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Monday, October 24, 2016

Grief, Love, & Social Media: JCTC Brings Gen-Y Festival Hit to Jersey City

Haley Sullivan as Jess in “Canuck Downunder.”

The latest installment of the Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC) Vanity Series, a that takes a fresh look at how our digitized online world is changing how we relate to each other, opens this week.

Canuck Downunder, by Jessica Kazamel and directed by Joseph Hayward, received rave reviews and sold out audiences at the 2016New York International Fringe Festival (FringeNYC) in August. At turns darkly comic and emotionally poignant, this autobiographical play follows Jess, a small town Canadian girl in her early twenties, living in New York City, who has just lost her older brother to substance abuse. She works through her grief with the help and hindrance of social media, where communication is instant, over-sharing epidemic and posts can last forever.

According to Kazamel, this deeply personal play is about how today’s "tweet generation" has redefined the grieving process. "This piece means the world to our whole creative family,” she said. “We are so grateful to have the opportunity to introduce Canuck Downunder to Jersey City. We hope this play will make you think twice before posting your next selfie.”

Canuck Downunder, presented by JCTC, runs Wednesday October 26th to Saturday October 29th at Merseles Studios, 339 Newark Avenue, Jersey City, NJ 07302. Door open 7 PM; Performance at 7:30 PM. Tickets: $18 online, $20 at the door - For tickets visit

JCTC presents thematic series using multiple forms of art – theater, film, dance, multimedia performances, readings and visual arts – to explore a topic global in scope and relevant to the community.

Olga Levina, Artistic Director, JCTC, saw Canuck Downunder and realized its fresh and original take on contemporary culture explored ideas related to the Vanity theme, which delves into issues of narcissism, celebrity and social media.

“What struck me the most about this play is it really looked at how even the most personal feelings, when they become public through social media, can lose their sincerity,” said Levina. “This play explores issues our society faces today, especially the millennial generation. Some of the characters are very self-involved, but they are searching for authentic relationships and love. But can they find that online?”

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