For years, SummerWorks has been kid sister to the Fringe. Smaller, shier, not quite as well-known (if often more reliable thanks to its policy of juried play selection as opposed to Fringe’s random lottery). But there comes a summer in every kid sister’s life when she starts going through some “special changes” and suddenly all her older sibling’s friends turn their heads when she walks by the pool in her tankini. We already started to discuss the direction in which new Artistic Producer Michael Rubenfeld has started to take the festival, which has now been re-branded as “Toronto’s Indie Theatre and Arts Festival.”
If you’ve made a habit in the past of checking out S-Works shows up at Tarragon, be warned: the festival exists entirely along the Queen Street West strip this year, with all events being housed at Factory, Passe Muraille, The Cameron House, The Theatre Centre and The Gladstone. And it is comprised of “events” rather than plays; this year, theatre rubs shoulders with a “performance gallery” at the Gladstone (which is probably easier to see than it is to explain) and performances by such musicians as Matthew Barber, Gentleman Reg, The Bicycles, Peter Elkas, and Rock Plaza Central. While she may not yet be a woman, this year’s SummerWorks ain’t no girl.
Without further ado, here is Torontoist’s tip sheet for shows we think sound neat:
Jayne Collins’s Ablaze, which tells a story of sibling rivalry and violinists, was a winner at Paprika a few years back, and it stars Rosa Laborde, who wrote the fantastic Léo. Crush stars dreamy Julian DeZotti and its synopsis promises “nudity” and “violence,” so we’ll obviously be there. Fewer Emergencies is a collection of three plays by Martin Crimp, directed by Brendan Healy and starring Andrew Pifko, who was so charming in The Swearing Jar at Fringe. If We Were Birds, a modern adaptation of some of Ovid’s more gruesome stories about raped and tortured women, doesn’t sound like a laugh-riot, but it does have a pretty high pedigree, with director Alan Dilworth and a cast including Philippa Domville, David Fox, Geoffrey Pounsett, and Tara Rosling. For more women-in-peril-in-foreign-countries fun, try In Darfur, directed by the always excellent Andrew Lamb. Cole J. Alvis and (plural productions) bring us The Kente Cloth, a one-man show written and performed by Tawiah M’carthy. One Reed Theatre (whose fantastic Nor the Cavaliers Who Come With Us knocked our socks off) have a new show called (Never Underestimate) The Power (pictured), which they claim is “inspired by The Book of Revelation and Queen Street bar culture.” Finally, The Pastor Phelps Project: A Fundamentalist Cabaret has been causing a bit of a stir in the media thanks to the eponymous hate-monger’s crew’s plans to fly to Canada and picket the play. If you’re not interested in seeing this before watching a play, maybe skip tonight’s performance, when the picketing is supposed to take place, and catch a later performance in the run.
Every night of the festival, you can check out the rotating roster of interdisciplinary works on the second floor of the Gladstone which make up the Performance Gallery. Artists involved include Tara Beagan, Chad Dembski, Daniel MacIvor, and Sarah Stanley.
Unlike the plays or performance gallery, the Music Series events are all one-night only. Tomorrow night, you can catch Matthew Barber and Bob Wiseman, and on Saturday, it’s The Two Koreas and Gentleman Reg. All concerts are at The Theatre Centre at 10:30 p.m.
Photo by Isto-ica.