A Toronto Writer Preaches a Wordier Future for Video Games

Christine Love. Photo by Paul Hillier.

Christine Love. Photo by Paul Hillier.

  • Toronto Reference Library (789 Yonge Street)
  • 12 p.m.

Toronto writer Christine Love never expected to find success making video games—particularly text-heavy visual novels about women, queerness, and technology. But she surprised everyone, including herself, when her games—Digital: A Love Story; don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story; Analogue: A Hate Story, and its expansion, Hate Plus—found an audience eager for storytelling experiences radically different from those in the latest editions of Call of Duty, Assassin’s Creed, or Grand Theft Auto.

Love will share some of her insights into writing and game creation at WordPlay, a free one-day festival celebrating games and interactive experiences that put text and narrative front and centre, held in partnership with The Hand Eye Society. There, she’ll lead a workshop for beginners on the art of creating interactive fiction with Twine, which lets authors weave interactive stories using a simple user interface, and then render their creations as websites that anyone can browse and play.

Details: A Toronto Writer Preaches a Wordier Future for Video Games

Matt Braunger Live at Comedy Bar

  • Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West)
  • 8 p.m., 10:30 p.m.

Matt Braunger is a comic on the rise, and, lucky for us, he’s coming to Toronto for a one-night, two-show gig. Known for his 2012 Comedy Central special Shovel Fighter and his appearances on TV shows like MADtv and Chelsea Lately, Braunger will be headlining at Comedy Bar. On the bill with him are a number of local acts, including Luke Gordon Field (8 p.m.), Rhiannon Archer (10:30 p.m.), and Torontoist‘s own Kai Benson (8 p.m.).

Details: Matt Braunger Live at Comedy Bar

Grand Analog at Wrongbar

  • Wrongbar (1279 Queen Street West)
  • 11 p.m.

The local hip-hop collective Grand Analog will be putting on a night of hip-hop, soul, and Afrobeat. The team will be supporting its latest effort, Modern Thunder, which is another collection of the genre-mixing grooves it’s become known for. Check out the video for the track “Howl Likes Wolves” above.

CORRECTION: November 14, 2013, 2:10 PM This post originally said, incorrectly, that Grand Analog is from Germany. In fact, the collective is Toronto based.

Details: Grand Analog at Wrongbar

Ongoing…

The Royal Ontario Museum Takes a Modern Approach to the Cradle of Civilization

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  • Royal Ontario Museum (100 Queens Park)
  • All day

The name “Mesopotamia” derives from a Greek term meaning “land between the rivers.” The Royal Ontario Museum’s latest major exhibit, which opens on June 22, takes this literally, as visitors flow between painted representations of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers on the floor.

Presented by the British Museum and rounded out with pieces from institutions in Chicago, Detroit, and Philadelphia, “Mesopotamia: Inventing Our World” covers 3,000 years of human development in the cradle of urban civilization. Most of the 170 artifacts on display have never been shown in Canada.

Details: The Royal Ontario Museum Takes a Modern Approach to the Cradle of Civilization

Evil Dead The Musical Returns to Toronto

Ryan Ward and Laura Tremblay in Evil Dead The Musical. Photo by David Hou.

Ryan Ward and Laura Tremblay in Evil Dead The Musical. Photo by David Hou.

  • The Randolph Theatre (736 Bathurst St.)
  • All day

Since its humble beginnings in the back room of Toronto’s Tranzac club back in 2003, Evil Dead The Musical has steadily risen in infamy as a ridiculously fun, tongue-in-cheek, gore-soaked musical experience. From those earliest shows, the musical has gone on to make an off-broadway debut, to win and be nominated for several Dora awards, and to play in dozens of cities around the world, from Montreal and Vancouver to Tokyo and Madrid. It was high time that the show make a triumphant homecoming to a stage in Toronto, and it finally has, at the Randolph Theatre.

Details: Evil Dead The Musical Returns to Toronto

TIFF’s First Major Original Exhibition Traces David Cronenberg’s Evolution

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  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)

It’s not every day that a media tour opens with the injunction not to photograph “the sex blob,” but so began TIFF’s preview of “David Cronenberg: Evolution,” the organization’s first large-scale touring exhibition (for now, it’s stationed at the TIFF Bell Lightbox’s HSBC Gallery). It’s an exhaustive, stunning look at some of the wildest, most perverse creations of a pioneer of the body-horror genre—who also happens to be Canada’s most internationally renowned filmmaker.

