Based on real events, White Heat is a play about who gets sympathy and who doesn’t. The show is written by Graham Isador (VICE, GQ) and directed by Dora Award winner Jill Harper (Pool No Water). It features Dora Award Winning actor and playwright Makambe Simamba (Our Fathers, Sons, Lovers, and Little Brothers) and Tim Walker (Dry Land).
I asked Isador, Simamba and Walker to list their reasons they are “excited to work on White Heat” at SummerWorks Performance Festival this year.
Graham Isador (author)
One: For the past three years I’ve had full houses and great reviews for my writing, but it hasn’t lead to next steps in my theatre career. I suspect this is because my plays have been solo shows. Knowing this I put together a script for two actors and assembled a crew of people I respect and admire. Jill Harper has a Dora for Directing. Makambe K. Simamba has two Doras for writing and acting. Tim Walker has stolen every show I’ve ever seen him in. Chris Ross-Ewart is the best sound designer in this country and just finished at Yale. There is a sickening amount of talent bringing this work to life. I want this thing to go places. I want to have work programed at a major theatre in Toronto. Putting together White Heat is me shooting my shot.
Two: This is a chance to prove I can do more than write monologues. Writing a script that has characters and a plot isn’t something many people have witnessed. I want to prove I’ve got more than one trick. I’ve got…at least two.
Three: This show is a chance to highlight the stories and work my friends are doing. Writing about the rise of white supremacy and the alt-right is imperative if we want to continue having a functioning democracy. I’m not naive enough to think a piece of theatre could really have an impact, but this whole thing is an ode to the real work my friends are doing. And the work they’re doing – their writing – is tremendously important.
Makambe K. Simamba (Alice Kennings)
One: The writing is amazing, biting, refreshing.
Two: I’m so confused by latest resurgence of white supremacy, and I am keen to play a character who has many of the same frustrations and questions I have. It almost seems that Alice and I are on a journey together, and it’s an interesting relationship to have with a character I am embodying.
Three: I have an incredible team to support this challenging piece, including Tim who completely trust to dig into the dark and difficult elements of the script with me. You have to have trust to taken on such a piece of writing piece that is unapologetic about its representations of the world we live in. Graham’s script reflects the dangers, complications and realities of our world where white supremacy has been a thing and continues to be a thing. What are we gonna do about it?
Tim Walker (The Captain)
One: Fear. As soon as I read the monologue for the Audition I was terrified of this play. I was scared of who this character was, and those that would willingly listen to him.
The topic matter scared the crap out of me. And that’s exactly why I decided to do it. There is something magical about staring down the darkness.
Two: The Peeps. Working with director Jill [Harper] has always been a pleasure. We have had a chance to collaborate several times and she is one of my favourite co-conspirators. Graham, I have known personally for a year and a bit, we have always had very stimulating conversations. When he wrote to me asking if I would like to audition I was very excited- even more so after I read his script. And, finally, Makambe, who I just met on this project and I feel like I’ve known all my life. She is, simply put, a bright light, a gentle soul and a mighty talent.
Three: Summerworks. This is my third chance to take part in Summerworks, a festival that continues to push boundaries of it’s programming and its audience.
White Heat will be presented by Pressgang Theatre as part of SummerWorks on August 11, 12, and 14. Be sure to get your advance tickets now!
Photos: Graham Isador, Pressgang Theatre.