FEATURED: ‘Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story’, Wilton’s Music Hall

‘Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story‘, Wilton’s Music Hall

‘Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story is a dizzying 80 minute, genre bending, darkly funny gig-meets-live theatre experience based on a true story of two Jewish Romanian refugees fleeing Romania for Canada in 1908. Covering sex, religion, tragedy and triumph, the show follows Chaim and Chaya as they make a fresh start in the New World.

A humourously dark folktale woven together with a high-energy concert, this Klezmer music-theatre hybrid is about how to love after being broken by the horrors of war. It’s about refugees who get out before it’s too late, and those who get out after it’s too late. And it’s about looking into the eyes of God’.

  Internationally acclaimed 2b theatre company comes to Wilton’s Music Hall to perform ‘Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story‘.

  2b joins forces with Indie/Folk music sensation Ben Caplan and award-winning writer Hannah Moscovitch to tell a timeless true story about life as a refugee, and what it means to be ‘old stock’.

  Critically acclaimed throughout Canada, in New York (where it garnered six Drama Desk Award Nominations), Edinburgh, across the UK, in Australia and Holland for its innovative, genre-bending style, performances at Wilton’s Music Hall will mark the show’s London premiere.

  Hailed as “Canada’s Hottest Young Playwright” by The National Post, The Globe and Mail, and Now Magazine, Hannah Moscovitch has written ‘Other People’s Children’, ‘This Is War’ and ‘What a Young Wife Ought to Know’. She has won many awards, including the prestigious international Windham-Campbell Prize administered by the Beinecke Library at Yale University and the Trillium Book Award (she is the only playwright to win in the award’s thirty-year history).

  Christian Barry wears many hats in this production including Director, Co-Set/Lighting/Sound Designer, as well as co-writing the songs. He is an award-winning director, dramaturge, actor, writer, and designer from Halifax, and a founding member and artistic co-director of 2b theatre company.

  Ben Caplan is both the production’s co-songwriter and performs the role of narrator, ‘The Wanderer’. Though best known as a songwriter, his first experiences as a performer were in the theatre. This production marks his first return to the theatre after a ten-year hiatus. He has released three albums to critical acclaim, including his latest: a companion piece to this production titled Old Stock.

  As Chaya and on violin is Mary Fay Coady, who received the Robert Merritt Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Lead in 2018 for this performance.

  Further casting will include Eric Da Costa as Chaim (clarinet and various), Jeff Kingsbury (drumset) and Kelsey McNulty (keyboard and accordion).

  The production features direction by Christian Barry, songs by Ben Caplan and Christian Barry (except for ‘Traveller’s Curse’ by Geoff Berner and ‘The Happy People’ by Danny Rubenstein, with additional music composed by Graham Scott), costume design by Carly Beamish, set and lighting design by Louisa Adamson and Christian Barry and sound design by Jordan Palmer, Christian Barry and Ben Caplan.

  Marking the UN’s World Refugee Day, writer Hannah Moscovitch says “The play gained a dark relevance over the time that we’ve worked on it. With the Syrian conflict continuing to decimate a nation, and Trump trying to turn his racism into policy, the plight of refugees is far from a story of the past. The urgency to write the play was really crystalized by one of the most famous photographs of the last decade: the image of three year old Alan Kurdi, whose lifeless body washed up on a beach in Turkey after his family tried to escape Syria in a tiny rubber raft. Before I had a kid, children were largely symbolic to me. But as a mother, the reaction I had to that photograph was amplified. Now I can imagine what it would be like to lose a child. You would never recover from that. Anyone who came into Canada by boat would have come through Halifax and Pier 21, as my great grandparents did in 1908. Pier 21 is a little bit like Ellis Island. It had never occurred to me before but this was the moment that they were safe. Before that they were in peril. It was a question of life or death. I take my lead from a hero of mine, Primo Levi, who survived the Holocaust. He talks about history as identity, and that you cannot know yourself without knowing your history. And genocide is an attempt to wipe out history. The alternative history of my family was death – as with Alan Kurdi. It was impossible for me, knowing my family came in through Pier 21 fleeing pogroms, not to see a parallel. All of that came together to make Old Stock.”

  ‘Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story‘ will run at Wilton’s Musical Hall from 18th to 28th September, with an official opening night on 19th September. Tickets are on sale from 13th May.


Ben Caplan in Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story. Photo credit: Stoo Metz Photography


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