by Cathleen Rootsaert

November 1–18

I never thought you’d have to rely on me.

Award-winners Chris Bullough, Kevin Corey and Maralyn Ryan team up with celebrated director Marianne Copithorne for the World Premiere of Choke, a humorous and heartfelt story of family love and loyalty amidst chaos and confusion.

Catherine’s adult, videogame junkie sons won’t leave home, and she couldn’t be happier. But when the single mom suffers a debilitating stroke, the tables are turned, forcing her sons to grow up fast. Sibling rivalry explodes as the pair struggles to stay as devoted to their mother as she was to them.


Starring: Chris Bullough, Kevin Corey & Maralyn Ryan
Director: Marianne Copithorne
Set & Costume Designer: Marissa Kochanski
Lighting Designer: David Fraser
Sound Designer: Darrin Hagen
Stage Manager: Cheryl Millikin

READ: Interview with Cathleen Rootsaert

READ: Playwright’s Note

READ: Director’s Note

WATCH: Trailer for Choke 

November 1–18

Previews October 30
Opening November 1




Chris is an Edmonton based actor and Playwright. Born in Thunder Bay and raised in Fort McMurray, Chris moved to Edmonton in 1995 to attend the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Acting) program at the U of A. Since graduating in 1998, Chris has become a familiar face on the theatre scene working with many professional and independent companies in Edmonton and across Western Canada, including: Workshop West Theatre, Theatre Calgary and Globe Theatre in Regina. Chris is delighted to be returning to Theatre Network with CHOKE. The Roxy hold’s a special place in Chris’s heart as it was here that he performed in MOJO, the first production of his professional career. Theatre Network audiences may also remember Chris from Nextfest in ’98 and ’99 and the 2000 Fringe Hold Over DANNY LOVES A GIRL, which he wrote and performed with Jared Matsunaga-Turnbull.



This is Kevin’s second show at Theatre Network. The first being THE BLACK RIDER. He has had the pleasure of sharing the stage numerous times with Chris including TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, A WINTER’S TALE, ROMEO AND JULIET, & TWELFTH NIGHT (River City Shakespeare Festival), BIRDBRAIN, A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Citadel Theatre). He has been on stage with Maralyn Ryan in HAMLET and A CHRISTMAS CAROL ( Citadel Theatre). He has worked with Cheryl on SPARE THE ROD (Keyano Theatre), THE BLUE ORPHAN (Catalyst Theatre). And he has been directed by Marianne in LOVE’S LABOR’S LOST & THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (River City Shakespeare Festival). He will be performing later this season in A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Citadel Theatre), and COMRADES with Kill Your Television Theatre. As well as touring THE BLACK RIDER to Vancouver in January.



A 28-year veteran of the Canadian Stage, Maralyn has appeared across the country from New Brunswick to Victoria. Selected acting credits include: CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF and HAMLET for The Citadel Theatre; WIT for Globe Theatre; HOMEWORD BOUND for Grand Theatre and the National Arts Centre; JOY and SHOP AT SLY CORNER for Shaw Festival; LEND ME A TENOR for Manitoba Theatre Centre; THE WOMAN WHO COOKED HER HUSBAND and PRIVATE LIVES for Northern Light Theatre; TRUE WEST and HABITAT for Theatre Network. Ms. Ryan has received 3 Sterling Nominations for Outstanding Performance, and founded the St. Albert Children’s Theatre. This past summer Maralyn travelled to Turnin, Italy where she performed in SHOULD’VE, a play written by Noble Prize winner, Dr. Ronald Huffman. Next up, Maralyn can be seen in A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Citadel Theatre where she will be happily performing with Kevin, Chris and her two daughters.



Marianne is delighted to be able to return to Theatre Network and collaborate with this fabulous team of creative artists on Hannah Moscovitch’s WHAT A YOUNG WIFE OUGHT TO KNOW. Previous directing credits with Theatre Network include COMMUNION by Daniel MacIvor, CHOKE by Cathleen Rootsaert, THE WOMAN IN BLACK by Stephen Mallatratt, and PERFECT PIE, PALACE OF THE END and HABITAT by Judith Thompson. Marianne is currently Artistic Director of the Freewill Shakespeare Festival, and will celebrate her eleventh year in that position this coming summer. She is a graduate of the BFA Acting and MFA Directing programs at the University of Alberta, and teaches Theatre Arts students acting at Grant MacEwan University. Much love and thanks to Bradley Moss.



Cathleen is a multi-tasking playwright, actor, director and improvisor. Her plays include: MIMI AMOK, AFTER YOU, LEGACY (as part of The Bus Project), MAKE ME and MAMA MIA! ME A MAMA? which received a Sterling Award for Outstanding New Work. Her play ABIGAIL IN TWILIGHT was the recipient of the Alberta Playwriting Award in 2005. Last February HOUSE OF CATS premiered at Teatro La Quindicina, directed by Stewart Lemoine. She continues to perform her own work and was seen doing just that on Ken Finkleman’s THE NEWSROOM and on the Winnipeg Comedy Festival special I’M BECOMING MY MOTHER. Cathleen continues to make things up every Monday night as a core member of the improvised soap opera, DIE-NASTY.



