As I Must Live It Digital Program

Welcome to the digital program for As I Must Live It by Luke Reece

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As I Must Live It by Luke Reece

WORLD PREMIERE | A Theatre Passe Muraille and Modern Times Stage Co-Production

Collage and poster design by Emily Jung | Pictured: Luke Reece

Written and Performed by

Luke Reece

Dramaturge and Director

Daniele Bartolini

Assistant Director

Mahsa Ershadifar


Indrit Kasapi

Lighting Designer

Sarah Mansikka

Set and Costume Designer

Jackie Chau

Sound Designer

Adrian Bent

Projection Designers

Barrett Hodgson & Thom Buttery

Stage Manager

Ada Aguilar

Production Crew
Chris Sutherland, Connor Price-Kelleher, Nicole Eun-Ju Bell, Laura Warren, Taylor Cole

Set Construction and Paint
Ryan Ahlers, Matthew Ivanoff, Simon Flint, Bonnie Thomson, and the University of Guelph Theatre Studies Workshop

Special thanks to Bonnie Thomson and Cam Davis

Modern Times Team

Artistic Director | Rouvan Silogix
Artistic Producer & Company Manager | Steph Crothers
Associate Artist and Producer | Mahsa Ershadifar
Apprentice Artistic Fellow | Honey Hoseiny
Marketing Manager | Jennifer Otter-Leaney
Bookkeeper | Gia Nahmens


Theatre Passe Muraille Team

Artistic DirectorMarjorie Chan
Artistic Producer | Indrit Kasapi
Managing Director, Revenue & StrategyMichelle Knight
Artistic Associate | April Leung
Jenn Sartor
Associate Producer | Emma Westray
Dramaturgy & Accessibility Associate Metcalf Foundation Intern | Mandy E. MacLean
Financial Manager | Petra Chevrier
Community Engagement Coordinator | Angela Sun
Marketing and Outreach Manager | Shanae Sodhi
Marketing Intern| Latteeshia Davis
Patron Services Manager | Ceridwen Kingstone
Fundraising & Development Coordinator | Faizah Syeda
Production and Facilities Manager | Aidan Hammond
Production Coordinator | Olivia Zotti
Mainspace Technician | David Fisher

Access Guide

To access the visual story, please click the button below. An Access Guide is a package that aims to support people with communication difficulties, learning disabilities, English as a second language and Autistic People. It can be used to help anyone access and understand the play. The package may include spoilers.


Relaxed Environment (RE) is created for audiences who have various access needs that a traditional theatre environment does not accommodate. Before a Relaxed Environment performance, audiences will get a visual story that gives them all the information they need to know for the performance (directions to the theatre, pre-show warnings, etc.)

During a Relaxed Environment performance an audience member can: enter and exit the theatre, move around throughout the theatre, can make noise or sounds, and those who need to keep their phone on will be able to do so as long as it is on silent or on vibrate. Our Relaxed Environment is a Scent Free Environment. Throughout the show, there will be some light over the audience.

Flash and video motion warning. The immersive installation includes prominent sound, light and video projection directly on the audience. May not be recommended for individuals experiencing motion sickness and those sensitive to light and sound. Also includes water based haze & audience on stage with actor. 

Mention of suicidal ideation, mental illness, and grief.

Notes from the Companies

Modern Times is thrilled to be in co-production with Theatre Passe Muraille to bring you this exquisite work by Luke Reece and Daniele Bartolini.

Luke Reece is one of the leading artistic voices of our contemporary Canadian times. He’s had an immense impact on the Canadian theatre ecology, and represented Canada aboard. Together with Daniele, they’ve created a new kind of theatre, which feels fresh & engaging, at the same time familiar in a way we’ve always known theatre to be.

Established in 1989 by iconic Persian theatre director Soheil Parsa and Peter Farbridge; Modern Times Stage Company is an imaginative, award-winning, immigrant theatre organization that focuses on celebrating and creating fusions of theatre & performing arts – bringing diverse artistic narratives, stories, cultures, forms & disciplines together into fresh, new, radical and imaginate theatre.

We are proudly, and shamefully, the ONLY professional theatre organization in Canada that prioritizes immigrants, newcomers, and refugees as part of our core mandate.

– Modern Times Stage

We’re thrilled to present AS I MUST LIVE IT, along with our co-producers Modern Times Stage Company. Performer and writer, Luke Reece and director Daniele Bartolini have been working on this piece at Theatre Passe Muraille for a few years, with their first workshop in the midst of the fall lockdown of 2020. At that time, their workshop showing was shared online, and in hindsight was an emphatic affirmation of the power of theatre in dark times.

