There’s No Place Like the Theatre Centre’s New Home
On April 30, 1909, the Carnegie Library at Queen and Lisgar opened its doors for the first time, giving the Toronto Public Library a permanent home after two decades of renting a space on Ossington Avenue. This week, over one hundred years later, the Carnegie Library is ready to open its doors once again to give another very different cultural institution the security of a facility to call its own.
The Theatre Centre, one of Toronto’s most esteemed theatre companies, known for co-producing and developing innovative and multidisciplinary work, has been renting spaces since its inception in 1979. Through its history, the Theatre Centre has moved through about 10 different locations, entering and exiting a neighbourhood or building as the process of gentrification dictates. But finally, this Wednesday morning, after a long year of planning and a $6.2-million renovation, the Theatre Centre’s artistic director, Franco Boni, will unveil the Carnegie Library as its new headquarters for cultural and artistic development and performance.
Into the Woods
We grew up with stories that ended with “and they lived happily ever after,” but what actually happens during that glossed-over period of time? Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine answer this burning question in their musical Into the Woods. The Trinity College Dramatic Society brings this re-imagining of “Cinderella,” “Rapunzel,” “Jack and the Beanstalk,” and other such fairy tales to the small stage for a short run of just five nights.
Christian Bök’s poem, Eunoia, plays by a certain rule: each chapter uses only one vowel throughout. Eunoia, the dance production based on the poem, works with similar restrictions. The piece explores how certain sounds create moods that influence movement. Dancer and choreographer Denise Fujiwara is at the helm of this show, which makes its world premiere at Harbourfront’s World Stage.
If you weren’t around to see Toronto in 1974, Bad Dog Theatre can help you catch up. For three weeks, its completely improvised serial, People City, will introduce you to the characters and stories that made up our fair city during its boom years. Craig Anderson, Jess Bryson, Kyle Dooley, Colin Munch, Etan Muskat, Evany Rosen, Hannah Spear, Sean Tabares, and Anders Yates make up the population of both fictional and notorious Hogtown citizens.
A Journey Into the Forbidden City
If The Forbidden City: Inside the Court of China’s Emperors has a mascot, it’s Emperor Yongzheng. The image of the 18th-century Chinese ruler dominates the promotional material of the exhibition, which is one of the centrepieces of the Royal Ontario Museum’s centennial year. His portrait certainly has visual appeal, but Yongzheng is also a figure associated with surprising elements of life within the former imperial palace.
Dressing for Downton: The Costumes of Downton Abbey
If a period drama has ever inspired you to visit the past, but you couldn’t because you didn’t have access to a time machine, listen up! The Spadina Museum is taking history, television, and fashion fans alike back to the Edwardian era with its “Dressing for Downton: The Costumes of Downton Abbey” exhibit. Twenty pieces from the hit show will be on display, along with the City of Toronto’s own collection of garments from the time. Attendees will also be treated to Downton Abbey–themed tours of the century home.
The Art of Dr. Seuss
You should not, would not miss this event if you’ve ever read Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or Green Eggs and Ham. Why? The Art of Dr. Seuss is coming to Casa Loma! Presented by Liss Gallery, the exhibit features over 30 paintings, drawings, and sculptures showcasing the mind of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Come during March Break (March 8-15) to take advantage of extra-Seussy programming, including storytelling, arts and crafts, and live performances.
Sarah Anne Johnson: “Wonderlust”
Artist Sarah Anne Johnson delves into life’s most intimate moments in “Wonderlust.” Using photography and visual arts, she explores the emotional attachment, romance, and self-consciousness that come with sex.
From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru
Ichimaru—once one of Japan’s most famous geishas—left the profession in the 1930s to pursue a career in entertainment. Never really leaving her past life, she became known for adorning herself in the traditional geisha garb when performing in concert or on television. “From Geisha to Diva: The Kimonos of Ichimaru” exhibits several decades’ worth of outfits and personal effects, shedding light on the woman behind the makeup.
Lord of the Flies
Before Lost took over our lives, William Golding’s Lord of the Flies exposed the ugly side of human nature by marooning children on a deserted island, following a plane crash. The Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts brings the Nigel Williams adaptation of this classic novel to the Toronto stage for just five nights—get tickets while you can!
You can be taken out of a war, but can you truly remove the war from within you? This question is posed in Kawa Ada’s The Wanderers, a Buddies in Bad Times production about a father and son who flee a battle-worn Afghanistan. Though they start a new life in Canada, the horrors from their homeland refuse to be left behind.
Marry Me a Little Not Quite Enough
In line with Tarragon Theatre‘s theme for it 2013/2014 season– “Love, Loss, Wine and the Gods”—the company is currently presenting two one-act plays that document the journey of two very different romantic relationships. The first, in the Tarragon Extra Space, is Duncan MacMillan’s brilliant Lungs, which receives an equally brilliant production from director Weyni Mengesha and actors Lesley Faulkner and Brendan Gall. Lungs is a touching and entertaining portrayal of a couple in love—but above all, it’s honest. It’s that honesty that the show next door in the Tarragon Mainspace, Stephen Sondheim’s song cycle Marry Me a Little, is lacking.
Lungs Is a Breath of Fresh Air
In Duncan Macmillan’s Lungs, on now at the Tarragon Theatre Extraspace, two people—a man and a woman in their late twenties to mid-thirties—stand on an empty stage and talk. They talk at each other, mostly, about themselves and about more abstract thoughts, as time shifts in the script propel them from pivotal moment to pivotal moment. It’s a style of theatre that can go wrong in an instant—but it can also produce a work that invigorates, or even inspires, a passion for the art form.
Fortunately, this one does the latter.
Scratching Our Heads Over 6 Essential Questions
Going into a play with no prior knowledge of the characters, plot, setting, or theatrical style can be a very liberating exercise—most of the time. However, for 6 Essential Questions, on now at Factory Theatre, that approach is highly discouraged.
The play is the theatrical debut of author-turned-playwright Priscila Uppal, and has been adapted from her acclaimed memoir Projection: Encounters With My Runaway Mother, which recounts a trip to Brazil during which she briefly reunited with the mother who’d abandoned her 20 years before. The play follows the same basic storyline, but that becomes clear only about halfway through the 90-minute performance. Uppal’s approach to playwriting appears to be heavy on the poetry and metaphor, and light on context and basic exposition. That can be fine, as long as the audience has a basic understanding of the world being explored, which sadly isn’t the case here.
Told through South American music and dance, Arrabal is the story of a young girl desperate to find out what happened to her father after the Argentine military made him disappear when she was just a baby. Her search leads her to the Tango clubs of Buenos Aires, where she discovers both the truth, and herself.
Bare Bones and Up Front Indie Music Series
The Toronto Centre for the Arts is stripping away the glossy layers of the music industry with their Bare Bones and Up Front Indie Music Series. Every Wednesday for eight weeks, two local musicians will be given the chance to show off their songs and skills in an intimate setting. Some of the featured acts include Rehan Dalal (March 12), Meredith Shaw (March 26), and Lindy (April 9).
New Ideas Festival
For three weeks straight, the Alumnae Theatre will be obsessing over freshness even more than your local grocery store. The New Ideas Festival is taking over for another year, bringing 15 new, developing, and experimental works to the stage. Each week of the festival, five new plays with a variety of themes will find themselves on the marquee, each one ranging from 10 to 60 minutes in length.