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events

Weekend Planner: May 4-5, 2013

This weekend: see Kevin McDonald at Comedy Bar, participate in a scavenger hunt, or check out the final Marty Topps House Party Show.

Kevin McDonald guests on this weekend’s shows at Comedy Bar. Image by Kurt Firla.

  • Offbeat: Think you know the ins and outs of your city? Try putting your skills to the test with Toronto Scavenger Hunt 2013. This year’s event will be challenging teams to go out and find a list of items found all over Toronto’s downtown core (physical items, pieces of information, or tasks). Last year, organizers Improv in Toronto had over 500 participants, so it’s great fun! Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen Street West), Saturday at 2 p.m., FREE ($10 for certain tasks). Details
  • Theatre: If you’re excited by the news that Whose Line Is It Anyway? is returning this summer, then you won’t want to miss this edition of Impromptu Splendor that features improv veteran, Colin Mochrie. Prepare yourself for a one-act theatre play that’s completely made up on the spot. The show also features Deb McGrath (Little Mosque on the Prairie), and Impromptu Splendor founders Naomi Snieckus and Matt Baram. Glebe Road United Church (20 Glebe Road East), Saturday at 7:30 p.m., $35. Details
  • Performing Arts: Beyond Borderlands is a unique new art forum that explores a variety of different topics and themes (while using a number of different mediums). For their launch party, there’ll be contact juggling, puppetry, lectures, belly dancing, and an open mic. Baked goods and refreshments will also be provided. Habeeba’s Dance Studio (179 Dundas Street East), Saturday at 7:30 p.m., $10. Details
  • Comedy: Alas, all good things must come to an end. The Marty Topps House Party Show is having its final show together since it first launched as a bi-monthly comedy variety show back in 2008. But hold off the tears for they have a pretty awesome lineup of performers! Featuring special guests (deep breath) Eric Andrews, Sara Hennessey, Robert Dayton, Jayvlog89, Marty ‘catman’ Simsovic, Angelo Tony Luongo, and more. Hosted by Marty Topps and DJ T-Bot. The Garrison (1197 Dundas Street West), Saturday at 9:30 p.m., $5 advance, $8 door. Details

Ongoing…

  • Photography: David Kaufman’s Early Sunday Morning photography exhibit simultaneously celebrates the heritage of Toronto’s architecture, while pleading for its preservation, in the face of gentrification and condo development. The building facades and structures, rich in texture and colour, are each captured at their most beautiful—basking in the light of early morning. Twist Gallery (1100 Queen Street West), Saturday at 11 a.m. and Sunday at 11 a.m., FREE. Details
  • Theatre: Sam Shepard’s plays are famously all about man as a caged animal, prowling and brooding around his enclosure (usually a North American domicile), eventually tearing it apart like an untrained puppy suffering from separation anxiety. He is a man’s man’s writer, the lone wolf in the wilderness that so many young males fantasize about—even, it often seems, Shepard himself.

    As his most famous work, one of Shepard’s Family Trilogy, True West is a great example: two brothers, Hollywood screenwriter Austin (Mike Ross) and the petty-thieving vagabond Lee (Stuart Hughes), somehow end up house-sitting for their mother while she’s on vacation in Alaska (though only Austin was asked to do so). It’s clear in the script that both men make solo trips outside the walls of their mother’s suburban home, but we never see them apart from each other. That’s because Lee and Austin are two halves of the same man. In fact, it’s common for the two main actors to alternate the roles throughout a run of the show. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), Saturday at 1:30 p.m., $5–$68. Details

  • Theatre: Falsettos, a groundbreaking and Tony Award–winning musical, comes to town for a short run, presented by The Acting Up Stage Company. The story takes us to New York City in 1979, where the Sexual Revolution is hot, AIDS is on the rise, and Marvin, a husband and father, has decided to leave his family for a man. Directed by Robert McQueen and starring Darrin Baker, Sara-Jeanne Hosie, Sarah Gibbons, Michael Levinson, Eric Morin, Stephen Patterson, and Glynis Ranney. Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 7 p.m., $39-$55. Details
  • Theatre: There are few playwrights whose names can double as adjectives (think “Shakespearean,” or “Beckettian”). But Race, now on at Canadian Stage, makes us want to coin a new one of those words. That’s because of the opening scene, where a black lawyer named Henry Brown addresses a white man with the line “You want to tell me about Black folks?” while leaning back in his office chair at the end of a long boardroom table. It’s distinctly Mamettian.