Of course, both Luke’s lived experiences and the creation of his poems extend much further back. It speaks to the creation of work that can only gestate over years, over Luke’s lifetime and expression through his poetry to emerge now in 2024. The incubation and lived experiences needing the time, breath, and processing until the right moment to share.

At the same time, this piece, being based on real events and real life continues to breathe with the day to day – making the show you are to see a thriving, evolving organism.

The show although deeply bound in the personal and specifics of Luke’s experience with his father, its universality will be keenly felt for many.  AS I MUST LIVE IT shines a light on the broader experience of families dealing with mental health. Luke’s charismatic, witty and very human approach to sharing these stories through his poems is enlightening, and ultimately affirming.

Mental health challenges can take on many faces, many forms. The deeply courageous, personal tale of Luke and his father is just one complex story among many.

If you or a family member is in need of support, we encourage you to please seek out assistance. There are some resources provided in this program here.

We’re also incredibly grateful to be in this collaboration with co-producers Modern Times Theatre Company, and to renew this relationship in order to share the incredible work that is AS I MUST LIVE IT. We also welcome the involvement of Bristol-based Limbic Cinema who created the projections, as well the talents of set/costume designer Jackie Chau, sound designer Adrian Bent, and lighting designer Sarah Mansikko who all combine to allow us to be alongside Luke in this journey. Lastly, we are so thrilled for our new partnership with the University of Guelph Theatre Department that helps us realize the set, as well as give students access to a professional production. We couldn’t do it without our amazing collaborators! 

Thank you so much for joining us, and take care of yourselves. 

– Marjorie, Indrit and Michelle | Theatre Passe Muraille

Note from the Playwright


How do you write playwright notes for a show that you’re performing in as yourself and already saying all the things you thought you needed to say? Well, I think you just thank a bunch of people…at least that’s what I’m going to do.

This play is made of writings, stories and processes that have been shaped and supported by so many people. Please check out the special thanks section for the full list.

I’d like to thank everyone who ever encouraged me to stand up in front of people and talk, and those who taught me how equally important it is to pull people aside and talk.

Thank you to Hamilton Youth Poets and Toronto Poetry Project for welcoming me into the Spoken Word and Slam community just over ten years ago. It was around that same time that Philip Akin, Tania Senewiratne and Mel Hague at Obsidian Theatre took notice of a little guy with a big fro and even bigger ambition. I single them out here because they supported me at a key point in my career, and I’ll never forget those late Sunday nights in Hamilton or lunch meetings at Dundas and Logan.

And in these final stages, I owe a huge thank-you to Daniele, Marjorie, Indrit, Rouvan, Steph, the entire show team and staff at Theatre Passe Muraille and Modern Times Stage Company, along with Mitchell Cohen for taking this piece across the Goodyear picnic finish line. Depending on how you look at it, this piece has been ten or thirty years in the making. I hope you enjoy.

– Luke Reece | Playwright

Note from the Director

The body of the word 
The body of the voice 
The body of the actor 
The body of the space 
The body of the spectator 
Between Life and Theatre
Extend expand reimagine the stage 
The creation escapes into life, life into creation 
We come back here every night 
Actor and spectator enter together
An immersive space
As if it were Luke’s brain
Synaptic elastic movements
Inhabited by emotional space
Memory space
to play
to fall and rise again
A playground and a boxing ring
Bruises can become sweet rhymes
Mouth and tongue pushed out from the sound box of the chest
Project the voice
Project the word
Project the visual sign
The optic within the eye of the spectator
The perspective studies of Filippo Brunelleschi
And Maurits Cornelis Escher
The body of the paper with Lucio Fontana
The (post)spoken body of Bill Viola
The all’improvviso theatre by Dario Fo.

It’s been very cool to explore and expand what I’ve been calling audience specific in this creation collaborating with Luke. During this creation process we have been following one rule, like my mentor Cristina Pezzoli used to say: never fix it, keep it open.

You are called to be his scene partner tonight.

Grazie, amico mio caro, for asking me to embark with you on this journey and be your first spectator to help shape a dimension for the others to enter this world.
Grazie, to Theatre Passe Muraille team and our wonderful artistic collaborators, with some that flew from very far to elevate this piece.
Grazie, audience, for gifting us your presence and being our scene partner tonight. 

– Daniele Bartolini | Director


Luke Reece is an award-winning poet, playwright and producer who strives to share authentic and engaging stories with audiences through his work. Luke is the Associate Artistic Director at Soulpepper Theatre, one of Canada’s leading non-profit theatre companies.Through his work as an artistic leader within the national arts community, he advocates for entertaining and nuanced storytelling that challenges Canadian audiences. In 2021, Luke was included in York University’s Top 30 Changemakers Under 30 list. He is one of Toronto’s most decorated slam poets, and his body of work includes a radio play, animated short, and a praised short film featured on CBC titled ‘Notice’. Luke has represented Canada on the world stage of Slam Poetry, and was also featured by NBA Champion and former Toronto Raptor Serge Ibaka on his Instagram Talent Show, ‘How Talented Are You?’.

