This Week in Theatre: Needles and Opium, God of Carnage, Gay Heritage Project, Sacrifice Zone, Hi-Fi
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.
Needles and Opium / Bluma Appel Theatre / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $24-$79
A Robert Lepage production is once again on offer and that's reason enough to celebrate. What's more is that the Canadian Stage production is a contemporary retake on Needles and Opium, which originally premiered in 1991. Lepage revisits the journey of Parisian filmmaker Jean Cocteau who is en route to spend time with jazzman Miles Davis. In true visual brilliance, no doubt, Lepage traces the creative genius' struggle with displacement and drug addiction.
God of Carnage / Panasonic Theatre / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $19-$69
Yasmina Reza's play, presented in English translation by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Christopher Hampton, swept up a host of awards (Tony, Laurence Olivier Award) upon its premiere in 2008. Featuring wicked-sharp dialogue and fleshed-out character sketches, the play zeros in on two couples who sit down to hash out what to do after their children are involved in a playground incident. The play adheres to the Aristotelian unities of action, place, and time in its study of what sets us off.
The Gay Heritage Project / Buddies in Bad Times / 8:00pm/2:30pm / $20-$37
Historically, cultures grow and strengthen as the stories that bind a group together are told and re-told, forming a foundational mythology of sorts. Gay culture faces a challenge to this model due to the scattering of its "members" across the globe. Buddies in Bad Times artists Damien Atkins, Paul Dunn, and Andrew Kushnir take up a noble cause, an attempt to trace a gay heritage through a look at the figures and movements that led the way to and continue to strive towards social acceptance.
The Sacrifice Zone / Factory Theatre / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $19-$25
Theatre Gargantua's newest piece, amidst the backdrop of numerous train derailments in Canada, is a timely exploration of the destruction caused by an industrial explosion in a rural community. The ensemble uses physical performance and visual elements to consider individual, corporate, and environmental roles and responsibilities during a time of crisis. Director Jacquie P.A. Thomas and playwright Suzie Miller, who met while working on a Lepage project, have collaborated on the new work.
Hi-Fi / Dancemakers Centre for Creation / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $20-$25
The resident company dancers at Dancemakers are using the Rite of Spring as inspiration for their recently created, Hi-Fi. The group re-edits the Wikipedia description of Stravinsky's ballet, originally choreographed by Nijinsky, to describe their exploration thusly: "[in] various contemporary rituals celebrating the advent of something new, nine young people consented to sacrifice themselves into a history of sorts."
Still from Needles and Opium