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events

Urban Planner: May 20, 2014

In today's Urban Planner: an operatic farewell, nature deficit disorder, and the challenges of homecoming.

Learn how to get your kids connected with nature. Image courtesy of Evergreen Brick Works.

  • Music: Before the artists of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio graduate and move on to bigger stages, they’re performing one final show. Les Adieux is a free lunchtime showcase, featuring soprano Sasha Djihanian, baritone Cameron McPhail, and pianist Michael Shannon performing their favourite songs by Debussy, Dvořák, and more. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen Street West), 12 p.m., FREE. Details
  • Outdoors: Want to get your kids to embrace the great outdoors this spring, but not sure how? Attend Nature Deficit Disorder: A Conversation with Richard Louv for ideas on how to get children excited about the environment, building nature-smart communities, and more. Louv is the internationally renowned author of Last Child in the Woods, a book that defines and tackles the growing epidemic of “nature-deficit disorder” among youth. Evergreen Brick Works (550 Bayview Avenue), 7 p.m., $20. Details
  • Theatre: Meet Dean—he’s climbed the military ladder, fought in Afghanistan, and made it safely home. But home is no longer where the heart is. A dark comedy, Dead Metaphor puts a humorous spin on the difficulties of postwar life as Dean returns to a pregnant ex-wife, a lack of job prospects, and the realization that there is no place for him in the real world. Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge Street), 8 p.m., $19 to $79. Details

Ongoing…

  • Art: If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace. Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park), all day, $27 adults. Details
  • Art: “The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon

    “In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore

    These quotations, which welcome visitors to Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms. Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West), all day, $25 adults. Details

  • Theatre: Outside the March seems to be Toronto’s favourite indie theatre company. Director Mitchell Cushman built up quite a buzz after consecutive hits Mr. Marmalade and Terminus, both of which were praised for their unconventional use of space (the former was set in a kindergarten classroom, the latter placed both the actors and the audience on the stage of the Royal Alexandra Theatre), so his next project had been highly anticipated. Vitals, written by Rosamund Small, was the first script for Outside the March developed specifically for a site-specific space, and its original run had to be extended even before opening night. Then, only a few days into the run, it was extended again to June 1. And though Vitals isn’t the best show in Outside the March’s history, there’s a reason that tickets have been flying. 149 Roncesvalles Avenue (149 Roncesvalles Avenue), 7:15 p.m., $25–$30. Details
  • Theatre: As the world premiere of a stage adaptation of W. Somerset Maugham’s famous novel, Soulpepper Theatre’s production of Of Human Bondage is the jewel of the company’s 2014 season. Not that it’s a perfect play—but it does flex the strength of Soulpepper’s acting ensemble, design team, and, well, budget. The arresting opening scene sees the play’s main character, Philip Carey, well-played by Gregory Prest, enter by rising through a trapdoor centre stage while other members of the cast appear to dissect a cadaver (they’re actually crossing bows across a double bass, which is lying horizontally on an operating table). A spotlight casts Philip’s shadow against a red-brick wall, so that the bows appear to saw through his stiff, upright body. Setting the tone for the rest of the production, the scene is striking, but not incredibly subtle. Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane), 7:30 p.m., $29–$74. Details
  • Theatre: If you’re in the mood for a murder mystery with a religious twist, you’ll want to check out The Last Confession. David Suchet (Poirot) and Richard O’Callaghan star in this play about the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in 1978. After only 33 days in office, and having warned three cardinals that they would be replaced, he is found dead. Though the Vatican refuses to open an official investigation, Cardinal Benelli goes out in search of the truth. Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King Street West), 8 p.m., $35–$119. Details
  • Theatre: We’re nearing the end of Tarragon Theatre‘s 2013/2014 season, and it appears we’ve also arrived at the final stage of its theme: love, loss, wine, and the gods. But that doesn’t mean the Tarragon, which has seen some major hits this year in Lungs, The Double, and The Ugly One, is phoning it in. Sean Dixon’s ambitious new script, A God in Need of Help, has produced not only one of the longer plays in the Tarragon season, but also easily the most dense and layered, mixing as it does historical fact and fiction with timeless issues of art, religion, and politics. Fortunately, that makes it the strongest mainstage show of the season thus far (we’ll see how Tarragon’s final show, The God That Comes, co-created by and featuring Hawksley Workman, performs in June). Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue), 8 p.m., $21–$53. Details
  • Comedy: Stand-up comic Tim Gilbert is one of Toronto’s favourites—among those in the comedy community, anyway. The Laugh Sabbath stalwart, whom television audiences may recognize from his past interview segments on MTV Showtown, hasn’t yet achieved the same level of recognition as, say, his fellow Showtown star Chris Locke. Gilbert’s fixing to change that by recording his first comedy album over two nights at The Ossington. Night one is hosted by James Hartnett, and features Nick Flanagan, Ron Sparks, and Andrew Johnston as guests; night two will be hosted by Adam Christie, and feature Sara Hennessey, Tom Henry, and Pat Thornton. The Ossington (61 Ossington Avenue), 9 p.m., PWYC. 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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