Festival Turns a New Leaf on Literature in the Digital Age
This Is Not a Reading Series founder, film critic, and all-purpose Renaissance Man Marc Glassman enters the spring festival fray with Pages Festival + Conference, a cross-disciplinary, mixed media celebration of the adaptability of the written word in an era when bookstores like Glassman’s own beloved Pages have closed their doors. As if that’s not enough, the festival at the Randolph Theatre will have a more theory-oriented companion in an all-day conference—taking place Friday at the Tranzac Club—on technology’s role in the new wave of publishing.
The senior students of U of T Scarborough’s Theatre and Performance Studies are dabbling in witchcraft with their production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. Set in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692, this play reveals how quickly suspicion, prejudice, and fear can tear a community apart.
Nerd Nite XXVIII
Aiming to satisfy your thirst for knowledge, Nerd Nite returns for session XXVIII. University of Toronto professor Carolyn Harris is first on the bill with her history lecture “We’ll Never Be Royals: The Relationship Between Royalty and the Media.” She’ll be followed by Craig Fay, a stand-up comedian and science enthusiast, who will get everyone thinking with “Stupid Questions: Is Fire a Solid, Liquid or Gas?”
A Platinum Production presents: The Producers
A Platinum Production’s The Producers is (unfortunately) not a striptease version of the classic film, but it is a who’s who overview of the Toronto burlesque and variety show scene. Come see what these beautiful and brainy entrepreneurs are capable of! The program includes performances by Dee Dee Starr and Ava Noir (Two Dames Productions), Red Herring (Toronto School of Burlesque), Mysterion (Great Canadian Burlesque), Johnny B Goode, Belle Jumelles, and St Stella (Platinum Productions), along with newcomer Regina Dentata.
TIFF 2014 Scenes: Tuesday–Thursday Nights, Featuring Good Kill, Maps to the Stars, The Imitation Game, Jauja, Laggies, and More
While the Toronto International Film Festival may have shifted into a more relaxed mode, it’s still offering plenty of opportunities to gawk at movie stars—they’re just a little more spread out. Midweek, fans could catch the premieres of Good Kill (Ethan Hawke as a drone pilot), Maps to the Stars (David Cronenberg’s new bit of oddness), The Imitation Game (Benedict Cumberbatch as World War II cryptographer Alan Turing), Jauja (Viggo Mortensen, and we don’t know much else really), Laggies (Sam Rockwell and Keira Knightley in a comedy about people taking their sweet time to grow up), October Gale (Patricia Clarkson and Scott Speedman in a thriller/drama set in a remote cabin), Pawn Sacrifice (about the chess duels between Boris Spassky and Bobby Fischer), The Cobbler (Adam Sandler’s latest) and Escobar (Benicio Del Toro is the famous drug kingpin).
Want more TIFF coverage? Torontoist‘s film festival hub is right over here.
Dressing for Downton: The Costumes of Downton Abbey
If a period drama has ever inspired you to visit the past, but you couldn’t because you didn’t have access to a time machine, listen up! The Spadina Museum is taking history, television, and fashion fans alike back to the Edwardian era with its “Dressing for Downton: The Costumes of Downton Abbey” exhibit. Twenty pieces from the hit show will be on display, along with the City of Toronto’s own collection of garments from the time. Attendees will also be treated to Downton Abbey–themed tours of the century home.
The Art of Dr. Seuss
You should not, would not miss this event if you’ve ever read Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or Green Eggs and Ham. Why? The Art of Dr. Seuss is coming to Casa Loma! Presented by Liss Gallery, the exhibit features over 30 paintings, drawings, and sculptures showcasing the mind of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Come during March Break (March 8-15) to take advantage of extra-Seussy programming, including storytelling, arts and crafts, and live performances.
From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru
Ichimaru—once one of Japan’s most famous geishas—left the profession in the 1930s to pursue a career in entertainment. Never really leaving her past life, she became known for adorning herself in the traditional geisha garb when performing in concert or on television. “From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru” exhibits several decades’ worth of outfits and personal effects, shedding light on the woman behind the makeup.
Sarah Anne Johnson: “Wonderlust”
Artist Sarah Anne Johnson delves into life’s most intimate moments in “Wonderlust.” Using photography and visual arts, she explores the emotional attachment, romance, and self-consciousness that come with sex.
Told through South American music and dance, Arrabal is the story of a young girl desperate to find out what happened to her father after the Argentine military made him disappear when she was just a baby. Her search leads her to the Tango clubs of Buenos Aires, where she discovers both the truth, and herself.
You can be taken out of a war, but can you truly remove the war from within you? This question is posed in Kawa Ada’s The Wanderers, a Buddies in Bad Times production about a father and son who flee a battle-worn Afghanistan. Though they start a new life in Canada, the horrors from their homeland refuse to be left behind.
The Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival (TOsketchfest) returns for its 9th year to promote the best of scripted live comedy, with a lineup of over 40 troupes from across North America. Not to be missed are the live reading of Kids In The Hall: Brain Candy, a headlining performance of Gavin Crawford’s Sh**ting Rainbows, or the Slings and Arrows panel with Mark McKinney, Susan Coyne, and Bob Martin.
Lungs Is a Breath of Fresh Air
In Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs, on now at the Tarragon Theatre Extraspace, two people—a man and a woman in their late twenties to mid-thirties—stand on an empty stage and talk. They talk at each other, mostly, about themselves and about more abstract thoughts, as time shifts in the script propel them from pivotal moment to pivotal moment. It’s a style of theatre that can go wrong in an instant—but it can also produce a work that invigorates, or even inspires, a passion for the art form.
Fortunately, this one does the latter.
Proving that 3-chord punk bands can actually amount to something, the award-winning American Idiot is coming to Toronto, having already captivated audiences in London and on Broadway. Featuring the music of Green Day, the story follows three best friends who must choose between following their dreams or staying in the safety of suburbia.
New Ideas Festival
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.
Marry Me a Little Not Quite Enough
In line with Tarragon Theatre‘s theme for it 2013/2014 season– “Love, Loss, Wine and the Gods”—the company is currently presenting two one-act plays that document the journey of two very different romantic relationships. The first, in the Tarragon Extra Space, is Duncan MacMillan’s brilliant Lungs, which receives an equally brilliant production from director Weyni Mengesha and actors Lesley Faulkner and Brendan Gall. Lungs is a touching and entertaining portrayal of a couple in love—but above all, it’s honest. It’s that honesty that the show next door in the Tarragon Mainspace, Stephen Sondheim’s song cycle Marry Me a Little, is lacking.
Scratching Our Heads Over 6 Essential Questions
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.