Toronto Theatre

This Week in Theatre: War Horse, free as injuns, The Campbell House Story, Small Room at the Top of the Stairs, Obeah Opera

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.

War Horse / Princess of Wales Theatre / 7:30pm/1:30pm / $35-$100+
Possibly the most anticipated show of 2012, evidenced by a robust marketing campaign from Mirvish, War Horse is set to dazzle audiences with the life-sized puppets of South Africa's Handspring Puppet Company. After highly successful runs in London and New York, a play like this only comes along a few times each decade. With the release of the film, helmed by Steven Spielberg, anticipation for this debut couldn't be any higher. The show has been running in extended previews, but the official opening is this Tuesday.

free as injuns / Buddies in Bad Times / 8:00pm/2:30pm / $18
A co-production between Native Earth Performing Arts and Buddies, Tara Beagan's free as injuns is a retelling of the American classic Desire Under the Elms by Eugene O'Neill. Featuring the story of Even Cabot and his struggle to reclaim his late mother's land from the hands of his father, it's the one of the most ambitious projects of the Native Earth season. Buddies is a natural partner for the production and the show should build on its previous success with The Maids and The Normal Heart.

The Campbell House Story / Campbell House Museum / 7:00pm/9:00pm / $20
It's rare for a play to take place in the Museum for which it's named. In what promises to be an exciting project from Single Thread Theatre Company, a walking-tour of the Campbell House Museum unearths an 1827 conflict that threatens to topple the government of Upper Canada. Featured characters include Chief Justice William Campbell, William Lyon Mackenzie and, of course, the house that was the setting for these landmark Toronto moments. Audiences should be prepared to move around indoors; The Campbell House Story is an interactive show.

The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs / Tarragon Theatre / 8:00pm/2:30pm / $21-$24
Opening this week, Tarragon offers the English premiere of Carole FrĂŠchette's newest drama. The 2002 Siminovitch winner presents a story about Grace, a woman who has been mysteriously banned from entering the small room at the top of the stairs by her new husband. Will Grace defy her beau and turn the doorknob? Is her husband's own Bertha Rochester hiding in the small room? FrĂŠchette has had incredible success with English premieres at Tarragon (The Four Lives of Marie, Elisa's Skin, John and Beatrice and Helen's Necklace), so it'll be interesting to get a look at her newest work.

Obeah Opera / 918 Bathurst Centre / 8:00pm/2:00pm / $25-$30
The women silenced by the most infamous 'witch-hunt' in history, the Salem witch trials, is the subject of this Caribbean themed opera. The play follows a collection of Caribbean women, Tituba included, who were imported as slaves to the colony of Salem. The women are subsequently arrested and accused of practicing obeah, a healing art mistaken for witchcraft. The opera features a cast of fifteen performers singing acapella. It runs at the 918 Bathurst Centre until March 4.

Image from War Horse

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