Bulldogs, barrel tricks and birth control: Theatre Network debuts its 2018-19 season

The plebian among us are fascinated by the artistic mind. We imagine it swirling with grand thoughts, its every decision infused with meaning.

So when interviewing Bradley Moss of Theatre Network about the upcoming 2018-19 season, I am excited to hear how the artistic director, entering his 20th year at the network helm, has managed to pull together an important, yet entertaining lineup sure to sell a whack of tickets. Was he up nights, pondering a theme?

Ah, no. Here’s the truth of it.

“I feel like sometimes I’m like a farmer,” said Moss. “Sometimes certain crops come available, and you can harvest them or not.”

This season, a new play arrived on Moss’s desk, ripe for the picking and penned by Edmonton’s own Darrin Hagen. All the other plays seemed to fit nicely around that one. The Empress and The Prime Minister (directed by Moss) plumbs one of Canada’s most progressive moments — when Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau removed homosexuality from the Criminal Code in 1969.

As the 50th anniversary of that event approaches, Hagen introduces audiences to a real-life character, the late drag queen ted northe (also known as the Empress of Canada), an activist from Vancouver who conferred with Trudeau as the politician insisted the state had no place in the bedrooms of the nation.

Hagen — who has crafted an impressive career as a writer, actor, composer and drag queen — created the work with historic material, interviews with affected parties, and dramatic flair.

“I was five when homosexuality was decriminalized,” he said. “This play is about showing everyone younger than me, and those who just aren’t aware of history, how hard these people worked for change, so we could just live our lives. These people went through hell for us, and they should be remembered.”

The play stars Hagen as northe (who …read more

Source:: Edmonton Journal

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