The Walnut Tree
Adapted by Geoffrey Ursell
Based on the novel by Martha Blum
Based on the novel by Martha Blum
The Walnut Tree tell the story of the intense journey of Sussel, a young, Jewish woman who grows up in Chernowitz, studies in Prague and Paris, endures the horrors of World War II in Eastern Europe, and ultimately escapes to the peace and promise of a new life in Saskatoon. The character of the older Sussel looks back at her life, accompanied by her alter ego, a Musician, who performs on a piano. This powerful, disturbing, and transcendent drama sets the devastating power of historical events against the personal forces of reconciliation. The Walnut Tree deals with vital social, political, and ethical issues, and finally (and most importantly), with enduring love.
February 20-22 at 8pm, February 23 at 2pm, February 26-March 1 at 8pm
3819 Calixa-Lavallée, Montreal
March 7-8 at 8pm
81 Hooper, Saint‐Lambert
CAST & PRODUCTION
Gabrielle Soskin - Süssel
Gabrielle came to Montreal from her native country England in 1970. A graduate of The Bristol Old Vic, Trent Park College of Education, and Concordia University, Gabrielle started her theatrical journey as an actor before becoming a teacher and a director. She has had a challenging and fascinating career over the years participating in the training of many vital young artists in the community and directing every genre.
Brittany Drisdelle - Young Süssel
Brittany Drisdelle started acting at the age of ten, by 20 she had starred in many American and Canadian productions; she gained recognition as Fallon in The Never-ending Story and Chloe Zimmer in Mental Block. She is a graduate of The Neighborhood Playhouse School of Theatre in New York City. Since returning home, she continues to perform in film and stage. Brittany is excited to be making her debut with Persephone.
Zachary Creatchman - Max
Zachary Creatchman is very excited to be working with Persephone Productions for the second time. Zachary graduated in 2011 with his DEC from John Abbot College's professional theatre program. During his time at John Abbott he played Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Ken Gorman in Neil Simon's Rumors and George in Thornton Wilder's Our Town. Since Graduating he has played Creon in Antigone, Prospero in The Tempest, and in Persephone's production of Hamlet he played, Marcellus, A player and the first Gravedigger. Zachary's latest production was playing in the ensemble of Beautiful City Theatre's production of Godspell. Zachary is very grateful for the opportunity to be playing one of his dream roles in one of his favorite musicals.
Karine Dion - Mother
Upon completing the Specialization in Theatre Performance at Concordia University, Karine moved to Toronto where she studied film acting at the Pro Actor's Lab, Improvisation at the Second City, and toured shows across North America and the Middle East. The Walnut Tree is Karine's second production with Persephone, having recently played Cathy in the one-woman show, Lost: A Memoir. Select theatre roles include Therese Dubuc in Les Belles Soeurs, Calphurnia in Julius Caesar, Lady Capulet in Romeo & Juliet, Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream, and the roles of Miss Temple, Blanche Ingram and Diana Rivers in Jane Eyre. Recent film and television credits include Rock, Paper ScissorsThe Way of the Tosser The Legend of Clipper Dos Santos, Mauvais Karma, Strangers in My Home and Being Human. Karine now lives in Montreal, working as an actress and leading the Lost and Found team at the SPCA. Thrilled to be working under Christopher's direction once more, she would like to dedicate this performance to her son Loic and daughter Hazel.
Brendan Walker – Felix/Joey/Grisha
Brendan is a recent graduate of the John Abbott College Professional Theater program, where he played Roles such as Dennis Shepard, Aaron Kreifels in the Laramie Project and Mac duff in an adaptation of Macbeth. This past summer he was privileged to play Captain Cat and Cherry Owen in Under Milk Wood which performed here in Montréal and at the Edinburgh fringe festival. He is enthralled to work with Persephone Productions on this captivating story.
Karine Kerr - Ileana/Ludmilla Bunin
Karine is a Montrealer, born and raised, and a graduate of Concordia University. She plays the lead in the indie feature Pinup Dolls on Icecurrently touring film festivals all over North America. Her favourite stage credit includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Théâtre du Vieux St-Eustache), Macbeth (Montreal Shakespeare Theatre Company) and Closer(RAW Productions). She has worked behind the scenes in such companies as Repercussion Theatre, the Montreal FRINGE Festival, Persephone Productions and Teesri Duniya Theatre. She is the founder of RAW Productions.
