Summerworks Festival Toronto

Six plays to catch before SummerWorks ends

The 2011 SummerWorks Festival features a strong crop of plays from some of the city's most celebrated theatre artists. This year, there are a number of really polished and developed pieces deserving of a full house. So, for those thinking of taking in a little theatre this weekend, here are some shows to catch before this year's festival concludes.

Little One / Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace / Saturday 8:00pm, Sunday 3:00pm

Hannah Moscovitch delivers another gem to the festival that's been her launching pad. Little One is a superb play — Moscovitch has an incredible ability to manipulate ambiguity without alienating her audience. It makes for an intriguing account of the relationship shared by siblings Claire and Aaron. The script is expertly directed by Natasha Mytnowych, and both Michelle Monteith and Joe Cobden turn in strong performances. This will be the hot ticket this weekend.

Elora Gorge / The Theatre Centre / Saturday 7:30pm, Sunday 12:00pm

WIth his latest work, Christopher Stanton proves that he's a talented writer in addition to being an already accomplished director. Elora Gorge is an enthralling tale that hits the ground running from the very first monologue. The play creates a believable mystique surrounding the death of the stranger and how he mesmerizes the town's inhabitants. The real strength here is though is Stanton's directorial stamp — it's sleek, it's memorable, and it's entertaining.

The Particulars and in General / Factory Studio Theatre / Friday 3:00pm, Saturday 8:00pm

This play, in particular, is generally very good. Matthew MacKenzie has written two very excellent monologues: Liz Saunders as a church pastor recounting her visit to Africa and Simon Bracken describing an incessant scratching. The dialogue is full of rich imagery and the direction from Alex Mccooeye draws it out. Bracken's performance specifically is one of the more memorable of the festival.

The Trolley Car / Factory Studio Theatre / Saturday 12:30pm, Sunday 10:00pm

Part of the SummerWorks National Series, The Trolley Car doesn't disappoint. This love triangle is set in Paris, the most romantic city in the world. But it's more about morality than true love. With a tight script from Amiel Gladstone, good staging from director Ruth Madoc-Jones, and a score that elevates it all from Thomas Ryder Payne, this play from Vancouver may make you question your original assumptions.

White Rabbit, Red Rabbit / Theatre Centre / Saturday 5:00pm, Sunday 7:30pm

Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour's script gets a retelling by a new actor each performance in this truly unique piece of theatre. With the actor performing the play cold, their discoveries become our own. Volcano and Necessary Angel have offered up a memorable SummerWorks experience. I am sure each performance will be as engaging as the one I saw.

One / Factory Mainspace / Saturday 3:00pm, Sunday 5:00pm

Of the shows in this year's festival about Orfeus and Eurydice, this is the one to see. While it takes a while to heat up, Eric Rose directs a beautiful production of a librarian's voyage to the land of the dead. Snezana Pesic's Production Design is the standout feature and Amber Borotsik leaves it all on the stage in a physically demanding performance.

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The SummerWorks Festival runs from August 4 - 14. Visit the SummerWorks website for tickets, event times, and additional arts programming that runs throughout the festival. Download a complete SummerWorks Festival Guide to plan your own viewing schedule.

Photo of the Particulars and in General by Max B Telzerow


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