Project Synopsis


Two-Sided Mirror is an interactive Forum Theatre play written by Catherine Frid. It tells the story of Jim, a father and grandfather, coping with his daughter’s recent cancer diagnosis. As the play progresses, we see Jim trying to navigate his own feelings of depression and suicidality while supporting Marissa and her daughter, Corrine. As it becomes apparent that Marissa’s illness may be terminal, she begins to consider whether a Medically-Assisted Death (MAiD) is right for her. Through the eyes of Marissa, Corrine, and Jim we see a family contending with the realities of MAiD and its implications, through three different viewpoints.  

Jim, like many seniors and their families, has complicated feelings surrounding the separate but intertwined issues of depression, suicide, and MAiD in aging communities. Due to issues such as stigma, ageism, and ableism, there are few places where Elders and their loved ones are able to speak about these challenges honestly and candidly.  

Two-Sided Mirror is our offer to these communities. We would like to provide folks with an opportunity to have open and frank conversations around these topics. Through these dialogues, our hope is that elders and their families will be able to better support one another if and when these circumstances arise. 

Performances


MCT presented Two-Sided Mirror both in-person and virtually on the following dates/times in November 2022 and January 2023:

Venue Name: College Street United Church

Venue Address: 454 College St., Toronto, ON, M6G 1A1

Neighbourhood: Little Italy, Toronto

Date/Time: Sunday November 6th, 2:00 PM (EST)

COVID Protocol: Masks required

Refreshments: Refreshments were provided at the end of the presentation

Accessibility: Mobility accessible facility

Partner(s): College Street United Church

Venue Name: Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women (Blue Willow)

Venue Address: 133 Fieldstone Drive, Vaughan, ON L4L 0A1

Neighbourhood: Vaughan

Date/Time: Tuesday November 8th, 2:00 PM (EST)

COVID Protocols: Masks required

Refreshments: Refreshments were provided at the end of the presentation

Accessibility: Mobility accessible facility

Partner(s): Elspeth Heyworth Centre for Women

Venue Name: Scarborough Village Theatre

Venue Address: 3600 Kingston Road, Scarborough, Ontario, M1M 1R9

Neighbourhood: Scarborough

Date/Time: Wednesday November 9th, 2:00 PM (EST)

COVID Protocols: Masks required

Refreshments: Refreshments were provided at the end of the presentation

Accessibility: Mobility accessible facility

Partner(s): Scarborough Village Theatre, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities

Venue Name: Mimico Presbyterian Church

Venue Address: 119 Mimico Avenue, Etobicoke, Ontario, M8V 1R6

Neighbourhood: Mimico

Date/Time: Thursday November 10th, 2:00 PM (EST)

COVID Protocols: Masks required

Refreshments: Refreshments were provided at the end of the presentation

Accessibility: Mobility accessible facility

Partner(s): Mimico Presbyterian Church

Venue Name: Online

Venue Address: Zoom

Date/Time: Friday November 11th, 7:00 PM (EST)

COVID Protocols: N/A

Refreshments: Refreshments were not be provided at this event

Accessibility: Automated captions were enabled.

Venue Name: Toronto Public Library – Palmerston Theatre

Venue Address: 560 Palmerston Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M6G 2P7

Neighbourhood: Seaton Village, Toronto

Date/Time: Saturday November 12th, 2:00 PM (EST)

COVID Protocols: Masks are required

Refreshments: Refreshments will be provided at the end of the presentation

Accessibility: Mobility accessible facility

Venue Name: Eastminster United Church, Hurndale Room

Venue Address: 310 Danforth Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M4K 2X4

Neighbourhood: East York, Toronto

Date/Time: Sunday November 13th, 2:00 PM (EST)

COVID Protocols: Masks required

Refreshments: Refreshments were provided at the end of the presentation

Accessibility: Mobility accessible facility

Partner(s): East End United Regional Ministry

Venue Name: Bernard Betel Centre

Venue Address: 1003 Steeles Avenue West, North York, ON M2R 3T6

Neighbourhood: North York

Date/Time: Tuesday November 15th, 2:00 PM (EST)

COVID Protocols: Masks, proof of double vaccination required

Refreshments: Refreshments were provided at the end of the presentation

Accessibility: Mobility accessible facility

Partner(s): Bernard Betel Centre

Venue Name: Online

Venue Address: Zoom

Date/Time: Friday January 20th, 7:30 PM (EST)

COVID Protocols: N/A

Refreshments: Refreshments were not be provided at this event

Accessibility: Automated captions were enabled.

