Tarragon Theatre presents the English-language premiere of
Written and translated by Maria Milisavljevic
Directed by Richard Rose
Starring Cara Pifko, Gord Rand and Sarah Sherman

TORONTO (January 7, 2015) – Tarragon Theatre proudly presents the English-language premiere of Abyss, written and translated by Tarragon’s first-ever International playwright-in-residence Maria Milisavljevic and directed by Artistic Director Richard Rose. This poetic thriller about a missing woman premiered (as Brandung) at the Deutsches Theater Berlin, winning the prestigious 2013 Kleist Promotional Award for Young Dramatists. Abyss opens February 11 and runs to March 15, 2015 (previewing from February 3) in Tarragon’s Extraspace, and marks the Canadian debut of German playwright Milisavljevic.

MISSING. Karla Richter, 24: a loving and trusting young woman, last seen before she left for the grocery store in blue jeans, a green parka and her red rubber rain boots. The police and papers ignore the disappearance, leaving her three friends – whose roots lie in Serbia and Croatia – to discover the truth. Karla’s lover Vlado, born into terror and war, Karla’s caring roommate Sophia, and Vlado’s roommate who is Sophia’s sister, search for their missing friend. As the story slowly unravels, it becomes clear that all three of them have been harbouring secrets as they realize how brittle the life they had built is. A search for Karla becomes a search for the self in this lyrical thriller and modern day epic cloaked in the mystery of Europe’s underworld.

Tarragon is pleased to announce the talented actors for this award-winning work about love, loss, and the need for belonging: Gord Rand is “He” (Vlado), Sarah Sherman is “She” (Sophia) and Cara Pifko is “I,” Sophia’s sister and the narrator in the play.

Rand’s credits include: Tarragon’s Wide Awake Hearts; Shaw Festival’s The Philanderer, The Cherry Orchard and more; Necessary Angel’s Hamlet; Mirvish’s The Innocent Eye Test (Dora Award), Volcano’s Goodness which he made into the feature documentary Goodness in Rwanda which won the Audience Choice Award at the 2013 ReelWorld Film Festival and Best Feature Documentary at the Thin Line Film Festival in Denton, Texas. Sherman’s credits include: Canadian Stage’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Theatre By The Bay’s Twelfth Night; That Choir Unplugged member. Pifko’s credits include: Tarragon’s Léo; O Rejane for Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles; Soulpepper’s Top Girls; CBC TV drama This is Wonderland, which garnered her a Gemini Award for best actress; Stratford Festival – Coriolanus, Much Ado About Nothing; Canadian Stage – The Clean House; 2013 Best Actress in a Feature Film award from the FilmOut San Diego for her performance in Margarita.

Born in Arnsberg, Germany, Maria Milisavljevic is an award-winning playwright, theatre creator and director and is Tarragon’s International Playwright-in-Residence. Her latest play Brandung (Abyss) received the 2013 Kleist Promotional Award for Young Dramatists and opened at Deutsches Theater Berlin and continues to run in rep there. Brandung was further named one of the five best new plays of 2013 by Spiegel Magazine, alongside works by well-known artists such as Martin Crimp and Rimini Protokoll. Over the past twelve years, Milisavljevic has worked with various theatres and companies across Germany and in London, UK. At Tarragon, she has worked as a script reader, script coordinator, assistant director and translator. Most recently for Tarragon, she translated her play Brandung (Abyss) and Florian Borchmeyer’s adaptation for Schaubühne Berlin’s of An Enemy of the People. She is the recipient of a three-year scholarship grant by the Bavarian Ministry for Sciences and the Arts. In 2009, Milisavljevic also received the John McGrath Scholarship in Theatre Studies of the Scottish Universities for her play Hero of the Day. In April of 2015, Abyss will open at the Arcola Theatre in London, UK.

Milisavljevic was inspired to write Abyss after hearing about the disappearance of a young woman in her hometown of Berlin and was struck by the fact that it was the missing woman’s friends and family that started a nationwide search for her – and not the authorities. Says, Milisavljevic: “I wrote Abyss while sitting by the sea in front of my mother’s house. The winter before, a young woman had disappeared – just before Christmas. One would come across a flyer with her picture on lamp posts and message boards at the university and in cafes. Her image haunted me and, while listening to the waves come in, I imagined her story – a story that sadly is the story of too many young women and men in our communities, both in Germany and in Canada. When writing my way into the loss and fear that her loved ones faced, stories from my own family history found their way into the play, and the missing girl became a friend.”

Richard Rose is the Artistic Director of Tarragon Theatre. Prior to joining Tarragon in 2002, Rose was Founding Artistic Director at Necessary Angel (a position he held from 1978–2002), Associate Director for Canadian Stage Company, Director of the Stratford Festival Young Company and spent ten seasons directing at the Stratford Festival. He has directed plays across Canada, the United States, and in London’s West End in styles ranging from the environmental to the classical. Rose is well known for developing new work, including four plays that won the Governor General’s Award and nine other nominated plays. He is a four-time Dora Award winner for direction and production and has had numerous nominations. He has also been honoured with a Doctorate of Sacred Letters (jure dignitatus) from Thorneloe University (Sudbury, his home town), the Canada Council Walter Carsen Award for Excellence in the Arts and the City of Toronto’s Barbara Hamilton Award for the same.

Set and lighting design is by Jason Hand and sound design is by Thomas Ryder Payne. The stage manager is Nicola Benidickson.

Tarragon Theatre presents the English language premiere of
Written and translated by Maria Milisavljevic
Directed by Richard Rose
Starring Cara Pifko, Gord Rand, Sarah Sherman
Set and Lighting Design by Jason Hand
Sound Design by Thomas Ryder Payne

Opens February 11 and runs to March 15, 2015 (previews from February 3)
Tarragon Theatre’s Extraspace, 30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto, M5R 1X3
Tuesday-Saturday at 8pm; Sunday at 2:30pm and select Saturdays at 2:30pm: Feb.14, Feb. 21, Feb. 28.
Regular Tickets: $42-$55; Previews: $27 (Discounts for seniors, students, arts workers and groups)

Rush Tickets: For every performance excluding opening night, specially priced $15 Rush Tickets will be sold (subject to availability) in person at the Box Office two hours before show time.
Follow Tarragon on Twitter @TarragonTheatre for updates on rush ticket availability and special ticket offers.


Tarragon Theatre’s 2014/2015 Season Sponsor is BMO Financial Group. The 2014/15 Season Media Sponsor is NOW Magazine.

Tarragon Theatre gratefully acknowledges annual operating support from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Toronto Arts Council.

Tarragon Theatre is one of Canada’s most important arts institutions. For 44 years, Tarragon Theatre has created, developed and produced new plays by home-grown artists as well as significant works from the world stage, vitally contributing to the important legacy of a Canadian culture. Since its founding, over 190 works have premiered at Tarragon and over 500 scripts have been created and workshopped, receiving 34 nominations and 11 wins for the Governor General’s Literary Award. Tarragon received the 2012 Premier’s Award for Excellence in the Arts in recognition of producing and developing leading edge and thought-provoking Canadian Theatre, both nationally and on the world stage. Richard Rose has been the Artistic Director since 2002. For more information visit www.tarragontheatre.com.

Media refer: Dianne Weinrib / Josh Dumont DW Communications 416-703-5479 dw@dwcommunications.net
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