A few media (&social media) responses to productions directed by Mark Cassidy

 

“I just got back from seeing 30 People Watching at the Aki Studio Theatre in Toronto and I was totally blown away by this production. Based on the difficult stories around the murder of Reena Virk, it is: brave, engaging, urgent, important, artfully performed, directed and designed. This is a story about complicity and it is very much in the air and our conversations rights now. It was also very interesting that the story around the death of a young brown girl was mainly attended by an audience of colour. Why is that? Just a coincidence or are some people staying away because they are scared of feeling guilty or bad? I'm not sure but the storytelling is rich, balanced and heartfelt. You leave with more understanding... not less. It's one of the most important shows I've seen in Toronto in a long time.  GO!!!!” Raoul Baneja—30 People Watching

 

“I went in recalling my horror for Reena.  I came out feeling sad for the society that created this situation. And hopeful for the potential of restorative justice. And the transformative power of masterful storytelling. And the joy of humorous moments and compelling movement in an otherwise dark tale. not to be missed. Transformative, mind-bending work. Tanya Pillay—30 People Watching

 

“It is very bold of a play for young people to take on such topics as depression and the unfaithfulness of a parent, but Gingras’s book and Cassidy’s adaptation deal with these with taste and sensitivity.  It will likely be a help to any children in the audience who have to deal with these issues to see them played out on stage and help them realize they are not alone in these experiences.”  Chrisopher Hoile, The Stage Door--Emily’s Piano ****

“The boy-meets-girl formula gets torn to shreds in this riveting story of love—and love’s terrible costs—set in contemporary Iraq.” Eleni Deacon, Torontoist, The Widow ****

 

“Powerful, thought-provoking, intense, triggering. A play that displayed such resilience, hope and unity. An ensemble brave, courageous and real enough to talk about the things that society often pushes under the rug, turns a blind eye to or deems unimportant. That is what I experienced Saturday night as I watched the play Known To Police. There were times where I sat at the edge of my seat, moments where I laughed and others where I had to take a deep breath and refrain from walking out of the theatre, because shit got real. Michelle Green-Urbanology Magazine—Known to Police

 

“When a theatre production takes on a classic work of prose and gives it new life, the audience is fortunate. When this new life is articulated with such fire and wisdom that the original words of the master are seared with new energy, the audience is privileged. When all of this comes together, the experience is almost completely overwhelming” Robyn Sassen, My View Johannesburg-Kafka and Son

 

"Beautifully written by Carol Cece Anderson and intricately staged by Mark Cassidy, this play speaks of the human experience in a profound way. The play tells the story of an interracial couple living in Toronto, whose idealistic views on love and life have been challenged as the aging couple begin to cope with the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Paralleling their own 40 year relationship, is the tale of Maria, a white Hispanic ballerina living in Cuba, with dreams of her own to pursue.  Mark Cassidy’s direction is simply superb as the characters move from past to present, Toronto to Cuba, slowly revealing to us their emotional journeys from start to finish."

Adelina Fabiano, Mooney on Theatre--Swan Song of Maria:  A Tragic Fairy Tale

  

"Pure unadulterated surreal goodness” 

Eva Marie Clarke, Vue Weekly, Edmonton--Kafka and Son****

 

"Highly imaginative, full of mystery and madness.  Director Mark Cassidy, actor Patrick Conner and the deadpan cast of supporting players do a spectacular job of disorienting us and suggesting a lot with a little"  Glenn Sumi, Now Magazine—Terror****

“Thrilling…brilliantly realized”  Robert Cushman, National Post--Kafka & Son

 

“It was by far the greatest youth based theatre performance available today… A little over an hour and jam-packed with creative settings, props and lighting topped off with home hitting messages… a mind changing experience.” – Anisa Mohamed, Student Review, The Demonstration

 

“Through an amazing mix of sound, light, spoken word and movement, the actors weave a captivating story… I felt completely submerged in the performance… the kind of experience you can only get with live theatre, and it leaves a lasting impression.” – Lauren Strapagiel, Student Review, The Demonstration

“With the distressing number of hate crimes taking place in our city over the past few weeks, The Secret Of Gabi's Dresser acquires new importance as a piece of theatre. But what makes this particular show so potent is that it's not just one more riff on the Anne Frank story, putting the major focus on the process of how a Jewish family did (or didn't) escape from the Nazis. On the contrary, the entire first half of this play, in fact, is about the slow, insidious and chilling way that racial intolerance spreads through a school, then a community, then a country. Mark Cassidy has done a solid job of directing the piece, staging it with fluidity and making nice use of offstage singing to bridge the scenes. He has also wisely encouraged his actors to play for truth, instead of emotionalism. 

