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Sunday, May 18, 2014

DEAD METAPHOR: A killer new comedy by George F. Walker at the Panasonic Theatre

Combat was brutal. The home front is hell.

TORONTO --The final show in the Off-Mirvish series is a killer comedy from one of the master playwrights working in English-speaking theatre today.

DEAD METAPHOR, written and directed by George F. Walker, has its Canadian-premiere engagement at Toronto's Panasonic Theatre May 20 - June 8, 2014. (Media performance is on Friday, May 23 at 7 PM).

George F. Walker began writing plays when he saw a mimeographed poster tacked to a street pole in downtown Toronto. That was in 1970 and the rest, as they say, is history.
The distinct "Walker style" might as well be copyrighted; it is that unique - a combination of raw emotion, razor-sharp wit, mordant humour and compassion for the underdog.
From his early masterpieces such as Zastrozzi and Theatre of the Film Noir to his later work such as Nothing Sacred, Love and Anger and the Suburban Motel six-pack of plays, Walker's plays have been produced around the world. He has also been prolific on television, with The Newsroom, This Is Wonderland and Living In Your Car.

DEAD METAPHOR is about family, marriage and finding your way in the world. Set in the mess of life that is the present day, the story concerns Dean, a young sniper who has just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. But life isn't easy, even for a returning hero. He is struggling to find work; his family in disintegrating before him eyes; his wife is ready to divorce him for a second time. Dean is seemingly saved from all this by players on both ends of the political spectrum who want to use Dean for their own political gain. But Dean has other plans that surprise everyone.

Walker directs his own script and has assembled a cast of veteran and young actors, many of whom are part of the "Walker players"; meaning, they have performed in many of Walker's plays in the past and know how to handle his distinct style. The cast also happen to be a who's who of Canada's finer acting talent: Nancy Beatty, Michael Healy, Haley McGee, Eric Peterson, Noah Reid and Julie Stewart.

DEAD METAPHOR had its world premiere at American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco in February 2013. The production was a popular and critical success. The San Francisco Chronicle called the play "smart and funny" and the San Francisco Examiner found it "dead serious but still seriously funny."

May 20 - June 8, 2014
Panasonic Theatre, 651 Yonge Street
, Toronto
Performance Schedule: Tuesdays to Saturdays at 8 PM; 
Sunday evenings at 7 PM
Matinees Saturdays & Sundays at 2 PM
Added Wednesday matinee on May 21st, at 2 PM
(No show on Sunday May 25th, at 7 PM)

The performances runs approximately 2 hours with an intermission
Tickets: $19 to $79
Ticketking 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333
Online Ticket Sales www.mirvish.com
Groups of 12 or more 416-593-4142
Twitter @mirvish Facebook: Mirvish Productions

Acting Company Bios

Nancy Beatty, “FRANNIE TRUSK”
One of Canada’s most celebrated actors, Nancy Beatty’s career spans three decades. A fixture on the Canadian stage, Nancy is a four-time winner of the Dora Mavor Moore Award for outstanding performances: Risk Everything, Love and Anger (Factory Theatre), The Faraway Nearby (Tarragon Theatre), Seven Stories (Tarragon Theatre). Recent favourites include Unity 1918 (Theatre Passe Muraille), The Glass Menagerie (Theatre Calgary) and Better Living (GCTC). Nancy is proud to have appeared at the Stratford Festival, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Neptune Theatre, Great Canadian Theatre Company, Canadian Stage, to name a few. Nancy’s film and television work has been equally celebrated with two Gemini Awards for her performances in La Femme Nikita (Warner Brothers) and the highly acclaimed film Life With Billy (Salter Street Films) where she played the leading role of “Jane Stafford”. Recent appearances include This is Wonderland, Salem Witch Trials, The Shipping News, Nero Wolfe Foolish Heart, Newsroom, Touch of Hope as well as a recurring role on Black Harbour. A proud mother of three, Nancy lives in Toronto with her husband.

Michael Healey, “OLIVER DENNY”
Michael Healey trained as an actor at Toronto’s Ryerson Theatre School in the mid -eighties. He began writing for the stage in the early nineties and his first play, Kicked, was produced at the Toronto Fringe in 1996. He subsequently toured the play across Canada and internationally, and in 1998 it won a Dora Mavor Moore Award as best new play. The Drawer Boy, his first full-length play, premiered in Toronto in 1999 and won the Dora Award for best new play, a Chalmers Canadian Playwriting Award, and the Governor General’s Literary Award. It has been produced across North America and internationally, and has been translated into German, French and Japanese. Michael starred as the mentally unstable James Ryder in the acclaimed series This is Wonderland for the CBC. He has appeared in CBC’s Republic of Doyle, CTV’s Saving Hope, and CBC’s The Murdoch Mysteries. Michael’s most recent acting credits include Proud (Proud Productions), Clybourne Park (Studio 180), Are You Okay (Necessary Angel), Courageous (Citadel Theatre), Stuff Happens (Studio 180/Mirvish Productions), and FROST/NIXON (Vancouver Playhouse/Canadian Stage Company).

