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Play Based on Ancient Greek Tragedy Will Premiere in Toronto

The Canadian Stage will present Cruel and Tender, a provocative play by Britain’s Martin Crimp. Directed by filmmaker Atom Egoyan, this searing drama is based on an ancient Greek tragedy, but is set against the backdrop of today’s war on terror.

Cruel and Tender will run in Toronto from January 21 to February 18, 2012 (Opening night: January 26) at the Bluma Appel Theatre in the St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts (27 Front St. E.). Tickets priced from $22 to $99 are available online at, by phone, or in person at the box office.

Written by noted playwright Martin Crimp, who will join the company in Toronto on opening night, Cruel and Tender modernizes Sophocles’ Trachiniae (or The Women of Trachis). Sophocles’ tale tells the story of Heracles, Greece’s national hero, and the events that unfolded when he sent a captured princess home to his pining wife while he was away plundering the neighbouring village of Euboas.

In Crimp’s bold and visceral re-telling, Heracles is transformed into a modern military general (Daniel Kash) fighting a war on terror in bloodstained Africa. His pampered wife Amelia (Arsinée Khanjian) waits at home, unaware her world is about to be shattered with the arrival of Laela, a young African woman for whom her husband has committed unspeakable atrocities. Shockingly contemporary, Cruel and Tender is as much about the private wars waged in the domestic sphere as it is about modern politics.

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