Toronto Film School’s acting students will return to the stage at The Papermill Theatre this month with a live, in-person production of Home-Sick.
Directed by Rosanna Saracino, the play is a devised adaptation of Homer’s The Odyssey and Ovid’s Metamorphosis in which the mythical characters are transformed into homeless youth, refugees, and other people who have been torn from their homes and forgotten.
“They are lost souls and missing persons navigating the consequences of their trauma, battling addiction, abuse, heartbreak, isolation, and loneliness,” Saracino said of the play, which is being performed by her fifth-term Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre students.
“This ‘home-sickness’ fractures their experience into parallel worlds and identities as they strive to reconnect to themselves, to the world, and to new ideas of what home can become.”
Home-Sick, which is stage-managed by Lisa Zhu, will take to the stage at The Papermill Theatre for a three-performance run on Sept. 13, 14 and 15 as follows:
Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 9 p.m.
Thursday, Sept. 15 at 7 p.m.
Mukhtar Abdullah as Orpheus
Mukhtar Abdullah came to Canada back in 2017 as a refugee in hopes for a better life. Since joining TFS, Mukhtar has appeared in multiple short films, including Humans, A Star is Rising, Young Struggles, and his first leading role in Grey by Casey Leung. Mukhtar has a playful personality, and his enthusiasm is ever-so contagious.
Lauren Bagot as Eurydice
Lauren has had a love of performing her entire life and is thrilled for the opportunity to be on stage again, presenting an incredible show with so many talented classmates and friends. In her hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Lauren participated in many theatre productions, including Chicago and Mary Poppins. She is truly grateful for the skill and knowledge she has gained at Toronto Film School and the opportunities her education and hard work have, and will, provide her. After TFS, Lauren will happily continue to hone her craft in acting and other creative endeavours.
Jade Bertin as Stitches Girl
Jade is from Kitchener, Ontario but recently relocated to Brampton with her aunt. Jade is a young actor currently attending Toronto Film School and is a fifth-term student in the Acting for Film, Television & the Theatre program. As a student, she has gained invaluable insight into her artistic process, which she was able to express in roles such as ‘Edward’ in By Churchill and ‘Denise’ in Problem Child by Walker, and in a supporting role in the film Grey by Cassy Leung. Her goal is to be featured on Broadway stages and in a variety of roles in the acting industry.
Unaz Brown as D
Unaz Brown is from Brampton, Ontario and discovered an interest in the entertainment industry very young. His passion arose while working as a recording engineer, recording local artists before entering high school. That experience lead him to evolve into the world of musical theatre, performing in plays such as Legally Blonde and The Jungle Book. He now produces and records his own music at Amarna Records while creating and starring in his first film De Ja Vu at Toronto Film School. He currently works and performs at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournaments while successfully building his career in the film and entertainment industry.
Cayle Cronquist as Scar Boy
After much dedication put into this show, Cayle is thrilled to perform onstage alongside his tremendously talented classmates. The theatre is no new place for Cayle; having been in many productions such as Les Miserables and Clue, it feels like a second home. Moving from British Columbia to pursue his passion for the arts, TFS has held nothing but great experiences, from starring in short films to learning what it takes to work in front of and behind the camera. After graduation, Cayle will continue to act as well as explore other found passions that this creative industry has to offer! Enjoy the show.
Silvyn L. Farrell as Narcissus
Silvyn is a classically trained Antiguan and Barbudan performer who has graced many stages internationally as a vocalist, musician, dancer, and actor. He most recently directed and musically conducted The Lion King: The Antiguan Edition, and his first silent film, Undeath Me. He holds a Diploma with Distinction from Trinity London College of Music and a Bachelor of Science from The University of the West Indies. Amongst his accolades are 2005 Music Festival Advanced Voice Gold Winner; 2007 Most Promising Actor in the Caribbean and the 2017 National Youth Award Recipient for contributions to Culture and the Performing Arts. He’s a member of the Antigua & Barbuda National Youth Choir; National Youth Theatre Company and National Dance Theatre. His grounding for technique mingled with new skills honed at TFS are preparing him for an exciting new chapter in his professional life.
Valeria Fernandez Negron as Eurydice
Valeria is an acting student at Toronto Film School. She was born and raised in Maracaibo, Venezuela, where she discovered her passion for acting in school plays and musicals such as Mamma Mia, Grease and Peter Pan. She moved to Toronto in 2016 when she was 17 years old, in hopes to advance her acting and musical career. She has starred in various short films, including Just a Song, 9-5 Clocked In and Home. In her spare time, she enjoys singing, playing guitar, and dancing.
Ayla Johnston as Persephone
Ayla is a trained actor that has performed in a lead role as Myra in Robert Chafe’s Tempting Providence in her undergraduate studies and has musical theatre experience performing in “Cell Block Tango” from the musical Chicago. Throughout her training at TFS, Ayla had extensive experience with scene study work in a range of dramatic and comedic roles. She is grateful to her friends and family for their continued love and support and would like to thank everyone involved in making this play one of the most rewarding experiences to date.
