Thomas Olajide has lived in Toronto for only two years, but he’s already helped write a theatrical love letter to the city.
“I talk about my beginnings in Toronto as well as my falling in love in this city,” says Olajide, a creator of and actor in This Must Be the Place: The CN Tower Show, which is chock full of queer talent.
“I moved here about two years ago, and shortly after arriving, I met someone. And this has defined my time in Toronto in a big way.”
After their initial success with Highway 63: The Fort Mac Show, Architect Theatre was invited to produce a research-based, collectively created show at Theatre Passe Muraille.
Jonathan Seinen has three roles in the show: creator, actor and director.
Greg Gale, Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman, Jonathan Seinen, Georgina Beaty and Thomas Olajide star in Must Be the Place: The CN Tower Show.
“Rather than a playwright creating a text and a director coming in with a strong vision, collective creation harnesses all the creative team's talents and interests and brings to the stage performances that are alive in a complete, natural way,” he says, noting that his role is not only to facilitate the process, but also to bridge the gap between the piece’s creation and production.
Lindsay Anne Black came late to the process as the set and costume designer. “Being brought into the room as a designer after the collective had been working together for quite some time felt a little bit like trying to retrofit myself into the process,” she says, but she was able to integrate into the group much more easily than she expected. Black made a list of iconography from city living, and Toronto in particular, and describes the production values as more impressionistic than realistic. “My hope is that it all feels strangely familiar but supports the way in which our stories move through time and space.”
Olijade says the group created the play from interviews and stories, which are incorporated alongside the group’s personal exploration of Toronto. This means This Must Be the Place: The CN Tower Show not only spans people, but generations.
“Subjects such as the bathhouse raids
are also brought up in the piece. And I wanted these queer voices to be included in the show because Toronto is known as a city of progressive values for its gay and lesbian citizens,” he says, “but that is only because of the hard work and dedication of active members of our community.”
This Must Be the Place: The CN Tower Show
Runs until Sat, Oct 27
Theatre Passe Muraille
16 Ryerson Ave