Five years on, Ignition Theatre is building its legacy

Ignition Theatre is diving into its fifth season with six new productions that will challenge both actors and audiences.

Matt Grue-

Ignition Theatre is diving into its fifth season with six new productions that will challenge both actors and audiences.

The local professional theatre company is known for being edgy and provocative — but artistic director Matt Grue believes Ignition is more than that.

For every “f-bomb” that’s exploded on The Matchbox stage and for every bit of nudity seen in the production of Red Light Winter, Grue states that Ignition Theatre has also staged emotionally satisfying fare, such as Tuesdays with Morrie and Marion Bridge.

The company has done musicals, such as Tick, Tick . . . Boom! and stimulated the audience’s intellect with plays such as Proof. It’s also just plain entertained with quirky fare such as Dreamland Saturday Nights and Deathtrap.

“It occurred to me, Ignition Theatre isn’t about one word definitions and the boundaries of genre but about compelling and rewarding live theatre experiences,” states Grue in his introduction to the 2009-2010 season.

In that light, the company is ready to plumb new depths of emotion in what Grue calls its “little bit of everything season.”

The first production, which runs Oct. 22 to 31, is The Drawer Boy, by Canadian playwright Michael Healey. The winner of the 1999 Governor General’s Award for Drama is about a self-absorbed young actor who arrives on a small farm to research a role about country life. But his rural stay proves life-altering for the actor as well as the two middle-aged farmers he’s rooming with, as “art attempts to imitate life and the line between truth and fiction is crossed.”

Rather than having Red Deer residents travel to Edmonton or Calgary for heart-warming Christmas-time entertainment, Ignition Theatre will present the beloved story of George Bailey, It’s a Wonderful Life, as adapted by Tony Palermo. It will be performed on stage as a live radio drama from Dec. 10 to 19.

The company will then put a cruel twist on Valentine’s Day when The Shape of Things, by Neil LaBute, runs Feb. 4 to 13. When a shy, insecure student falls for a sexy aggressive artist, their intense affair veers into dangerous, even shocking territory.

Ignition is launching the world premiere of Fertile Choices from March 25 to 27. The local play about a woman’s decision not to have children was adapted by Grue and Glynis Wilson Boultbee from Boultbee’s poetry/sculpture exhibit with Michele Dupas. It will be the first time Ignition is tackling a locally written production, but Grue intends to make this a season staple.

The Last Five Years, an intimate musical about a New York couple, by Jason Robert Brown, will be staged May 20 to 29. The winner of the 2002 Drama Desk Award tells the story of young people falling in and out of love in an unusual way. The woman tells her story backwards, while the man tells it chronologically. Grue said the production will challenge the audience’s perception of how powerful, poignant and rewarding musical theatre can be.

Finally, the company will again stage Bohemian Rhapsody, a multidisciplinary arts festival celebrating theatre, film and visual art from July 7 to 17, after positive feedback and a warm audience reception to this summer’s festival.

Season tickets to the full complement of Ignition Theatre productions are $99 and can be purchased from The Matchbox/Ignition Theatre, call 403-341-6500.

The Signature Series, which provides admission to three plays — The Drawer Boy, The Shape of Things, and The Last Five Years — are $59.

Individual tickets can also be purchased for each show for $22 ($18 for students and seniors) from Ticketmaster.

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