Meet Cathy and Jamie, a mid-twenties New York couple who fall in and out of love over the course of half a decade. While it doesn’t involve a groundbreaking premise, The Last Five Years chooses to tell the story of their relationship in a unique fashion: Cathy’s perspective starts from the end and works backward, while Jamie’s simultaneously moves forward chronologically. The only intersection of their narratives occurs during their wedding, at the halfway point of the play.
After a year-long hiatus, the Arabesque Dance Company has re-emerged with a new program, to debut as part of NextSteps, which will bring more than 20 belly dancers and musicians from both Toronto and Montreal to the Harbourfront stage. Sawah (Arabic for “traveller” or “wanderer”) is a combination of Eastern and Western music and dance, and brings together styles ranging from traditional to modern.
Where can you find the best of the best in Canadian burlesque and variety performance? Why, at the Burlypicks Burlesque and Variety Regional Competition, of course! Fourteen showgirls and boys from across the country will present their routines, in hopes of being chosen to compete in the 2014 Burlypicks Finals. Come out, and cheer on Toronto’s Bianca Boom Boom and St. Stella, Montreal’s Jonathan Gold, Edmonton’s Arabella Allure, and many more.
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.
“The greatest art always returns you to the vulnerabilities of the human situation.” – Francis Bacon
“In the human figure one can express more completely one’s feelings about the world than in any other way.” – Henry Moore
These quotations, which welcome visitors to “Francis Bacon and Henry Moore: Terror and Beauty,” immediately establish the exhibition’s tone and focus. Each artist’s distortions of the human figure, shaped by their wartime experiences, capture the vulnerability of our mortal forms.
A week of performing arts programming created by artists 21 and under, The Paprika Festival features readings, theatre and dance performances, and social events that aim to encourage youth involvement in the arts and foster the creation of art by young people. The festival boasts many alumni in the arts and arts-related fields, and this year’s crop of budding writers, directors, and performers may give young-at-heart attendees a glimpse of future Dora-winning work. There’s a double bill of workshopped shows each night of the week, with readings beforehand and late-night cabaret programming afterward. Over the festival’s closing weekend, the evenings turn into full days of arts events. All main-stage shows are $5; unlimited access festival passes can be purchased for $50. Many events are free of charge. For the full programming schedule, consult the festival’s website.
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.
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.
The Storefront Theatre presents two great plays for the price of one, with the Swell Broad and The Homemaker Double Bill. Set in the 1950s, Brooke Banning’s Swell Broad follows an unlikely relationship between the hopelessly romantic Stuart, and Delilah, a woman with a less-than-favourable view of love, men, and commitment. Continuing in a similar vein, Laura Anne Harris’s The Homemaker examines the life of small-town 1960s housewife Janette Pettitpas, who tells the story of her marriage—and alcoholism—though poetry, dance, puppetry, and song.
Zack and Abby are the couple that others envy—the ones who seem to have it all. But secrets hide behind the beautiful home, the loving marriage, and the promising careers. Company Theatre’s Belleville—produced in association with Canadian Stage—explores the darkness that’s revealed in this seemingly perfect relationship after Abby finds her husband at home one day when he’s supposed to be at work.
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.
The Art of Time Ensemble remounts its intriguing meditation on the letters exchanged by author John Berger and artist John Christie, I Send You This Cadmium Red. The Ensemble creates the musical soundscape, while actors Julian Richings (whom we recently profiled) and John Fitzgerald Jay read the correspondence, and Vancouver video artist Bruce Alcock provides visual projections.
We’ll bet you’ve never had a dinner party quite as interesting as this one. Mark Leith invites you to sit down with the founder of political spin, Edward Bernays; the inventor of propaganda, Dr. Joseph Goebbels; and the spearhead of the war on terror, Karl Rove—in the Act 2 Studio Works production of Dinner With Goebbels.