Prairie Scene

The largest gathering of Manitoba and Saskatchewan artists ever presented outside the Prairies!

April 26 to May 8, 2011

Media Centre

TALK explores the tension between political ideas and friendship….and the power of words

Friday, April 22, 2011

Two Talkbacks feature Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, Rabbi Reuven Bulka and other prominent community leaders

Performances April 27-30, Tickets on sale now

Theatre-goers are in for two stimulating evenings of theatre paired with frank, post-performance discussions of the ideas it provokes with TALK, a play that opens next week as part of Prairie Scene.

A 2009 finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, TALK is an engaging story about how even the strongest of friendships can be tested by political conflict.  Funny, complex, and touching, TALK is as much about the Middle East conflict as it is about the power of language. Crafted with a finely tuned ear for dialogue and electric pacing, TALK keeps us wondering whose side we’re on, and why.

At the centre of the play is the friendship between Gordon and Josh. Gordon wants to hear what Josh thinks of his new girlfriend. But when Josh stumbles over his response, the lifelong friends are stunned to find themselves mired in a passionate and divisive political debate about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Prairie Scene is proud to announce two free Talkbacks on April 27 and April 28 on the ideas and possibilities provoked by the play, particularly with respect to the power of language.

April 27

“From Neville Chamberlain’s ‘peace for our time’ to the on-going conflict in the Middle East, is a word ever just that?”

This Talkback discussion will explore how language can stimulate change and encourage empathy to find our shared humanity.

TALKdirector and playwright Michael Nathanson will speak with Dr. Costanza Musu, a specialist in conflict resolution, security studies and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the University of Ottawa. Also joining the discussion is writer and poet Dr. Aisha Sherazi, a biologist and former principal of the Abraar Elementary School serving the Muslim community of Ottawa.  The Talkback will be moderated by Scott Gilmore, Executive Director of Peace Dividend Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to making peace and humanitarian operations more effective, efficient and equitable. 

April 28

“The power of words: what role can language play in escalating conflict and igniting change?”

In this Talkback, Nathanson will speak with Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, Associate Professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. A renowned speaker on peace and development in the Middle East, he is the author of I Shall Not Hate: A Gaza Doctor’s Journey, a book he wrote after his three daughters and niece were killed by a shell during the Gaza conflict of 2008-09, and that stresses the need for coexistence between Israelis and Palestinians. The founder of the Daughters for Life Foundation,, Dr. Abuelaish will sign copies of his book after the Talkback. 

The Talkback will also feature Rabbi Reuven Bulka, the spiritual leader of Congregation Machzikei Hadas in Ottawa since 1967.  Author of over 30 books, a CFRA talk radio show host and regular contributor to the Ottawa Citizen, Rabbi Bulka is renowned for his tireless commitment to the Ottawa community through service on charitable and civic boards and regular participation in charity events.

The Winnipeg Jewish Theatre production of TALK runs from April 27-30 andfeatures Graham Ashmore as Josh and Arne MacPherson as Gordon, with production design by Hugh Conacher. TALK  plays at the Irving Greenberg Centre (GCTC), 1233 Wellington St. W.

Tickets for TALK  can be purchased at , in person at the NAC Box Office, or through Ticketmaster at 1.888.991.2787.

Prairie Scene is an eclectic, multi-disciplinary arts festival featuring 500 of the best established and emerging artists from Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Prairie Scene will present 80 different events in music, theatre, dance, visual and media arts, literature, film and culinary arts in more than 30 venues in Ottawa-Gatineau from April 26 to May 8, 2011.

Prairie Scene Partners

Prairie Scene would like to thank the Government of Canada, the Government of Manitoba, the Government of Saskatchewan and the Canada Council for the Arts for their generous support of this event.

The National Arts Centre and National Arts Centre Foundation gratefully acknowledge the support of Co-presenting Partners MTS Allstream (Manitoba) and PotashCorp (Saskatchewan), Special Partner Cavendish Investing Ltd., Major Partner Enbridge Inc, Supporting Partners Greystone Managed Investments, James Richardson & Sons, Ltd., Holiday Inn andTransCanada Corporation, and Programming Partners The Mosaic CompanyManitoba Film and Music and Iceland Naturally. Prairie Scene Media Partners include Major Partner CBC/Radio-Canada, and Partners National Post, Ottawa Citizen, Le Droit, Winnipeg Free Press, Regina Leader-Post, Saskatoon StarPhoenix and Dollco Printing.

For their commitment to supporting Prairie arts and artists, we give special thanks to Gail Asper and Michael Paterson, Marjorie and Morley Blankstein, the John and Bonnie Buhler Foundation, Adrian Burns and Gregory Kane, Q.C., Ian and Kiki Delaney, David and Margaret Fountain, Susan Glass and Arni Thorsteinson, Deborah GrayStephen and Jocelyn GreenbergPeter Herrndorf and Eva Czigler, Doris and Charles Knight, Craig and Pamela Lothian, Gail and David O’Brien, Stefan and Magdalena Opalski, Parrish & Heimbecker, Harriett and Isidor Wolfe as well as Jim and Lisa Yuel.

The NAC Foundation also extends a warm thank you to the Prairie Scene Council, a committed group of individuals whose leadership, support and guidance are key to the success of Prairie Scene. The Prairie Scene Council is led by Manitoba Honorary Chairs John and Bonnie Buhler, Saskatchewan Honorary Chair Tami Wall, Manitoba Chair Gail Asper and Saskatchewan Chair E. Craig Lothian. Members include Adrian Burns, Catherine A. (Kiki) Delaney, Leslie Gales, Susan Glass and Arni Thorsteinson, Wayne Goranson and Heather Quale, Lynda Haverstock and Harley Olsen, Charles and Doris Knight, D’Arcy Levesque, Brian and Gail Saunders, Pamela Wallin, and Harriett Wolfe.