The Coen Brothers Are Coming to the Lightbox (Or, Their Films Are)

Michael Stuhlbarg in a still from A Serious Man. Image courtesy of TIFF's Film Reference Library.

Michael Stuhlbarg in a still from A Serious Man. Image courtesy of TIFF's Film Reference Library.

  • TIFF Bell Lightbox (350 King Street West)
  • All day

The films of Joel and Ethan Coen can be deliriously funny, wickedly macabre, and downright bizarre, often in the span of a single scene. Leading up to the release of their newest effort, Inside Llewyn Davis—a look at the folk scene in ’60s-era Greenwich Village, opening in Toronto on December 20—TIFF is offering audiences a chance to catch up on the duo’s uniformly excellent back catalogue. The ten-film retrospective is called Joel and Ethan Coen: Tall Tales.

Details: The Coen Brothers Are Coming to the Lightbox (Or, Their Films Are)

CJF J-Talk: Guilty Pleasure or Real News?

  • TMX Broadcast Centre, Gallery (130 King Street West)
  • 6:30 p.m.

There’s no doubt that we’ve become well acquainted with sensational news, thanks to you-know-who. The Canadian Journalism Foundation examines the phenomenon of celebrity gossip with their J-Talk, Guilty Pleasure or Real News? The lineup of speakers includes Malene Arpe (Toronto Star), Alison Eastwood (Hello! Canada), Jonathan Kay (National Post), and Ben Mulroney (etalk).

Details: CJF J-Talk: Guilty Pleasure or Real News?

Cinderella

  • Ryerson Theatre (44 Gerrard Street East)
  • 7 p.m.

The graduating class of Ryerson’s Theatre School is putting a new twist on a classic fairytale with its production of Cinderella. The show features all the familiar characters, but there are also some new faces in the mix.

Details: Cinderella

Boats

Boats (the band). Photo by Valentin Mittelstet.

Boats (the band). Photo by Valentin Mittelstet.

  • 8 p.m.

Winnipeg’s Boats follows up showcases in New York and Montreal this week with two nights in Toronto. On Thursday, November 28, the band headlines a Manitoba Music showcase at Supermarket (268 Augusta Avenue) with fellow Prairie acts Federal Lights, Indicator Indicator, and Les Jupes. On Friday, November 29, Boats plays a Two Way Monologues showcase at the El Mocambo (464 Spadina Avenue) with Broken Bricks, Danger Bees, and Brothers of the North.

Details: Boats

It’s a Wonderful Quiz: Christmas Movie Trivia Night

From Miracle on 34th Street. Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

From Miracle on 34th Street. Image courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.

  • The Charlotte Room (19 Charlotte Street)
  • 9 p.m.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas is a only a few weeks away, so the spirit of the season should allow you to watch a bunch of festive movies without getting nauseous. Which is important, because you’ll need to brush up on them for It’s a Wonderful Quiz, a Christmas-movie trivia competition. In lieu of a cover charge, $10 gift cards are requested. They’ll be donated to women and children escaping domestic violence at The Redwood Shelter.

Details: It’s a Wonderful Quiz: Christmas Movie Trivia Night

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

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)
  • 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

Pieces of Me

Shahi Teruko and Sheldon Neil star in Pieces of Me. Image courtesy of Promise Productions.

Shahi Teruko and Sheldon Neil star in Pieces of Me. Image courtesy of Promise Productions.

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

The old adage “appearances can be deceiving” rings true in Promise Productions’ new musical, Pieces of Me. Though Pamela and Parker seem to have a perfect marriage, trouble brews just below the surface. Parker works to solidify a happy future with his wife, not knowing that Pamela is restless, and harbouring a secret that could destroy everything. Written and directed by Deon Denton, the play stars the Shahi Teruko (Canada’s Got Talent), and recording artist Sheldon Neil.

Details: Pieces of Me

Heaven Above Heaven Below Comes Out on Top

Layne Coleman and Linda Griffiths in Heaven Above Heaven Below. Photo by Michael Cooper.

Layne Coleman and Linda Griffiths in Heaven Above Heaven Below. Photo by Michael Cooper.

  • Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)
  • 7:30 p.m.

The world is a shockingly small place; just being in it will inevitably, repeatedly, and involuntarily bring you face to face with people you’d rather not meet more than once. In the case of Linda Griffiths’ new play Heaven Above Heaven Below, the wedding of a mutual friend reunites two nameless characters, He and She, twenty years after a short-lived fling resulted in She getting an abortion (which Griffiths detailed in her 1991 hit The Darling Family, to which this is the real-time sequel). The premise is enough to make anyone swear off large gatherings with undisclosed guest lists.

Details: Heaven Above Heaven Below Comes Out on Top

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)
  • 8 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

Mark & Kyle’s Thursday Plays

Image by Kurt Firla.

Image by Kurt Firla.

  • Comedy Bar (945 Bloor Street West)
  • 8 p.m.

If you’re looking for some sketch comedy to help you get to the end of the week, look no further than Mark & Kyle’s Thursday Plays, which promises new comedy shows (with plenty of music) every week for the month of November. Mark Little and Kyle Dooley are just coming off a pretty successful run at Just For Laughs and JFL42 (which we featured here), so you know it’ll be good.

Details: Mark & Kyle’s Thursday Plays

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

Play Reading Week

  • Tarragon Theatre, Near Studio (30 Bridgman Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

Tarragon Theatre presents ten days of innovative onstage creations as part of Play Reading Week. The showcase will debut new works from members of the 2013 Playwrights Unit, and many of the plays will go on to be developed further in Tarragon’s WorkSpace program and mounted as full productions in future seasons. A different burgeoning playwright will find him or herself in the spotlight each night. On the roster are Kate Cayley, Anna Chatterton, Jordi Mand, Amy Lee Lavoie, Maria Milisavljevic, Jessica Anderson, Adam Paolozza, Diane Flacks, Marilo Nuñez, and Gord Rand.

Details: Play Reading Week

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)
  • 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

The Valley Could Dive Deeper

Ian Lake and Colin Mercer in The Valley. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Ian Lake and Colin Mercer in The Valley. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Tarragon Theatre (30 Bridgman Avenue)
  • 8 p.m.

The plot of Joan MacLeod’s The Valley, on now at Tarragon Theatre, is unfortunately all too familiar: an 18-year-old recent college drop-out experiences his first psychotic episode on Vancouver’s SkyTrain. The exhausted police officer called to the scene arrests him for causing a public disturbance, spurring debate over whether or not he used excessive force in the process. A Toronto audience only has to think of Sammy Yatim’s shooting this August to be reminded how common these situations are. A perceived threat to public safety coupled with the absence of a solid understanding of mental illness can—and often does—lead to violence.

Details: The Valley Could Dive Deeper

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