Award-winning theatre company KAZAN CO-OP returns to the stage with the Atlantic Canadian premiere of Unconfined, a compelling contemporary drama by Canadian playwright and actor Liz Richardson, presented in Halifax at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia.
Based on real events, Unconfined is a moving story that connects three people – a professor, a painter, and a prisoner – through their relationship with a man on death row. All three characters are masterfully played by Richardson in a narrative that celebrates love, connection, and redemption. The play is directed and dramaturged by award-winning writer/director Ed Thomason, who worked with Richardson for two years to develop Unconfined for the stage.
According to Richardson: “This play asks ‘Are we at our core fundamentally awake and kind and therefore, even if we commit a terrible act, can we still uncover that basically good, wise person? And if so, how does this happen? And most importantly, how does it affect those close to us?’ From the moment I began interviews, people were fiercely passionate that this story MUST be told and they never held back in unconditionally sharing their amazing and very personal experiences.”
KAZAN artistic director Kathryn MacLellan says: “I love Liz’s work as both an actor and a writer. We presented her show Going On at The Waiting Room in 2016, and we’re very excited to bring her work to the stage again. She draws you in as she transforms from one character to another.”
Thomason says: “Liz’s immersion in this story, after several years of interviews, visiting locations of the real events, and her burning desire to tell it, was what sold me on the idea. Her commitment was the heartbeat, the essential stuff of the project, and the idea of a solo performance flowed from that.”
MacLellan adds: “It’s also very exciting to be performing at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. Partnering with them is a great fit for us. It’s a beautiful, intimate 80-seat space. And although restrictions are lifting, we’ll be mindful of social distancing and maintain space between seats for patrons who feel more comfortable that way.”
Unconfined features work by Janet MacLellan (costume design), Vicky Williams (lighting design), and Mabel Wheeler (stage management), an original soundscape by Josh Cruddas (composer), and is produced by KAZAN artistic director Kathryn MacLellan.
Says MacLellan: “It’s a dream team that includes KAZAN veterans – Liz Richardson’s talent on both the stage and page, and Janet MacLellan’s amazing costume design and co-production – as well as fabulous newcomers to the KAZAN family: Ed Thomason, Vicky Williams, Mabel Munroe, and Josh Cruddas.”
Unconfined opens Thursday, March 31 and runs to Sunday, April 10 at The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (Windsor Foundation Theatre), with a preview on Wednesday, March 30. Entrance is 1728 Bedford Row. Shows begin at 7:30PM (doors open 7:00PM) except Sunday; Sunday shows are matinees at 2:00PM (doors open 1:30PM). PAY-WHAT-YOU-CAN shows Wed March 30, 7:30PM and Sun April 3, 2:00PM. No show on Mondays. Runtime: 70 minutes without intermission. For tickets: http://www.tickethalifax.com (search “KAZAN” or “UNCONFINED”).
Nova Scotia’s KAZAN CO-OP has produced award-winning theatre in Halifax, Ottawa, and Toronto. Founded in 2011 by Artistic Director Kathryn MacLellan, who partners with her sister Janet, KAZAN has been nominated for 26 Merritt Awards and won five. Productions include Communion, I, Animal, His Greatness, and The Best Brothers by Daniel MacIvor, Alone by Sherry Lee Hunter, Heaven Above/Heaven Below by Linda Griffiths, Concerto Suite from Frida by Hilary Blecher and Robert Xavier Rodriguez and Going On by Liz Richardson, The Weekend Healer by Bryden MacDonald, Miss Conception by Kevin Levesque, and The Realistic Jones by Will Eno.
KAZAN is grateful to BMO Financial Group, Arts Nova Scotia, The Craig Foundation, Halcraft, and The Coast for their continued support. KAZAN is a registered not-for-profit cooperative working with professional actors, directors, playwrights and designers. KAZAN’s motto: “Be in the room.”