When it came time to pick a play for his Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre students to perform on stage this term, Toronto Film School’s Christopher Sawchyn was immediately drawn to Adam Szymkowicz’s Hearts Like Planets.
“The work is funny, warm and honest – and isn’t that just the kind of energy we like to hang around? Hearts Like Planets (at its pun-filled heart) is about facing fears squarely in the eye: fear of intimacy, fear of rejection, fear of heartbreak, fear of the bad guys and oh, just like fear of the end of the world,” Sawchyn said of the play, which was written during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s given everyone opportunities to face inner demons and outer layers, as it were… And who doesn’t love superheroes, supervillains, outer space, film noir, hospital drama, sexy dancing and lots of Pow! Bam! and Thwapp!?!”
Toronto Film School’s adaption of Hearts Like Planets, which is stage-managed by Everton Dwight Campbell, will take to the stage at The Papermill Theatre for a three-performance run as follows:
Wednesday, Dec. 14 at 9 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 17 at 4:30 p.m.
Ben Thatcher as Orphan Drillnose / Rocket
Ben Thatcher is a British actor and writer born in Ascot, England. He began acting in primary school, where he starred in the play Pirates of the Curry-Bean. Soon after, he began making home movies with his brother, which allowed him to develop his skills in all aspects of filmmaking, including acting. In 2021, joined the Acting program at Toronto Film School. In the last couple of years, Ben has written multiple TV pilots and sketches, acted in several short films, and was an extra in the 2020 CBC TV show, Fortunate Son.
Elvin Lejano as Gene / Taxi Driver
Elvin Lejano (he/him), mostly known as EL, is a committed and driven actor, writer, and creator born in Mississauga, Ontario. Although he worked for much of his young life as an auto mechanic, he always carried a spark and passion for the performing arts. After seeing the success of former classmates and other artists within the GTA, a mantra of “Why not Me?” grew inside of him, so EL took the plunge and enrolled at Toronto Film School. His love and enthusiasm for the work continues to grow with the exploration of different classes and studies. Upon graduating EL aims to work within the entertainment industry as an actor, writer and potentially as a director, as well. His dream is to one day work alongside idol, Will Smith.
Emily Roe as Magpie
Emily Roe is a New Brunswick born actor, writer, and creative director, raised in Upper Miramichi. From an early age, her artistry stemmed from her passion for musical theatre. At age seven, Emily was enrolled in theatre summer camps, which help her gain the confidence to eventually perform in community theatre (Rivermade Productions), dinner theatre (Saplings Theatre Troup), and her high school drama club. She is a five-time award winner from the New Brunswick Drama Festival, where she performed with her school drama club from 2016-2018. Emily was awarded for giving outstanding performances in lead and supporting roles, and for her notable directorial debut in 2018. Emily has plans to pursue acting in film, TV, theatre, and voiceover after graduating from TFS.
Evan Robert Delaney as Darkness / Shrieker
Evan Robert Delaney, is a Canadian actor born and raised in Peterborough, Ontario. He grew up playing hockey and baseball, and it wasn’t until high school that he did his first-ever play in his school’s production of The Little Mermaid. From there, Evan attended Toronto Film School to further his studies in acting.
Kothai Sriranganathan as Nurse
Kothai Sriranganathan is a Tamil South Asian actor who was born and raised in Montreal. She moved to Toronto in 2021 to pursue her dream career as a thriving actress and enrolled in the Acting for Film, TV & Theatre program at Toronto Film School. In addition to acting, she is also a very skilled dancer. She started dancing at the age of four, with the styles Gaana and Bollywood. She then joined her high school dance team, where she learned about 14 different styles of dance. She is now professionally trained in contemporary, hip-hop, Gaana, Bollywood and technical, as well has a few others she enjoys learning and performing.
Mallory Routhier as Hummingbird
Mallory Routhier is a Canadian actress born and raised in Fort McMurray, Alberta. As a child, she loved creating plays with her cousins and forcing her family to watch their performances. At the age of 11, she started competing in her city’s music festival, performing scenes and monologues. Throughout high school, she starred in multiple plays, her biggest role being ‘Mary Poppins’ in Mary Poppins the Musical, at the age of 16. Her boundless love of theatre led her to expand her knowledge through directing, stage managing, lighting and sound. That’s when Mallory decided that this was the career path for her.
Mike Swain as Henry Hardnose
Born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Mike Swain is overjoyed to be performing in his first full production since the beginning of lockdown. Before moving to Toronto to attend Toronto Film School as an Acting student, Mike was studying at the University of Manitoba to complete a Bachelor of Arts, double majoring in Criminology and Theatre. During his time there, he joined the Black Hole Theatre Company (BHTC) and was able to take part in many productions. Previous credits include: ‘Asher’ Zoom Lens (BHTC, March 2021) and Director of A Conversation at Night with a Despised Character (BHTC, October 2021).
Raphaël Larocque as Abbot / Poet
Raphaël Larocque is a 22-year-old actor and native French speaking Quebecois who was born and raised in the city of Prévost in the region of the Laurentians. He is currently studying Acting for Film, TV & the Theatre at Toronto Film School. Raphaël began acting when he was in high school by doing a theatrical piece from William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which he portrayed the role of Lysander. His spark for acting came from that experience. During his first term at TFS, Raphaël had the chance to play a psychopath in the short film What The F*ck Chuck. He is a man of ambition who sets the bar high for himself.
