This autumn, many English-language theatre companies in Montreal have programmed their 2014-15 seasons with the recent controversy over Quebec’s Charter of Values in mind. Teesri Duniya Theatre (teesridtheatre.weebly.com) and Tableau D’Hôte (www.tableaudhotetheatre.ca) present shows focused on diversity within Quebec society in 2015, and Geordie Productions (geordie.ca) has planned a season for young audiences entitled Inspiring Dialogue, which explores intolerance and what it means to be different.
At the Segal Centre, 1960s coming-of-age comedy The Graduate runs until September 21. Original music composed and performed live on stage by Justin Rutledge and Juno winner Matthew Barber puts a fresh spin on this adaptation of the classic film about a young man caught in a love triangle … with a mother and daughter. www.segalcentre.org
Persephone Productions presents Spring Awakening: The Musical, based on the 1891 play that, with its themes of puberty, sexuality, and the pressures and trials of growing up, remains as fresh and relevant today as it was over 120 years ago. A six-piece band provides live contemporary music that brings the story powerfully into the 21st century. Oct 2-11 at the Centaur Theatre, www.persephoneproductions.org
The Centaur Theatre proposes Venus in Fur this fall, a sexy and tantalizing production about dominance and submission. A play about a director seeking an actress for the lead role in a play based on Sacher-Masoc’s eponymous novella, Venus in Fur loosely mirrors its namesake as the director gets more than he bargained for. Oct 14-Nov 9, www.centaurtheatre.com
One English-language premiere this fall is Billy (The Days of Howling, by Quebec playwright Fabien Cloutier in a translation by Nadine Desrochers. Three characters struggle with prejudice and conflict, and force us to come face-to-face with the emotional repercussions of judging others in our communities. Presented by Talisman Theatre at La Chapelle Theatre, Oct 14-25, www.talisman-theatre.com
Last year, Montreal’s Black Theatre Workshop brought the highly successful Harlem Duet to the Segal. This year, they’re back with award-winning Gas Girls, the story of two Zimbabwean teenagers who trade sex for gas along the border. This is a versatile story not just about poverty in Zimbabwe, but about the plight of women everywhere who live in economies of scarcity. Oct 21-Nov 8 at the Segal Centre, www.blacktheatreworkshop.ca
Gilda Radner fans won’t want to miss Alan Zweibel’s Bunny Bunny, Gilda Radner: A Sort of Love Story, based on the book of the same name. This series of dialogues is Zweibel’s homage to the celebrated comedienne whom he met while working on Saturday Night Live in its heyday, and with whom he had a friendship that bordered on romance. The “hilarious and heartwarming” comedy comes to the Segal after a successful North American tour. Nov 20-30, www.segalcentre.org