“Those people, those people don’t understand the game. There’s no room for emotion; the game cares for no man. Before cards, everyone is equal.” – Uteshitelny, Chatacter

Talk Is Free Theatre (TIFT) continues to push boundaries and explore neglected classics with a re-imagining of Nikolai Gogol’s The Gamblers as an homage to the classic film The Sting.

Tackling this rare classic is Director Esther Jun, the Co-Artistic Director and Co-Founder of Director’s Lab North, former Assistant Artistic Director at Tarragon Theatre, and whose experience spans from the CBC to Soulpepper.  Her vision for this adaptation sees that the traditional all male roles are played by some of Canada’s renowned female artists.

Despite the harsh lessons of history and hundreds of years of literature, is there still a struggle to be noble? Jun elaborates “In today’s information obsessed, technology based world, social engineering is a serious and pervasive crime, but it’s actually one of the oldest cons in the book. The very entertaining grifters in The Gamblers, originally written in 1840, weave a complex web of confidences that make today’s phishing scams look like child’s play.  Gogol has created truly modern morality tale taking aim at man’s greed, privilege and entitlement- not much has changed in 179 years!”

Gogol was one of the preeminent figures of Russian drama and literature whose style explores traditional folklore, surrealism, the grotesque and he had a history of satirising the political corruptness of the Russian Empire.

The Gamblers follows Iharev, a gambler who has just come into a small fortune as he checks into an inn where a game of cards leads to a more insidious plan. A plot is hatched to fleece the hotheaded son of a wealthy landowner, the reward of which would mean an easy life until the end of his days. Nobody is whom, or what they seem.

‘Iharev’ is Tyrone Savage, a founding member of the Red One Theatre Collective who has spent the last 5 seasons with the Stratford Festival in She Stoops to Conquer, Oedipus Rex, Alice Through the Looking Glass, Romeo and Juliet, Merchant of Venice, Much Ado About Nothing, Grapes of Wrath.

Returning to Talk Is Free Theatre is Jean Yoon who is now best known for her role as Kim Yong-Mi or “Umma” in the hit CBC Series Kim’s Convenience. Along with her experience on screen in Orphan Black, The Expanse, and many others, Yoon is as accomplished theatre artist with credits at Soulpepper, Factory Theatre, Tarragon, and has toured the stage play of Kim’s Convenience to six cities and performed over 200 times. In this reimagining, she will be playing the role of ‘Uteshitelny’.

Full credits:

THE GAMBLERS
Written by Nikolai Gogol
Translated and Adapted by Selma Dimitrijevic
Directed by Esther Jun
Set and Lighting Design by Joe Pagnan
Costume Design by Michelle Bohn

FEATURING
Izad Etemadi
Nicky Guadagni
Alana Hibbert
Tyrone Savage
Giovanni Spina
Rachel VanDuzer
Jean Yoon

WHEN
Previews begin on March 28, opens on March 29 and runs to April 6, 2019

PERFORMANCE TIMES
Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30pm, Friday and Saturday at 8pm and a Saturday matinee at 2pm.

WHERE
Five Points Theatre
1 Dunlop Street West
Barrie, ON

For Media Inquiries:

Richard Varty
Director of Outreach
Talk Is Free Theatre
richard@tift.ca
705-792-1949 ext. 123