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Theatre Outré explore the fallout from bullying in The Late Company

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Theatre Outré presents Toronto playwright Jordan Tannahill’s play “The Late Company,” at a slightly different location, Feb. 22-26.Richie Wilcox and Jay Whitehead discuss  Theatre Outré's production of  The Late Company, running Feb. 22-26. Photo by Richard Amery
 Instead of the local alternative theatre company’s usual home of Club Didi, they will be presenting their most mainstream play to date in Levi Cox’s loft above Catwalk Salon, which is a perfect location for a play that takes place at a dinner party where the parents of a deceased bullied teen meet the bully and the bully’s parents over dinner.

“We’re sitting in the room where this dinner party takes place. It is literally a fly in the wall perspective,” said director Richie Wilcox, noting it has been a lot of fun working with Levi Cox on the production.

“He’s always been such a big supporter of Theatre Outré,” said Jay Whitehead who plays the deceased boy’s father Michael in the play.
“It takes place at a dinner party where Debora and Michael, a year after their son’s suicide, meet with their son’s bully and his parents,” Whitehead summarized.

 Why they want to meet their son’s bully and his parents is explained thoroughly in the play.
“It’s a way to help them deal with their grief and come to terms with the situation,” said director Richie Wilcox, noting Whitehead and Wilcox are good friends with playwright Jordan Tannahill.
“He‘s worked with our students at the university.  He runs a venue in Toronto called Videofag which is used by artists and actors,” Whitehead said.

“We’ve always wanted to do one of his plays and it is particularly timely today,” he continued.
The play is about acceptance  - how do people accept others, accept past actions,  how do we accept change and how do we accept love and death.

“This is the Alberta premiere of this script. It’s done a lot, but it has never been done like this,” Wilcox said.
 The cast features some prominent local faces including Doug MacArthur, Jory Kohn as well as Yvonne Maendel and Edmonton actor Hunter Cardinal.
“We have a great local cast who are mostly local,” Whitehead enthused, noting Jory Kohn plays the artist wife of  Whitehead’s character. His character of Michael is a conservative politician, which leads to some interesting conversations.

“Michael is a Conservative politician and his wife is a more liberal artist, so  there are some interesting Liberal vs Conservative dialogue. There’s a bit of yin and yang,” Whitehead  said.

“Yvonne just got her acting degree in Toronto and I really wanted to work with her,” Wilcox said.
“And Doug and I did Tribes at the university. So I thought it was a great part for him,” he continued.
“And Jory has been a constant supporter of Theatre Outré  by participating in our fundraisers by singing. It just made sense to cast her as Michael’s wife,” Wilcox continued.

“It’s like a roller coaster and you’re just on it. It’s going to be exciting,” said Wilcox.
The play is the cornerstone event of the 13th annual Pretty, Witty and Gay festival. The play runs every night, Jan, 22-26 at 8 p.m. upstairs at Catwalk. (618 3rd Avenue South)
 Tickets for the show are $20  regular and $15 for students.

There are several other events going on throughout the week.
 Pretty, Witty and Gay began  Friday, Feb. 19 with  Gommorrah, local improv troupe the Drama Nutz’s monthly improvised soap opera at Club Didi.
 Pretty, Witty and Gay winds up with  the annual cabaret at the Yates Theatre, Saturday, Feb. 27.
“There will be lots of music, a couple of David Bowie tributes, some drag performances and  acrobatics. There will be surprises. There are always surprises,” Whitehead said.

A version of this  story appears in the Feb. 24, 2016 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times
— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
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