Toronto’s acclaimed Theatre Gargantua (TG) opens the world premiere of Avaricious, marking the culmination of the company’s eleventh cycle of work. Written by Michael Spence with the ensemble and contributions from Kat Sandler, Avaricious is a darkly comic exploration of greed, hope, and humanity in the face of environmental disaster.
Avaricious combines music, physicality, and innovative designs for an adrenaline-fuelled fable of a society brought to the tipping point by one man’s greed.
Avaricious stars Pam Patel, Michelle Polak, and Michael Spence – all seen previously in Theatre Gargantua’s staging of the multi-Dora-nominated, award-winning play The Sacrifice Zone – along with TG newcomer Patrick Howarth.
Avaricious is a satirical foray into a world of unbelievable economic disparity. During Gargantua’s research for the play, the ensemble discovered Antilia, the world’s largest and most expensive house, costing one billon dollars U.S. -a twenty-six double story home situated in Mumbai, overlooking the slums, on land illegally purchased from a former orphanage. Inspired by this incredible, real-life example of gross extravagance in the midst of poverty, the play is set within a monstrous house in the fictional town of Antilla.
While developing the work, Thomas and the company continually came upon research highlighting the shocking disproportion of the world’s wealth distribution. When the wealth gap was displayed in graphs, it bore an uncanny resemblance to the billion dollar home overlooking the masses living in the slums – an image echoed throughout the works’ design. Spence also brings back the Evensies – a chorus of devilish characters that have appeared in his previous works.
Avaricious employs a compelling mix of Theatre Gargantua’s trademark highly physical, imagistic style with set design by Michael Spence, lighting and projection design by Laird Macdonald, costume design by Melanie McNeil, sound design by John Gzowski. The stage manager is Erika Morey. The Producer is Yolanda Ferrato.
Conceived and directed by Gargantua’s Artistic Director Jacquie P.A. Thomas, this dynamic, adventurous opens Thursday November 5 and runs through to November 21 at Theatre Passe Muraille’s Mainspace.Tickets are available online attheatregargantua.ca or by calling the Arts Box Office at 416.504.7529.