Details: TIFF’s First Major Original Exhibition Traces David Cronenberg’s Evolution

The Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival Casts Mental Health Issues in a New Light

A still from Short Term 12.

A still from Short Term 12.

  • Multiple venues
  • All day

Since its inception in 1993, the Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival has delivered on its complex mandate: presenting cultural representations of mental illness and addiction and then contextualizing them through post-screening discussions. This year’s lineup might be the festival’s most stacked yet, with screenings on a range of issues and in a variety of genres.

Details: The Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival Casts Mental Health Issues in a New Light

The Regent Park Film Festival Takes the Local Approach

A still from ALIAS.

A still from ALIAS.

  • Daniels Spectrum (585 Dundas Street East)
  • All day

The Regent Park Film Festival occupies an interesting niche in Toronto’s mini-festival circuit, as much because of its grounding in a particular neighborhood—Canada’s largest and oldest public housing project—as for its commitment to offering its programming free of charge. This year’s slate is a mix of community filmmaking, documentaries about a range of issues relevant to Regent Park residents, and mainstream features like Ryan Coogler’s award-winning Fruitvale Station, based on the true story of Oscar Grant’s death at the hands of an Oakland police officer.

Details: The Regent Park Film Festival Takes the Local Approach

The Norman Conquests

Soulpepper's artistic director Albert Schultz in rehearsal for The Norman Conquests. Photo by Nathan Kelly.

Soulpepper's artistic director Albert Schultz in rehearsal for The Norman Conquests. Photo by Nathan Kelly.

  • Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane)
  • All day

Like the company’s recent triumph, Angels in America, Soulpepper’s newest show, The Norman Conquests, requires multiple trips to the theatre—or a hearty constitution for a full day of marathon attendance. Unlike Angels in America, the three instalments of The Norman ConquestsTable Manners, Living Together, and Round and Round the Garden—are comic in nature and small in scope, with each instalment taking place in a different part of a couple’s house. Written by prolific British playwright Alan Ayckbourn, the three-part series features veteran members of the Soulpepper ensemble, and can be “enjoyed individually or in any combination.”

Details: The Norman Conquests

Growing Up (Slowly) in Moss Park

Graeme McComb and Haley McGee in Moss Park. Detail of a photo by Michael Cooper.

Graeme McComb and Haley McGee in Moss Park. Detail of a photo by Michael Cooper.

  • Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)
  • 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

When we go to the theatre (especially if the plan is to write about the experience), we try to leave everything going on in the world offstage in the lobby. But sometimes, that’s easier said than done. This was the case when we went to see Moss Park just a few hours after the mayor of Toronto had announced that, while he had indeed smoked crack cocaine, he wasn’t going to do anything at all to atone for his misdeeds.

Details: Growing Up (Slowly) in Moss Park

Virginia Woolf Comes to Campbell House in A Room of One’s Own

Naomi Wright as Virginia Woolf. Photo by Emily Cooper.

Naomi Wright as Virginia Woolf. Photo by Emily Cooper.

  • Historic Campbell House Museum (160 Queen Street West)
  • 7 p.m.

Campbell House Museum is artfully decorated for A Room Of One’s Own‘s nightly pre-show reception. Always elegant, the various rooms have cozy fires going, and books and letters are arranged for audience perusal. (We later heard many of these materials were sourced specifically for the show by star and producer Naomi Wright, who exhaustively researched her role as Virigina Woolf.)

Details: Virginia Woolf Comes to Campbell House in A Room of One’s Own

Go Hear the People Sing in Les Misérables

Ramin Karimloo will make you weep, or at least want to give him a hug, as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

Ramin Karimloo will make you weep, or at least want to give him a hug, as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Photo by Matthew Murphy.

  • Princess of Wales Theatre (300 King Street West)
  • 1:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.

Every revolution needs a leader. And though the movement to bring the classic 1980s musical Les Misérables back to Toronto is markedly different than the quest for political accountability and social equality, it has its hero just the same. After the official opening performance at the Princess of Wales Theatre, the audience likely would have followed London-based, Richmond Hill-raised performer Ramin Karimloo (as the story’s golden-hearted protagonist, Jean Valjean) anywhere he would lead.

Details: Go Hear the People Sing in Les Misérables

dirty butterfly

Lauren Brotman in dirty butterfly. Photo by Joe Bucci.

