The annual Jane’s Walks, held on the first weekend of May, now happen in over a hundred cities around the world, cultivating urbanist Jane Jacobs’s love for the appreciation of cities and the neighbourhoods within them. The project started here in Toronto, and there are over a hundred different walks you can take across the GTA over three days, exploring urban art, green spaces and trails, architecture, local history, and more. We’ve put together some suggestions in our Jane’s Walk 2014 guide, and another good place to start would be at the launch party on Friday evening, featuring Toronto’s chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat and urban designer Ken Greenberg as featured speakers.
The Royal Ontario Museum is kicking off its 100th anniversary by relaunching its popular Friday Night Live series, with a Party of the Century, featuring musical performances by Buck 65, Maestro Fresh Wes, and Tanika Charles; a dozen different gourmet caterers, including City Gourmet and Randy’s Roti; and special gallery programming, like 15-minute tours of the museum’s attractions.
Improv comedy and theatre usually involves performers playing off each other, prompted by audience suggestions, to create a show on the spot. For this one-night-only show, Allan Turner Is All Alone, the performer better known in Toronto for his Mullet the Zombie Clown character will be doing it alone. Audience participation will play a major role: Turner is asking viewers to bring an item (or article of clothing) that will be put in a onstage “prop box” and used during the show.
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.
Every year, Playwright Project brings theatre lovers together to celebrate one deserving writer. This year, Caryl Churchill’s works will get the spotlight treatment for two weeks at The Downstage. Vinegar Tom, A Number, Drunk Enough to Say I Love You, and Three More Sleepless Nights will each be showcased several times throughout the festival.
If you’ve been looking to add more funny females to your life, your cup will overflow for three straight days thanks to the SheDot Festival. As you might guess, every performer identifies as a woman, and uses that perspective in their comedy. There will be everything from sketches to storytelling, stand-up to improv, with each of the 12 showcases dedicated to a certain theme—like sassy, LBT, and mom.
You’re likely well acquainted with the quote about not being able to please everyone all the time. It rings particularly true when it comes to the staging of well-known and loved plays. Re-inventions are almost always disappointments, which means the only real option is to present the piece exactly as it always has been… but somehow make it better (or at least just as good as the original). It’s a tricky situation—and exactly what The Lower Ossington Theatre is up against with its production of The Sound of Music.
It’s 1977, and a group of friends in England are gathering for a soirée. A pretty standard concept, that’s for sure, but Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party takes things to another level with a playful romp through the lives of these suburban socialites. Witness the hilarity and awkwardness as the hostess from hell metaphorically tears her guests to pieces.
We’re nearing the end of Tarragon Theatre‘s 2013/2014 season, and it appears we’ve also arrived at the final stage of its theme: love, loss, wine, and the gods. But that doesn’t mean the Tarragon, which has seen some major hits this year in Lungs, The Double, and The Ugly One, is phoning it in. Sean Dixon’s ambitious new script, A God in Need of Help, has produced not only one of the longer plays in the Tarragon season, but also easily the most dense and layered, mixing as it does historical fact and fiction with timeless issues of art, religion, and politics. Fortunately, that makes it the strongest mainstage show of the season thus far (we’ll see how Tarragon’s final show, The God That Comes, co-created by and featuring Hawksley Workman, performs in June).
Erin Shields’ Soliciting Temptation, premiering now at Tarragon Theatre, was highly anticipated—it’s the first new play since 2010 from the eminent female playwright, known for the Governor General Award-winning If We Were Birds. In some respects, it lives up to the hype. It deals with the difficult, often-overlooked subject of child sex tourism, and it does so thoughtfully and with nuance. The overall experience, though, is somewhat underwhelming, because the compelling ideas explored are undercut by an implausible premise.
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.
If you’re in the mood for a murder mystery with a religious twist, you’ll want to check out The Last Confession. David Suchet (Poirot) and Richard O’Callaghan star in this play about the mysterious death of Pope John Paul I in 1978. After only 33 days in office, and having warned three cardinals that they would be replaced, he is found dead. Though the Vatican refuses to open an official investigation, Cardinal Benelli goes out in search of the truth.
Most unsolicited messages from admirers to famous writers do not result in collaborations: but when Lindsay Cochrane, kindergarten teacher and English literature grad, emailed Yann Martel, the acclaimed author of Life of Pi, about adapting one of his novels into a stage play, the two ended up joining forces. The result is Cochrane’s first play, Beatrice & Virgil, on now at Factory Theatre (in a co-production with Ottawa’s National Arts Centre). With the help of director Sarah Garton Stanley, Cochrane has made an impressively valiant effort to wrangle some large, abstract, and troublesome ideas into a well-crafted work of live theatre.