Dress Rehearsal 2


Dress Rehearsal 2, a set on Flickr.


Dress Rehearsal 1

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Dress Rehearsal 1, a set on Flickr.

Death Clown Bios

About the Clowns:



Audrey Amar has been involved in Toronto and international theatre for the past 20 years. Her training specializes in stage combat, sense memory, mime, and clown. Audrey majored in Drama at the University of Toronto. During her time at U of T, Audrey has become an accomplished a cappella singer, and started her professional relationship with the Trinity College Drama Society, Et Cetera Theatre, the UC Follies, Teatron, and Seventh Method Productions. Currently, she continues to perform and train in and around Toronto, predominantly interested in stage and live theatre.


Alan Belerique has studied improv with Second City, Bad Dog Theatre and ITC (Impatient Theatre Company) and is currently performing improv at the Black Swan as part of Longform Sundays as well as with the Impatient Theatre team “Splatbook”. He’s performed at Comedy Bar with several different teams (Panzer, The Watchers, Big Chicken Dinner and Honeypot) as part of ITC’s Harold night and recently performed with Honeypot in Ney York city as a part of the Del Close marathon and currently performs at Comedy Bar under Bad Dog Theatres Narrative Studio Series class.In addition to improvising, Alan hosted a radio show for several years called “Anarky Radio” and has performed in Poculi Ludique Societas theatre production of both “To seek a Child” and “A Christian turned Turk” as well as the Fringe festivals showings of “One man Show of Doom!” and “The Roommate”.


Rob Bril is an aspiring actor, originally hailing from Niagara, Ontario. After moving to the big city of Toronto he has enjoyed the wonders and falls of the profession and hopes to continue on the path, meeting new friends and embracing new ideas. Rob is extremely excited to be performing for you in tonight’s Death Clowns. He would like to thank his friends and family for their continued support.

Selected Acting Credits: Various Characters, Sparks From a Campfire (Dominion Repertory Theatre), Dikiapolis/Spartan Ambassador, Lysistrata (Canopy Theatre Co.), Karl Balicke, Drums In the Night (Queen’s University).


Alex Contreras was born and raised in Ottawa, came of age in Montreal, and enjoyed extended stays in Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the eastern part of Germany. He has worked as an English teacher and an actor, and has recently begun dreaming of becoming a fireman. He is a graduate of Concordia University with a degree in Playwriting.


Kaitlin Heller has been a director, an actress, a cabaret singer, a set builder, and a water fairy, but this is her first time being a clown. By day, she’s getting her doctorate in medieval history at U of T, and she plans to write her dissertation on twelfth-century werewolves, zombies, and other things that went bumpus in noctem. She’d like to thank the cast and crew for putting up with her terrible medievalist jokes.


Ula Jurecki is a second year student at the University of Toronto, studying Theatre. She is excited to be a part of the Death Clowns team. Pies, clowns, iguanas and mannequins – what more could one ask for?


Myrto Koumarianos is a first-year doctoral student at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies and the Women and Gender Studies Institute at U of T. An inveterate performer, she’s recently been spotted trying out the actual stage for size. She fills (every last drop of) her time with writing, reading, singing, dancing, acting, playing, travelling, observing, loving, and lots of talking (wherever she can get it – all the time!). When she grows up she would like to become an artist-academic (or vice versa, or an astronaut). 


Christine Mazumdar is a choreographer, musician, writer, and arts educator.  She has two degrees from Queen’s University in Drama/Music and a teaching degree from the Artist in Community Education program.  She is currently working on her M.A. in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto.  Her areas of interest include the language of movement, rhythmic gymnastics, circus arts, as well as the concept of stillness within choreography.


Grace Poltrack is a recent graduate of the University College Drama Program and is now pursuing a career in acting. Recent acting credits include A1 in Us and Them (UCDP Director’s Show), Smeraldina in The Servant of Two Masters (New College Drama Society) and Pozzo in Waiting for Godot (Victoria College Drama Society). She thanks the cast and crew for their energy, creativity, and support of her cephalopod obsession. Y’all are great, and it was a pleasure working with you!


Lesley Robertson grew up in Waterloo and then studied English Literature at Queen’s University (B.A.H.) and U of T (M.A.).  Then she switched gears and studied acting at the George Brown Theatre School from which she graduated last spring.  Favourite theatre credits include: the Nurse in R&J (Hart House), Julia in Two Gents (Shakespeare in the Ruff), Jo in Little Women (George Brown), and Cordelia in King Lear (Hart House).  Lesley’s two greatest theatrical loves are clowns and Shakespeare.


