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What’s On (Edmonton): MATARA by Conni Massing

The Virgin Trial – Alberta Theatre Projects
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What’s On (Edmonton): MATARA by Conni Massing

 

Workshop West Playwrights’ Theatre is thrilled to announce the opening of our 40th Season, with MATARA by Conni Massing.
 
Perspectives and worlds collide between a Marketing Consultant, Security Guard and Zookeeper over the treatment, care, and political spin of an elephant in a small zoo as protests and floodwaters rise outside the gates. 
 
“Everyone knows you can’t really call yourself a zoo without an elephant.” 
–Romney, the Marketing Consultant
 
    
Inspired by the real-life elephant Lucy and her life at the Edmonton Valley Zoo, the story of MATARA came to be through playwright Conni Massing’s sessions with zookeepers during Workshop West’s “This is YEG: New Plays for a Changing City” series in 2015. Massing was one of eight playwrights embedded in various industries and agencies around the city. Originally a 10-minute play, MATARA has been expanded to full length. 
 
Directed by Tracy Carroll, with Elinor Holt as Karen, Matara’s caregiver, Patricia Zentilli as Marketing Consultant Romney, and Minister Faust as Marcel, the Rwandan Security Guard, MATARA will tug at heartstrings even as it enlightens and creates conversation. 
 
Massing has called the play an exciting new direction for her as a writer. “This play has a different feeling … tone, style, execution, than anything I’ve ever written before,” she says. The story of MATARA really speaks about, “What happens if the most important relationship in your life is with an animal? An animal who you love and believe you can communicate with but who, in the end, may not be as fulfilled by the relationship as you are? How tragic for both beings in that relationship.
 
She is lonely. She wants to be with other elephants.” 
–Karen, Matara’s Keeper
 
One of the most anticipated elements of this production of MATARA will be Matara the Elephant coming to life on the stage. With award-winning set designer T. Erin Gruber teaming up with acclaimed puppeteer Randall Fraser for the production, the results will be pure magic. Sound design will be created by Darrin Hagen and Nick Samoil
 
I think that it is a good deal of fuss about one creature. … beloved though she is.” 
–Marcel the Security Guard
 
Select performances will feature post-show Salons with expert panelists to put various questions raised by the play into context for audience members, and to generate discussion on subjects ranging from ethics to immigration to politics. 
 
MATARA by Conni Massing runs November 28 – December 8, 2018 at The Backstage Theatre, 10330 84 Avenue, Edmonton. Tickets can be purchased through TIX on the Square, on sale now. Visit their website www.tixonthesquare.ca or call 780-420-1757.

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