Digital edition of the annual concert from The Musical Stage Co.

Available until Dec. 6, 2020.

Musical supervision, arrangements and orchestrations by Reza Jacobs

Video Direction by Victoria Barber

Videography by Fred Yurichuk

Cast: Divine Brown

Dillan Chiblow

Bruce Dow

Sara Farb

Eva Foote

Hailey Gillis

Raha Javanfar

Germaine Konji

Stewart Adam McKensy

Andrew Penner

Kale Penny

Jackie Richardson

Musicians: Jamie Drake

Justin Grey

Reza Jacobs

The Musical Stage Company’s Artistic Director, Mitchell Marcus, believes ‘it’s better with music.’ No argument there. You can say difficult things with music and somehow it’s easier to deal with or there is an edge that is more effective. Think of anything in Caroline, or Change (a huge hit for the company last year) and you get the idea.

The Musical Stage Company has always given a yearly concert devoted to the song book of an artist or two. The pandemic required that Mitchell Marcus rethink his original plans for a live concert at Koerner Hall that would feature the songs of Elvis Presley and Dolly Parton. What was needed in these challenging times were songs “of change, hope, reflection and inspiration.” And so the works of Elton John, Bob Marley, Carole King, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens, Leonard Cohen and Billie Holiday, among others, were selected for the company’s first ever digital concert: UNCOVERED: NOTES FROM THE HEART.

Each singer was filmed at a Toronto location singing their song. (The song was also recorded in a studio). It’s fun to try and name where the location is. (The digital programme tells you where each location is). Each singer was involved in many aspects of the concert and not just singing. They were involved in the arrangements and even in the video recording. Can I assume that they also picked the place they wanted to sing the song? Sounds logical.

At the beginning of each segment the singer explains why the song appeals to them, what it means to them. These comments add a personalized  aspect to the impeccable singing and interpretation.  Andrew Penner sang “Peace Train” by Cat Stevens at The Toronto Railway Museum. His guitar accompaniment was energetic, his singing impassioned.

Bruce Dow illuminates a sense of despair mixed with hope in “Everybody Hurts” by R.E.M. Hailey Gillis is filmed on Centre Island, during summer. She sings Leonard Cohen meditative ballad “Hallelujah. There seems to be a story there as well: she is quickly writing in a notebook; she then wades into the water and sends the page she was writing on into the water to float away. What it means is a mystery but Gillis sings the song beautifully with plaintive emotion. Jackie Richardson lends her larger than life, joyful personality to Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” as she walks around the Barry Zukerman Amphitheatre.

The whole cast and musicians sing Elton John’s “Mona Lisas and Mad Hatters” obviously on a chilly fall day in front of The Royal Conservatory of Music—the concert would have been held there in Koerner Hall.

Perhaps the most poignant interpretation of a song is by Sara Farb beautifully singing Jann Arden’s “Good Mother. Farb begins to sing the song in what looks like a tree house in a large backyard. A woman stands in the yard as Farb approaches her. This is obviously Farb’s own mother. Then Sara Farb does what all of us are aching to do to someone we love but can’t because of pandemic precautions, she hugs her. In a sense Farb is hugging her for all of us.

Mitchell Marcus is such a gifted, creative artistic thinker. He has successfully guided the Musical Stage Company to produce many provocative, challenging live musicals and the Uncovered Concerts. It’s to his great credit that he adapted to the new (temporary?) technological world and worked to create the UNCOVERED concert as a filmed work. He engaged Victoria Barber, Video Director and Fred Yurichuk, Videographer, both of whom have created trailer videos to publicize the concerts and musicals for the Musical Stage Company. Here’s where I have a problem.

I can appreciate that a trailer, be it for a film or a concert etc., has to grab the audience’s attention quickly and give them a sense of the film or musical event etc. The filming is complex, often cutting away from shot after shot to create the effect. I appreciate it’s artful filming. But when all that jumpy filming then goes into creating  the film of the event itself, then something gets lost. In too many cases what got lost with UNCOVERED: NOTES FROM THE HEART was in fact the song or at least the message of it.

Rarely was the camera still and focused on the singer. It seemed always to be moving. Divine Brown played her guitar and sang “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley with the camera circling her, leaving the background of Riverdale Park East a blur teasing us to wonder where we were. One wished the camera would just focus and let us listen to her sing.

Raha Javanfar sang “The Times They Are a Changing” by Bob Dylan walking in Graffiti Alley.  At one point Victoria Barber directed Fred Yurichuk to film Javanfar as if he was bent over at 90 degrees and looked sideways at her. And then followed that shot with one in which Raha Javanfar looked like she was upside down. How does this in anyway serve the song or the singer? Too often I was aware of the efforts of the filming because it pulled focus from the singer and the song and not enhanced them. Again, the most effective example of the power of simple filming was Sara Farb singing “Good Mother.”

