Out The Window by Liza Balkan


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Out The Window by Liza Balkan

Written with 

Sarah Garton Stanley and company.

In the early hours of August 9th 2000, Theatre Artist Liza Balkan returned to her apartment in the west side of Toronto and heard yelling outside her window. she looked out and witnessed an altercation between four police officers and an unarmed man named Otto Vass. A few minutes later, the man was dead. Liza came forward as a witness to this event and testified in various courts over the years that followed. The officers were charged with manslaughter. In 2003 they were found not guilty. In 2006 at the Coroner's Inquest, there was no conclusion about the cause o of Otto Vass' death.
Out The Window, is a documentary theatre piece with much of the text created by court transcripts generated from the incident and from interviews Liza had over the years with cops, lawyers, activists, mental health experts and family members of the deceased. It is an investigation about law, justice, policing, brutality, racism, mental health, memory and witnessing. It is also about the intrinsic link between the theatre and public discourse, and their profound ability to dig deeper into discomfort as well as healing. 
Out The Window was developed through a residency at The Theatre Centre between 2008 - 2010. In 2012 it had a workshop production directed by the playwright at The Theatre Centre. In 2018, The Luminato Festival joined with TTC and produced the show at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre in Toronto. This project has always been intended to be a malleable entity, rediscovering itself and its overall form for each new showing. It was created with the hope that each new version would involve and reflect its particular audience and the times during which it is produced. This script reflects the 2018 production at Toronto's Luminato Festival, directed by Sarah Garton Stanley.

Keywords: Documentary, Verbatim. Policing. Witnessing. Toronto.

First produced by Harbourfront Theatre Centre, 2019.

Genre: Drama
Run time: 130 minutes


Male roles: 6

Female roles: 1
Double roles: 4
Musician roles: 2
Other roles: 1
Maximum roles: 11
Minimum roles: 7