Q&A: The Summoned

Fabrizio Filippo talks about his tech-themed play premiering at Tarragon Theatre

Presented by Tarragon Theatre
Written by Fabrizio Filippo
Directed by Richard Rose

Fabrizio Filippo in The Summoned. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

In his new play The Summoned, premiering this spring at Tarragon Theatre, Canadian screenwriter, actor and playwright Fabrizio Filippo explores how technology is changing society as we know it.

Following the death of a billionaire tech visionary, the most important people in his life are summoned to an airport hotel for the reading of his will. What transpires is nothing short of a paradigm shift in the very future of technology and human nature.

Directed by Richard Rose, the production features a top-notch cast, including John Bourgeois, Rachel Cairns, Kelli Fox, Maggie Huculak, Tony Nappo, Alon Nashman, and, of course, Filippo himself.

Here, we chat with the playwright about his experience bringing this story to life.

Theatromania: What inspired The Summoned?

FF: The Summoned started as a very different idea. I was interested in adapting Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard into a modern context because of the themes in the play. I liked the idea of a society in flux, on the precipice of great change, because I guess that’s where I feel we are right now. I had talked to Richard Rose about maybe doing this for the Tarragon Theatre and he was supportive. I started doing a bunch of research and when I sat down to actually do the writing, a very different idea with similar themes came out. I showed it to Richard and he was still, gratefully, into supporting it.

Theatromania: How would you sum up the plot in a few sentences?

FF: Tech visionary dies and summons in secrecy to a budget airport hotel the people who were most important to him. Then he starts to mess with them from the grave.

Theatromania: What have you learned from working with director Richard Rose?

FF: I usually get a lesson about what it’s like to do what you love and how much work really goes into that. This time around I really began to understand something about drive and intention in story and character and how it is the main thing that will carry your audience along with you. Anything outside of that is affect.

Theatromania: What do you hope audiences take away from this performance?

FF: I hope they take the ride, feel the emotions and then reflect on the world we’re living in from a technological point of view. There’s a very specific question that’s being asked in this play - some will be disturbed by it, some will be moved; I hope everyone will feel like they just saw something they can’t see on TV or at the movies.

Theatromania: What’s next for you?

FF: Writing a half hour comedy for Fox Television.

See Fabrizio Filippo in The Summoned until May 29, 2016 in the Tarragon Theatre Mainspace. Visit tarragontheatre.com for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Wed, 2016-04-20 - Sun, 2016-05-29


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