bank, and I experienced viscerally the tensions that can exist when people come face to face with fear, hatred, oppression, privilege, and power. You handled this very challenging material with grace and respect, despite having to portray some very gritty realities. The playwright’s hint of hope at the end of the play caused me to weep hot tears. I was profoundly moved. I appreciated, as well, the historical information that you displayed in the program… it opened me to facts that I was not aware of. Once again, I was deeply touched by your material, as I was during The Laramie Project. Thank you for taking on these challenging topics.”
James M.

“The production was excellent – a complex narrative fully realized with a fairly simple presentation technique. Very fine acting. Everyone was strong. Our Class really worked for me. It was gut wrenching but not sentimental. Thank you.”
Julia F.

“I found the play provocative and thought-provoking and it has often been a topic of conversation since I attended its performance. It also introduced me to an incident in history that I was unaware of and this has resulted in more reading on my part. Well done.”
Jane O.