Michael Moore: “If you were to talk directly to the kids at Columbine, what would you say to them?”

Marilyn Manson: “I wouldn’t say a single word to them. I would listen.”

— Bowling for Columbine, 2002

A young man stands before you. Soon, he will go to his school to kill as many people as he can, including himself. But before he commits this act, he is going to tell you why. One of Europe’s most prolific and provocative playwrights, Lars Noren, dares us listen to the very things we try to ignore.

The 20th of November is a searing indictment of the complacency of contemporary life, and a howl of anger for the outcast and oppressed. With text largely taken from the video diaries and blog of an actual German school shooter, acclaimed Swedish playwright Lars Noren creates a character that is at once sympathetic and horrifying. He insists that we bear witness to the rage and torment of a young man who feels dispossessed and alienated.

It is a play that questions whether an act of senseless violence can be the seeds for a new form of revolution. It shows us what happens to the truth when a mad man speaks it.

Lars Noren has been one of Europe’s most prolific and controversial writers since rising to international notoriety with his 1982 play Night is the Mother of Day. Known for his aggressive dialogue and vivid portrayals of tyranny, anger, and pain, the 71-year-old Swedish playwright is widely regarded as being at the vanguard of the theatrical form. This production marks the professional English language premiere of The 20th of November, in a new translation by Toronto-based writer and actor Gord Rand and featuring a performance from one of Canada’s most exciting new theatrical voices, Sina Gilani.

image of Sina Gilani by Tanja-Tiziana.

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“The 20th of November is shocking, antagonizing but thrilling”

“But what unfolds, thanks to Healy and actor Sina Gilani, is more complex than sympathizing or not sympathizing. Healy and Gilani — who’s terrifying as he manages the bridge between the character’s deliberate, almost rehearsed, moments of intimidation, like posing with his weapons, and other breaks of pure internal rage — don’t present an evil caricature; it’s their job to explore the human being and not his actions..”

– Toronto Star

“an intense, impactful piece of verbatim theatre”

“It falls to actor Sina Gilani to bring these words to life onstage, and he does so with chilling believability. Gilani douses the audience in his character’s contempt, which he heightens to grotesque proportions as the shooting time draws nearer. He asserts control over the room through vocal intonation, eye contact and sheer ferocity. The role also entails an element of improvisation, with Gilani occasionally singling out audience members; sneeze or cough and his eagle-eyed focus might land on you.”

– Now Toronto

“A compelling play… with a beautifully nuanced performance by Sina Gilani.”

“Sina Gilani’s performance as the articulate, troubled Sebastian, is nuanced, subtle, and beautifully realized under Brenan Healy’s sensitive direction. It is a perfect melding of a gifted director and an intelligent, thoughtful actor.”

– The Slotkin Letter

“Sina Gilani is remarkable”

“the lines between audience engagement, audience participation and audience indictment have never seemed thinner”

– My Gay Toronto

“unflinching, raw and real”

“The play forces confrontation: why are we still doing the daily things of life? What do we imagine will be our reward? Perhaps most importantly, who will provide this reward, and what will it cost them?”

– Mooney on Theatre

“a powerful, disquieting performance by Gilani”

“Newcomer Sina Gilani embodies Sebastian with such chilling totality it is frightening.  As the audience of about 80 sits in a circle, Sebastian, sitting among us and, serving as his own stage manager, lectures us about why this is the last hour of his life, what he plans to do and why…  Gilani’s masterful performance lets us see that rage lies just beneath Sebastian’s cool façade.”

– Stage Door


The Globe and Mail posted a “verbatim review” for this show in the form of an opinion solicited from an audience member who left the show before it ended. We agree that everyone’s opinion counts, so we’re posting everything that people are saying: the good, the bad, the indifferent.

Join the conversation

You can find us on Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook, you can use the hashtag #20November, you can email us, and we’ll post it all here. This show is provocative and asks some big questions about the nature of violence, about how our society treats outcasts, about the form of theatre and the function of art. Join the conversation and let’s see where it takes us.

