Free Outgoing

By Anupama Chandrasekhar

January 28 to February 16, 2014
Factory Theatre Mainstage
125 Bathurst Street

Previews Jan 28-29, Opens Jan 30
Performances Tues-Sat at 8:00 pm, Sat/Sun at 2:00pm

Previews: $25-$35
Regular performances: $25-$45

Nightwood Theatre presents the North American Premiere One message is all it took. When a young girl is filmed during a sexual indiscretion, the video clip spreads like a virus infecting her community and then the entire country with a burning moral outrage. Free Outgoing sets the rampant technology of the modern world against the conservatism of traditional India, and asks the universal question, how can we protect our girls in the digital age?
**** -The Guardian **** -Critics’ Choice **** -The Independent **** -The Scotman “A gripping and insightful story.”- TIME OUT Directed by Kelly Thornton Starring Anusree Roy, Sanjay Talwar, Ash Knight, Andrew Lawrie, Ellora Patnaik and Asha Vijayasingham Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission Talkbacks with the actors occur every Wednesday night following the 8:00 pm performances. There will be a special talkback on Saturday, February 1st following the 8:00 pm performance, moderated by director Kelly Thornton and featuring playwright Anupama Chandrasekhar. JANUARY 31:  GRAND NIGHT A Gala Fundraiser in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation Hosted by Dora Award Winner d’bi young 6:30pm Reception Including a silent auction of Toronto Island Experiences and more! 8:00pm Performance of Free Outgoing With a talkback with the playwright and cast following the performance There will also be desserts and door prizes! Tickets are $75 each, with Group Discounts for 4 or more at $60 each. The full cost of your ticket will be donated to the Stephen Lewis Foundation! To purchase tickets to this Gala Fundraiser, please call 416.504.9971 More info can be found at Picture: Anusree Roy, Actor Starring Anusree Roy, Andrew Lawrie, Ash Knight, Asha Vijayasingham, Ellora Patnaik and Sanjay Talwar

Anusree Roy // Malini Anusree Roy is a Governor General’s Award nominated and Dora Award winning writer and actor whose work has toured nationally. Her plays include: Brothel # 9, Roshni, Letters to my Grandma and Pyaasa. Her Opera librettos include: The Golden Boy and Noor over Afghan. Her latest libretto Phoolan Devi will premiere at N.Y.C in the fall of 2014. She is currently story editing and performing in Global TV’s new Canadian Medical Drama Remedy.

Andrew Lawrie // Sharan As a recent graduate of Ryerson Theatre School, Andrew always looks to involve himself in work that truly matters to both artist and audience. With just finishing his debut season at Stratford, he is thrilled and excited to be part of Nightwood Theatre’s Free Outgoing. A piece that Andrew feels resonates with the reality of our world today.

Ash Knight // Santhosh A Dora-nominated actor (Brothel #9 – Factory Theatre) Ash has acted in the U.K.: Romeo & Juliet (Birmingham Stage); Uganda: Cake (New Harlem Prod. & Ugandan National Theatre); and Canada:  Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Count of Monte-Cristo (Stratford festival), Paperseries (Summerworks) and Carried away on the Crest of a Wave (Tarragon Theatre) among others. His TV credits include Un Tueur si Proche, Mayday, The Border. Ash is expanding into directing and writing. He was the assistant director on Life of Jude (Summerworks 2013) and his first play Enkidu and Gilgamesh was workshopped in London, England (2011) & New York City (2013). Ash is a graduate of the R.A.D.A 3 year Bachelor’s in Acting program.

Asha Vijayasingham // Usha Asha is an actor, voiceover artist and singer. Select Theatre credits: Rice Boy, Macbeth, Julius Caesar (Stratford Festival); Funny Boy (CBC, directed by Deepa Mehta); La Ronde (Theatre Onslaught, directed by Lewis Baumander); Petra (Theatre Direct); The Washing Machine (Nest Stage Festival). Select Film/TV credits: Lucky 7, XIII, King, Flashpoint, The Dating Guy, Karma, Dirge.  Asha also participated in Nightwood Theatre’s playwright initiative Write From The Hip and a staged reading of her work was presented at the Groundswell Festival.

Ellora Patnaik // Nirmala/Kokila Ellora Patnaik was born into an artistic family. She is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and was selected for Company in her third year. She has had a long and varied acting career, with highlights such as My Own Country, Tapish: The Burning Desire, Amal, The Gathering, The Line, Toronto Stories, and Territory. She has recently completed shooting for the YTV sitcom, How to Be Indie. Ellora is among the most talented Indian Classical dancers of her time and continues to teach and perform. 