Richard Ouzounian, Toronto Star—The Secret of Gabi’s Dresser****

 

 “ A saxophone wails. Fifties advertisements flash onto screens.  Four men enter nervously, looking like characters caught in some paranoid nightmare.  Threshold’s wildly imaginative Howl, brings the quartet to life, borrowing from their words and lives, tripping from episode to episode.  Mark Cassidy directs furiously, but not recklessly always matching form with content.  The charismatic cast is thrilling.  A remarkable show.  Glenn Sumi, Now Magazine, Howl ****

 

 "Gutsy...striking...hugely effective"  Kamal-Al-Soyalee,  Eye Magazine--Howl

 

"One of the most provocative and engaging productions seen anywhere this year"  Dennis Armstrong, Classical 96--Crime on Goat Island

 

“When Eugene O’Neill wrote The Hairy Ape in 1921, the United States was entering its worst period of class conflict to date.  Immigrants and refugees were pouring in from Europe, the U.S. had emerged as the industrialized nation in the world and technology had revolutionized economic production, but the captains of industry were conspiring to run the country like feudal lords, relegating a powerless labor force to wage slavery.  In other words, things were pretty much as they are now.  By expanding The Hairy Ape’s expressionistic impulses and setting it in a women’s prison, this production has breathed new life into one of the first classics of contemporary American theatre.”  Kevin Connoly, Eye Magazine—The Hairy Ape 

 

“Director Mark Cassidy has woven a tapestry of music, words and images that honours the author's intention while offering us a creation of true theatrical interest. The intense performances of Liza Balkan and Hume Baugh take us through those possibilities in one short hour. What's truly impressive about this production is its total unity. The visual design of Tania Etienne is exemplary and Gareth Crew has lit it with a texture that enhances everything around it. There's also the music of Anne Bourne, who as composer, cellist and vocalist provides the perfect correlative to Diane Schoemperlen's words, and when combined with the visual artistry and the actors' intensity, the final result is a seamless wonder.”  Richard Ouzounian, The Toronto Star—Forms of Devotion *****

 

 “With achingly poetic language and wonderful performances, this production of Robin Fulford's, Five Fingers, shows the relentless disintegration of a marriage. Structured as alternating narratives, the play shows how the mundane pressures of middle-class life drive a wedge between Anna (Sarah Neville) and Tuck (Gord Rand).  Both actors are excellent -- Neville has an earthy sensuality and strength, but Rand has the more enviable role, moving from hopeless romantic to self-deluded abuser. Mark Cassidy's deft direction unites actors, text, and Wendy White's surreal set, finding universality in a simple domestic drama. “ Don Mosely, Eye Magazine--Five Fingers**** 

 

“The audience journeys along an unused railway track, onto the cracked concrete porch of a derelict warehouse and into its interior, to sit camp-fire style around an old man lying on a wooden pallet.  The ghost of a track leads to the ghost of a life.  That’s the superbly atmospheric set-up for That Time, a Samuel Beckett work directed by Mark Cassidy.  I’ve rarely felt so much a part of a show.  An extraordinary example of the theatre of immediacy.”  Jon Kaplan, Now Magazine—That Time ****

 

"Gloriously physical...exuberantly theatrical...grand entertainment" Kate Taylor, Globe & Mail—Howl

 

"Fascinating, captivating theatre"  Jennie Punter, Kingston Whig-Standard—As I Lay Dying

 

"Risky, atmospheric and potent" Frederic Duquette, Studio Magazine--A Day After The Fair

 

“ First you go into a silver-lined room filled with cool people in various states of retro-dress.  The, after a long, tension filled wait, the chaos starts:  drugged out debutantes fling themselves into the air, switching partners before they touch the ground.  Men strip down to their underwear paint each other with lipstick and launch into deep French kisses. A day hardly goes by without someone starting an orgy on the couch”  Lee Ann Parpart, Whig-Standard--The Factory

 

"Innovative, powerful, utterly compelling...a knockout show, maybe the best of this year’s fringe " Marc Horton, Edmonton Journal--

As I Lay Dying

 

"Alternately playful and intense...mesmerizing" Jon Kaplan, Now Magazine--White Buildings

 

"Startling and powerful" Kevin Ewert, C.K.L.N. Radio--White Buildings

 

"Perhaps the most exciting aspect of Threshold’s presentation of Beautiful Losers is the innovative and thorough adaptation of the novel by Mark Cassidy.” Pamela Robertson, Queen’s Journal—Beautiful Losers

 

“Thoughtful, creative and timely" Michael Groberman, The Ottawa Citizen--Beautiful Losers

 

 

 

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