Ronan Rees as Film Noir Man / Professor Dace
Ronan Rees’s past credits in theatre include: The Duchess of Malfi (Stratford Festival), A Christmas Story (Kitchener Theatre Company), The Trojan Women (Stratford Festival). Film and television credits: Still Mine (Mongrel Media), The Doodlebops (CBC Television), Remedy (Global), Not Your Girl (CFC). Radio Credits: Afghanada ( CBC), Afghanada 2 (CBC). Ronan would like to thank Christopher Sawchin, Dwight Campbell, Hart Massey, and everyone involved in this wonderful, hilarious collaboration.
Shauna Martin as Butterfly
Shauna Martin is a 19-year-old actor with a passion for learning new things and a dream of traveling. She is bilingual in English and French and has been speaking both almost her entire life. She’s travelled to two continents and six countries, some of which include France, Haiti, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. Shauna loves getting to experience different cultures and lifestyles and she hopes to visit every continent and as many countries as possible during her life. Shauna, an athlete for the majority of her life, grew up competing in everything from sports to talent shows. Eventually she found her love for creating, in every aspect of the word.
Sofía Castelán as Harriet / Rocket’s Mom
Sofía Castelán is an actor born and raised in Puebla, Mexico. She grew up in between two very different households, where she was always encouraged to follow her passions. Her first contact with the performing arts was through folkloric dance and ballet, thanks to her mother. She discovered her love for theatre in high school by joining her school’s annual productions and festivals. After completing high school, she left Mexico to pursue her Acting studies at Toronto Film School, where she expects to graduate in the spring of 2023. She is driven by her desire to prove to herself and to the world the potential of Latin American artists from all backgrounds and in all aspects of storytelling.
Tracy Garcia as Verna / Rocket’s “Other” Mom
Tracy Garcia was born and raised in the Philippines and moved to Canada at the age of 16 years old. She studied Fashion Arts and Business after graduating from high school, as she has always been so fascinated with beauty and art combined. In her younger days, she spent most of her time participating in school plays and has always been active in singing and performing on stage. She then decided to pursue her acting career in 2021 and auditioned to become an acting student at Toronto Film School. She loves embodying and learning characters that bring inspiration and empower people in the world.
Yohannes Taye as Dr. X
Yohannes A. Taye Baraki is an up-and-coming African Canadian actor, who was raised in Ethiopia, the horn of Africa. He grew up in a very religious household, where he spent most of his life singing and acting for the church choir, which is where his love for acting came from. He developed a respect for the art and strong work ethic. When he was in his fourth year as a Literature student at Addis Ababa University, he had to flee his country because of being wrongly imprisoned. His love of theatre, language and politics serves him well with artistic creation. He is passionate about showing the world that, “If you are willing, there is always a way.”
Yovana Dojcinov as Sheila (Tenant) / Stardust
Yovana Dojcinov is a Toronto actress and producer, who was raised in Mississauga, Ontario. After getting her Police Foundations diploma from Sheridan College at age 19, she realized that acting was her true passion. She grew up playing piano, guitar and trumpet. Yovana loves basketball, movies, the outdoors and her friends and family. She has a strong passion for all forms of art; especially acting, music and photography. Yovana’s struggle with depression and growing up queer is what fuels her to pursue her artistic dreams. She wants to tell stories that are truthful, vulnerable and powerful.
Everton “Dwight” Campbell – Stage Manager
Everton “Dwight” Campbell is a talented camera, theatre and voice actor born and raised in the Greater Toronto area. Dwight also resided in Northern Alabama, where he studied Communications with a Concentration in Public Relations, and a minor in Political Science. Dwight is also a community advocate who is extremely proud of both his Jamaican and Indigenous heritage. He is a Toronto Film School alumni who is very passionate about his craft.
Christopher Sawchyn – Director
A two-time award-winning international performer, Christopher is a multi-disciplinary artist. Co-founder of Toronto’s musical sketch company The Specials, he’s a seasoned writer, director and choreographer, as well. Currently, he and co-host Christel Bartelse produce/star in their ongoing seasonal series: Chris & Christel’s Collection. Most recently, he’s launched a business, PhysBiz, with TFS colleague Kelly Fanson, bringing comedy wellness programs to the corporate and frontline sector!
As an arts educator, Christopher has been teaching for 17 years. Trained for the national team of Dancing Classrooms, he’s brought ballroom to the TDSB in the GTA. He’s a grad from the Joy of Dance and has implemented Ballroom Basix at Artists Play, choreographing for weddings, as well. In addition to Toronto Film School and elsewhere, Christopher has been a national high school drama adjudicator. He has had teaching contracts both at the ISB in Brussels, and his gold medal win in the IV Jeux de la Francophone (for Street Theatre) took his company, Corpus, to Benin, West Africa to perform and educate there, as well. For Toronto Film School, he’s directed Balm In Gilead and Lion In The Streets.