Ana-Marija Stojic is currently finishing her undergrad in theatre at York university. She plans to attend York’s graduate program in theatre studies in the fall. She has had experience in dramaturgy, stage managing, acting and directing for theatre. She has other interests as well but what would be the fun of leaving nothing to the imagination?

Peter Van Wart is studying in the MA program at the U of T Drama Centre and is honoured to be working with such bright and talented people. Peter is a member of the company of actors who made up the International Shakespeare’s Globe Company 2002, appearing in such roles as Richard III and Pandarus and received the Christopher Plummer Fellowship Award. Peter has been teaching “Shakespeare for the Actor” at the University of Toronto as well as The Randolph Theatre Academy for over 10 years. He also founded The Classical Theatre Lab at Equity Showcase in 1998. Some acting credits include: Pseudolus in A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, Touchstone in As You Like It, Serge in Art, Malvolio in Twelfth Night, the King in Alls Well That Ends Well for S.I.T.S;  ;  the Duke in Measure for Measure and Boyet in Loves Labours Lost at the York Shakespeare Festival; Titus in Titus Andronicus in Halifax, and Meneleus in Trojan Women in Los Angeles. As a director, Peter brought R & J  Brampton from development to the stage in 2007 and helmed The Original Practices productions of Taming of the Shrew and Twelfth Night at the Heritage Theatre in Brampton in September 2005. Other directorial assignments include Shakespeare on the Thames’ inaugural production of Twelfth Night  in 2002 and their 2004 production of As You Like It held in Gibbons Park in London, Ontario. He directed The Taming of the Shrew at the Rose Theatre in Brampton in the summer of 2008 and A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2009 for Brampton’s Flower City Festival. He has directed The Clandestine Marriage in 2010 and more recently the production of Nicholas Nickleby Part 1 for Erindale Theatre Program UTM.


Jenn Cole (Set Designer) is a ghost tied to the world by thread. She has almost always made a sport of redeeming lost things from garbage heaps. 

David Jones is a sound artist and curatorial partner with The Good Children, who plan and host experimental art events throughout Toronto. The upcoming Spring Equinox event, Fruit From the Ashes, will feature performance, video, sound and interdisciplinary artists exploring the possibilities of rebuilding from the surrounding decay.


Matt Jones (Artistic Director) is a writer and dramaturg. His previous plays include Dracula in a Time of Climate Change and The Mysterious Case of the Flying Anarchist. He is currently working on a PhD in theatre at the Drama Centre.


Johanna Lawrie (Production Manager)


Martine Plourde (Costume Designer) is currently getting her MA in Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies at the University of Toronto. This is her first production with the Drama Centre. She graduated from Queen’s University in Drama this past June. Selected credits at Queen’s include: Costume Designer (Closer: Vagabond Theatre Co.), Head of Wardrobe (City of Angels: QMT; A Midsummer Night’s Dream: Queen’s Drama Department) and Production Manager (Dust: Queen’s Drama Department with Human Cargo). Martine would like to thank the cast and crew for all of their hard work. Enjoy the show! 


Alain Richer (Lighting Designer) is a graduate of both the Queen’s University Drama Department and English Department. He currently works in the arts department for Télévision Franco-Ontarien in Toronto.

Select Toronto Credits: Director: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (CATS Mainstage); Set and Lighting Design: Cabaret, Fiddler on the Roof (CATS Mainstage); Lighting Design: Singing in the Rain (CATS Mainstage); Set Design: The Goat, or Who is Sylvia? (ATIC), Delicacy (Theatre Brouhaha). Various other work as Production Manager, Technical Director, Designer and Scenic Artist.


Isabel Stowell-Kaplan (Assistant Stage Manager) is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, University of Toronto. Before returning to Canada she worked as a Production Assistant with Insight News and Film and Music Entertainment. She has an MA in Text and Performance Studies (King’s College/RADA) and a BA in English (Oxford). During her time at Oxford she appeared in many productions including the UK premiere of Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 (Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2005). Whilst at the Drama Centre she has assisted on a number of productions including stage-managing The Musician (2012) and acting as Production Coordinator for the 2011 Festival of Original Theatre.


Lauren Shepherd (Assistant Stage Manager) is a first year PhD Student with the Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies. She completed her MFA in Staging Shakespeare at The University of Exeter, and her BA Honours in Drama at Brock University. Lauren is currently researching the Performance of Madness in Shakespeare’s female characters. Her recent projects have included Stage Management for Troilus & Criseyde/Cressida, a staged reading, and Technical Production Assistant/Design/Assistant Stage Manager for projects with Poculi Ludique Societas (PLS). Lauren spends most of her time away from school working with youths through Liberty Junction Theatre Inc, based in Mississauga, where she works as a vocal coach and theatre director on their youth productions.


