A City

Necessary Angel is excited to present A City, written by Greg MacArthur (The Toxic Bus Incident, Snowman, Recovery), and directed by Necessary Angel Artistic Director Jennifer Tarver.

Presented as a gallery installation or tableaux vivant, A City is an intimate, personal study of four artists/friends, who tell the story of a famous friend who died under mysterious circumstances, and how he transformed them. The story is revealed through direct address in a disarmingly casual atmosphere, as if the audience were eavesdropping on a personal conversation.

Based on the members of a real indie theatre company in Montreal (Sidemart Theatrical Grocery), A City is inspired by documented stories, recorded text, confessional monologues and fictional writing. An intimate, painfully funny testament to a time and place, it is about the end of a friendship and a shifting world.

The piece is the second in a trilogy of plays by playwright Greg MacArthur that play with the boundaries between truth and fiction and are inspired by real life collaborators in three different Canadians cities.  The first in the trilogy, A Man Vanishes, presented at Videofag in the spring of 2016, was loosely based on the acclaimed 1967 film of the same name by Shohei Imamura, which starts out as a documentary about a missing Japanese man but increasingly creates uncertainty about the nature of the story being told, and also inspired by the Videofag co-creators William Ellis and Jordan Tannahill. The play starred the two artists as exaggerated versions of themselves, and the Toronto Star called the play “ [a] slippery Escher painting of a theatrical construct” and “a metatheatrical confection.”

“As the verbatim theatre movement rose, I became intrigued by the idea of using that methodology as a starting point to blend fact and fiction and to challenge the audience to question the importance of whether it is true or not,” says MacArthur. “The stories are inspired by real artists — collaborators and friends of mine — and there are a lot of true anecdotes in the plays but with some pretty significant fictions mixed in.”

“In terms of A City, this piece really looks back at the time I spent in Montreal, which was kind of a mythical experience for me. It was a transformative time — a time in my life when my friends and I felt golden, beautiful, and vibrant — and when it started to come to an end, I felt this magic starting to crumble away. It was like the end of a civilization.”

Jennifer Tarver adds, “I am really excited about how this work will play on the audience. They will be right there with the performers in an intimate art gallery setting, the fourth wall really stripped away. And they’ll experience a period in time that everyone has in their lives at some point — those golden years when everything feels full of promise, when you and your friends are invincible — while also having all their expectations of performance and storytelling challenged.”

A City features Amy Keating as Gemma (TomorrowLove, Outside the March); David Patrick Flemming as Graham (Bunny, Stratford Festival); Justin Goodhand as Andrew (Arcadia, Citadel Theatre); Cole J. Alvis as Paddy (Body Politic, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre).


Ask The Actor: Amy Keating — "Have You Ever Performed In A Play Staged Like This Before?" 

Ask The Actor: Amy Keating — "Who Should Come See 'A City'?" 

Ask The Actor: Cole J. Avis — "What First Struck You When You Read This Script?" 

Ask The Actor: Cole J. Avis — "Why Should People Come See 'A City'?"

Ask The Actor: David Patrick Flemming — "What Excites You About The Way 'A City' Is Being Staged?"

Ask The Actor: David Patrick Flemming — "Do You Remember When You First Fell In Love With Theatre?" 

Ask The Playwright: Greg MacArthur — "Where Did The Idea For 'A City' Begin?"

Ask The Playwright: Greg MacArthur — "What Interests You About The Verbatim Theatre Movement?" 

Ask The Playwright: Greg MacArthur — "Does 'A City' Explore Ideas About Our 'Post-Truth' World?" 

Ask The Playwright: Greg MacArthur — "What Makes 'A City' & Necessary Angel A Good Fit?" 

Ask The Actor: Justin Goodhand — "What First Struck You When You Read This Script?"

Ask The Actor: Justin Goodhand — "What's Your Favourite Moment In The Play?" 

Creative Team

Greg MacArthur’s works have been produced across Canada, as well as in South Africa, Germany, the UK, Hungary, and the United States, and translated into several languages. He has held residencies at Buddies in Bad Times (1997-98), Centre for the Book (South Africa 2003), Playwrights Theatre Centre Vancouver, and the Stratford Festival. He was Artist-In-Residence at Playwrights' Workshop Montreal from 2005 to 2011, and the 2011/12 Lee Playwright-In-Residence at the University of Alberta. He was short-listed for the 2011 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre.

Jennifer Tarver is an award-winning director and theatre creator and the Artistic Director of Necessary Angel Theatre Company.  She has directed for the major theatre companies of the region including Tarragon Theatre, Canadian Stage, Nightwood Theatre, and the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. In the past two years with Necessary Angel Jennifer has directed and collaborated in the creation of two original works:  It Comes in Waves, and What Makes A Man.  Canadian Stage credits include Venus in Fur, Beckett Feck It! and The Cosmonaut’s Last Message to the Woman He Once Loved in the Former Soviet Union. Her work at Stratford has included: Waiting for Godot, The Homecoming, Krapp’s Last Tape, and Zastrozzi.  Jennifer’s work in the United States includes Krapp’s Last Tape with Brian Dennehy at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago and Hedda Gabler at Hartford Stage in Connecticut.








A world premiere by GREG MACARTHUR

March 14, 2017 – April 2, 2017
Artscape Sandbox

301 Adelaide Street West


Playwright: Greg MacArthur
Director: Jennifer Tarver
Starring: Amy Keating, David Patrick Flemming, Justin Goodhand and Cole J. Avis.
Set and Costume Design: Andjelija Djuric
Lighting Design: Rebecca Picherack
Sound Design: Lyon Smith