Candles are for Burning in association with
Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents
by Olivier Choinière
translated by Caryl Churchill
March 27 - April 8, 2012
TORONTO - Céline Dion speaks through an Oracle to a group of Wal-Mart employees. She takes us on a journey from her triumphant farewell concert to the bedroom of her number one fan, who has spent most of her life chained to the bed by her family. Just in time for Céline Dion’s return to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, a chilling tale of celebrity’s dark side from one of one of the most exciting voices in Canadian theatre. Buddies in Bad Times is thrilled to partner with up-and-coming company Candles are for Burning to present Olivier Choinière’s internationally-acclaimed play, Bliss. Featuring a stellar team of artists from both French and English Canada, the production has been earning critical acclaim since its debut at the 2010 SummerWorks Festival.
A DISTURBING DISSECTION OF OUR CELEBRITY-OBSESSED CULTURE
Just in time for Céline Dion’s return to Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, a chilling tale of celebrity’s dark side from one of the most exciting voices in Canadian theatre. Buddies in Bad Times is thrilled to partner with up-and-coming company Candles are for Burning to present Olivier Choinière’s internationally-acclaimed play, Bliss. Featuring a stellar team of artists from both French and English Canada, the production has been earning critical acclaim since its debut at the 2010 SummerWorks Festival.
As four Wal-Mart employees lovingly recount the details of Céline Dion’s farewell concert, their story becomes dark and violent tales of a miscarriage, a young woman who has been chained to the bed by her abusive family, and a woman who has literally turned herself inside out. Choinière’s script masterfully blends these stories to point where the glamour of a pop star and the horrors of abuse are indistinguishable. As each story mirrors the others, we begin to see the darker side of our insatiable appetite for the private lives of public figures, and the underlying mythic origins of these desires.
INSPIRED BY THE TRUE STORY OF ISABELLE COTE
Bliss is inspired by the true story of Isabelle Cote, who was held prisoner by her family and raped repeatedly by her father and brothers over a seventeen-year period. After battling years of abuse and a protracted struggle with cancer, Isabelle died of heat stroke in 2002. Her death startled the town of Sherbrooke, and the ensuing trial made headlines throughout Quebec and across Canada. Choinière interweaves the stories of Isabelle and Celine to demonstrate in frightening detail the extremes of celebrity and voyeurism, and investigate how we, as a society, deal with these horrific events.
CHOINIÈRE’S INTERNATIONALLY-ACCLAIMED SCRIPT PREMIERES IN ENGLISH CANADA
First presented in 2007 at Theatre La Liscorne in Montreal, the text was later translated by renowned British playwright Caryl Churchill for a production at London’s prestigious Royal Court Theatre. Praised in the UK as “a small bombshell” (The Guardian) and an “unbelievably clever psycho-drama” (The Telegraph), this will be the first professional production of Choiniere’s internationally-acclaimed script in English Canada. Since graduating from the National Theatre School in 1996, Choinière has become one of the most prolific playwrights of his generation, penning over 15 works for the stage, including the Governor General’s Award nominated Le Bain des Raines.
The current production of Bliss was first staged at the National Theatre School, when director Steven McCarthy was a student in their directing program. The play went on to become a sleeper hit at the 2010 SummerWorks Festival – winning the Canadian Stage Award for Best Direction and recognized for Outstanding Design, Production, Ensemble, and Direction by Now Magazine – and recently playing at Centaur’s Wildside Festival in Montreal. This production marks the second time in as many years that Buddies brings an important contemporary text to Toronto audiences (the first being the English Canadian premiere of Sarah Kane’s Blasted).
• Trent Pardy, Jean-Robert Bourdage, and France Rolland - photo by James Lavoie
• Delphine Bienvenu by Tanja Tiziana