Sanjay Talwar // Ramesh Sanjay Talwar returns for his second season at the Shaw Festival appearing as the Senior Judge in Peace in Our Time: A Comedy and as Captain Brice in Arcadia. Recently, he was seen in Theatre Columbus’s production of The Story. 
Originally from Halifax and a graduate of Dalhousie University, Sanjay was the artistic director of Shakespeare in the Rough for five years. Selected acting credits include My Granny the Goldfish, Brothel #9 (Factory Theatre); The Story (Columbus Theatre); and three seasons with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. His film and television work includes Orphan Black, Puck Hogs; The Border; Flashpoint; Guns; Supernatural and Murder Unveiled/A Love Story.



Directed by Kelly Thornton
Set Design by Anna Treusch
Lighting Design by Bonnie Beecher
Sound Design by Deb Sinha
Costume Design by Joanna Yu
Stage Managed by Ashley Westlake
Production Managed by Katherine Smith

Kelly Thornton // Director
Kelly is an award-winning director and dramaturg and has been the Artistic Director of Nightwood Theatre since 2001. Her work has received wide acclaim and toured nationally and internationally. Directing credits at Nightwood include The Penelopiad (Dora Mavor Moore Award nomination, Outstanding Direction), Between the Sheets, The Happy Woman; as well as The List, That Face, Wild Dogs (all produced in association with Canadian Stage); The Danish Play (Aveny-Teatret, Copenhagen; Magnetic North Theatre Festival; National Arts Centre), Bear With Me (Magnetic North; The Grand Theatre), Mathilde, and China Doll. Other selected credits include The Comedy of Errors (Canadian Stage), This Hotel (Theatre Passe Muraille/Planet 88, Dora nomination, Outstanding Direction), So Many Doors (Magnetic North Theatre Festival, Sour Brides/Yukon Arts Centre); Peep Show (Buddies in Bad Times); and The Dumb Waiter (SummerWorks/Sometimes Y). Kelly has been honoured with a Pauline McGibbon Award for her exemplary work as a director, and was recognized for her commitment to the training and mentorship of young women in the performing arts by being named a YWCA Women of Distinction (Arts & Letters).

Anna Treusch // Set Design
Anna is a Toronto based Set and Costume Designer, Production Designer and Scenic Painter. Most recent design credits include, The Tin Drum (UnSpun Theatre) Every Letter Counts (Factory Theatre), Rocky Horror, RENT ( Fallen Rock), Mary Poppins, Grease (Theatre St. Johns), Jewel, Newfoundland Songbook, Mary’s Wedding and Canada Rocks! (Stephenville Theatre Festival), Macbeth (Set, Classical Theatre Project), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, NINE, Penelopiad, Our Town, Little Women (Randolph Academy). Recent Production Design Credits include, So Far (Well-Drawn Dog Prod.) Plastic (Over Black Productions), Dirge (BravoFact, Troublefish Productions). Anna is a short-listed nominee for the 2013 Pauline McGibbon Award.

Bonnie Beecher // Lighting Design
Bonnie has designed over 200 productions for theatre, opera and dance across Canada and internationally. She has ongoing relationships with Stratford, Shaw, Soulpepper, Nightwood, Opera Atelier, Factory, National Arts Centre, and Tarragon. She has also designed over 20 productions for the Kevin O’Day Ballet-Mannheim in Germany and six world premieres for The Stuttgart Ballet in Germany. Bonnie has received 13 Dora nominations and has won the award twice.

Deb Sinha // Sound Design
Selected sound design and composition credits include: Theatre Passe Muraille: Crash (Dora award); Peggy Baker Dance Projects: Confluence, Earthling, Move, Armour, Split Screen/Stereophonic (with Robert Lippok); Tarragon Theatre: Little One*, Other People’s Children*; Pleiades Theater: The Post Office (Dora nomination), Manon, Sandra and the Virgin Mary; MTC Warehouse: Mrs Warren’s Profession*; Necessary Angel/Peggy Baker Dance Projects: Are You OK; Theatre Direct: Head á Tete; inDance: Bollywood Hopscotch; numerous solo performances in music, sound and media art across Canada and internationally.
*with John Gzowski

Joanna Yu // Costume Design
Joanna is a Thornhill-raised set and costume designer based in Toronto. She has designed for Neptune Theatre, The Blyth Festival, The Grand, Factory Theatre, Volcano Theatre/Classical Music Consort, Talk is Free Theatre, NovaDance, Tiger Princess Productions, The Toronto Summerworks festival, NextStage Festival, BravoFACT, Spontaneously Combusted Films, Ryerson University, Humber College, Theatre Sheridan. Joanna has also been an assistant designer with The Canadian Opera Company, The Stratford Festival, Buddies in Bad Times, and Soulpepper.