Catie Thompson (Stage Manager) is a PhD student at the Centre for Drama, Theatre, and Performance Studies. Her life has been spent in libraries, theatres, and oceans punctuated consistently by sandwiches.


Ashley Williamson (Director) is in her first year of a phd at the centre for drama, theatre and performance studies at U of T. She is a friend to all lizards.


Ghassan Knayzeh is an ex-military Syrian interrogator with a degree in electrical engineering with a minor in software engineering; on a path to attain a masters in engineering specializing in computer engineering.

Ergin Babani is an Albanian ex-kidnapper with a computer engineering degree. Currently working as a mobile app developer in Toronto and trying to get a computer engineering master’s. 

Artistic Director’s Note

We stayed up all night, my friends and I, reading, watching, listening to reports about Guantanamo Bay until the prison camp infected our dreams. When our dreams became nightmares, we felt we could say something about it that wasn’t just another report. We looked at the camp as foolish witnesses, as clowns who cannot tell you what goes on there, only what it’s like to be outside it, to wonder, to need to know. Guantanamo Bay is so close to the sea. The detainees hear it at night, they write about it in poems etched onto Styrofoam cups, but they are never permitted to see it. Reading the words of the detainees in translation we try to reconstruct their world in our minds like they reconstruct the sea.

Mani al-Utaybi, Yasser al-Zahrani, and Ali Abdullah Ahmed were the first prisoners to die at Guantanamo in 2006. They were former hunger strikers who had been force fed during their detention. A government report concluded that they had hanged themselves in their cells in a suicide pact. They had made mannequins of themselves using clothes to distract the guards and made nooses from their bedsheets. Their deaths were described by Rear Admiral Harry Harris as “an act of asymmetrical warfare committed against us.” A later independent investigation wondered how they had managed to tie their hands and feet together, stuff rags down their throats, climb up on the sinks in their cells, jump off and hang dead for two hours, unnoticed by guards. Another report claims the men had been dry-boarded at a secret camp, called Camp No, outside the periphery of the regular prison facility.

In this play, we do not reveal the truth about these men’s deaths, since we do not know what that is. Rather, we are telling you our story, a story about looking into Guantanamo Bay and not being able to see. A guard at Camp Delta calls Guantanamo Bay a scene “set behind diamond-shaped windows.” Guantanamo Bay: a place of secrecy. But unlike the countless CIA blacksites around the world we know nothing about, Guantanamo Bay is asking to be looked at, to be approved of, to build a community that condones torture. Sometimes it is only by looking in from an askew angle that we can see what matters.

In the spirit of secrecy and revelation, we divided into cells to create the piece. The cells worked autonomously from each other. Information was passed strategically between them. As images passed between the cells, they lost literal meaning and began to gain the kind of significance that images have in dreams. The effect is something like a collage made from poems by the detainees, songs taken from the Torture Playlist used to humiliate the detainees and keep them awake, and from the euphemistic language of the GITMO authorities. The connection we have with Guantanamo Bay is political, especially because of our government’s uncritical attitude towards it, but it is also a part of the world that our psyches must adapt to. As long as it remains open we cannot dream in peace.

Matt Jones

Dictator/Artistic Director

Death Clowns in Guantanamo Bay

death clowns poster

Once upon a time in Guantánamo Bay, three men were found dead in their prison cells. How did they die? Two clowns take a skewed look into the legal black hole that is the Guantánamo Bay prison camp but find themselves faced with a series of obstacles that make it impossible to find out what happened. Death Clowns in Guantánamo Bay is a play about torture, death and the impossible necessity of communicating suffering across distance and cultures. Using mannequin doubles, readymade sculptures, morbid clowning, a singing SWAT-team chorus and gallows humour, the play asks audiences to look at life in the camp in a darkly ludic and dreamlike manner.

[read more…]

Performance time is 60 minutes plus a 20-minute “inspection period” during which the audience may peruse the set and look for secrets. Android users can participate in the enhanced environment.

   Click here to download the Death Clowns app


Click here for pictures of the show

Seating is extremely limited: please reserve early!

Tickets $10. BOX OFFICE: 416.978.7986 | graddrama.utoronto.ca

March 21-24, 2013

Thursday 8pm (SOLD OUT!)

Friday 8pm (SOLD OUT!)

Saturday 8pm (SOLD OUT!)

Sunday 2pm (pay what you can) (SOLD OUT!)

Studio Theatre, 4 Glen Morris Street, Toronto

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