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Birdtown and Swanville get Physical at Harbourfront Centre’s HATCH

Toronto, ON (March 22, 2010) – Harbourfront Centre's HATCH: emerging performance projects is thrilled to host The Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination at Harbourfront Centre’s Studio Theatre for two work-in-progress presentations, April 17, 8 p.m. and April 18, 2:30 p.m.

This new work from Toronto's Birdtown and Swanville, the company whose 36 Little Plays about Hopeless Girls garnered critical acclaim at the 2010 Toronto Fringe Festival, features writing by Nika Mistruzzi and Aurora Stewart de Peña, a set made entirely out of party store supplies, competitions of physical strength and fortitude, tests of wit and balloon crushing races.

The company explores the mysterious and bountiful medical ailments suffered by some of history's most aggressive dictators and attempts to get under the skin to probe the pitfalls of political fortitude. Through scenes of debate, dance and melodrama, the all-female cast will try to understand both the monstrosities and consequential gallstones created through the perpetration of mass violence.

In reading a biography of Napoleon, Mistruzzi was struck by how often and how seriously the legendary commander was sick. She and Stewart de Peña discovered that many of the men known for regimes of terror were also hypochondriacs, suffering from mental and emotional issues that plagued them and sometimes brought them to their death beds. "What was interesting to me about all of this" says writer and director Mistruzzi, "Is that no matter how hard you try to control the world, your body will still control you."

Pol Pot, for example, was responsible for the death of 21 percent of the Cambodian population during his regime. He maintained to his dying day that his conscience was clear, but every so often, inexplicably, he would go blind. Idi Amin is said to have ordered the assassination of 500,000 Ugandans. The former heavy weight champion called this "Winning by knock-out". He was also terrified of gaining weight and lived on a diet of citrus fruit. The girls of Birdtown and Swanville are on a mission to find out what it's like to be one of the men in charge of the massacre in The Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination.

Founded by Aurora Stewart de Peña and Nika Mistruzzi, Birdtown and Swanville is a multidisciplinary performance collective based in the West End of Toronto. Since 2007, they have mounted six productions in Toronto, including two full length plays written by de Peña, 36 Little Plays about Hopeless Girls and Things I've Found. They also made waves at the 2010 Rhubarb Festival with Dead Wrestlers written by Stewart de Peña and Mistruzzi together. They create collaborative, ensemble pieces with artists from all disciplines. In the past they have worked with fashion designer Devon Tyler of Dagworthy bows, proffessional wrestler Craig Jeffries and musician Matt King of dd/mm/yyyy.

The Physical Ramifications of Attempted Global Domination
Written and directed by Nika Mistruzzi and Aurora Stewart de Peña, with an ensemble cast including previous Birdtown and Swanville alumni Donna Maloney, Liz Peterson, Rebecca Applebaum, Nicole Stamp, Lauren Bride, Cara Gee and Julia Lederer
With Balloon Explosions by Allie Marshall, costumes by Erin Alexa Freedman and original music by Matt King of dd/mm/yyyy.

There will be a Q & A with the cast and crew following each performance.

Media Contact: Aurora Stewart de Peña,,


About HATCH: emerging performance projects at Harbourfront Centre
Entering its seventh year, the HATCH residency and mentorship programme is a key initiative in Harbourfront Centre’s mission to develop local artists and their unique practices.

The HATCH mentorship provides resources and professional assistance to a new generation of engaging and innovative contemporary artists to reach their next career stage with a comprehensive understanding of process and challenges that artists must embrace.

The HATCH residency package includes one week rent-free in the Studio Theatre, technical and production assistance, box office backing and administrative assistance, marketing and media relations support and workshops, and professional development assistance.

For more information please visit

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