This Week in Theatre: Dusk Dances, The Sunshine Boys, A History of Forgetting, Beirut, The Fatal Gazogene
This week in theatre rounds up the most noteworthy live theatre playing right now in Toronto. It includes just-opened shows as well as productions that are about to close.
Dusk Dances / Withrow Park / 7:30pm / PWYC
One of my favourite summer arts experiences is Dusk Dances, a company that's been touring their programme for 18 seasons. After enjoying live music from community performers, audiences are taken throughout the park to sample a diverse selection of energetic and upbeat dance pieces. The experience is enriched as the crowd swells with on-lookers that join in the fun. This week the show travels to Withrow Park.
The Sunshine Boys / Soulpepper - Young Centre / 8:00pm/2:00m / $22-$68
Neil Simon's The Sunshine Boys returns us to the traditions of old vaudeville. Al Lewis and Willy Clark, a twosome known as Lewis and Clark, performed comedy together for over forty years before growing an incredible disdain for one another. When an opportunity to reunite for a comedy special on CBS presents itself, the two comedians come together for one final performance. The production features Oliver Dennis, Quancetia Hamilton, John Jarvis, Eric Peterson, Jordan Pettle, Kenneth Welsh, Sarah Wilson and Tim Ziegler.
A History of Forgetting / Dufferin Grove Park / 7:00pm/2:00pm / PWYC
Clay & Paper Theatre presents productions in which puppets meet public space. Their latest piece, The History of Forgetting, examines why and how we forget the acts that define our collective humanity. Partially inspired by work done with Baycrest seniors, writers David Anderson and Krista Dalby explore the mechanisms that drive our memory through poetry, song, vignettes, and dance.
Beirut / Unit 102 Theatre / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $20-$25
Alan Bowne's Beirut is set in a stark and disturbing time. After a fatal disease erupts across the United States, those infected are quarantined in a run down part of New York nicknamed Beirut. For couple Torch and Blue, the quarantine and the ensuing ban on intimate contact stand in the way of their love. This looks to be a gritty, raw, and sexually-charged production right at home in a summer heat wave.
The Fatal Gazogene / Campbell House Museum / 8:30pm / $20
The Fatal Gazogene, which also goes under the title Passion, Poison, and Petrifaction, was written in 1905 by George Bernard Shaw. The playwright refers to the work as a brief tragedy. His note in a 1931 edition of the play is too good not to share: "As it is extremely difficult to find an actor capable of eating a real ceiling, it will be convenient in performance to substitute the tops of old wedding cake for bits of plaster. There is but little difference in material between the two substances; but the taste of the wedding cake is considered more agreeable by many."
Photo of Dusk Dances by Cylla von Tiedemann