Lauren Brotman in dirty butterfly. Photo by Joe Bucci.

  • Aki Studio Theatre (585 Dundas Street East)
  • 8 p.m.

Jamaican-British playwright Debbie Tucker Green isn’t afraid to touch on heavy subjects, bringing them to light with a blunt but poetic voice. Her play dirty butterfly tells the story of three people—two black and one white—living in a poor London neighbourhood. The thin walls of their tenement houses don’t allow for secrets, and so the harsh realities of domestic violence and racial economic divides are exposed. Presented by Bound to Create Theatre, the play features gut-wrenching performances from Kaleb Alexander, Beryl Bain, and Lauren Brotman.

Details: dirty butterfly

FireWorks

FireWorks features three pieces by local playwrights. Image courtesy of the Alumnae Theatre Company.

FireWorks features three pieces by local playwrights. Image courtesy of the Alumnae Theatre Company.

  • Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley Street)
  • 8 p.m.

The Alumnae Theatre Company presents its inaugural FireWorks theatre showcase. Akin to the New Ideas Festival, this series features plays created in-house by local artists. Three pieces will be staged during the three-week run: Theory by Norman Yeung, Gloria’s Guy by Joan Burrows, and Measure of the World by Shirley Barrie. For those who want more than just stage productions, there will also be several roundtable discussions and playwright talks to attend.

Details: FireWorks

Julius Caesar

  • Unit 102 Theatre (376 Dufferin Street)
  • 8 p.m.

The Unit 102 Actors Company brings Shakespeare’s tale of power and corruption to life with its production of Julius Caesar. Taking place in 44 B.C., the play follows the events surrounding Caesar’s assassination. First performed as early as 1599, many of the story’s central issues are still relevant today.

Details: Julius Caesar

Director Chris Abraham Talks Winners and Losers

Chris Abraham. Photo courtesy of Red Eye Media.

Chris Abraham. Photo courtesy of Red Eye Media.

  • Berkeley Street Theatre (26 Berkeley Street)
  • 2 p.m., 8 p.m.

Winners and Losers is a play by Marcus Youssef and James Long based on a game of the same name the two theatre artists sometimes play. They pick a person, place, or thing, and debate whether it’s a “winner” or a “loser.” But it probably wouldn’t be fair to pick their director (and Crow’s Theatre artistic director) Chris Abraham as a topic, particularly since he was recently declared the winner of the Siminovitch Prize, Canadian theatre’s most prestigious (not to mention lucrative) honour.

Details: Director Chris Abraham Talks Winners and Losers

Heaving Bosoms and Sharp Class Critique in After Miss Julie

Amy Keating, Christopher Morris, and Claire Armstrong star in Red One Theatre's After Miss Julie. Photo by Jonas Widdifield.

Amy Keating, Christopher Morris, and Claire Armstrong star in Red One Theatre's After Miss Julie. Photo by Jonas Widdifield.

  • The Storefront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West)
  • 8 p.m.

Toronto theatre audiences have seen a number of adaptations of Strindberg’s Miss Julie in the past few years. The original now seems dated, but Miss Julie: She’Mah, a Canadian-targeted adaptation by playwright Tara Beagan, ratcheted up the tension by giving Miss Julie residential-school-educated servants. Canadian Stage’s somewhat less effective Miss Julie: Freedom Summer used American race politics. But British playwright Patrick Marber’s 2003 adaptation, After Miss Julie, zeroes in on sexual politics and baseline class separations, all against the backdrop of a British country home at the close of World War II. Red One Theatre’s Canadian premiere plays up the danger and slow-burning tension expertly, with three experienced cast members: Claire Armstrong in the title role, and Christopher Morris and Amy Keating as Julie’s father’s servants.

Details: Heaving Bosoms and Sharp Class Critique in After Miss Julie

Second City’s New Show Is a Heroic Effort

Allison Price, about to lose her patience with Stacey McGunnigle. Photo courtesy of Second City.

Allison Price, about to lose her patience with Stacey McGunnigle. Photo courtesy of Second City.

  • Second City (51 Mercer Street)
  • 7:30 p.m., 10 p.m.

You might expect a show called We Can Be Heroes to be a send-up of superhero films, but Second City’s new mainstage production is actually a celebration of minor, everyday acts of heroism ranging from giving advice to a bullied child to managing not to be a jackass at your friend’s wedding.

Details: Second City’s New Show Is a Heroic Effort