Award-Winning Play “Transitions” to premiere at Ottawa Fringe Festival
ABOVE: Jay Quesnel, Peter Froehlich, Michelle LeBlanc. (PHOTO: ANDREW ALEXANDER)
Change is a challenge for everyone. Throughout their lives, humans adapt to various changes, and everyone handles them differently.
In his new play Transitions, Ron Davies captures the effects of change on individuals and their relationships with others. Transitions tells the story of three generations of family members – an ailing grandfather, a beleaguered mother, and a transgender teen as they struggle to understand each other’s life changes while dealing with their own.
Among other awards, Transitions won the 2023 Hamilton Fringe New Play Contest and is described by juror Jordan M Burns as: “An incredibly important piece” that is “deeply relatable.”
Transitions will have its premiere production at Arts Court Theatre, Ottawa’s favourite performing arts event, during The Ottawa Fringe Festival. For over 25 years, Ottawa Fringe has welcomed an impressive variety of theatre artists and their creations to the stage. This year, the festival will take place from June 15-25.
Every play is inspired by several ideas and characters, but the initial idea for Transitions came to Davies at a moment of change in his own life. His inspiration was a silver teapot left to him by a dear aunt when she passed. “It carries a lot of emotional attachment for me . . . but what do you do with a teapot anymore? No one has tea that way anymore, so you are stuck with this beautiful object that you can’t use, but that is very painful to think about losing,” Davies explained. His silver teapot even makes an appearance in the play.
For Davies, who created a transgender character in Transitions, the development of the play has been a learning experience.
“When you write a play, you can’t just write characters that take on your own personal identity,” he said.
Davies dedicated significant time to research, reading and listening to trans people and members of their families. He then applied his empathy and imagination to create the character and had drafts verified by a trans screenwriter acting as a sensitivity reader.
On stage, 21-year-old trans performer Jay Quesnel, who plays the teen in Transitions, brings his own experiences to the role.
The other members of the play’s creative team were also a huge help. The premiere production is directed by Patrick Gauthier, winner of the 2022 Prix Rideau Award for Outstanding Direction, and features Michelle Leblanc (past winner of the Prix Rideau Emerging Artist Award) and Peter Froehlich (recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Capital Critics’ Circle), as well as Quesnel.
“I am really privileged to have so much talent willing to collaborate on this play. I found a dream team of really extraordinary individuals,” said Davies.
For more information, visit transitionstheplay.ca.
Show dates, times, and tickets are available through the Ottawa Fringe Festival at Ottawafringe.com/shows/transitions or the Arts Court Box Office. The Ottawa Fringe Festival is unique; artists keep 100% of ticket sales.
Do not miss a one-of-a-kind show at one of Ottawa’s best showcases of creative talent.
*Content warning – mention of gender-related assault and a past suicide attempt*
About Ron Davies
Toronto-born and Ottawa-based Ron Davies is 70-year-young and an emerging playwright. He studied at the University of Toronto, where he acted and stage managed at Hart House Theatre. After graduation, he worked for five years as a stage manager with some of Canada’s leading directors and actors for theatre companies in Toronto and at the Stratford Festival.