Rapp Battlez 50: Fifty

  • 10:30 p.m.

The irreverent rhyming faceoff comedy series Rapp Battlez, which has become one of the most popular recurring shows at Comedy Bar, celebrates its 50th edition. Headlining battlers, who have in the past included your drunk mom (Kayla Lorette) and a barely intelligible Boss (Greg Cochrane)—both featured in the NSFW video above—and James Bond (Daniel Bierne and Roger Bainbridge), have not yet been announced for the show. But it’s a fair bet there’ll be returning champs and some new characters joining hosts Dex Vocab (Freddie Rivas) and Big Migga (Miguel Rivas) on stage.

Details: Rapp Battlez 50: Fifty

Ongoing…

A Journey Into the Forbidden City

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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.
Details: TIFF 2014 Scenes: Tuesday–Thursday Nights, Featuring Good Kill, Maps to the Stars, The Imitation Game, Jauja, Laggies, and More

Vulnerability, Suffering, and Strength

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  • Art Gallery of Ontario (317 Dundas Street West)
  • All day

“The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon

“In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore

These quotations, which welcome visitors to Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms.

Details: Vulnerability, Suffering, and Strength

Independent Creators Cooperative: The Best Things Come in Threes

Adam Paolozza, Viktor Lukawski, and Nicolas Di Gaetano in Business as Usual. Photo by Kadri Hansen.

Adam Paolozza, Viktor Lukawski, and Nicolas Di Gaetano in Business as Usual. Photo by Kadri Hansen.

  • The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West)
  • All day

What makes the already difficult task of starting an indie theatre company in Toronto seem even more intimidating, if not impossible, is the number of other indie artists and companies who have also decided to take on this difficult and seemingly impossible task. Though it’s encouraging to have a healthy wave of young artists practicing and producing their own work, the number of small companies in the city brings its own set of challenges: increased competition for audiences, resources, space, and time—so much so that last year the Toronto Fringe Festival held a tent talk entitled Please Don’t Start a Theatre Company.

The Theatre Centre has responded to these challenges with its BMO incubator space and the Independent Creators Cooperative, which provides three emerging companies with six weeks of development, as well as funding and administrative support from The Theatre Centre and two other established companies, Theatre Smith-Gilmour and Why Not Theatre. This spring, the result is an intriguing trio of approximately one-hour shows: Business as Usual, Ralph + Lina, and Death Married My Daughter. All three will be in rotation at The Theatre Centre until May 18, and all have been heavily influenced by physical theatre and the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris—but that said, they have very little else in common.

Details: Independent Creators Cooperative: The Best Things Come in Threes

Vitals: Immersive Theatre That’s Close to Home

Katherine Cullen in Vitals. Photo by Michael Barlas.

Katherine Cullen in Vitals. Photo by Michael Barlas.

  • 149 Roncesvalles Avenue (149 Roncesvalles Avenue)
  • 7:15 p.m.

Outside the March seems to be Toronto’s favourite indie theatre company. Director Mitchell Cushman built up quite a buzz after consecutive hits Mr. Marmalade and Terminus, both of which were praised for their unconventional use of space (the former was set in a kindergarten classroom, the latter placed both the actors and the audience on the stage of the Royal Alexandra Theatre), so his next project had been highly anticipated. Vitals, written by Rosamund Small, was the first script for Outside the March developed specifically for a site-specific space, and its original run had to be extended even before opening night. Then, only a few days into the run, it was extended again to June 1. And though Vitals isn’t the best show in Outside the March’s history, there’s a reason that tickets have been flying.

Details: Vitals: Immersive Theatre That’s Close to Home

The Gigli Concert: Therapy Through Music, Comedy, and Sex Stories

Diego Matamoros and Stuart Hughes as JPW King and Irish Man. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Diego Matamoros and Stuart Hughes as JPW King and Irish Man. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

  • Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane)
  • 7:30 p.m.

