Note from Jennifer Tarver

How did we get here?

The world is full of crazy people doing extreme things.  Shit happens.  No question about it.  We try to find a reason, the root of the action.  Many events, though, take us completely by surprise.  Something happens that is so unexpected and incongruous that it threatens to turn our world upside down.  A father suddenly abandons his wife and four children, a brother commits suicide with no warning, a young woman disappears without a trace, a man with a gun walks into a school.  Whether we are the doer or the done-to everything shifts in that moment. 

Is this my life?  I didn’t see it coming.

There is an epidemic of blindness in our society.  Do we choose what we see?  Can we arrive in adulthood (a marriage a job a house) not knowing how we got there?  The decision to stay in the dream or open our eyes to the terror of an unknown path is at the core of Hedda Gabler.

I directed this play two years ago at Hartford Stage in Connecticut.  In my work over the past decade no play has more rigorously challenged my assumptions about how we move through our lives.   How would Ibsen’s narrative scalpel carve out new insights for us now?  For myself, I’m not finished with this play.   I’m pretty certain Hedda is not finished with us.  

Necessary Angel reignites the question: Can we be accused of blindness if we don’t recall closing our eyes?

Jennifer Tarver


"The blurring between then and now highlights Tarver’s observations linking Hedda’s narcissism to today’s social media obsession; Hedda’s primping in front of her hand mirror is today’s cellphone selfie, presenting a perfect life while internally suffering from crippling FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)"
Carly Maga, The Star


Globe And Mail

The Star

Toronto Life




Photo credits: Dahlia Katz Photography & Michel Mersereau




Creative Team

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 includeVenus 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.

Aviva works in Toronto as an actor, director, writer and producer. Most recently, Aviva appeared as Virginia in Age of Arousal (Factory Theatre). She was nominated for a Dora Award for her performance in the ARC’s production of Moment. Other acting credits include He Left Quietly, winner of the SummerWorks Best Production Award, Annie Sullivan in Western Canada Theatre’s The Miracle Worker, and Layne Coleman’s film, The Shape of Rex. Aviva has been named one of Toronto’s Top Ten Theatre Artists and Best Producer of Works in Progress by NOW Magazine. Aviva was the founder and Artistic Director of The Lab Cab Festival and is a proud member of ARC (Actor’s Repertory Company). This year, Aviva is a member of Nightwood Theatre’s Write From the Hip program, where she will develop her play Lune. Upcoming, Aviva can be seen in VideoCabaret’s production of The Great War at Soulpepper and in Pamona, produced by ARC. Aviva likes that you came to the theatre.

Frank was born and raised in Toronto and is thrilled to be making his debut with both Necessary Angel and the Canadian Stage Company. Frank is a regular collaborator with Public Recordings (300 Tapes, what we are saying- Dora Award) and Small Wooden Show (Dedicated to The Revolutions, Antigone Dead People) and was a founding member of One Reed Theatre (Nor the Cavaliers…, Never Underestimate The Power). With his long-time collaborator Evan Webber he created and performed Ajax and Little Iliad, a double bill of short plays that premiered at Harboufront’s World Stage and have toured across Canada, Ireland, Austria, Australia and Japan. His Toronto theatre acting credits include Marat/Sade, Spoon River, The Crucible, Tartuffe (Soulpepper), Shakuntala (World Stage / Pleiades), Sanctuary Song (Luminato / Tapestry New Opera), The Mill Series (TheatreFront), The Epic of Gilgamesh (Groundwater) and The Drawer Boy (Passe Muraille). Frank was a drummer in the Toronto-based rock group Boys Who Say No. He is a graduate of the Soulpepper Academy and The National Theatre School of Canada. Next, he directs Albert Camus’ The Just for Soulpepper this March.

This year will mark Steve’s thirtieth as a professional actor, and he is delighted to launch it with this exciting collaboration between Necessary Angel and Canadian Stage.  For the former he appeared in King Lear and the latter, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and as Prior Walter in Angels In America for which he received a Dora.  Most recent theatre credits include Afterplay (Campbell House), The Life Of Jude (Falling Hammer), Mourning Dove (Ark Collective), Wild Dogs (Nightwood), and The Sisters Rosensweig (Harold Greene Jewish Theatre). Steve was a member of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival company for five seasons and appeared in The Duchess of Malfi, Henry IV (Part One), Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Noises Off, Agamemnon, and The Swanne (Parts One and Two), amongst others.  Other theatre credits include Tuesdays With Morrie (Manitoba Theatre Centre), High Life (Crow’s Theatre), The Orphan Muses (Topological), The History Of The Village Of The Small Huts: WWII (VideoCabaret) Never Swim Alone (Theatre Passe Muraille) and The Whore’s Revenge (Buddies In Bad Times Theatre).  For Film and TV, recent credits include Life (SeeSaw), Robocop (MGM), Versailles (Canal+), Saving Hope (CTV ), Murdoch Mysteries (CBC), Reign (The CW), Remedy (Global), Paradise Falls (Showcase - Gemini nomination), and Nero Wolfe (A&E).   Steve also provided motion capture and voice to the role of Hoyt Volker for the videogame FarCry 3 (Ubisoft). “Kin and friends, here and gone, teachers all, love and thanks.”

