Beach resident Michelle Monteith is hitting the stage to help Tarragon Theatre celebrate Canadian playwright Hannah Moscovitch.
Presented by Tarragon Theatre, A Hannah Moscovitch Double Bill, co-produced by Theatre Crisis and Theatre PANIK, runs until March 24 at 30 Bridgman Ave.
Monteith stars in Little One, billed as a “stylish lullaby-nightmare thriller.” Monteith stars alongside Joe Cobden in the Natasha Mytnowych-directed play. Reworked since its 2011 debut, the play follows two adopted siblings as they try to cope with their past and each other.
“I think Hannah always has an interesting perspective on the relationship between two people, so in this case it’s very complicated, humourous, sometimes a little spooky and a little creepy,” Monteith said. “But there’s always a lighter aspect to the darker side of life, and I think it’s entertaining. Her work is always entertaining, even in spite of the dark subject matter.”
The award-winning Moscovitch is Canada’s most-produced young playwright, known for her edgy and thought-provoking style.
“I think she always takes a very honest look at what it means to be human,” said Monteith. “I think that her plays take an honest look at the relationships between people, and that there’s a humour and a tenderness with which they’re portrayed that I think speaks to people. People can see themselves in the characters that she writes about, and she always finds a way of making maybe unlikable people likeable ... She really knows how to walk the line of telling a truthful story, but making it entertaining and complicated, which isn’t easy to do.”
Monteith lives in the Beach with her husband and nine-month-old daughter. Originally from Scotland, she grew up in British Columbia, moving to Toronto twelve years ago. She’s acted professionally for almost 15 years, after switching gears to pursue her passion.
“I originally went to the University of Victoria, originally to do social work, but I soon switched over into the theatre program there,” she explained. “I started (acting) for fun in high school. I was an extremely shy person, and I think I was always drawn to the performing arts, but felt too shy. I had to choose between taking band or taking drama, and I didn’t play an instrument, so I went into drama and I just found that although I was shy, there was a freedom in getting to say someone else’s words; I didn’t feel quite so shy doing that.”
She enjoys researching characters, learning their psychology and behaviour, and pushing her own limitations. “I find that fascinating, what makes people tick,” she said. “I’m always looking for interesting roles, complex characters, maybe characters I haven’t played before. I like to challenge myself. I like to surprise myself with what I think I can’t do and try to do that.”
After Little One finishes showing at Tarragon Theatre, Monteith will hit the road with the play, before returning to perform in Soulpepper Theatre Company’s production of Angels in America.
Little One runs until March 17, followed March 19 to 24 by Roseneath Theatre’s production of In This World, a complex exploration of adolescence, race, class and sex, directed by Andrew Lamb and starring Meilie Ng and Oyin Oladejo.
Running to March 24, the Moscovitch mini-festival also features Other People’s Children, an unsettling drama directed by Paul Lampert, starring Niki Landau, Elisa Moolecherry and Gray Powell.
Tickets for A Hannah Moscovitch Double Bill are available online through www.tarragontheatre.com and by phone at 416-531-1827. Prices range from $27 to $53, including taxes, with discounts for students, seniors and groups.
Saturday, March 16 features a pay-what-you-can matinee, and $13 rush tickets are available at the door Fridays at 6 p.m. and Sundays at 1 p.m.