Brice Ndem as Orpheus
Brice was born in Cameroon, West Africa. Brice was a very social child, so it was no surprise to anyone when he chose to study Psychology in university. Brice always loved movies and acting, but did not think it was a genuine possibility for him. When he discovered that Vancouver had a huge movie industry, he did not hesitate to make the move. He began studying acting at New Image College, but wanted to study further, so he moved to Toronto and is now studying at Toronto Film School. He is in his fifth term and, so far, has filmed his own short film and featured in two other student films. Brice is also a recording artist with multiple songs on Spotify. He feels like he found two careers he is immensely passionate about and cannot wait to see what the future holds.
Randy Osorio as Echo
Randy was born in Brampton, Ontario. He’s currently a 5th term acting student at Toronto Film School studying acting, writing, and directing for film and TV. As a student, he’s trained in voiceover, acting for stage, acting for the camera and a favourite would be auditioning for camera taught by John Tench. He’s had the privilege to create his own horror short film titled Static and starred in a leading role in a student short film entitled Brushed Off. He loves the creativity of the arts and hopes to continue developing and sharing his many talents as he embarks on his career.
Denzi Palmer as G
Denzi has a lifelong passion for the arts. He began dancing at eight years of age and loved the experience of sharing his talent with a live audience. At 16, he enrolled in the Arch Angels Academy of the Arts and through a competition win, received a scholarship and sponsorship to join the Walt Disney Parade and perform on the National Disney stage. Later, he performed in the Indigenous Grandfather Teachings at YPT, which led him to enroll at TFS, where he has featured in numerous short films. Denzi can’t wait to share his craft and passion with the world.
Melissa Putaro as Philomel
Melissa is an acting student at Toronto Film School. She was born and raised in Brandon, Manitoba. Since attending Toronto Film School, she has written, directed, and acted in the silent film Girls Night. Melissa was also Hecate and Lady Macduff in her term three showcase of Macbeth. Other roles Melissa has had include Marylin Rexroth in Intolerable Cruelty and Amy in Gone Girl. In high school, Melissa was in the school play Guys and Dolls and later, she was in the play Jesus Christ Superstar. Melissa’s dream is to become an actress and help bring stories to life.
Simon Roberts as Pascal
Simon was born and raised in a small town of 500 people called St. Paul’s River in Newfoundland and Labrador. Simon is currently a fifth-term student at Toronto Film School and is studying Acting for Film TV & Theatre. While at school, he had the opportunity to create a short silent film The River, which he directed and starred in. Simon’s goal is to be able to inspire people that they can do whatever they want if they put their mind to it.
Nick Smoljanovic as Raconteur
Nick is an ambitious emerging actor who is eager to learn and take on challenges that allow him to expand the skills, knowledge, and techniques that he has thus far acquired. As a student at TFS, he has been featured in the role of Betty in Cloud Nine by Caryl Churchill, and in principal roles in WTF Chuck, directed by Max Thompson, and Bad for Business, directed by Matt Putnam and prior to this he played the lead in Cabaret. He looks forward to sharing his creativity as a performer in the professional entertainment industry.
Aisling Wolleswinkel as
Aisling was born in Barrie, Ontario and raised in Kirkland Lake. As a child, she was enchanted by The Nutcracker ballet and the way in which a story that once only existed in the imagination was made to be shared and experienced. It is real-life magic – and that’s how she knew she was meant to become a storyteller. During her studies at TFS, she has performed roles such as Summer in 500 Days of Summer and Desdemona in Othello. Fluent in French and English, she is learning Spanish and Tagalog. She is excited to continue discovering who she is as an artist by experimenting with a multitude of genres, styles, and techniques.
Rosanna Saracino – Director
Rosanna Saracino (MFA, BFA) is an Italian Canadian director and educator with twenty-five years of experience in the industry. Her directing work has spanned theatre to film/TV, opera to dance, though some favourite play productions include Suitcases (Canadian Stage Theatre), No Exit (Passe Muraille), Nasty (Annex Theatre) and In Adagio (Winnipeg Art Gallery). Rosanna is passionate about devised theatre, new forms of storytelling/playwriting, and supporting emerging artists. As an educator she has devised training strategies in consent and boundary practices involving emotional and psychological awareness and safety and EQ, and she has taught these courses to students, instructors, professional artists and business professionals in post-secondary institutions, professional entertainment environments, and in corporate settings. She is a recipient of the SASF academic research grant and is working toward publication of her technique work on psychological and emotional consent practices for artists.
Lisa Zhu – Stage Manager
Lisa is a Chinese Canadian actor. She has recently graduated from Toronto Film School as a president’s list and honour roll student. She is fluent in English, Mandarin, and Cantonese. Lisa has appeared in PSAs as well as films and theatres. In the feature-length film Nightshades directed by Jonathan Higgins, she was Shirley and was also Jess in the play Seventeen, directed by Catherine McNally & Rosanna Saracino. She was Cunningham in the 2022 production of Judge, Jury, Judas, which was directed by Rosanna Saracino. Lisa also wrote, directed and was the principal actor in the short film Most Cherished Memory. Lisa was trained by many well-known industry professionals such as Rosanna Saracino, Jonathan Higgins, John Tench, Michael Ayoub, John Beale and Andy Massingham. She looks forward to working in the film industry both in North America and in Asia.