Hailey Gillis was born in Hamilton, Ontario and raised in Grimsby, Ontario. Selected credits include: The Dybbuk, Marat/Sade, Idiot’s Delight, The Crucible, Spoon River, Salon Series.(Soul pepper Theatre) Dec.1917: The Halifax Explosion (Well Fought Theatre); Grease, Evita, Little Match Girl (Theatre Aquarius); Wanda’s World (Armstrong Acting); Macbeth, Semi-Monde, Stage Door (Theatre Erindale), Triple Sensation Season 2 (top six competitor). Hailey has a Diploma in Acting from Sheridan Institute of Technology, and a B.A Honours Degree in Theatre and Drama Studies from the University of Toronto. She is most recently a graduate of the Soulpepper Academy.

For Necessary Angel: Kate played Edith Cooper in The Last Romantics (directed by Richard Rose) and participated in an extensive workshop of The Bacchae (directed by Daniel Brooks/Guillermo Verdecchia). Recently: Kate played Kathleen in Colleen Murphy’s The December Man at the National Arts Centre; Kate’s play The Last Wife enjoyed a completely sold out and extended run at the 2015 Stratford Festival; Kate is currently writing two companion plays: The Virgin Trial and Father’s Daughter.  In 2014 Kate played Clara in When We Are Married, and Bodey in A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur at the Shaw Festival; she played Mrs. Carrar in Nicholas Billon’s adaptation of Brecht’s Rifles for Praxis Theatre (Dora Award Nomination). In 2013 she played the Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, and Golde in Fiddler on the Roof at the Stratford Festival. Past favourites include: the dance teacher in Billy Elliot the Musical on Broadway and in the Toronto run (Dora Award); the world premiere of Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad at the Royal Shakespeare Company (in co-production with the National Arts Centre). Kate has received two Dora Awards, three Betty Mitchell Awards, a Toronto Theatre Critics Award, and the Christopher Plummer Foundation Award (2015). Kate will be seen as Mistress Quickly in the 2016 Stratford Festival production of The Breath of Kings. Kate has extensive credits in film and television and is an accomplished teacher of voice and text.

For Necessary Angel: Hamlet, Andromache, Civility. Theatre: Christopher is an actor, director and playwright residing in Toronto. He is the founder and Artistic Director of Human Cargo. Selected acting credits include Oedipus Rex and The Diary of Anne Frank (Stratford Festival), The Importance of Being Earnest, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Stuff Happens (National Arts Centre – Member of the 2014/15 NAC English Theatre Acting Ensemble), After Miss Julie (Red One Theatre), Aurash (Modern Times), Stones in his Pockets (Thousand Islands Playhouse), Return: The Sarajevo Project (Theatrefront), A Winter’s Tale, Chorus for Disapproval, Play about the Baby (Soulpepper). For Human Cargo: Christopher recently directed and co-wrote The Road to Paradise, a co-production with Crow’s Theatre and presented at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, the Aga Khan Museum and CFB Petawawa. With Human Cargo he is currently developing The China Project (a collaboration with the Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre and Gateway Theatre) and The Runner(a collaboration with Daniel Brooks and Tel Aviv’s Nephesh Theatre). Christopher’s play Our Beautiful Sons will premiere in the Blyth Festival’s 2016 season. He is the recipient of the 2008 KM Hunter Award for Theatre and the 2012 Canada Council for the Arts John Hirsch Prize for Directing. Upcoming as an Actor: Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire and Sunday in Sodom (Canadian Stage).

Cara Ricketts jumped onto the Toronto scene in Obsidian Theatre’s Born Ready, for which she received great acclamation in all major press, including Now Magazine’s top 10 artists of the year. Her selected theatre credits since then include several seasons at the StratfordFestival: Macbeth, Julius Caesar, A Winter’s Tale, As You Like it, Twelfth Night , The Homecoming and the title role inCymbeline.  Other theatres: The Wild Party (Acting Upstage) for which she was nominated for a Dora Award for OutstandingPerformance - Female, Cyrano de Bergerac and Clybourne Park (Pacific Coast Rep Th), Race and Cruel and Tender (Canadian Stage), Eternal Hydra (Crow’s Theatre), A Raisin in the Sun(Soulpepper), The Last Days of Judas Isacriot (Birdland), Antigone: Insurgency (One Little Goat), For film and television Ms Ricketts, a Canadian Film Centre alumni, is best known for portraying the role of “Bertilda” in the E1 mini-series Book of Negroes, as well as appearing in the feature film Across the Line, and The Anniversay andthe television shows Saving Hope, Murdoch Mysteries and Satisfaction

Teresa Przybylski is an architect and a performing arts designer. She is known for her work intheatre, opera, dance, film and architecture. Companies she has designed for include: Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Shaw Festival, Canadian Opera Company, Opera Theatre in Saint Louis, Blyth Festival, Necessary Angel, Canadian Stage Tarragon Theatre, Factory Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, Native Earth, Volcano Theatre, Theatre Smith-Gilmour, and others. For her work in theatre, she has been awarded five Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Shehas won two Gemini Awards for her work in film and television. She is a member of The Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, The Associated Designers of Canada. Teresa is teaching stage design at York University while continuing her career as a scenographer.

