Skip to main content

Director John Shooter on Radiant Vermin

Note: Apologies to all for this late interview post. I was blindsided by a horrible cold that sapped my energy and  concentration.

donna g: Radiant Vermin makes the second time that Precisely Peter Productions is presenting a play by Philip Ridley. Was this always the intent, or were you spurred on by the success of Pitchfork Disney?

John Shooter: Philip Ridley is one of my favourite playwrights. I love his imagery, his sneaky twists and turns and the fact that, even his darkest, most gruesome plays are laced with black humour! I intend to do a trilogy of his plays.

donna g: Plans with your first venue fell through. Once you got past the panic, how did you deal with the resulting challenges?

John Shooter: I intended to stage Radiant Vermin in Double Double Land. However, following the fire (of a DIY creative venue) in LA (which killed 36 people), many such venues around the world have now been under strict inspection and have been forced to close. Even if they do in fact comply with health and safety rules. Unfortunately, Double Double Land is one such venue and we only found out three days before we were due to start rehearsing. The DDL guys are really great though and are working hard to get their venue reopened as soon as possible. I loved working with them and hope to go back there in the future.

I had to find a new venue extremely quickly and managed to find Dirty Talk, run by music producer James Beare. It's an amazing venue and James has been phenomenal in allowing us to utilise the space in any way we wanted. We couldn't have wished for anything better. I'd also love to bring another show back here. Of course, moving venues means rethinking the show in some ways. Entrances and exits are very different in both venues but, due to the understanding and generosity of the cast and designers, the change was as smooth as could be!

donna g: You've only been in Toronto a handful of years yet you've managed to create theatre in established spaces as well as the historic Campbell House and even hip corners of Kensington Market. Nothing seems to hold you back. What keeps you going?

Marium Carvell
John Shooter: What really keeps me going is the fact that l have met and worked with such extraordinarily talented people. I often work with people l had never met before starting a show and they are always so kind and generous and take a chance on me. I finish each show on a high and am sad that our time together is over. But, l store the memories and believe that we'll work together again. If this wasn't the case, l doubt l'd have the enthusiasm to continue. They inspire me and so do the plays, of course.

donna g: Radiant Vermin has been getting positive reviews since its Opening Night. Are there any chances of an extended run, or are you already thinking of your next project?

Julie Tepperman & Jonas Widdifield
John Shooter: Radiant Vermin is a magnificent play but it has been so challenging to pull off and do it justice. But in the hands of these wonderful actors and designers, l think they did it. They are superb. This play has a certain rhythm to it and asks to be performed at breakneck speed with boundless energy. There is no fancy set, lighting or sound and so relies primarily on the skill of the actors to bring the story alive. There's nowhere for them to hide. This is a great achievement on their part. I'm not entirely sure what my next project will be. I have several ideas though and so l hope you'll watch out for us. Regarding an extension, that would be great but these pigeons need to rest. They've put out everything into this show and never faltered.

Radiant Vermin
A Precisely Peter Production
Until March 19th
Dirty Talk
167 Augusta Avenue (just north of Dundas)
Kensington Market


Popular posts from this blog

donna g's TIFF 08 Coverage: Day 2 aka The Miscasting of Renée Zellweger


Appaloosa wasn't on my "Must See" list of films, simply because my Festival experience is seeing the films without the big stars that may not get distributed. Appaloosa is directed by my love, Ed Harris (who also stars in the film) and has such notable names as Viggo Mortensen and Jeremy Irons. I love Westerns, and an invite to the film had me in line at the elegant Elgin Theatre. While I enjoyed the Marshall (Harris) and his gun-toting, literate sidekick (Mortenssen) battling it out with the bad guy (Irons), I did not enjoy Renée Zellweger in the role of the woman who clings to whatever alpha male is dominating the scene. I kept trying to re-cast her, but it wasn't until I got home that Virginia Madsen's name popped into my head. Virginia would have been perfect and also luminous. Renée may be from Texas, but I wasn't buying her in this one. If you think I'm being harsh everything I've just written was also said by two guys walking behi…

Ross Petty's Sleeping Beauty BFFs: Meet Alexandra Beaton & Taveeta Szymanowicz

Fall/winter theatre favourite Ross Petty Productions is back with another fairy-tale pantomime! This year's treat is Sleeping Beauty-The Deliriously Dreamy Family Musical. The beauty is Kinky Boots star, AJ Bridal and playing her best pals are Alexandra Beaton and Taveeta Szymanowicz of Family Channel's The Next Steps. Taveeta and Alexandra were in rehearsals but took time out to share some insights into their roles.

donna g: Were either of you familiar with pantomime before being cast in Ross Petty's version of Sleeping Beauty?
Taveeta: Yes! I saw Ross's production of Peter Pan when I was in Elementary school. I remember having such a lovely time. I was thus very excited when I was cast in Ross's 2015/16 production of Peter Pan in Wonderland last year. I was thrilled to be cast again this year! 
Alexandra: Of course! Growing up in Toronto, going to the Panto at Christmas  time was a tradition for a lot of my friends. I even saw a few myself.
donna g: You both play Bea…

TIFF16 Day 5: Lion, (re)ASSIGNMENT, Julieta and a monk

Five days into TIFF16 and I'm exhausted. Its a happy tired for most of us who cover the festival, because we love film and we want others to love film too, which is why we share what we've been up to. We want to communicate the passion that is in the air around the central hub at King and John streets, the cinemas, and the stages that show the films and host the conversations.

Yesterday, I began my morning standing in the rush line on Queen Street, around the corner from the Elgin Theatre (called the Visa Screening Room during TIFF) waiting to see if I could get into the public screening of Lion, starring Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman. I was number 78 in the line but I got in and had a bird's eye view of the screen from my lovely single seat next to a column in the balcony.

I rarely cry at the movies, but Lion got me in end. Upon sharing this shocking news on social media some friends of mine quickly let me know that they teared up too. This from a feel good movie where we …