Creative Team

Daniele Bartolini is a director, playwright and immersive interdisciplinary artist born in Florence, Italy who produces work in Canada and Internationally. His work has been defined as “an especially intriguing investigation” by the New York Times and “the theatre of the future” by Italian Magazine PaneAcquaCulture. Daniele’s creations have been commissioned and presented at institutions such as La Biennale di Venezia, Soulpepper, The Goethe Institute of Bucharest, Canadian Embassy in Rome, Olympic theatre of Vicenza and in association with the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund. He calls his practice ‘audience specific’, seeking for a role of co-authorship and artistic collaboration with the audience. “One of the things that sets DLT apart from the ‘immersive’ genre is that it’s what Daniele Bartolini calls audience-specific theatre, which is meaningful because the term points to how the play conforms to you — not just to you making choices of which way to drive the plot, but that the play is unfolding around and because of you.” – Lise Hosein, CBC ARTS He is the creator of internationally acclaimed The Stranger, a show created for a lone audience member that travels across the city, and was presented in three different continents. Daniele is the Artistic Director of DLT, a company known for city-spanning experiences where the participants take on the role of protagonists and the reinvention of the theatrical form. He is currently commissioned as a playwright at Stratford Festival. Daniele has been nominated for Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Production at the Dora Awards for The Stranger and for Outstanding Ensemble of If on a Christmas Night. He is a recipient of multiple awards including the RBC Newcomer Access Price and the Premio Girulà of the city of Naples, and he is a finalist of the Telus Newcomer Award of Toronto. Daniele starred in the movie 1994 by Anthony Sarracco.

Mahsa Ershadifar is a multilingual performer, assistant director, stage manager and translator. She is the Associate Artist and Producer at Modern Times Stage Company. Mahsa’s passion for the arts began with her collaborating extensively with Aida Keykhaii and Mohammad Yaghoubi and the NOWADAYS Theatre Company, working on a wide range of projects including, but not limited to: The Only Possible Way (Canadian Stage, 2019), Swim Team (The Theatre Centre, 2019), Winter of ’88 (Next Stage Festival, 2020), Dance of Torn Papers (Fringe 2020), On The Shoulders of Antonio (2020), Heart of A Dog (Next Stage Festival, 2021). Mahsa has been a board member at Nowadays Theatre Company since 2020. Recent credits include Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo (Crow’s Theatre/Modern Times), Anahita’s Republic (Factory Theatre/Bustle and Beasts), Migraaaants (TwoThousandFeetUp/ Theatre Passe Muraille), and a participant in the Creator’s Bootcamp at Soulpepper’s Her Words Festival. @Mahsaerf.

*Made possible by Modern Times Apprenticeship Program for Immigrants, Newcomers, and Refugee Artists

Born in Albania, Indrit has made Tkarón:to his home since 2000. He is the Founding Artistic Producer for lemonTree creations and Artistic Producer for Theatre Passe Muraille. lemonTree creations focuses on queer works, and Indrit has produced, acted in, choreographed and directed several critically acclaimed and award winning productions, including most recently, performing as Beech in the World Premiere of Three Fingers Back by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard (lemonTree/Tarragon Theatre).

As the Artistic Producer of Canada’s original alternative theatre, Theatre Passe Muraille, Indrit continues to develop exciting new theatrical voices while also focusing on national and international touring for the company.
As a performer, Indrit has had the privilege to work with many talented writers, directors, designers and companies in a myriad of projects that more often than not are interdisciplinary in nature making use of both his ability with movement and text. Most notably he is a company member of the award winning dance theatre company CORPUS. Through Corpus he has helped develop and premiere two new works (Machina Nuptialis, House Guests) and continued touring other repertoire to North America, Europe and Asia. He’s an Acting graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada, a 2018 Harold Award Winner and a 2020 Dora Nominated performer.

Adrian Bent is a Canadian Musician from Toronto, Ontario. He is also the founder of Against The Grain Productions, while most known for his drumming with Drake, Adrian has also played with countless other acclaimed artists, hosted a multitude of Drum Masterclasses musical directed tours and most recently composed some award winning film SNOLPS.

Having been Drake’s drummer since 2010. Adrian has extensively toured the world a few times over, and performed to Millions of music fans across the globe. When not on tour with Drake. he played along aside the likes or Daniel caesar and
Victoria Monèt, to name a few.

Despite having his hands full with all the above, Adrian has been patiently and diligently honing his craft as a composer over the past decade, and is now looking to make as much of a name for himself in Film and TV scorine as he has in the drum
Under the umbrella of Against The Grain Music Inc (ATG), he has already scored multiple short films, amassing multiple awards for Best Film Score in the festival circuit.

