For three weeks straight, the Alumnae Theatre will be obsessing over freshness even more than your local grocery store. The New Ideas Festival is taking over for another year, bringing 15 new, developing, and experimental works to the stage. Each week of the festival, five new plays with a variety of themes will find themselves on the marquee, each one ranging from 10 to 60 minutes in length.
Going into a play with no prior knowledge of the characters, plot, setting, or theatrical style can be a very liberating exercise—most of the time. However, for 6 Essential Questions, on now at Factory Theatre, that approach is highly discouraged.
The play is the theatrical debut of author-turned-playwright Priscila Uppal, and has been adapted from her acclaimed memoir Projection: Encounters With My Runaway Mother, which recounts a trip to Brazil during which she briefly reunited with the mother who’d abandoned her 20 years before. The play follows the same basic storyline, but that becomes clear only about halfway through the 90-minute performance. Uppal’s approach to playwriting appears to be heavy on the poetry and metaphor, and light on context and basic exposition. That can be fine, as long as the audience has a basic understanding of the world being explored, which sadly isn’t the case here.
Toronto’s Hands & Teeth spent the better part of 2013 in the studio, recording a followup to 2012′s Hunting Season. Now that its fourth effort, Before the Light, is ready for the public’s ears, it’s celebrating with an album release show at the Dakota Tavern. Local favourites Amos the Transparent and Blonde Elvis will join in on the festivities with performances of their own.
On Wednesday, the Black Museum‘s lecture series returns with possibly its darkest and most intense subject yet: the horror genre known as New French Extremism. Dedicated to providing “lurid lectures for the morbidly curious,” the curators of the Black Museum are certainly not uncomfortable when it comes to confronting and dissecting the darker recesses of the human imagination, but this particular lecture, entitled “Quelle Horreur! The Films of the New French Extremity,” may be their most intense offering to date.