Descant magazine is celebrating the launch of its 160th issue, The Hidden City, tonight. This latest edition of the literary journal explores the hidden parts of cities, and the people who live in those places. Contributors Ron Charach, Maureen Hynes, Cara-Lyn Morgan, Jim Nason, Sarah Pinder, and Kilby Smith-McGregor will all be reading passages from their work, along with this year’s Winston Collins/Descant Poetry Prize winner, John Lee.
It’s Poetry Month and WordStage is back with another stellar night of readings from both established and up-and-coming writers of prose, poetry, and drama. Tonight’s very special all-female lineup includes Paula Parris Eisenstein, Catherine Graham, Iris Liu, and Elana Wolff.
In 1897, Austrian playwright Arthur Schnitzler wrote a play so scandalous that at first he only shared it among his friends. It wasn’t publicly staged until 1920 and, unsurprisingly, it caused an uproar. The ruffled feathers had to do with La Ronde‘s frank discussion of sexual relationships—in particular, those between members of different social classes. But while the acts themselves were originally left up to the audience’s imagination, Soulpepper Theatre’s current, modernized adaptation goes all the way with its sex scenes.
Real-life mother and son, Asha and Ravi Jain, share the stage to tell their true, amusing story of cultural and generational clash in A Brimful of Asha. While on a trip to India, Ravi’s parents decide it’s time to introduce him to potential brides, despite his lack of desire to get married.
Finally, an event for the sports and dance enthusiasts to attend together! World Stage presents Jo Strømgren Kompani’s A Dance Tribute to the Art of Football (“football” in the European sense—meaning, soccer). The show, which uses humour and intense physicality, bridges the gap between sport and art by focusing on the similarities between. The performance includes partial nudity, and isn’t recommended for children.
Massey Hall/Roy Thomson Hall present a special concert tonight as part of their Songwriter Series. Emma-Lee and Peter Katz will take to the stage for an evening of smooth indie folk, with hints of jazz. They’ll each be accompanied by their full bands, while also appearing in each other’s sets, and even performing a few songs that they’ve written together.
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 is a great city for film buffs, and thanks to TIFF Kids International Film Festival, that includes the munchkins, too. The annual festival is about to kick off for the 16th time, and this year boasts a diverse lineup of programming for all ages, the premiere of Canada’s first 3D animated feature film, and a new partnership with Sesame Workshop.
Longtime JAZZ.FM91 host and producer Jaymz Bee is celebrating his 50th Birthday Bash Week with a mix of public and private events around town. It all gets started Monday, April 8 at Hugh’s Room, where he’ll be feted by some of his favourite acts, like Scarlett Jane, Joe Hall, Heather Luckhart, and more. It peaks on Saturday, April 13 at Palais Royale, where Bee has an huge line-up of acts, including Terra Hazelton & Her Problems, The Shuffle Demons, and many more surprise guests. All the info for the week’s events can be found on Bee’s website.
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.
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.
The Whipping Man is a 2011 John Gassner New Play Award–winning play that’s set during Passover in 1865. The show tells the tale of a confederate officer who has returned home after the Civil War to find his family missing, but two former slaves remaining. While waiting for the family’s return, the concepts of master and slave, and those of slavery and war, are explored. Directed by Philip Akin and starring Sterling Jarvis, Brett Donahue, and Thomas Olajide.
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.
The Toronto Comedy Brawl is in the middle of a growth spurt. Despite humble beginnings, Ian Atlas’ amateur competition has grown from 64 participants to, this year, a few hundred.
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.