Next Stage Theatre Festival preview 2013
Your first theatre festival of 2013 comes courtesy of the Toronto Fringe, who launch their annual Next Stage Festival this week. The twelve-day affair features ten shows spread throughout the three stages of Factory Theatre. With these productions chosen from some of the best independent theatre in the city, the calibre of the shows is strong and the beer tent will be bustling. Here are some of the most exciting on offer in 2013.
Awake / Expect Theatre & Spark Collective / Factory Theatre Mainspace
Inspired by interviews with gang members, police officers, and families who have lost children, Awake explores the devastating effects of gun violence on communities touched by tragedy. Combining hip-hop with church hymns, the show features a cast of six who sing, dance, and alternate between characters. Set at the funeral of a victim of gun violence, the Walmer Baptist Church provided a fitting setting during its Fringe run in 2011.
The Peace Maker / Pomme Grenade Productions / Factory Theatre Mainspace
A production that has traveled its way through Toronto's new play development circles (TPM's Buzz Festival, Nightwood's Write from the Hip, and The Harold Green Jewish Theatre's In the Beginning Festival), Natasha Greenblatt's The Peace Maker considers a woman's struggle to bring compromise to Israel and Palestine during peacekeeping efforts in the Middle East. Directed by Jennifer Brewin, the show features Sam Kalileh, Michael Rubenfeld, and Razi Shawhadi.
Pitch Blond / Convection Productions / Factory Theatre Antechamber
A fringe darling from festivals across the country, Pitch Blond documents the testimony of actress Judy Holliday, who was called before Senator McCarthy's House Committee on Un-American Activities. Appearing in the Factory Theatre Antechamber, the play is being performed as a 30 minute version of its original 60 minute production. Laura Anne Harris wrote the show and stars as the Oscar-winning actress.
Post Eden / Suburban Beast / Factory Theatre Studio
A twist on the conventions of verbatim theatre, Jordan Tannahill's Post Eden combines interview material from residents of the Richmond Hill street of Neighbourly Lane with elements of a multi-media fantasia. The result is a highly unique, surrealist take on life in suburbia. Sascha Cole, Lindsey Clark, and Kevin Walker star in the tale, in which a girl exhumes the dog buried in her backyard in an attempt to combat a family curse.
Sudden Death / Pyretic Productions / Factory Theatre Mainspace
With the NHL lockout threatening to cancel the entirety of the season, the business of professional hockey continues to steal the spotlight away from the talents of the game's players. Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman examines another recent and controversial hockey topic, the role of the "enforcer" in the wake of the deaths of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, and Wade Belak. She considers the last night of enforcer John "Rambo" Kordic (Tony Nappo) who played for seven seasons in the NHL before dying of a drug overdose in 1992.
With Love and a Major Organ / QuestionMark-Exclamation Theatre / Factory Theatre Studio
Julia Lederer's With Love and a Major Organ was a sold-out highlight of this past summer's Fringe Festival. Under direction from Andrew Lamb, the playwright's unique brand of comedy proved to be a hit with audiences. The play follows three hopeless romantics on their quest to find answers — Anabel offers her heart to a man she meets on the subway, George has trouble escaping the romantic comedies that distract him, and Mona resorts to GoogleShrink and speed dating.
The Next Stage Theatre Festival runs from January 2-13. Visit the Toronto Fringe Festival website for tickets, venue information, and the complete festival lineup.
Photo from Awake