★★★★ Global News, ★★★★ CBC
Proclaimed a “Historical Tour-de-Force” by the Saskatoon Star Phoenix and Smart, Energetic and Fascinating by the CBC, Franz Ferdinand Must Die tackles the improbable events that started a war while asking the question, “what leads young men to commit acts of political violence?”.
Written and performed entirely by Belleville born Adam Bailey, this play has toured the Canadian Prairies to rave reviews and is set to open in Toronto in March, but first it will play the Old Church Theatre in Trenton, marking a return home for the acclaimed theatre creator.
“It really excites me to bring this work home”, says Bailey, “This is one of my most important pieces and after the reception it received out West I’m excited to how audiences respond to it here”. The play focuses on the misadventures of Gavrilo Princip, a rural teen who, after moving to the Sarajevo, becomes disaffected, eventually killing the Archduke Franz Ferdinand which sparks the First World War. Historically Gavrilo has been painted in contradictory terms, either as a far-left student activist or a right-wing nationalist, but he is seldom seen as being responsible for his own actions. This work gives Princip more agency while continue to ask exactly who is in the driver’s seat when the world is careening towards war. “As I focus on creating pieces that start conversations, instead of leading an audience to a specific conclusion, it will be interesting to see how audiences in a place that shaped my world view interpret what we have created”.
Director Tyler J Seguin, who worked two years at the Stratford Festival and is now an Artistic Director at the Guild Festival Theatre in Scarborough, also got his start at the Belleville Theatre Guild, much like Bailey. His credits also include performing in the Young Company at the Stirling Festival Theatre. The two met working on The Assassination of Robert Ford: Dirty Little Coward, an award winning play that used the story of Jesse James’ assassin to comment on the infamous mayor of the same name.
Seguin is responsible for bringing Alex Eddington, a composer who’s work has been performed internationally and by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, on board. A stand-out-feature of this production, The Winnipeg Free Press highlighted Eddington’s design work as “excellent” and the play as a whole, “eerily entertaining”. This play is not to be missed!
Franz Ferdinand Must Die will be performed at The Old Church Theatre February 21st at 7:30 and 23rd at 2pm. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door, so go to oldchurch.ca and get your tickets now before the show is sold out.