I saw Marie Farsi’s adaptation for the stage of André lexis novel Fifteen Dogs at Crow’s Theatre last night. I read the book back in the fall and was impressed. It’s a clever, witty, perceptive novel and I was very curious as to how it would translate to the stage; especial since most of the characters are dogs. Bottom line, it works wonderfully well.
This was the seventh time I’ve seen Soundstream’s Electric Messiah. It’s different every time of course but some things stay, more or less, as features. The biggest change this year is the shift from the Drake Underground to Crow’s Theatre. It’s staged as a conventional proscenium arch type show with the audience sitting in tiered rows facing the stage rather than being set up night club style. There’s no bar in the actual performance space but you can still take a drink to your seat. The drinks are cheaper than at the Drake too!
Closing out November there’s Opera Revue at Castro’s this afternoon at 3pm and a couple of concerts on Wednesday. At lunchtime Wirth Prize winner Elisabeth Saint-Gelais and collaborative pianist Louise Pelletier present an intriguing looking programme in the RBA then at 7.30pm at Mazzoleni Hall the RCM’s Rebanks fellows are performing. Both are free but the Mazzoleni concert is ticketed and may be sold out.
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.
October 11th to November 6th at Crow’s Theatre it’s Rajiv Joseph’s Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. “During the chaos of the 2003 American occupation of Iraq the lives of two American marines intersect with an Iraqi gardener as they search through the rubble of war for friendship, redemption, and a toilet seat made of gold.”
October 26th at 8pm at Koerner Hall Philippe Jaroussky is appearing with Ensemble Artaserse. It’s a rare chance to hear somewhat controversial countertemor Jaroussky sing with orchestra in an ideal venue. The concert includes works by a range of baroque composers. Some of the material is relatively familiar; “Cara sposa” from Rinaldo for example, but much is by less well known composers such as Hasse and Ferrandini. Artaserse Ensemble is a leading period instrument band that, besides Jaroussky, has appeared with such singers as Cecilia Bartoli and Andreas Scholl.
October 27th – 30th at Alliance Française it’s Tapestry’s Tapestry Briefs: Les Shorts qui chantent. This will showcase scenes created at the very first bi-lingual LibLab. Direction is by Tim Albery.
October 26th to November 12th at Hart House Theatre, Howland Company and Hart House Theatre have a modern adaptation by Paolo Santalucia of Chekhov’s Three Sisters.
November 3rd at 5.30pm it’s Centre Stage at the Four Season’s Centre, live for the first time in a while. It’s the usual format; cocktails and snacks, a competition for aspiring voices and, for the well heeled, an on-stage dinner.
If you are buying tickets look out for deals. There’s a fair bit of discounting going on. Some shows have clearly sold very well but others not so much. The post pandemic bounce back looks a bit anaemic right now.
The Shape of Home is a show about the life and works of Al Purdy currently being presented by the Festival Players in the Studio Theatre at the Streetcar Crowsnest. Actually I think it’s about a lot more than Al Purdy. It does tell his story and use his poems as song material but in the creative process something a bit magical happened. It was created during lockdown using Zoom with the creator/participants messaging back and forth with ideas, snippets of songs and (mostly dark) thoughts. The creative process must have been gruelling and at times disheartening but the final result is a show of high energy, and humour. But above all it’s life and art affirming. Performed in the tiny Studio Theatre it’s also very intimate. For the first time since the theatres reopened I felt I had got my old life back.
From September 11th to 25th Crow’s Theatre has a show; The Shape of Home: Songs in Search of Al Purdy. This is a sort of staged song cycle exploring the words and ideas of “Canada’s unofficial poet laureate”.
Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya is the sort of play that makes one wonder why the Russian Revolution didn’t happen much sooner. If the land owning class were living such miserable lives it must have been absolute hell for the peasants. Maybe they just couldn’t afford a guillotine? Anyway it’s playing at Crow’s Theatre right now in a production directed by Chris Abraham which runs until October 2nd.
It’s still pretty quiet but there are some things still going on:
August 16th to 20th, the National Ballet has free performances at Harbourfront incorporating a number of partners and an eclectic mix of dance styles. Details.
August 28th at pm in the Music Garden at Harbourfront Lawrence Wiliford and PhoeNX Ensemble are performing Alec Roth’s Songs in Time of War. This one is free and outdoors so “weather permitting”. Continue reading →