I appreciate the effort, attention to musical detail and the musicianship of the whole endeavor of UNCOVERED: NOTES FROM THE HEART. But the busy, focus-pulling camera-work was maddening. I found I listened to a lot of this concert with my eyes closed. I don’t think that’s a good thing.

Produced by The Musical Stage Company.

The concert is available for streaming until December 19.

Tickets: https://musicalstagecompany.ticketspice.com

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Heads up for the week of Nov. 16-22.

Monday, Nov. 16.

UNTIL THE FLOOD

Written and performed by Dael Orlandersmith

Streaming from the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis

About the death of Michael Brown in Fergus, Missouri. Absolutely devastating and every single person should see it.

https://allarts.org/programs/all-arts-performance-selects/until-the-flood-wtcesv

Monday, Nov. 16                  

Macbeth

Streaming. Starring Patrick Steward and Kate Fleetwood.

Directed by Rupert Goold

Mr. Goold fiddled with some scenes in his modern dress production. My favourite bit was when Mac went into an industrial sized refrigerator for a piece of chocolate cake. Interesting.  

https://www.broadwayworld.com/article/VIDEO-Patrick-Stewart-MACBETH-Streaming-Now-from-PBS-GREAT-PERFORMANCES-20200512

Monday, Nov. 16 at 7:30 pm

Streamed from the Red Bull Theatre, the same good people who brought us AMERICAN MOOR.

THE COURAGE TO RIGHT A WOMAN’S WRONGS 
VALOR, AGRAVIO Y MUJER
by ANA CARO
Directed by Melia Bensussen
Presented in association with Diversifying the Classics | UCLA
THIS Monday, November 16, 2020
7:30 PM EST | LIVESTREAM
Presented in a brand new English language translation, The Courage to Right a Woman’s Wrongs is a comedy of wild intrigue and lively ingenuity in which Leonor crosses geographical boundaries and defies social expectations of gender in order to bring her fickle lover to justice and restore her lost honor. Through this stirring tale of a woman’s courage to right the wrongs she has suffered, the play holds up to the scrutiny of contemporary notions of masculine honor and offers in their place a vision that opens up space for women and their agency. The livestream benefit reading will feature Anita Castillo-Halvorssen, Helen Cespedes, Natascia Diaz, Carson Elrod, Anthony Michael Martinez, Sam Morales, Alfredo Narciso, Ryan Quinn, Luis Quintero, and Matthew Saldivar. This presentation is included as part of LA ESCENA 2020, Los Angeles’s Festival of Hispanic Classical Theater. 
GET FREE TICKETS

Tues. Nov. 17. 6:00 pm

Streamed reading from Nightwood Theatre

Groundswell Festival.


The Bridge by Pesch Nepoose*
Captioned reading

Directed by Cole Alvis

Cast: Joelle Peters
With the presence of Traditional Support Worker Jenny Blackbird

A young Indigenous woman grapples with loss, love, longing and loneliness in this personal and poetic one-woman-show. The Bridge offers a searching meditation on suicide and memory.

Content warning: self harm, substance use, sexual assault/content and suicide
Run time: 75 minutes

Thurs. Nov. 19, 2020. 7:30 pm

Live streamed from Factory Theatre.

an act of faith by David Yee

Directed by Nina Lee Aquino.

Admission for acts of faith is free of charge, however, audiences will have to register in advance to secure a spot for their preferred performance night. Register here: https://www.factorytheatre.ca/shows/acts-of-faith/


To kick off our all-digital 20/21 Season, Factory proudly presents the world premiere of acts of faith, by multi-award winning Asian Canadian playwright David Yee, Directed by Nina Lee Aquino, and starring Natasha Mumba. Written specifically to be performed for a digital platform, acts of faith will stream live to audiences at home for six performances, November 19 – 28, 2020 @ 7:30PM. Thanks to the generous support of the TD Bank Group, admission is being offered entirely free of charge to audiences across the country and beyond.

acts of faith tells a story about the power of faith, the inescapable persistence of our online identities, and the nature of truth in the digital age. The story follows Faith, a young woman who gets mistaken for a prophet. When a questionable religious leader attempts to take advantage of her, she begins using her ‘gift’ to right wrongs and punish the wicked. As her spiritual notoriety grows, her own faith gradually erodes, driving her away from her home, the church, and all the secrets those places hold. Her quest for truth amidst an overabundance of facts and faiths is a timely meditation on how we construct our realities and how the things we have faith in are so easily believed, while almost effortlessly falsified. Far from home, Faith will come up against the ultimate test of her beliefs, her resolve…and the extraordinary questions of who, what, and why we forgive.

Information on how to access the live streamed performance will be sent out to registered audience members 24 hours prior to the performance. acts of faith will be performed for six nights – November 19, 20, 21 & 26, 27, 28 @ 7:30PM. Each show will be performed live and will be streamed to registered audiences members watching from home via our website.

Friday, Nov. 20 at 7:30.

