Theatre people often get a bum deal. Humiliating auditions, selling the car for acting classes or singing lessons or to fund a play, producing blood, sweat and tear-filled work and for what? To end up emotionally drained, penniless and with nothing but a collection of tap shoes and wigs to keep them warm at night? So is life on the stage. And, damn it, they deserve recognition for it.
They got it last night with the 27th annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards, a celebration of Toronto’s performing arts community with categories that included dance, opera, general, independent and children’s theatre. The event was held at the extravagantly ornate Winter Garden Theatre and kicked off with a packed pre-party that had attendees chatting with the friends they’ve known since the Ramen noodle days (for some, those days are also known as last Tuesday).
David Gale did a spirited job as host, hoofing for nickels throughout the show and kept it all rolling with the unprepared audience members he pulled on stage to be his co-hosts.
Bombay Black and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot ruled the Independent Theatre Division, d’bi.young won both Outstanding New Play for General Theatre and Outstanding Performance by a Female in General Theatre for blood.claat – one womban story, Wrecked won a few in the Young Audience category, Lord of the Rings won for Outstanding Musical (and generally ruled the musical categories) and Soulpepper’s Our Town won Outstanding Production of a Play. For a complete list of the winners, and all other Dora information, click here.
Some favourites of the night:
– Megan Follows grabbing fellow presenter Jonathan Crombie for an impromptu, passionate stage kiss apologising to the audience “Sorry, it’s been awhile since Green Gables”.
-Sky Gilbert presenting The Silver Ticket award to Ahdri Zhina Mandiela as his alter-drag-ego, Jane, in a short dress (“for the fuller-figured gal”) and piles of blond curls.
– David Ferry, also up for Outstanding Director of Independent Theatre for The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, winning the Outstanding Lighting Design for indie theatre, joking “Figures I’d win for fucking lighting”. The judges must have admired more than his lighting skills, Ferry picked up that director award, too.
-And the double-decker buses that took attendees to Level for the after party. Guessing we’d be starving after that looong award show, they were ready for us with pizza, fried chicken, a hot dog stand, donuts, ice cream bars, and other greasy snacks. Having dieted religiously to fit into those Dora threads, the actors were happily ready to pig out.
Those in the performing arts show us the best of life. They are mirrors of reality, of fantasy and of our infinite potential. Without the arts we are banal, we are grey, we are 1984. The award ceremony, the parties and the celebration of their work is very well deserved. And the only thing more fun than a room full of theatre people is a room full of drunk theatre people, holding awards. Party on.