I, Claudia

I, Claudia


A play by Kristen Thomson, Directed by Chris Abraham
February 6 to 19, 2012  in Montreal, Quebec

Starring: Michelle Polak
Designers: Robin Fisher, Julie Fox, Beth Kates
Stage Manager:  Sarah O’Brien
Production Manager: Matthew Byrne

Click HERE for tickets and Geordie Productions.

“A Masterful Accomplishment! Brilliant, charming and heartbreaking” National Post

“One of the most moving theatrical experiences I have had in a long time…” Edmonton Sun

This extraordinary one-woman show maps the raw, but beautiful, interior life of a misfit adolescent. Claudia, age twelve-and-three quarters, finds herself suffering from the triple afflictions of puberty, unpopularity, and her parents’ divorce. Using four astonishingly expressive masks, the performer evokes the anguished Claudia, her grandfather, her dad’s new girlfriend, and the school janitor. Both heartbreakingly sad and wrenchingly funny, I, Claudia, casts a spell of rare power in the theatre.

“Blissfully funny, unexpectedly touching…a must-see.”  Toronto Star

Cast and Creative Team

Kristen ThomsonKristen Thomson (Playwright): As playwright and performer, Kristen Thomson has had considerable success with I, Claudia, her first play. I, Claudia was developed over two years at Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre where it was premiered (Dora Awards for performance and writing) and it has since been presented across Canada.  It was later adapted to film by Kristen and director Chris Abraham.  For the film, Kristen was awarded a best performance Gemini and ACTRA Award, along with two Canadian Comedy Awards for performance and writing.  Her next play, The Patient Hour, premiered at the Tarragon Theatre in 2009.  Kristen is currently a Writer in Residence at Crow’s Theatre, working on her newest work:  Someone Else.

As an actor, Kristen has appeared on stages across the country, including Soulpepper, Tarragon, Factory Theatre, Canadian Stage, National Arts Centre, and has won three Dora Mavor Moore awards.  In 2003, she won an ACTRA Award for her performance in I Shout Love and a Genie Award for Away From Her, both directed by Sarah Polley.

Michelle PolakMichelle Polak (Actor): Originally from Montreal, Michelle decided to make Toronto her home after graduating with honours from the Ryerson Theatre School in 1995. Since then Michelle has devoted herself exclusively to the theatre. Select credits include: The Chairs (Modern Times Stage Co./Dora nomination), K’now Theatre’s Little Dragon, Lost Heir and School House (Blyth Festival), A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Overcoat (Canadian Stage Company), Tout Comme Elle (Necessary Angel/Luminato) and Aluna Theatre’s For Sale (Dora Award for outstanding performance by a female).

Michelle first performed I, Claudia for the Thousand Islands Playhouse in 2005 followed by her critically acclaimed performance at the Segal Centre in 2008 with director Leah Cherniak. Her journey with the project continued when Chris Abraham invited her to join forces with Crow’s Theatre’s production for Theatre North West in 2010 and then most recently the 2011 Ontario tour. She has been honoured as NOW Magazine’s number one artist and is also the first woman in Canada to receive the Patrick Crean Award. Upcoming she will be reprieving her role as Moitie in the cross Canada tour of Head a Tete for Theatre Direct. Michelle wishes to thank her children and her partner Michaela Washburn for their love and support.

Matthew Byrne

Matthew Byrne (Production Manager): Matthew is a graduate of the Professional Theatre Department of John Abbott College in Montreal. He has been working in theatre for the past 15 years on all levels from amateur to professional companies throughout Canada. Through Maph Productions Inc. Matthew works with Toronto’s leading Performing Arts Producers, Event Planners and Festivals producing high quality award winning productions. Maph Productions Inc. provides production management and coordination, technical direction as well as site and event logistics. Selected credits include Just For Laughs Festival, Toronto International Film Festival, Fashion Week, Assassins (Birdland/ Talk is Free), Eternal Hydra (Crow’s Theatre) and The light in The Piazza (Acting up Stage Company).

Robin Fisher (Mask Construction and Claudia Costume): Select design credits include set and costumes for A Year with Frog and Toad (Young Peoples Theatre), Cinderella (Canadian Opera Company), The Syringa Tree (Great Canadian Theatre Company), The Little Prince (The Grand Theatre), The Tempest (The Canadian Stage Company), The Ends of the Earth (The Belfry Theatre), I, Claudia (Theatre & Co./Segal Centre), The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon (Globe Theatre). Set Design – You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (YPT), The Danish Play (Nightwood/Aveny-T Denmark). Costume Design – The Cherry Orchard (Soulpepper). Robin is the recipient of a Dora Mavor Moore award for best costumes for 36 Views (Actors Repertory Company). Upcoming, Robin will be designing the costumes for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Western Canada Theatre) and The Rez Sisters (Factory Theatre).

Julie FoxJulie Fox (Set and Costume Designer): Since graduating from the National Theatre School in 1994, Julie has worked as a set and costume designer for theatres and dance companies across Canada, including the The Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Canadian Stage Company, NAC, Soulpepper, Tarragon, Manitoba Theatre Centre, The Citadel, Theatre Junction, Theatre New Brunswick, The Grand Theatre, MoonHorse Dance Theatre, Chartier Danse, and Susanna Hood/hum.  She received three Dora Mavor Moore Awards for outstanding set design, and has been nominated many times. She has taught at Concordia and The National Theatre School.

Beth KatesBeth Kates  (Lighting Designer): Beth is a Toronto based Projection, Lighting, Set & Costume Designer whose work has been seen around the world.  As resident designer for WYRD Productions she designed MacHomer – The Simpsons do MacBeth, Into the Ring, HARDSELL and Bigger Than Jesus for which she won a Dora Award for lighting. Recently, she and husband Ben Chaisson created the Design and Projections for Tapestry Opera’s Dark Star Requiem.  As Production Designer, Beth created the worlds for Judith Thompson’s Such Creatures and Sick.  She also transformed Theatre Passe Muraille into a synagogue for Yichud (Seclusion). Projection/Lighting/Set Design: The Backyardigans (Koba) and Malaria Lullaby (Company Blonde). Her co-creation with Ben Chaisson – the interactive installation The ToyBox – was recently awarded the CITT Award of Technical Merit.  There are many works in progress including Night Light Travels for Nuit Blanche Toronto 2011, and The Synesthesia Project, a co-creation with Steven McCarthy.

Sarah O’Brien (Stage Manager):  Sarah is pleased to be working on her fifth outing with Crow’s Theatre and I, Claudia.  Recent credits include Nightwood Theatre’s New Groundswell production of The Aftermath, and Signal Theatre/Native Earth Performing Arts autumn production of From Thine Eyes. Other credits include Velocipede (Frankie Productions), Race Day (Victoria Playhouse Petrolia), Anne Of Green Gables—The Musical (Globe Theatre),  GiiwedinA First Nations Opera (NEPA),  and  Lauchie, Liza and Rory (Ship’s Co. Theatre/Mulgrave Road Theatre). Upcoming projects include stage managing a repertory of Bertold Brecht and Tennessee Williams for George Brown Theatre School,  and returning to Nova Scotia for her twelfth season with Festival Antigonish Summer Theatre. Sarah is the recipient of the 2011 Robert Merritt Award for Stage Management from Theatre Nova Scotia.