Infinithéâtre will present the Québec English language premiere of the award-winning play, The Leisure Society (La Societé de loisirs), by François Archambault, translated by Bobby Theodore, from March 6-25 at Bain St-Michel. Along with director Ellen David, the cast and design team features Montréal's finest theatre artists from both the English and French sectors including actors Daniel Brochu (presently in Scientific Americans at the Segal Centre), Catherine De Sève (previously seen in Dangerous Liaisons at the Segal Centre and long-time member of L'auberge du chien noir on Radio-Canada), Sheena Gazé-Deslandes (The Daily Miracle, Infinithéâtre) and Howard Rosenstein (hot off his praised portrayal of lawyer Hugh Rose in Ars Poetica, Infinithéâtre).
Peter and Mary have it all: money, a gorgeous home, a pool in the backyard, a home-theatre, a baby. They invite their recently divorced best friend, Mark, to dinner for what they intend to be a final get together as he no longer 'fits' into their lifestyle. But when Mark shows up with 'special friend' Paula, a new adventure begins. The Leisure Society is a humorous, often shocking and brutally honest dissection of how we find and define meaning and purpose in our lives. How can you admit that something might be missing if you have almost everything you want?
For director Ellen David, the play is more timely and poignant than when it was first produced in 2003. "With advances in technology, rampant consumerism and overspending as a factor in the recent economic crisis, and the nuclear family growing farther apart than ever, the time is not only right, but demands that this provocative story be told now," She said. "One of the added joys of producing this play in Montréal is that we have the benefit of two cultures living and sleeping side by side, enhancing the script. As a partner in a bi-culture relationship myself, I have the ideal perspective to make the most of our unique situation in Montréal." The Infinithéâtre production will also be using some of the original French text.
Guy Sprung, Artistic Director of Infinithéâtre, is delighted to have Ellen David On board. "She is an amazing artist who works with precision and detail," he said. "She has a sense of the whole, including rhythm and pace, and knows how to work with actors."
Playwright François Archambault is delighted that his play is finally being produced in English in Montréal. He hastens to add that there is another English production ready to go up. "In a bizarre coincidence, the play will be produced at the same time and also for the first time, in London, England (Trafalgar Studios 2, Feb. 28-Mar. 31)," he said. "A good thing about this is that Anglos from Montréal won't have to fly to London to see the play performed in English!" Archambault hopes his black comedy will make audiences laugh, make them sad and make them think about the world we live in.
In The Leisure Society, people are together but not connecting. Skype, texting, massive television screens and 'going digital' has become an integral part of our world and will be incorporated into the character's daily lives and 'smart house' set. Devices that were designed to enhance and ease our experience, granting us the time and means to access our own 'leisure society', have created a detached, empty 'me generation' always on the lookout for more and better and faster.
The play is an of a marriage on the verge of a nervous breakdown. For Howard Rosenstein, who portrays newly-divorced Mark, "the play explores the truths behind the fantasies, the underbelly of consumerism, newborns as a threat to romantic love, lust as a short term fix and the dread that lurks just below the surface of reality."
The modern set is designed by Vincent Lefèvre with Ginette Grenier mirroring the tone in costume design. Original music, a classical approach to the contemporary, is composed by Christian Thomas. The lighting is designed by Julien St-Pierre with complimentary video design by George Allister and Patrick Andrew Boivin. The stage manager is Michael Panich.