What people are saying

Went to see The 20th of November yesterday. I was blown away but frankly not surprised by Sina’s unwavering bravery as a…

Posted by Cassandra Moore on Monday, 28 September 2015

to all the theatre-goers on fb—this is a phenomenal show. Brendan Healy has crafted a sensitive, disturbing, and…

Posted by Taedon Witztl on Saturday, 26 September 2015

Eerie as hell, but also darkly humorous! Warning: multiple drops of urine will find their way into your undies, and…

Posted by Hannah Eden on Thursday, 24 September 2015

Last Friday night four of us Prime Timers attended this one man performance. Many of us felt uncomfortable, confronted,…

Posted by Prime Timers Toronto on Wednesday, 23 September 2015

‘The 20th of November’: this was an intense 90 minutes. For someone who has personally also had a very difficult high…

Posted by Andre Paul Lalonde on Saturday, 19 September 2015

Compelling. Hard. Challenging. Remarkable. Go. See . It.

Posted by Liza Balkan on Saturday, 19 September 2015

I am so glad I got to see this show. TO is talented. I dont wanna give anything away. But I will say Sina Gi is so…

Posted by Sze-Yang Ade-Lam on Monday, 21 September 2015

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents


translation by GORD RAND
directed by BRENDAN HEALY
starring SINA GILANI
set + costumes CAMELLIA KOO
sound + composition RICHARD FEREN
assistant director TANISHA TAITT
stage manager LAURA BAXTER

Join us every Thursday for a moderated Q&A with artists from the show along with new special guests every week. Talk backs happen in the theatre immediately following the performance.

Thursday, September 24

This week’s conversation focuses on violence. With the recent threats against women and feminists at U of T, how do we navigate presenting portraits of violence and engaging in compassionate conversation. Present for conversation will be performer Sina Gilani along with assistant director and violence against women activist Tanisha Taitt and York Theatre professor Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston.

Thursday, October 5

This week, artists from the show will be joined by Gord Rand, whose translation of the script mark’s the shows English language premiere.

Learn more about our Talk Back Series guests below:

Tanisha Taitt

Tanisha Taitt is a director/actor/playwright/arts educator, singer-songwriter & taitt_headshotactivist, and the Assistant Director of The 20th of November.  She is Director of the Peace Camp program at Children’s Peace Theatre, an organization that teaches children and youth about conflict transformation and creating a culture of peace through theatre.  Tanisha spent 6 years as the Toronto producer of V-Day, the global movement to end violence against women and girls.  She helmed 11 theatrical productions for V-Day Toronto and was honoured as one of Toronto’s Mille Femmes, a group of women whose voices are shaping the future of the arts in the city.  A former crisis line counselor, Tanisha also co-directed for Bereaved Families of Ontario, working with youth experiencing the aftermath of losing loved ones to gun violence.  She transformed V-Day in Toronto when she became the first Producer in its then 10-year history to actively engage male artists.  Tanisha was invited to be Canada’s representative at the movement’s 10th anniversary symposium in New Orleans, alongside anti-VAW activists from the U.S., Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Congo, Bosnia, India, the Philippines, and South Africa, and was chosen as National Coordinator of V-Day’s 2013 One Billion Rising campaign.  V-Day Founder Eve Ensler called her “a force of nature, who has dedicated her artistic life to making change in the world and saving women and girls.”  In 2014, Tanisha founded Teenage Graceland, a youth theatre collective with the goal of challenging societal attitudes that lead to gender-based violence.  She is currently writing a theatrical piece entitled FORCE — a musical about rape.  Tanisha is a two-time YWCA Woman of Distinction nominee for her commitment to artistic excellence, anti-violence and social justice.

Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston

Professor Magdalena Kazubowski-Houston is an anthropologist, performance theorist and theatre director. Her research interests include experimental, imaginative and performance ethnography; ethnographic storytelling; political/activist performance; political anthropology; environmental anthropology; gender and ethnicity; violence and terrorism; migration; ageing; socialism/postsocialism; and the Roma people.

Her research has explored performance as an ethnographic research methodology and representation. She worked on performance ethnography projects with Romani minorities in Poland, Nazi-Holocaust survivors in Canada and Poland, and low-income residents in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Her research has also bridged bioethics, policy and gerontology. She collaborated on a study that investigated theatre as a method of public engagement in health policy development regarding the use of reproductive technologies. Her current research project examines dramatic storytelling as an affective and reflexive ethnographic research methodology in the study of ageing and migration.

