The Birds, by Bygone Theatre currently playing at Hart House Theatre is loosely based on the du Maurier short story and the subsequent Hitchcock film. The idea, the script and the direction are all the work of Emily Dix. The concept, building on the uncertainties of the Trump era and COVID is to explore “how do you explain to someone outside of a crisis the things you did to survive it? How do you justify to the world, and eventually, even yourself, what “crazy” things you did, completely necessary and justified at the time, when afterwards much of the world seems determined to pretend that crisis never existed?” (Director’s Notes). I’m not sure it really does that.
A version of Chekhov’s Three Sisters opened last night in a collaboration between Hart House Theatre and the Howland Company. It’s described as “Adapted and directed by Paolo Santalucia after Chekhov” . What this means is that is given a contemporary Canadian setting with changed character names and so forth. The structural purpose of each scene, pretty much each speech, remains the same but the words are not a literal translation. And, Alex Vershinin is a woman lieutenant colonel in the RCAF which gives a very different spin to her “affair” with Masha.
I guess when events are just too horrible to treat any differently one makes a comedy out of them. The aftermath of the US led invasion of Iraq certainly fits that category and Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, currently being performed by Modern Times Stage Company at the Streetcar Crowsnest, is as black a comedy as you will likely ever see. It’s also very difficult to write about without major spoilers.