Jackie Chau has worked as a set and costume designer for over 250 productions and is a production designer and art director for film and television. Selected theatre designs: The Hours That Remain, Serving Elizabeth, The Gig (Theatre Aquarius) Annie Mae’s Movement, Almighty Voice and His Wife, Tombs of the Vanishing Indian, HUFF (NEPA), Gas Girls, The First Stone (New Harlem Productions), Lady Sunrise, Wildfire, The Waltz (Factory Theatre), Moment, Dissidents, Oil, Gloria, Martyr (ARC Theatre), 39 Steps, Oraltorio (Soulpepper), The Komagata Maru Incident (Stratford Festival), Dragon’s Tale (Tapestry Opera/Luminato), Midsummer Night’s Dream (Canstage/High Park). Jackie was named in NOW magazine’s Top 10 Theatre Artists of 2009, nominated for 3 Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award in Costume Design, nominated for a Saskatoon Area Theatre Award, Winnipeg Theatre Award, and has received 9 Dora nominations for outstanding set and costume design. She has taught Theatrical Design at the University of Toronto and is currently a professor at York University.

Sarah Mansikka is from Toronto, Ontario, and holds a BFA in Design for the Theatre from Concordia University. She has been working as a professional lighting designer and lighting director throughout Canada and Europe for over 15 years. Sarah has recently been working with Political Movement, Musique 3 Femmes, and The WeeFestival. She also worked as the Lighting Director for Rimini Protokoll’s world tour of Best Before and as an Assistant Lighting Designer with The Canadian Opera Company and The Stratford Festival. Sarah is a member of the Associated Designers of Canada (IATSE ADC659) and is thrilled to be based in Toronto after over a decade of traveling.

Limbic Cinema is an award-winning multimedia creative studio based in Bristol. Utilising cutting-edge tools and immersive technology to transform spaces and transport audiences.

The studio creates mesmerising, meaningful, and memorable encounters that empower people through the use of light, sound, and moving image.

Recent work featured at Video Mapping Festival, Lille (2023), Glastonbury Festival (2023), Edinburgh Fringe (2023), Sundance Film Festival (2021), Vivid Sydney (2021)

More information can be found at

Ada Aguilar is so humbled and excited to be a part of this beautiful heart-filled piece! Besides SM’ing, she is also an Artistic Associate and international multidisciplinary artist with DopoLavoroTeatrale (DLT). Having had the honour to work with a variety of artists and different theatre companies, the aim is always to support in uplifting other voices and provide space to all rooms she enters, leading with care and active listening. A few past credits include: Into the Woods (TIFT); Vierge (Factory); 1939 (Stratford Festival); Is God Is (Obsidian/Canadian Stage/NAC); White Girls in Moccasins (Manidoons/Buddies); Spectators’ Odyssey – o dell’Inferno (DLT/TOLive); The Runner (Human Cargo *2019 Dora Award winner); School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play (Obsidian/Nightwood *2019 Dora Award winner); Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train, August: Osage County, 88 Keys; Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts I, II, III) (Soulpepper); Wedding Party (Crow’s/TIFT).

Support Resources

Special Thank Yous

From Luke Reece:
Rose Reece, Mark Reece, Cassandra Reece, Rina Mei, Kelvin Reece, Euraline Reece, Caitie Graham, Philip Akin, Mel Hague, Tania Senewiratne, Andre Prefontaine, Jennifer Alicia Murrin, Ayla Lefkowitz, Spin El Poeta, Nea Reid, d’bi young anitafrika, Weyni Mengesha, Jordan Laffrenier, Lucy Powis, Aaron Jan, Natasha Adiyana Morris, Totis Pellew, Steph Raposo, Cesar Ghisilieri, Ryan Ovas, Kano Wilkinson, Katie Powe, Rinchen Dolma, Sharon Clark, Sammy Chien, Jasmine Liaw, Caroline MacCaull, Chimerik Collective, Jess Watkin, Jenelle Rouse, Neil Silcox, Mount Allison University.

From Daniele Bartolini:
Danya Buonastella, Niccolò Bartolini, Esme Beatrice Bartolini and Thom Mallon.

Up Next!

Up next at Modern Times Stage:
Rumi like you’ve never seen before! June 2024 @ the Aga Khan Museum!


Up next at Theatre Passe Muraille:
No One’s Special at the Hot Dog Cart by Charlie Petch
March 14th – 23rd, 2024
More info here!

Graphic design by Emily Jung

Untitled design (22)

TPM Season Sponsor:

Thank you!

You make it possible! Thank you so much for coming out to watch the world premiere of As I Must Live It as part of our 23.24 season.

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