Venue Name: Online

Venue Address: Zoom

Date/Time: Saturday January 21st, 2:30 PM (EST)

COVID Protocols: N/A

Refreshments: Refreshments were not be provided at this event

Accessibility: Automated captions were enabled.


Content Note


We recognize that the content of Two-Sided Mirror, and the issues of Medically Assisted Death (MAiD), Suicide, and Depression in aging communities are complex and nuanced. And we know that as audience members who may be personally impacted by these issues, you may have feelings, thoughts, and experiences you would like to discuss during or after watching this show. 

We will have emotional support professionals that will be present at the presentations that audience members can speak to before, during, and after the performance. Thank you to our mental health workers for joining us to provide support for those who need it. 

Furthermore, we would like to clarify that our role here as the cast and crew of Two-Sided Mirror is to facilitate a community-led conversation to find ways to respond to these situations. We are not healthcare professionals or practitioners, and cannot fill this role for you in any way including by giving medical advice or information. 

If you would like to contact a healthcare professional we have an emotional support person present at the performance and we also have resources you can access listed on the final page of the program. 

Cast & Crew


Crew

Catherine Frid Playwright

Catherine Frid co-creates and presents new work with communities, including Living Below the Line, AfterWhys, and Our Voices: Senior Selfies. Catherine’s other produced plays include Spend Your Kids’ Inheritance (Toronto Fringe – Patron’s Pick), What I Gave I Have (Guelph Museums), Half Full (Mixed Company Theatre school tours), Burying Toni (Alumnae), The Bold Canadian (Arts and Letters Club), Homegrown (SummerWorks and others), GuineaPigging (Alumnae), Dead Cat Bounce (Toronto Fringe and others), and many short works in Canada and the United States. 

Publications include Our Voices: Senior Selfies (Art Age Publications); This Isn’t Toronto in Long Story Short, (Playwrights Canada Press); Community with Strangers in Scenes from a Diverse World (ICWP Press); and Us and Them in Thirtysomethings: Mother-Daughter Monologues (ICWP Press). 

She has been Playwright in Residence at Mixed Company Theatre, and Artist in Residence at Osgoode Hall Law School. 
Catherine is Artistic Director of Watercourse Theatre, and she teaches dramaturgy at Ryerson University’s Chang School.  www.catherinefrid.com 
Upcoming: Living Below the Line (remount); Thistlepatch (Alumnae Theatre) 

Simon Malbogat Director

Simon Malbogat co-founded Mixed Company Theatre in 1983 and has been the Artistic Director since 1989. In 1992 Mixed Company Theatre became a CTO (Centre for Theatre of the Oppressed). Simon has over thirty years’ experience as a director, dramaturg, teacher, actor, and workshop facilitator. Teaching highlights include University of Toronto, Concordia University, York University, Humber College, Brock University and Queen’s University. Simon has facilitated hundreds of workshops for youths and adults in Europe, South America, USA, and Canada and has facilitated over 1,000 Forum Theatre presentations. Simon has led workshops in Turkey, Brazil, Finland, and the Ukraine. In Toronto, Simon has been involved in developing the arts in the community with programs for families, women, seniors, youth, homeless adults & youth and persons with disabilities. 

Flavia Martin Stage Manager

Flávia F. Martin (she/her) is a Portuguese Stage and Assistant Stage Manager based in Tkaronto. Recent credits include Beautiful Renegades (Peggy Baker’s Dance Projects), Cacao| A Venezuelan Lament, Light: A Tribute to Toni Morrison (Luminato Festival), The House of Bernarda Alba (Modern Times and Aluna Theatre), Songs for a New World (Randolph College For the Performing Arts), Lätt Lûtf (Teatro de Creación Remota), Never In the Room (Mixed Company Theatre) and The Cherry Orchard (Modern Times Theatre). 

