Best Text (runner up)
Montreal Fringe 2004
Best Original Work
London Fringe 2004
London Fringe 2004
Two railway workers with an unlikely friendship have their lives torn apart after discovering a traveler injured in a boxcar. Steel was written and performed by Andrew Zadel, premiering at the Montreal Fringe Festival in 2004 before appearing at the London (Canada) Fringe. The script was inspired by the author’s experiences working in a Montreal rail yard and the story of his grandfather’s escape from communist Yugoslavia. The show was remounted in 2007 at the Queen West Arts Centre in Toronto with actor James Murray.
The award-winning Steel was widely celebrated in the media and had sellout shows in both Montreal and London. You can listen to an interview with the playwright on CBC Radio here. A London Free Press review of the show can be found here. A short piece about the process of creating the play can be found here.
“There’s a fat woman who never wipes her blade, a seamstress of skin taking out old stitching. This is women’s work as it’s always been, tidying up the dirty things behind closed doors.”
A young woman survives an attack in her home and sets out on a feverish journey to find and confront her biological father. The Body premiered at the Montreal Fringe Festival in 2003, and was performed by Lydia Zadel. The one-woman show was remounted at the London (Canada) Fringe Festival in 2005. The Body was highly celebrated during its run in London and was featured on Radio Canada in Toronto. You can read the full text of the play here.
“It’s not a toilet. It’s a confessional with our sins written on the wall. That’s what my book is made of — the things that fall out of men when they hate the place they’ve slept.”
Four Canadian peacekeepers turn on one another as they struggle to decide if they should disobey orders to prevent a massacre in a nearby village. Checkpoint premiered at the Summerworks Festival in Toronto in 2005, a production of Toronto’s Praxis Theatre. The original script was inspired by the author’s work with the United Nations and makes painfully real the inherent contradictions of global peacebuilding.
“Did you visit all of the army bases in Serbia? Did you look in every factory basement? My father will be dead the moment I bury him, and not one minute before.”
A team of ambitious international forensics experts and their courageous Albanian colleagues try to identify the remains of missing persons in the aftermath of the Kosovo conflict. Underneath was produced by Praxis Theatre at the Summerworks Festival in Toronto in 2009. Featuring an all-star cast of Toronto theatre’s best, the show brought to life the struggles faced by families looking for answers after their sons and brothers disappear.
“All I ever got was minimum wage and no reason to complain. I’m full of emptiness, like someone poured outer space right into my bones.”
The sight of a young woman on a subway platform stops a man from killing himself, forcing him on a journey to uncover the civilization that is both his sustenance and the source of his misery. Andrew Zadel’s first produced stage play was Breakfast in Eden, a kaleidoscopic one-act vision spinning together themes of ethnic conflict, the horrors of colonialism, and Sunday brunch. The show sold out both its performances at the Balustrade space of Montreal’s historic Monument National in 2001.
“Not a soul. Like the moon swallowed everyone all at once, and all the things they made got left behind… traffic lights turning green but nobody around to move forward.”
In 1999, a brutal conflict devastated Kosovo, a predominately Albanian region of the former Yugoslav Republic of Serbia. More than 13,500 people were killed or went missing, and hundreds of thousands more were forced to flee their homes. The Office on Missing Persons and Forensics (OMPF) of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo launched a psychosocial project to educate children about the plight of the families of the missing and to underline the shared experiences of both Albanian and Serbian families. The Longest Winter was co-written by Doruntina Basha, Jeton Neziraj, Zoran Ristic, and Andrew Zadel. It was performed in both Albanian and Serbian in schools and community centres all over Kosovo, as well as at the National Theater in Pristina.
Working with British theatre director Jonathan Chadwick, OMPF also developed a program to provide psychosocial support for the families of missing persons in Kosovo. Based on the techniques of Augusto Boal’s Theatre of the Oppressed, teams of actors visited both Serbian and Albanian communities to present dramatic scenes about families who are left waiting without answers after their loved ones disappear. The reflections and stories shared during these workshops were collected in a book entitled Voices. It can be downloaded here. The book features an essay written by project manager Andrew Zadel about how this initiative was conceived and implemented.