Julia Borsellino - Marusja/Helen
Julia Borsellino is a recent graduate of Dawson College’s Professional Theatre program. During her three years at Dawson Julia played a variety of roles, including; Charlotte in 7 Stories, Portia in Julius Caesar and Alice Sycamore in You Can’t Take It With You. Most recently, she performed in her first musical as Bethany in Persephone Productions’ version of Spring Awakening: The Musical.
Michael Nangreaves - Dr.Bauer/German Lover
Originally from the Eastern Townships, Michael Nangreaves is a 2012 graduate of the John Abbott College Professional Theatre Program. Credits include Caliban in The Tempest (Kaleidoscope Productions), The Tin Can People (Diana Productions), Ruddy the MC in Marathon '33 (JAC) and Nick Bottom in A Midsummer Night's Dream (Champlain College). Michael is excited to be working with Persephone for the first time.
Natalia Davydova - Musician
Natalia was born in Tashkent ,Uzbekistan where she completed her studies in classical music at the state Musical College by the name of “Khamza” Now a proud Canadian Citizen, Natalia enjoys accompanying singers in many different styles in her concerts throughout Montreal, as well as being the official accompanist at Le Festin du Gouverneur’s Banquet for the past 20 years.
Christopher Moore - Director/Father
Christopher attended the John Abbott College Professional Theatre Program where he received The Pamela Montgomery Award upon graduation in 2005. He has worked as an actor in productions that include Max in Martin Sherman's Bent (Altera Vitae), Benjamin in The Graduate (Hudson Village Theatre) and Titus in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus (MSTC). He has worked on several shows with Persephone playing Duff in Whitby's To The Green Fields Beyond (2007 MECCA for Best Ensemble), Iago in Shakespeare's Othello and co-directing the 2010 season's Henry V. He directed To Be for Persephone last spring and played the title role in Persephone's Hamlet and Byam in Oroonoko. He recently co-directed Spring Awakening: The Musical
Alex Goldrich - Director
Alex Goldrich was born in Ottawa, raised in New Brunswick, and has lived in Montreal since 2007. As an actor he has performed in such roles as Hotspur in Henry IV, Pt 1 (Saint John Shakespeare Festival), Rev. Hale in The Crucible (Saint John Theatre Company), Brick inCat on a Hot Tin Roof (Saint John Theatre Company), and as the title role in Macbeth (Montreal Shakespeare Theatre Company). He has appeared onstage several times with Persephone Productions, most recently as the adult males in the musical Spring Awakening. This is his first time assistant-directing, having made his directorial debut last year at the MainLine Theatre with Closer (RAW Productions).
Elyse Malo - Costume Designer
Elyse has recently graduated from John Abbott College's Professional Theatre Design program exploring both set and costume design. During her studies, she designed costumes for George Orwell's 1984, and the set for Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. As both the set and costume designer for Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas (Jac’n’Burgh) she took part in the Edinburgh Fringe festival. Now back in Montreal, Elyse has just recently designed the set for Beautiful City Theatre's production of The Full Monty. She is very excited to be continuing her career by working with Persephone Productions.
Isabel Faia – Lighting Designer
Based in Montreal, Isabel Faia is a recent graduate of the Professional Theatre Production Program at John Abbott College. Selected John Abbott credits include Marathon ’33 (Head LX),Oklahoma! (Costume Crew Chief), and Our Town (Lighting Design). Independent credits include All My Sons (Montreal Theatre Ensemble – Sound Design), Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy of (Black Theatre Workshop & urban ink Productions – Apprentice Stage Management) and To Be: In Concert (Kaleidoscope Theatre Montreal – Stage Management/Lighting Design). Having stage managed last season’s Hamlet & Oroonoko, this will be Isabel’s third production with Persephone.
Elyse Quesnel - Stage Manager
Elyse Quesnel is a recent graduate from John Abbott College’s professional technical program. Upon Graduating she received the Pamela Montgomery award. She also has a BA in Creative Writing from Concordia University. She has had the pleasure of stage managing 2 Montreal Fringe shows; Reflections on Giving Birth to a Squid by David Levine and 8 Ways My Mother Was Conceived by Michaela Di Cesare. She was fortunate enough to take 8 Ways My Mother was Conceived to New York City in November 2012. Other credits include stage managing Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Orwell’s play adaptation of 1984, Brighella by Adam Alberts, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead by Tom Stoppard and Spring Awakening: the Musical by Steven Sater and Duncan Shiek. Most recently she has joined the BTW artist mentorship program. She is very pleased to be part of the Segal Center’s production of Othello.