Jessica BalykSet Designer

Jessica Balyk is an emerging scenic and event designer based in the GTA. In 2020, Jessica graduated from York University’s Theatre program, where she studied Devised Theatre and Set and Costume Design for the stage. Shortly after graduating from York, she attended Humber College to pursue another passion, and it was there she received a diploma in Interior Decorating in May of 2022. Jessica is passionate about design of any medium or form and, most recently, designed the lobby at the Meridian Arts Centre for Nuit Blanche. She is delighted to be working with Mixed Company on their production of Two-Sided Mirror. 

Christopher Jacobs – Costume Designer

Christopher Jacobs is a recent graduate of the Theatre Production and Design program at York University, and their current focus is as a Set & Costume Designer, as well as a Costume Technician, across the GTA. After working as a designer on a variety of shows, including The Munschables (Directed by Dawn Ward at the Confederation Centre of The Arts) and The Late Wedding (Directed by Jamie Robinson at York University), they are excited to be back to work as the Costume Designer on Two-Sided Mirror. When it comes to the designs for this show, as well as many other personal projects and festival shows, Christopher is always willing to face new challenges head-on with the help of their fellow crew members. Since they began this project, Christopher has had a wonderful time collaborating with all of the performers and the rest of the creative team, and is excited to share this amazing process with all of you. 

They would like to extend their gratitude to the close friends and family that have supported them in their journey through the theatrical arts, along with a special thank-you to Nancy Sanvido; they wouldn’t be where they are today without you. 

Tony Babcock – Sound Designer

Tony Babcock is an award-winning actor, director & acting coach who has worked in the entertainment industry for over 20 years. Tony has worked on multiple shows with Mixed Company Theatre both in-person and virtually for the past 10 years and really believes in the power of Theatre for social change. His work spans theatre, voiceover, film/tv and improv. He has a recurring role on The Cartoon Network’s BAKUGAN, recently starred in the new comedy series LEADING DAN, and was in NYC at the Tribeca Film Festival for his movie Bunker Burger with Veronica Mars’ Enrico Calontoni. Tony also runs IYA Studio for Actors, combining acting with improv and life coaching. IYA offers weekly classes, weekend intensives, guest workshops, 1:1 coaching and online masterclasses worldwide.

Cast

Heather von Atzigen as MARISSA

Heather Cherron has been acting, facilitating and writing for Mixed Company Theatre for 25 years as an associate artist. During this time, she was part of the cast of DISS, which was nominated as an ensemble for a Dora Mavor Moore Award for outstanding performance in a theatre for young audiences’ production. This year she added directing to her list with her play PUSH. Heather has combined her love of Theatre of the Oppressed with her advocacy for Injured Workers in the direction and co- creation of three short pieces for Dan’s School of Drama and Music: Drama 239 at Queens University. Her song, “Bills to Pay” and you Can’t Change was heard on LUMI radio at the Luminato Festival. “Bill to Pay” has been heard at various events for the USW, 15 and Fairness, Injured Workers and is the official theme song for “Precarity U” which recently received honorable mentions in the NYC Labor Film Festival 

Luciano Iogna as JIM

Luciano Iogna has been a professional Theatre practitioner for almost 45 years and for over 35 years has specifically worked using Theatre for Social Change. Luc has had the privilege to work across Canada and internationally with diverse cultures as a facilitator, actor, writer, director and instructor; working with Labour, institutions, government agencies, schools and communities.  

Jane Smythe as BRENDA/DOCTOR

Jane E Smythe (Brenda/Dr. Pabel Two Sided Mirror) is a film/television and theatre actor. Most recently, she was in Mixed Company Theatre’s Knocking On Doors, a virtual production. Other work with MTC includes Never In The Room. She co-wrote and performed in The Collagen Letters – both at The Social Capitol Theatre, and at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.  