Up until Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez made that movie, the word “Gigli” was associated with images of beauty, the splendour of the opera, and, more specifically, the renowned Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli. In Irish playwright Tom Murphy’s The Gigli Concert, originally written in 1983 and on stage now at Soulpepper Theatre, the singer’s voice represents not only beauty, but hope itself—the one saving force that can pull its two central characters from deep depressions. And, thankfully, the journey to the other side is infinitely more watchable than the previously mentioned Hollywood film.

Details: The Gigli Concert: Therapy Through Music, Comedy, and Sex Stories

The Last Confession

David Suchet and Richard O’Callaghan star in The Last Confession. Photo by John Haines.

David Suchet and Richard O’Callaghan star in The Last Confession. Photo by John Haines.

  • Royal Alexandra Theatre (260 King Street West)
  • 8 p.m.

If you’re in the mood for a murder mystery with a religious twist, you’ll want to check out The Last Confession. David Suchet (Poirot) and Richard O’Callaghan star in this play about the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in 1978. After only 33 days in office, and having warned three cardinals that they would be replaced, he is found dead. Though the Vatican refuses to open an official investigation, Cardinal Benelli goes out in search of the truth.

Details: The Last Confession

A God in Need of Help Gets Some From Its Friends

From back to front: Ben Irvine, Daniel Kash, Tony Nappo, Jonathan Seinen, Dmitry Chepovetsky, and Alden Adair. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

From back to front: Ben Irvine, Daniel Kash, Tony Nappo, Jonathan Seinen, Dmitry Chepovetsky, and Alden Adair. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

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

We’re nearing the end of Tarragon Theatre‘s 2013/2014 season, and it appears we’ve also arrived at the final stage of its theme: love, loss, wine, and the gods. But that doesn’t mean the Tarragon, which has seen some major hits this year in Lungs, The Double, and The Ugly One, is phoning it in. Sean Dixon’s ambitious new script, A God in Need of Help, has produced not only one of the longer plays in the Tarragon season, but also easily the most dense and layered, mixing as it does historical fact and fiction with timeless issues of art, religion, and politics. Fortunately, that makes it the strongest mainstage show of the season thus far (we’ll see how Tarragon’s final show, The God That Comes, co-created by and featuring Hawksley Workman, performs in June).

Details: A God in Need of Help Gets Some From Its Friends

Snow Bride

Katie Hood stars in Snow Bride. Image courtesy of Romantic Animal Theatre Collective.

Katie Hood stars in Snow Bride. Image courtesy of Romantic Animal Theatre Collective.

  • The Box Theatre (89 Niagara Street)
  • 8 p.m.

Talk about striking while the iron is hot—David James Brock’s Snow Bride is hitting the stage just in time for wedding season… and some other stuff in the news. When no one shows up for Helena’s bachelorette party, she turns to her oldest and most trusted friend: cocaine. Using humour, the play touches on the difficulties surrounding a life of addiction and its effects on interpersonal relationships.

Details: Snow Bride

Big Ideas Festival

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

What’s brewing in Toronto’s theatre community? We’re glad you asked! The Big Ideas Festival is showcasing works-in-progress from the aspiring playwrights in the Alumnae Theatre’s New Play Development Group. Over the course of five days, the work of eight writers will take the stage—some full-length plays, and some selected scenes from upcoming productions.

Details: Big Ideas Festival

The Speedy

See history reenacted on the very spot that it occurred with The Speedy. Image courtesy of Chris Hanratty and Shira Leuchter.

See history reenacted on the very spot that it occurred with The Speedy. Image courtesy of Chris Hanratty and Shira Leuchter.

  • Harbourfront Centre, Enwave Theatre (231 Queens Quay West)
  • 8 p.m.

Learn about a little-known bit of Toronto’s history with a theatre installation on the very spot where it all began in 1804. The Speedy tells the story of HMS Speedy, its passengers, and its doomed trip across Lake Ontario. When a Chippewa man is murdered by a white fur trader, the justice system is slow to react. The victim’s impatient brother Ogetonicut exacts revenge, killing the fur trader. Justice moves more quickly this time, and 20 members of the court system board a ship that will take them to the trial in Newcastle—but it sinks en route, leaving the case forever unsettled.

Details: The Speedy