Joe at the helm…

January 27, 2018 | By | 1 Reply More

EUTC stage UK premier of Bouchard hit

The Edinburgh University Theatre Company is staging the UK premiere of Michel Marc Bouchard’s Tom at the Farm at the Bedlam, opening on February 7 2018, under the direction of Joe Christie.

The play concerns urban ad executive Tom, who travels to the country for his lover’s funeral. He discovers that not only does the family have no idea that he exists, but they did not know that their beloved son was gay.

Tom at the Farm promotional image by Mihaela Bodlovic

Tom’s confrontation with the family and with his own past are wound together by Bouchard with “all the psychosexual thrills of a lost Hitchcock classic”, according to the EUTC.

Taking the helm of the production will be Joe Christie, whose previous directing experience was helping out on Yellow Moon. He first became aware of the play through the 2013 screen adaptation by Xavier Dolan, Quebec’s enfant terrible, and was “utterly beguiled” by the strangeness of it.

“The character dynamics were like none I’d ever seen before,” Christie says. “I felt that it captured the messiness and alienation of grief with an understanding that was rare.

ferociously powerful

“When researching the film, I discovered that it was based on a play written only a few years before by Michel Marc Bouchard, an acclaimed Quebecois playwright who was recently made a Knight of the National Order of Quebec.

“Delving into the play, it became clear that, while just as ferociously powerful as the film, Bouchard as a writer was more interested in the story as a character study: what does someone do if the closure you need cannot be achieved?

“Against this backdrop, he also digs into the lasting damage that an endemic culture of repression has on the individual, and on the family unit.”



Christie believes that 2018 is the perfect time to share Tom at the Farm with a new audience. He points out that in a note accompanying the play, Bouchard argues with eloquence that “homophobia is not the obsolete subject some would like to believe it is, especially those who are tired of hearing about it”.

Christie adds: “For me, as the legislative journey of the gay rights movement nears its end in some Western countries – granted, there is a long way still to go for the transgender and intersex community – it is fundamental that we start to unpack the impact of historical inequality on our society.

Tom at the Farm shows how the remnants of inequality are insidious, and can still breed shame and self-loathing in yet another generation of young people.”

cultural links

The EUTC production follows Catherine-Anne Toupin’s “discombobulating” production of Right Now at the Traverse in 2016, and comes ahead of the National Theatre of Scotland’s collaborative project Nous/Us. The cultural links between Scotland and Quebec are strong and the company is rightly “excited” to add its voice to this “fruitful, illuminating exchange”.

Christie has assembled what looks to be an exciting cast, too. Yann Davies who was recently seen in the title role of Oliver! plays Tom. Matilda Botsford (Beatrice in A View from the Bridge), EUTC regular Peter Morrison and Kathryn Salmond (Fagin in Oliver!) complete the four hander.

“I cannot believe that Tom at the Farm has not been performed in the UK before,” says Christie. “Someone out there has really missed a trick.

“I feel very privileged to mount the UK premiere of this sexy, funny, heartbreaking play, and I’m especially delighted that Edinburgh audiences get to be the first to experience it.”

Listing

Tom at the Farm
Bedlam Theatre, 11b Bristo Place, EH1 1EZ
Wednesday 7 – Saturday 10 February 2018
Evenings: 7.30pm.
Tickets and details: www.bedlamtheatre.co.uk.

The script and film adaptation are available to buy on Amazon:


ENDS

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  1. Tom at the Farm : All Edinburgh Theatre.com | February 8, 2018

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