Marissa has worked in Edmonton as a freelance set/costume designer for the past twelve years, with over ninety theatrical productions to her credit.  She won a 2004 Sterling Award for her set design of Theatre Network’s Marion Bridge, and a 2004 Bettie Mitchell Award (Calgary) for her costume design of November Theatre’s The Black RiderThunderstick marked her first design for the Persephone stage and she is now thrilled to be back at Theatre Network!



David is an Edmonton based, award-winning theatrical and dance lighting designer. He works extensively across the country and frequents theatres such as Alberta Theatre Projects, Vertigo Theatre (Calgary), The National Arts Centre (Ottawa), Buddies In Bad Times Theatre (Toronto), Workshop West Theatre, L’Uni Theatre, (Edmonton), and The Globe Theatre (Regina). Previous designs with Theatre Network include ALL CLEAR, VINCENT IN BRIXTON, HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH, MIDLIFE, PLAYING BARE, PILEDRIVER!, SUBURBAN MOTEL, and A GUIDE TO MOURNING. Throughout the last eight years, David has also been the resident designer with Concrete Theatre, and with the Brian Webb Dance Company, and in 2002 his design for Tania Alvarado’s AZUL ABIERTO toured throughout the country and Europe. Most recent credits include lighting for DEATH AND THE MAIDEN and the Globe Theatre, and the assistant light designer for THE CIRCLE AND THE PHILANDERER at the Shaw Festival.



Darrin Hagen is the Artistic Director of Guys In Disguise, which is celebrating over three decades of creating drag comedies that have toured across North America. He has received 7 Sterling awards for his work in the Edmonton theatre scene, and over 40 Sterling nominations. His writing debut in 1996 was the award-winning THE EDMONTON QUEEN (transformed into book length and published by Brindle & Glass Publishing). Other plays by Darrin include WITCH HUNT AT THE STRAND (nominated for Outstanding New Play); BUDDY (nominated for Outstanding New Play); With Bells On (nominated for Outstanding New Play); BITCHSLAP!; THE NEO-NANCIES: HITLER’S KICKLINE!; TORNADO MAGNET: A SALUTE TO TRAILER COURT WOMEN (published by Brindle & Glass); as well as TYPHOON JUDY (co-written with Christopher Peterson); and PILEDRIVER! (co-written with Wes Borg). His plays have been produced across Canada, in the U.S. and as far away as Ireland.

With his creative partner Trevor Schmidt, he has co-created the hit musical KLONDYKES (nominated for 5 Sterling awards); FLORA & FAWNA’S FIELD TRIP (Sterling Award for Outstanding New Fringe Work); PREPARE FOR THE WORST! (Sterling Nominee for Outstanding New Fringe Work); PUCK BUNNIES (Sterling Nominee for Outstanding New Fringe Work); DON’T FROWN AT THE GOWN; PSYCHOBABBLE; DRAGULA and the children’s musical MY OTHER MOTHER.

He has been inducted into the Q Hall of Fame Canada and the Edmonton Queer Hall of Fame. In 2005 he was named one of 100 Edmontonians of the Century, and last year was named one of Alberta’s 25 Most Influential Artists in the last 25 years. To the best of his knowledge, he’s the only drag queen on that list. He was one of the official Cultural Ambassadors of Canada’s 150 Celebrations, and was appointed as the Writer In Residence for Edmonton Public Libraries for 2018. Most recently, he was one of the recipients of the Edmonton Artists’ Trust Fund.



Cheryl is really happy to be working on Collin’s beautiful new play and with everyone involved in this production. Cheryl’s Stage Management credits for Theatre Network include: IN ON IT, MICHEL & TI-JEAN, THUNDERSTICK, (co-production with Persephone Theatre), BUDDY, ALIAS GODOT, CHOKE and A BEAUTIFUL VIEW. Other shows Cheryl has Stage Managed over the years include Theatre Yes’ production of RACE, Bent Out of Shape’s THE DROWNING GIRLS, Workshop West Theatre’s THE BLUE LIGHT, MARY’S WEDDING, THE RED PRIEST and APPLE. Free Will Players HENRY V and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, The Citadel Theatre’s productions of TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD and OF MICE AND MEN (co-productions with the Manitoba Theatre Centre) as well as EXTINCTION SONG and POPCORN. The Mayfield Dinner Theatre’s productions of SHEAR MADNESS and SEXY LAUNDRY, Alberta Theatre Projects THE LEISURE SOCIETY and GET AWAY. And Catalyst Theatre’s THE BLUE ORPHAN and CARMEN ANGEL to name a few. Cheryl also Stage Manages two annual outdoor music festivals each summer.