Other roles include: Laura in the Glass Menagerie (Nova Theatre), Mrs. Smith in The Bald Soprano (Tantramar Theatre), Meg in The Birthday Party (Rhino Theatre Collective – also produced), Brenda in Pogie (Tantramar Theatre), Sex Therapist in In Your Dream’s Freud (Theatre at York). Toronto Fringe work includes: Dr. Vera Peters in Radical, MC in The Make Over (at the Monsieur Barber Shop) and Mona the psychic in Society of Skeptics.  

Film and Television work includes The Handmaid’s Tale, and American Gods, as well as Canadian Independent productions White Night and Lucky 7. 

Kelsey Rideout as CORRINE

Kelsey Rideout is an actor, spoken word poet and writer originally from Ottawa. Recent theatre credits include her role as #11 in the production of “The Wolves” which won the Prix Rideau Best Direction and Jury Award. Her writing has been published in Above & Beyond Magazine, GUTS Magazine, rabble, and Northern News Services Online. She’s grateful to revisit her angsty, athletic teenage past with the role of Corinne in Two-Sided Mirror. 


Past Project Information

Project Overview


Mixed Company Theatre is collaborating with our Associate Artist, playwright Catherine Frid, to research, develop and eventually tour an original and new stage play about the complex and neglected subject of seniors and suicide. This project aims to open conversations on these topics and help people find new ways to support one another and communicate about these often-taboo subjects. 

Project Process


One character hugging another character in a scene from an intergenerational Mixed Company show.
Photo by Dahlia Katz.

We began this project by engaging in conversations and workshops with older adults whose lives have been impacted by depressionsuicideor Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID). From these explorations, Catherine Frid has been writing a script that encapsulates a “universal story” of these topics.  

The piece Catherine is developing is a Forum Theatre play – an interactive, participatory form of theatre where audience members have the opportunity to step up on stage to enact ways to address the issue presented. 

This final play, which will be performed by professional actors, is intended to catalyze dialogue, discussion, and action to support seniors and their mental health. We are aiming to tour the play to senior service organizations in the Fall of 2022. 

Project Context


Seniors 65 years and older have one of the highest rates of suicide in Canada, particularly men. It’s not as publicized as youth suicides, but is just as important. It’s also true that older men are much more likely to die through a suicide attempt than any other group, in part because they have access to more lethal means (prescription medication). Seniors, especially those in residential care, suffer high rates of depression (44%) and loneliness.  (Please see links below for the sources of these statistics.) 

Catherine first began exploring this subject when she wrote a play about hope and resilience, AfterWhys, for the Suicide Awareness Council of Wellington-DufferinAfterWhys focused on rural stigma and community support, and has been well received.  

Some additional avenues Catherine is exploring in Two-Sided Mirror with MCT are the distinctions between MAID and senior suicide, as well as the challenges created by Canada’s diversity, urban loneliness and isolation, lack of family support, and now pandemic anxiety, which strains mental health. 

“Seniors & Suicide – Starting the Conversation with the AfterWhys Play”

The theatre creation approach outlined in the below video, “Seniors & Suicide – Starting the Conversation with the AfterWhys Play,” was pioneered by the Suicide Awareness Council of Wellington-Dufferin and Catherine Frid. The development process Catherine devised for AfterWhys recognized the taboo nature of suicide for some people, ensured all participants were respected and their stories remained confidential. Catherine is using a similar approach for “Two-Sided Mirror” 

On April 19th, 2021 our MCT team and Catherine Frid did a Facebook Live Q&A to talk about the project – click the link below to watch the video!

Facebook Live Event: https://www.facebook.com/MixedCTheatre/videos/1296200387444413

Statistics 


https://www.suicideinfo.ca/resource/seniors-suicide/

https://www.canada.ca/en/national-seniors-council/programs/publications-reports/2014/social-isolation-seniors/page05.html

Older adults and suicide fact sheet.pdf (mentalhealthcommission.ca) 

Funded By


The logo for the Canada Council for the Arts.