Theatre Passe Muraille , opened in 1968 by a group of Rochdale College students here in Toronto, gained its truest form in the 1970s under the Artistic Directorship of Paul Thompson, who guided the company towards a distinctive style of collective creation with plays such as The Farm Show. The play had Toronto actors going into Clinton, Ontario, and staying, working and trying to capture the life of the farmers of the town. They presented the play to the farmers and toured it to other towns eventually bringing it back to Toronto. The style was based on the groups collective creation of ideas that each company member would bring in from their experiences. Theatre Passe Murraille became the foremost alternative theatre in the city that gleaned its works from this very style.
This week's theatre picks include a revival of a classic, a revival of a soon to be classic, and a first time for a possible future classic. Boy, that just jumps right off the tongue, don't it? Go see these ones, they are definitely well worth it.
Dying To be sick - Molière's piece gets a pretty strong outing here under the healm of director Brendan Healy, adapted by John Van Burek and former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. Pleiades Theatre brings us the adaptation about a man who thrives on his ill health and the control over his family he thinks it gives him. Very very funny!!! Runs to Nov 4 at the Theatre Centre.
The Real McCoy - Andrew Moodie's play about Elijah McCoy, who was uncredited with his many inventions (hence the term the Real McCoy), was such a great success in its first run a couple years ago that Factory Theatre is bringing it back for another run. It's a great way to begin mythologizing Canadian character with a great Canadian play about a great Canadian man. Runs to Nov 4.
East of Berlin - by Hannah Moscovitch Tarragon Theatre. A fathers' war crime past comes back to haunt him and his son.. Come see the hottest playwright in Toronto today. Runs to Nov 25.
The production fuses movement and text in an exciting way to keep the story interesting and more importantly, clear for audiences. Visual imagery helps to fill in gaps that sometimes can get confusing when passions speed through moments. Another important point is Jain's obvious attempt to connect to his audience and give them a new understanding of Shakespeare's classic piece.
"Theatre is something for everyone", Jain says, "..it is about stories and imagination. It should be able to include everyone, and provoke our imaginations, thoughts and ideas. It should also be fun, like a magic show. Theatre is a dialogue, a conversation."
Here are three:
Sign Language : One Yellow Rabbit performer Denise Clarke's solo show that combines movement, dance, music and words. Runs to Oct 6 at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts .
The Marriage Of Figaro: Mozart's piece is a wonderful comic opera that is getting a lot of attention over the last few days leading up to its opening. And hey, don't you just want to see the new theatre yet? Runs to Nov 2 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts and brought to you by the Canadian Opera Company.
The Drowsy Chaperone : The show that cleaned house at the Tony's last year and was the toast of Broadway is coming home for its big Canadian premiere. Mirvish finally gets a competitor who's not a criminal ( ooh bad Drabinsky pun... bad Jack) in the form of Dancap Productions. Runs to October 14th.
Morris Panych's piece about how 'a little generosity goes a long way' gets its premiere this week at Tarragon Theatre Runs to Oct 27.
Theatre Jones Roy takes a look at injustices in Indian society's in their newest offering at the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace. Runs to September 30th.
The Memory of Water :
Shelagh Stephenson's award-winning dark comedy about funeral foley in the family gets a staging at the Alumnae Theatre. Runs to October 13th.
Anyway. As the new season rolls around the corner, here are a few new productions hoping to get a head start on what promises to be an exciting year with many new and great shows.
April 14, 1912:
Theatre Rusticle in association with Harbourfront Centre presents a true story inspired by the life of Harold Bride, Second Marconi Officer on RMS Titanic. As the 95th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic approaches, this award-winning ensemble embarks on an expressionistic, ghostly journey, weaving together eye-witness accounts and lighting and installation with Theatre Rusticle's celebrated and inimitable physical style.