    The American playwright David Mamet is known as much for his portrayal of fast-talking, morally ambiguous businessmen as he is for “Mamet speak,” his unique style of verbose, curse-filled, overlapping dialogue or long-winded speeches. His 2010 script Race is no different—in fact, it might be his most Mamettian to date. It certainly doesn’t beat around the bush when it comes to its subject matter (as the title suggests). Discourse surrounding race, privilege, language, and cultural history consumes the entire play. Bluma Appel Theatre (27 Front Street East), Saturday at 2 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $24 to $99. Details

  • Theatre: David Yee examines lifes interconnectivity in Carried Away on the Crest of a Wave. The play follows an escort in Thailand, a housewife in Utah, and a Catholic priest in India, and how their lives are simultaneously brought together and torn apart by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), Saturday at 2:30 p.m.,8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., $21-$53. Details
  • Dance: Next Steps presents four days of contemporary and traditional dance as part of the CanAsian International Dance Festival. Showcasing everything from Turkish Whirling to Japanese Butoh, the performances and films draw from a wide range of Asian ideas and expressions. Harbourfront Centre, Fleck Dance Theatre (207 Queens Quay West), Saturday at 6 p.m.,8:30 p.m.,10 p.m., $25-$30. Details
  • Performing Arts: The Love Letters Cabaret is back with The Lady, a series of lessons on “proper” ladylike behaviour, with nods to the silver screen idols and pin-ups of the 1940s. Choreographed by Pastel Supernova, the show features over a dozen dancers and performers. There are dinner packages available as well. Moskito+Bite (423 College Street), Saturday at 6 p.m.,10 p.m., $25 in advance / $30 at the door. Details
  • Theatre: Fans of the seminal 1968 horror-film classic, Night of the Living Dead, will delight in Night of the Living Dead Live, a new theatrical production of the story. Despite a weak second act, it’s a fun black-and-white romp with some inventive deaths—and even a chipper musical number. Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue), Saturday at 7 p.m.,11 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 p.m., $20–$80. Details
  • Theatre: In 1897, Austrian playwright Arthur Schnitzler wrote a play so scandalous that at first he only shared it among his friends. It wasn’t publicly staged until 1920 and, unsurprisingly, it caused an uproar. The ruffled feathers had to do with La Ronde‘s frank discussion of sexual relationships—in particular, those between members of different social classes. But while the acts themselves were originally left up to the audience’s imagination, Soulpepper Theatre’s current, modernized adaptation goes all the way with its sex scenes. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), Saturday at 7:30 p.m., $22-$68. Details
  • Performing Arts: Hatch is back! For those not in the know, Hatch is the Harbourfront Centre’s annual performing arts residency, showcasing works by artists from around the city. This year’s event features exhibitions that explore the moments before and after a photograph, talk politics with LGBTQ folks in their honeymoon suite, and more, all month long. Events take place in the Studio Theatre. Harbourfront Centre (235 Queen’s Quay West), Saturday at 8 p.m., $15. Details
  • Comedy: Classic comedy series Theatresports is back for another season of improv hilarity. Now in its 30th year, this comedy tournament continues the tradition of allowing the audience members to choose the content of the scene and letting them judge the results; finals will be held at the end of May. Among the planned guests are comedic greats including Lisa Merchant and Craig Anderson (Canadian Comedy Award winners), Kerry Griffin (Second City alum), and many more. Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), Saturday at 8 p.m., $12. Details
  • Theatre: Life x 3 presents the tale of Henry and Sonia, who have to deal with a couple that unexpectedly shows up to dinner a day early. The best part? In this play, you get to see three different versions of the evening’s events. Directed by Andrew Lamb (My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding). Unit 102 Theatre (376 Dufferin Street), Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., $25, $20 for students, seniors, and art workers. Details
  • Theatre: Edward Roy and Gavin Crawford star as two 50-something spinster sisters in the gender bending A Few Brittle Leaves. Residing in a suburb of London, Viola and Penelope are faced with the inevitability of aging and the question of whether to abandon their search for love. That is, until the new vicar comes to town and turns their world upside down. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street), Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., $20-$30. Details
  • Theatre: In theatre, it’s one thing to have an idea. It’s another to actually see the idea through. And it’s another thing entirely to see it happen a second time.