Ashley Westlake // Stage Manager
Ashley began her stage management adventure with Nightwood Theatre apprenticing their 2009 production of That Face. Previous Nightwood credits include The Penelopiad, Between The Sheets, The Happy Woman, The List, and The Lawyer Show. Other recent credits include The Flood Thereafter, Macbeth & The Taming of the Shrew – Shakespeare in High Park, Canadian Stage; Little One, Tarragon Theatre / Theatre Crisis. Ashley is excited for all the adventures 2014 will hold.

Katherine Smith // Production Manager
Katherine is always thrilled to work with Nightwood Theatre. Katherine is a freelance TD, PM, and Carpenter who recently has recently relocated to Sudbury, where she is the Head Carpenter at The Sudbury Theatre Centre. Katherine would like to thank her wife Kelly for her never-ending support.


Playwright Anupama Chandrasekhar on Free Outgoing
India has undergone seismic transformation in its social and economic landscapes this millennium. Everywhere I turn, I can see evidence of it – in buildings, in clothes, in language, in technology. Like in most developing countries, the mobile phone has become the ubiquitous symbol of this new, emerging nation. But the sheer pace of transformation has thrown up new issues. What happens when a traditional society is fast-tracked into technology? What happens when a conservative culture collides with this modern world of communications? 

Free Outgoing was very very loosely inspired by two much reported incidents in India that outraged me. Two school kids in Delhi filmed themselves having sex using their mobile phones. In a matter of weeks, the film went viral. The media got wind of it and for weeks even the most circumspect news channels debated the “issue” with prurient frenzy. It became quite evident that in cases where a girl/woman’s sexuality is under social scrutiny, the penalty she and her family have to pay is quite out of proportion to the act committed.

The other incident that disturbed me was when a leading Tamil actress, in an article about AIDS awareness, advocated safe sex, including unmarried girls in her ambit of discussion. It caused unprecedented political backlash against her that was both appalling in its venom and horribly feudal in tone and content.

Free Outgoing is not a factual record of either of those incidents. Rather, it’s an exploration through fiction into my society’s hypocrisy with regard to female sexuality. In setting Free Outgoing in Chennai, a rather conservative Indian city, I have attempted to understand my own world better.

Anupama Chandrasekhar // Playwright is a Chennai-based journalist-turned-playwright. Her play Free Outgoing, directed by Indhu Rubasingham, premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in London in November 2007 to sold out shows and rave reviews. On popular demand, it was revived at the Royal Court’s main theatre in Summer 2008 and travelled to the Traverse Theatre for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival the same year. The play has had over 75 shows in the UK.

Anupama was a runner-up for the prestigious London Evening Standard’s Charles Wintour Prize 2008 for the Most Promising Playwright for Free Outgoing. She was also a finalist for the Whiting Award, UK and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, US for the play. She is the first Indian to be nominated for any of these awards. Disconnect, her play set in a call centre in Chennai, also directed by Indhu Rubasingham, premiered at the Royal Court Theatre in February 2010, again to critical acclaim and sold out performances. The play has been translated and staged in German and Czech languages and had its American and West Coast premieres in 2013 at Chicago’s Victory Gardens Theatre and the San Jose Rep respectively.

Her first play for children, The Snow Queen, written under commission to the Unicorn Theatre in London as part of the British Council’s Connection Through Culture project, opened for Christmas in December 2011. The play, directed by Rosamunde Hutt, was a tremendous box office success, with over 10,000 children and adults having watched the show.  A remount of the production, produced by the Trestle Theatre, UK, toured India in 2012 and is touring the UK in Summer 2013.

Other plays by Anupama Chandrasekhar:

Short plays: Kabaddi-Kabaddi (Royal Court Theatre – 2005, International Human Rights Watch Film Festival); Whiteout (Royal Court Theatre, BBC Radio World Drama – 2006); Anytime, Anywhere (Kimaayaa, 2004); Longer Plays: Closer Apart (Theatre Nisha, 2003) and Acid (QTP, 2004).

Awards Include:

Charles Wallace India Trust fellowship to attend the Royal Court Theatre International Residency for Young Playwrights 2000; Regional Winner (Asia) of the Commonwealth Short Story Competition 2006; Runner up Jane Chambers International Award for Women Playwrights 2005 for her play, Acid.