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News Release

I, Claudia
February 2008

First Class Theatre

The Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre and Theatre and Company
in association with Delav Consulting Inc.

I, Claudia
By Kristen Thomson
Directed by Leah Cherniak
Starring Michelle Polak
March 16 - April 13, 2008

"I'm going through puberty. Oh my God, I don't even want to talk about it, it's disgusting!"- Claudia

MONTREAL February 2008 - The Leanor and Alvin Segal Theatre, in association with Theatre and Company and Delav Consulting is pleased to present the award-winning play I, Claudia from March 16 - April 13 in the new Studio space. This lauded Canadian work has also been turned into a film directed by Chris Abraham. Michelle Polak, originally from Montreal, returns to portray Claudia as well as the important adults in her life in this outstanding performance.

Claudia speaks to us from inside the boiler room of her school. Incensed and incredulous at the adult world around her, she is also fiercely funny about it. Michelle Polak deftly uses masks to portray Claudia, whose parents are divorcing, Drachman, a former actor turned school janitor, Claudia's grandfather Douglas and Leslie, her father's new girlfriend. Though the central character is a pre-teen, the story resonates with communal notions of bringing meaning to our lives and the search for happiness. I, Claudia is the winner of the 2001 Dora Award for Outstanding New Play.

Director Leah Cherniak describes the universality of the piece, “The play reminds us of both the fragility and resiliency of childhood. It also reminds me to keep my eyes open, to watch and listen to my own daughter, taking nothing for granted.”

This highly theatrical one-woman show will astound you with Michelle Polak’s performance. She is thrilled to be doing the role, “This is by far one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had in the theatre. Themes of transformation, truth, vulnerability, loneliness and hope all speak to me. May the audience go on this journey with me.”

Creating Claudia’s world is Robin Fisher, set and costumes; Andrea Lundy, lighting; and Lyon Smith, sound. Todd Bricker is the stage manager.

We are excited to offer this production as part of the first season in The Segal Centre’s new Studio space. Its 177-seat flexible plan makes the Studio an exciting space to work with, allowing innovative artists from all levels in their career to explore their most current projects or works-in-progress. As well, performing arts groups in the community have a professional venue to showcase their endeavours. The space’s flexibility also allows for a variety of exploratory and multi-disciplinary works. The Studio is already home to our new resident theatre company Sidemart, who presented their terrific production of Trad in November. Other great uses of the space include hosting a film festival by the Jewish Public Library, The Dybbuk and the Schulich at the Segal Concert Series, which saw 150 high school kids listening to the McGill School of Music's Big Band Orchestra. Further information about the Studio and recent events is available on The Segal Centre for Performing Arts website.

“Ever stare at yourself so hard that your eyes practically start bleeding? I do.”
– Claudia

88.5 CBC Radio One proudly presents Sunday-@-the-Segal with Leah Cherniak
Sunday, March 16, 11am. Admission is free.
Join us for another season of intimate conversation and riveting lectures. Leah Cherniak, co-artistic director of Theatre Columbus and director of I, Claudia, shares her thoughts on new play development in Canada, specifically as it relates to this play.

Monday Night Talkbacks presented by Pratt and Whitney Canada
As usual following the play, some of the actors and/or designers will remain on stage to take questions from the audience. Monday Night Talkbacks provides an intimate opportunity for audiences to engage up close and personal with the personalities bringing first class professional English language theatre to Montreal.


March 16- April 13, 2008

March 16 1:30 pm
March 17- 19 8:00 pm

March 16 11:00 am

Media Opening Night:
Thursday, March 20 8:00 pm

Monday - Thursday, 8:00 pm
Saturday 8:30 pm
Sunday 7:00 pm

Wednesdays 1:00 pm
Sundays 2:00 pm

Box Office:
(514) 739-7944

(514) 790-1245

Segal Centre for Performing Arts at the Saidye
5170 Cote St. Catherine Rd.

Leah Cherniak - Director
Leah Cherniak is the co-artistic director of Theatre Columbus in Toronto. The company has created over 25 new plays and has an excellent reputation for innovative productions of classics. Leah studied theatre at Ecole Jacques Lecoq in Paris. For Theatre Columbus she has directed most of the company’s repertoire, including, Hotel Loopy, Gynty (an adaptation of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt), The Barber of Seville, Paranoia, Lonely Nights and Other Stories, The Betrayal, (Chalmers Award for Playwriting) The Cherry Orchard and Twelfth Night, among many others. She co-created and directed the multi-award winning play, The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine. Leah also directs for The Tarragon Theatre, The Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People, Blyth Festival and Thousand Islands Playhouse among others. Last year Leah enjoyed directing Intimate Exchanges by Alan Ayckbourn for Theatre & Company and Ibsen’s John Gabriel Borkman for Theatre Columbus/Soulpepper. She also directed John and Beatrice, by Carol Frechette at The Tarragon and John Mighton’s The Little Years, a co-production with Neptune Theatre and The National Arts Centre. Leah teaches an intensive clown course for The Ryerson Theatre Program. She also teaches for the George Brown Theatre Program and The National Theatre School in Montreal.

Michelle Polak - Claudia and other characters
Michelle has found herself involved in some amazing projects- pieces of theatre that excited her and hopefully audiences as well. Her love for the theatre ranges from experimental, to new Canadian work, to Shakespeare and Moliere. Some favourite works include The Overcoat in London, Australia and New Zealand; Little Dragon (at TPM); Lost Heir and Schoolhouse (Blyth Festival) and Dying to be Sick (National Arts Centre).

Kristen Thomson - Playwright
As playwright and performer, Kristen Thomson has had considerable success with I, Claudia, her first play. The one-woman performance play was created through improvisation with masks, and Kristen has performed it at The Tarragon Theatre (Dora Mavor Moore Awards for both performance and writing), Belfry Theatre, Manitoba Theatre Centre, Magnetic North Festival, World Stage Festival and a tour of Hungary. The play was later adapted for film by Kristen and director Chris Abraham. For the film, Kristen was awarded a best performance Gemini Award and ACTRA Award, along with two Canadian Comedy Awards for performance and writing. Kristen is a resident of Toronto, where she continues her long-standing relationship with the Tarragon Theatre as a playwright in residence. The Patient Hour, Kristen’s second play, will be presented there in 2009. She is a graduate of the National Theatre School.