It’s a Full House in True West
Sam Shepard’s plays are famously all about man as a caged animal, prowling and brooding around his enclosure (usually a North American domicile), eventually tearing it apart like an untrained puppy suffering from separation anxiety. He is a man’s man’s writer, the lone wolf in the wilderness that so many young males fantasize about—even, it often seems, Shepard himself.
As his most famous work, one of Shepard’s Family Trilogy, True West is a great example: two brothers, Hollywood screenwriter Austin (Mike Ross) and the petty-thieving vagabond Lee (Stuart Hughes), somehow end up house-sitting for their mother while she’s on vacation in Alaska (though only Austin was asked to do so). It’s clear in the script that both men make solo trips outside the walls of their mother’s suburban home, but we never see them apart from each other. That’s because Lee and Austin are two halves of the same man. In fact, it’s common for the two main actors to alternate the roles throughout a run of the show.
Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody
Spank! The Fifty Shades Parody stars Anne-Marie Scheffler, Patrick Whalen, and Alice Moran—one of our 2012 Heroes of the Year. Since the show’s Toronto debut, it’s toured across the United States; Moran’s been writing a blog about the experience, “Good Times, America“, for Toronto’s She Does the City blog. Spank! returns here to its creator’s hometown for five encore performances this weekend.
I Thought There Were Limits
When’s the last time you attempted to reconceptualize the dimensions of space? If it’s been a while, you might consider checking out a new exhibition called I Thought There Were Limits, which aims to do just that. This particular exhibit is unique in that the artwork forms a relationship with the site itself (in this case, the Justina M. Barnicke Gallery). The work on display is brought to you by curator Julia Abraham (as part of the MVS degree in Curatorial Studies at the University of Toronto). The artists include Karen Henderson, Yam Lau, Gordon Lebredt, Kika Thorne, and Josh Thorpe.
Toronto Silent Film Festival
It’s been over a year since modern silent film The Artist took home the Oscar for best picture, and with it came a renewed surge of interest in the genre. Which brings us to the Toronto Silent Film Festival, back for its fourth year. The theme of this year’s lineup is the individual versus society, and classic films from around the world have been gathered for the occasion, including The Passion of Joan of Arc and Tokyo Chorus.
Feminist Porn Is For Everybody
For the past eight years the Feminist Porn Awards have been promoting and celebrating erotica at its most primal, and also its most artistic, all through the lens of feminism. The FPAs proudly state that they are “the longest running celebration of erotica focused on women and marginalized people.” Over the years, the awards have expanded from a gala event that includes a screening of the nominees and the awards ceremony itself—where highly coveted trophies come in the shape of glittery butt plugs—to a multi-day series of events celebrating art and sexuality, including a full day conference.
The Meme-ing of Life is an Epic Win
If there’s one thing that’s particularly impressive about Second City’s new mainstage show, The Meme-ing of Life, it’s how well balanced it is.
As the title implies, Meme-ing is nominally a show about the internet, and certainly there is a fair bit of internet-centric humour. (One sketch, about a boy who falls into a YouTube-induced coma that can only be cured by reading, is particularly on point.) That said, it isn’t just a series of jokes about cat videos. Instead, it’s a well-thought-out show that manages to offer something for pretty much everyone, without stretching itself too thin.
Legoland (not to be confused with Legoland) tells the story of the “Gruesome Twosome,” Canada’s youngest drug dealers. Feeling out of place at their boarding school, siblings Penny and Ezra decide to break free and track down Penny’s pop idol, a journey they fund by selling their prescription drugs. This contemporary Vaudeville routine is told through puppetry, ukelele music, and gangster rap.
episodes | andscapes
If you haven’t had a chance to check out DanceWorks’ strong lineup this season, now’s your chance. Episodes | andscapes is a new series of dance performances that explore the “terrains of our human condition.” The series is made up of two duets by Tracey Norman and a solo by Jesse Dell (with a soundscape by composer Jordan O’Connor).
THIS Reveals a Theatre’s Bones
It’s hardly news nowadays when an actor disrobes onstage, giving an audience a glimpse at what’s underneath a costume. It’s another thing entirely when the theatre itself strips down to its bare bones.
For Canadian Stage’s production of THIS, by Melissa James Gibson, a Canadian playwright gaining popularity in New York City, artistic director (and director of the play) Matthew Jocelyn and set designer Astrid Janson did just that to the historic Berkeley Street Theatre in Corktown.