Kimberly is a Toronto based lighting designer for theatre, opera and dance.  Previously for Necessary Angel she designed the lights for What Makes a Man and This is What Happens Next.  Most recently she designed Peter Pan (Ross Petty Productions), Alice Through the Looking Glass (MTC, Charlottetown Festival, NAC, Stratford), The Watershed (Pan Am), The Trouble with Mr. Adams (Tarragon), Happy Place, Eurydice, Forever Yours, Marie-Lou (Soulpepper), Taming of the Shrew, Possible Worlds, The Last Wife (Stratford), You Never Can Tell (Shaw).  Upcoming she will design The Barber of Seville (Pacific Opera Victoria), Alice Through the Looking Glass (Citadel Theatre).

E.C. Woodley is an alumnus of the Manhattan School of Music and the Royal Conservatory of Music. He apprenticed in England with the composer, Michael Kamen. Film scores include: Antiviral (Brandon Cronenberg, 2012), Toronto Stories (Sook-Yin Lee, Sudz Sutherland, David Weaver, Aaron Woodley, 2008), Cleopatra (Julio Bressane, 2006), The Dark Hours (Paul Fox, 2005), Rhinoceros Eyes (Aaron Woodley, 2003). Music and Sound design for the stage include Jonathan Garfinkel’s House of Many Tongues (Tarragon Theatre), Linda Griffith’s Age of Arousal (Factory Theatre), Morwyn Brebner’s comedies, The Optimists and The Pessimist (Tarragon Theatre), and two productions with director, Jennifer Tarver: That Time (The Theatre Centre), and Bashir Lazhar (Tarragon Theatre).

Tanya Rintoul is a director and theatre maker originally from Toronto, Ontario. She is currently in her graduating year of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Directing program. Recent directing credits include: Gruesome Playground Injuries, Flesh and Other Fragments of Love, Expanding Concepts of Dislocated Space and Associated Boundaries and assistant director of Caucasian Chalk Circle directed by Micheline Chevrier (NTS). Previous directing credits include Othello (Go Play Producing), Mammy Queen (Rock Paper Sistahz Festival), Sycorax and the Angel (Paprika Festival) and No Time for Dreams (barking birds theatre). She is also a graduate of the Humber College Theatre Performance program and last performed in her own site-specific work called Good Girl. Upcoming: The Listening Room, part of the New Words Festival at the NTS.

For Necessary Angel: It’s All True, Inexpressible Island. For Canadian Stage: Over 25 productions including The Other Place, Cosmonaut’s Last Message. For Soulpepper: Over 50 productions including most recently: Parfumerie, and The Play’s the Thing. Other: Citadel, MTC, NAC, Stratford Festival, YPT, Mirvish, National Hockey League

Selected Credits: Apprentice Stage Manager: An Enemy of the People (Tarragon); Parfumerie (Soulpepper); Mr. Burns (Outside The March). Stage Manager: 52 Pick-Up (The Howland Company/Toronto Fringe); The Last Five Years (Daemon Theatre); Ajax (Por Nobody) (SummerWorks); The Beaver Den (Jazz Squared Theatre). Assistant Stage Manager: And Now, The End (SummerWorks); Jesus Christ Superstar, The Tempest (Hart House).

Patrick works as a Production Manager for Volcano Theatre, Acting Up Stage Company, The Company Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, and Soundstreams. He also works as a set and lighting designer.  Recent credits include; Late Company(Why Not surface/underground theatre), Crawlspace (Videofag), It Comes in Waves (Necessary Angel/Bluemouth), Birth of Frankenstein (Litmus Theatre).

Hedda Gabler

a new adaptation by JON ROBIN BAITZ
from a literal translation by ANNE-CHARLOTTE HANES HARVEY

A Necessary Angel production in association with Canadian Stage

January 12 - February 7, 2016
Berkeley Street Theatre, Downstairs
Canadian Stage

26 Berkeley Street


Director: Jennifer Tarver
Featuring: Aviva Armour-Ostroff, Frank Cox-O'Connell, Steve Cumyn, Hailey Gillis, Kate Hennig, Christopher Morris and Cara Ricketts
Set and Costume Designer: Teresa Przybylski
Lighting Designer: Kimberly Purtell
Music & Sound Designer: E.C. Woodley
Stage Manager: Nancy Dryden
Apprentice Stage Manager: Sam Hale

Original Broadway Production produced by Randall L. Wreghitt Harriet Newman Leve Gallin Productions USA Ostar Theatricals in association with Bay Street Theatre Huntington Theatre Company Williamstown Theatre Festival

East Coast Premiere at Williamstown Theatre Festival & Bay Street Theatre Summer 2000

Originally Produced by Geffen Playhouse (Gilbert Cates, Producing Director; Lou Moore, Managing Director) Los Angeles, 1999