Haley McGee, “Jenny Trusk”
Haley is a Toronto-based playwright and performer. After its premiere at Theatre Passe Muraille, her award- winning solo play, OH MY IRMA, has toured in the UK, USA, Germany, Mongolia and Kosovo. Recent credits: Helen Lawrence (Canadian Stage/Arts Club), Moss Park (TPM/Green Thumb), The Public Servant and The Story (Theatre Columbus), Having Hope at Home, The Lonely Diner and Early August (Blyth Festival), The Situationists (Buddies).

Eric Peterson, “Hank Trusk”
Eric Peterson has been an actor in this country for the last forty-five years. Noted for co-creating and originating Billy Bishop Goes To War on stage, as well for television and feature film, his stage career includes hundreds of plays on most major stages across Canada, as well Broadway, London’s West End, the Edinburgh Festival and the Melbourne International Theatre Festive.
His work in Canadian film and television include such credits as Jerry Ciccoritti’s Trudeau, Deepa Mehta’s Earth, guest star appearances on series such as Slings and Arrows, DaVinci’s Inquest, Murdock Mysteries, Dan For Mayor, The Republic of Doyle, and Cracked, as well as series regular roles: Leon Rabinovich in Street Legal, Judge Malone on This Is Wonderland and Oscar Leroy on the long running, Corner Gas. He was the recipient of the Gordon Pinsent Award of Excellence in 2009 for his theatre work, as well as, the Earle Grey Award, a lifetime achievement award for his film and television endeavors. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan, is a recipient of the Governor General’s Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award (Theatre) and a member of the Order of Canada.
Noah Reid, “Dean Trusk”
One of Canada’s most versatile young performers, Noah Reid is a familiar face on both the Canadian screen and stage. Recent feature work includes Old Stock (Geordie Sabbagh Productions) and Score: A Hockey Musical (Mongrel Media). An actor since the age of eight, Reid was the original voice of “Franklin” on the popular animated series Franklin the Turtle. He went on to star in the television series Strange Days at Blake Holsey High. Reid played the role of Darrell Fox in Terry, about Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope and Ryan in the acclaimed CW web series Backpackers. On stage, Reid’s credits roles at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Soulpepper Theatre Company, Blyth Festival, Neptune and Theatre Aquarius. Reid portrayed Chip in Disney’s theatrical performance of Beauty and the Beast, which ran in Toronto and on Broadway. He was also a recipient of the prestigious John Hirsch Award given to the most promising actor in the Stratford Festival (2009). Reid attended Etobicoke School of the Arts (Toronto), and is a graduate of the prestigious National Theatre School of Canada (Montreal). He currently lives in Toronto. Reid is also classically trained in piano and casually plays the accordion.

Julie Stewart, “Helen Denny”
JULIE STEWART is best known for playing Sergeant Ali McCormick on the TV series Cold Squad. During her seven years on the show, she received six Gemini nominations (winning the award in 2002). She had previously been nominated for two other Geminis – in 1993 for her lead role in the drama Letter from Francis and in 1997 for her guest role in the series North of 60. As a stage actor, she has appeared in many plays, among them True Love Lies and Poor Superman by Brad Fraser (Factory Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Center, Canadian Stage), the one woman show The Blonde, The Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead (Thousand Island Playhouse), Rune Arlidge by Michael Healy (Tarragon Theatre), The Miracle Worker and Hedda Gabler (Manitoba Theatre Center), The District of Centuries and The End of The World Romance by Sean Dixon, as well as numerous productions at The Shaw Festival including Trawlawney of the Wells, and Man and Superman. Born in Kingston, Ontario, she studied acting in Montreal at the National Theatre School. A small sailboat racing enthusiast, Julie currently lives in Toronto with her husband aboard the Emma, a 34 O’day, with their dog of the same name. 
Director and Playwright
George F. Walker
George F. Walker has received nine Chalmers Awards, five Dora Awards, three Governor General’s Awards (including a 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award) and the Order of Canada. In 1997 his six-play cycle Suburban Motel premiered at Factory Theatre (Toronto) and Rattlestick Productions (New York). Plays from the cycle have since had numerous productions in the US, the UK and Germany. Walker’s latest plays are currently making their debuts as follows: Moss Park, the sequel to Tough!, premiered at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto in October 2013; The Ravine premiered at the Seneca Queen Theatre in Niagara Falls in March 2014; Dead Metaphor had its world premiere at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco in February 2013 and now makes its premiere Toronto's Panasonic Theatre; and The Burden of Self-Awareness will premiere at the Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa in June 2014. 

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