WHAT: A rare white squirrel across the street from Trinity Bellwoods park, a green space that has long been renowned for its small but mighty albino squirrel colony. These snowy squirrels are at a genetic disadvantage because their stark white coats make them stand out against the surrounding environment, which renders them easy targets for potential predators. Add to that their poor eyesight, and these little guys have the odds stacked against them. Yet despite hardwired hardships and the occasional fatal accident, their stubborn presence shows a resilience from which we can all learn a thing or two.
Spotted features interesting things our readers discover in their journeys across Toronto. If you spot something interesting, send a photo and pertinent details to email@example.com.
What happens when the “It Girl” of Canadian playwriting meets the rebel of theoretical physics? You get Infinity, Hannah Moscovitch’s funny, moving new play inspired by the theories of Lee Smolin.
The prolific and much-produced Moscovitch is best known for tackling history, whether it’s the Stalin-era Soviet Union (The Russian Play) or the Holocaust (East of Berlin, The Children’s Republic). But with her latest work, the 36-year-old playwright is taking on time itself—or, to be precise, time as conceived by Smolin, the Toronto-based academic and author recently described by the Guardian as “one of the bad boys of contemporary physics and cosmology.”
In books like his 2013 bestseller Time Reborn, Smolin has had the chutzpah to question Einstein and his disciples, challenging the prevailing idea that time is an illusion and the laws of nature do not change. Moscovitch’s play puts Smolin’s radical concept into dramatic terms as it traces both the messy marriage of two brilliant, difficult people—Elliot, a theoretical physicist, and Carmen, a composer—and the luckless love life of their adult daughter, Sarah Jean. Smolin’s theories on the tangibility of time and the possibility for change permeate the play, making it at once sad and hopeful.
The show, a coproduction between Toronto’s Tarragon and Volcano theatre companies, opens this Wednesday in the Tarragon Extraspace. It’s directed by Volcano AD Ross Manson and stars Paul Braunstein as Elliot, Amy Rutherford as Carmen, and Haley McGee as Sarah Jean. They share the stage with violinist Andréa Tyniec, who performs an original score composed by Njo Kong Kie, former musical director of Montreal dance troupe La La La Human Steps.
Joining the director and cast for a recent photo shoot at Tarragon, where she’s a playwright-in-residence, Moscovitch had the beaming look of a new mother—and not just because she’s about to give birth to another play. She’s six months pregnant and she and her husband, director Christian Barry, are expecting their first child at the end of June. She sat down in the theatre’s lobby with Torontoist to discuss the origins of Infinity, Smolin’s contribution to the play, and other projects, including her work on CBC’s Second World War espionage series X Company.