    “It’s nerve-wracking because we’re not new anymore, so it’s not as easy to get people excited about it as it was last year when it was a new and shiny thing. Like, ‘Are those scrappy kids going to pull it off?’” says Alex Johnson, project director of The Playwright Project, which is about to launch its second edition. By “those scrappy kids,” Johnson is referring to the collective of independent theatre companies that joined forces last year to create The Tennessee Project, a week-long festival that toured a series of Tennessee Williams one-act plays through seven Toronto neighbourhoods. The idea was that each play would perform in a new venue each night, but that those venues would be familiar places like bars, restaurants, or community centres, and the crews would not only perform in neighbourhoods (from North York to Greektown to Roncesvalles), but would volunteer for local projects and organizations as well. It was an ambitious gamble for a bunch of young theatre-makers frustrated by a lack of time and resources to stage their own work. But according to Johnson, it was a resounding success. Multiple venues, Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 8 p.m., $15. Details

  • Comedy: The Canadian comedy community rightfully regards the members of The Kids in The Hall as homegrown legends, and this weekend, like Hercules and The Hitman before him, Kevin McDonald will be in residency at Toronto’s Comedy Bar. The comedian, who recently did another stint in the writer’s room on Saturday Night Live, is in town to teach a workshop and will guest on some of Comedy Bar’s most popular shows: Catch 23 Improv (Friday May 3, 8 p.m.), Mantown (Friday May 2, 10:30 p.m.), Monkey Toast (Saturday May 4, 8 p.m.), Bad Dog Theatre Presents… (Saturday May 4, 10 p.m.), and Sunday Night Live (Sunday May 5, 9:30 p.m.). Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West), Saturday at 8 p.m.,10 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 p.m., $10. Details
  • Theatre: In A Few Brittle Leaves, when the lights came up on the quiet, conservatively decorated home of the Pie sisters, in the small British township of UpsyDownsyshire, it didn’t take long for this unassuming setting to get a disproportionately loud response from the audience. Applause and laughter erupted when the crowd caught sight of the elderly Pie sisters themselves: Viola, a tall woman dressed in a grey-and-brown sweater and a floor-length skirt, with her mousy hair tucked away on her head; and Penny, a shorter, stouter woman in a purple dress and matching jacket, with a sleek blonde bob. Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (12 Alexander Street), Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., $20 – $30. Details
  • Theatre: A fragile young woman obsessed with an old mechanized box containing an ancient (and possibly deadly) artifact calls upon a clairvoyant, a paranormal investigator, and a parapsychologist to assist in unlocking its secrets. No, it’s not a new AMC series, or an upcoming summer blockbuster—it’s Visitations, the new immersive-theatre experience by The Mission Business, creator of last year’s epic bio-horror theatrical extravaganza, Zed.TO.

    As with Zed.TO, the audience is very much at the heart of the action in Visitations, exploring rooms, decoding messages, solving puzzles, and trying to prevent a catastrophe—or perhaps being used to bring one about. The more you bring to the experience, the more fun you’ll have in return Drake Hotel (1150 Queen Street West), Sunday at 6:30 p.m.,9 p.m., $40-$80. Details

Happening soon:

Urban Planner is Torontoist‘s guide to what’s on in Toronto, published every weekday morning, and in a weekend edition Friday afternoons. If you have an event you’d like considered, email us with all the details (including images, if you’ve got any), ideally at least a week in advance.

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