Her book, Staging Strife (McGill-Queens University Press 2010), was awarded both the 2011 International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry Outstanding Qualitative Book Award and the Canadian Association for Theatre Research Ann Saddlemyer Book Prize. Staging Strife explores the challenges of collaboration and activism in performance ethnography by analyzing a politically charged theatre production undertaken with a group of Romani women in Poland. Dr. Kazubowski-Houston’s other publications include journal articles in Social Science & Medicine, Text and Performance Quarterly, Anthropologica, Canadian Theatre Review and West Coast Line. She is currently writing her second monograph on imaginative ethnography, dramatic storytelling and fiction, which is under book contract with McGill-Queens University Press. She is also the 2014 recipient of the School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design Junior Faculty Teaching Award in recognition of her contribution to excellence in teaching in the Department of Theatre.

Professor Kazubowski-Houston is the Co-Founding Member of the Centre for Imaginative Ethnography (CIE), a project committed to advancing critical and politically conscious research. She has also worked as a professional theatre director, performer, and playwright in Canada and Poland, and trained as a theatre director with prominent Polish theatre/visual artist Józef Szajna.

Gord Rand

Gord has been lucky enough to have acted across the city and around the world, Gord IMG_3444 Final MEDmost recently appearing in Stratford’s production of Oedipus Rex. Other favourite roles include: the title role in The Philanderer at Shaw Festival, Christy Mahon in Playboy of the Western World, Uri in Michael Healey’s The Innocent Eye Test and the title role in Hamlet with Necessary Angel. He is the Dora nominated playwright of Orgy in the Lighthouse, Pond Life, The Trial of Thumbelina and (upcoming) The Trouble with Mr Adams. He directed the feature documentary Goodness in Rwanda (Audience Choice Award, Best Doc Award) and is working on another – War Dog. He is currently Playwright in Residence at the Tarragon Theatre and is adapting Pond Life into a feature film. Follow him! @GordRand.

Sina Gilani

An Iranian-Canadian actor/writer, Sina started his theatrical journey as an audience and volunteer before following his heart into theatre. Being invited to National Theatre School for two playwriting workshops, he then went to Humber College to train as a performer. He discovered a passion for devised approaches, and creating new works of theatre. A poet himself, he has also developed a love for Shakespearian and other classical texts (especially Greek!). He has enjoyed working on Comedy of ErrorsTwelfth Night, … And the King Dances (Humber), Hello Out There (Lemaz Productions), and How to Store Pomegranates (YCU, Buddies in Bad Times). He is currently a grad student at York university (MA performance studies). His new play In Case  of Nothing was performed as part the SummerWorks Festival 2015.

Tuesdays – Saturdays at 8:00pm // Sunday at 2:30pm // All previews at 8:00pm

Saturday, September 12 // 8pm (preview)
Sunday, September 13 // 8pm (preview)

Tuesday, September 15 // 8pm (preview)
Wednesday, September 16 // 8pm (preview)
Thursday, September 17 // 8pm (opening night)
Friday, September 18 // 8pm
Saturday, September 19 // 8pm
Sunday, September 20 // 2:30pm

Tuesday, September 22 // 8pm
Wednesday, September 23 // 8pm
Thursday, September 24 // 8pm
Friday, September 25 // 8pm
Saturday, September 26 // 8pm
Sunday, September 27 // 2:30pm

Tuesday, September 29// 8pm
Wednesday, September 30 // 8pm
Thursday, October 1 // 8pm
Friday, October 2 // 8pm
Saturday, October 3 // 8pm
Sunday, October 4 // 2:30pm

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Ways to Save

Whether you want to see just one show or keep coming back for more, Buddies has affordable ticket options that are right for you. We have Rush Tickets during the week and Pay-What-You-Can shows every Sunday. We also have $25 tickets to almost every show for folks who buy their tickets early, and you can save even more when you sign up for Buddies Rewards.

Click here to learn more about all the ways to save at Buddies

Buy Early & Save: tickets to any performance are $25 before Sept. 10

Ticket Prices


Previews  $20
Tu/W/Th   $32
F/Sa  $37
Su  $32 advance or PWYC at the door

Previews  $20
Tu/W/Th   $27
F/Sa  $31
Su  $27 advance or PWYC at the door

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