Streamed reading from Studio 180

Check the website for registration info at www.studio180.com

My Sister’s Rage by
Yolanda Bonnell

FALL 2020 – IN DEVELOPMENT

WARNING: Family, fury and a hunger for reconciliation.   We come from a long line of m’iingan kwe” With their Matriarch on her way to the spirit world, a family comes together on their reservation and in the hospital to be with her. A story about grief, love, laughter, rage and the brilliant strength of Indigenous women and their families, fighting to be seen and fumbling towards their healing.

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The wonderful Bob West

I’ve spoken and written very often of my lovely friend Bob West. I met Bob in the summer of 1977.  He was the Company Manager for Side by Side by Sondheim that played the Royal Alexander Theatre. It was a Sondheim review that began in London, England and did a stint in Toronto.

I was anxious to see it because Georgia Brown was in it. She was in the first show I ever saw, Oliver, at the then O’Keefe Centre. She was sick that day and I was miffed. It was my first time going to a theatre, she should have been there. Side By Side By Sondheim also had Liz Robertson in the cast. While I didn’t know her, I had seen her in London in A Little Night Music starring Jean Simmons two years before.

I delivered a letter of introduction to Liz at the Royal Alex, with my traditional Tootsie Pop. We met in person after I saw the show. She knew who I was because I would send a bag of Tootsie Pops to Jean Simmons every month of her London stint. She put them on the steps leading to the dressing rooms with a note: “From Lynn Slotkin, our Canadian friend.” That was the beginning of our friendship. She introduced me to Georgia Brown. I told her the story of seeing Oliver but she was not there. “Where were you?” I asked. “She thought a bit, “I was sick.” (she rarely was so she remembered.)

I was invited often to go for drinks with them after the show. I had a car. They introduced me to the Mai Tai. They had a party for Bob’s birthday (July 2). I was invited and offered to make the cake. Liz was also going to New York to audition for a show that was slated for London and remember giving her a hunk of the cake in a piece of paper for the journey. I can’t actually remember meeting Bob during that summer stint of Side By Side….  But from then on my life was intertwined with that of Bob and Liz and the others I met along the way. We kept in close touch. I saw them every trip I made to London, initially that was every summer to coincide with Bob’s birthday.  When I was in London I would call Bob every morning from my hotel to catch up and make plans for a coffee or a meal or theatre.

Bob’s Early Days

After we knew each other for a long time Bob told me, “I was conceived in a hay loft.” I said that should be the first line of his autobiography. If anyone should have written a book about working in the theater, it was Bob West.  

Before he went into the theatre Bob worked for his father, a greengrocer, who sold his produce from a cart in Islington. Bob wanted to be in show business. He tried out as a singer and sang at the Palladium.

He was very efficient in organizing ‘things’ and came to the attention of Matt Monro, a wonderful British singer with a smooth, crooner voice. It happened that both Bob and Matt Monro were on the bill of the same variety show in Blackpool. During the show Mr. Monro asked: “Hey, Westie, can you drive? It seems Mr. Monro had tripped, fallen and broke his arm and needed someone to drive his Cadillac back to London and Bob was it. That was the beginning of their friendship.  Eventually it was decided that Bob would be the perfect tour manager for Matt Monro. Bob did that for six years, even going to South Africa with him and gave suggestions for his show there. Bob said that they were promised that Mr. Monro would be able to sing for a mixed audience. That was not true, so they found a large cinema and did a performance there for only Blacks. Monro entered from the back of the theatre singing “Born Free.” Woow. Pandemonium. He had to do it three times because the song was piped into the streets where a huge crowd had gathered (the performance was sold-out but people still wanted to hear him). 

Bob became the ‘go-to-guy’ for information on Matt Monro. Documentaries, newspaper articles, profiles, tv shows—Bob was always consulted and interviewed. He never gossiped. He always told the truth. 

Eventually Bob moved on from working with Matt Monro and began working for an up and coming fire-cracker of a producer named Cameron Mackintosh. Bob began working for Cameron in the 1970s as a stage manager, then a company manager then a production coordinator etc.  Bob had a knack for quietly, quickly solving problems, never losing his temper and just being a calm, reassuring presence in the mad world of the theatre. As he would say to me often, ‘just get on with it, Deeah’. (That ‘Deeah’ was not a posh ‘Deeaaah’ but a working class ‘Deeah’)

Bob continued working for Cameron until he retired about 21 years ago. Cameron so appreciated Bob’s contribution to the theatre that he arranged for Bob to be awarded a Special Olivier Award for Services to the Theatre in 2018. It took pride of place on Bob’s mantle. But he kept the award covered so it wouldn’t get dusty. And yes, I’ve picked it up and boy is it heavy.

Uncle Bob

Bob was absolutely beloved in the theatre and was known and referred to by almost everybody as “Uncle Bob” because he took care of everybody like a loving uncle would. (Interestingly, I never referred to him as that).

If I was in the West End with him, on our way for a coffee, perhaps a five-minute walk, the journey would take an hour because he knew everybody IN THE STREET! Young actors on their way to a show got this greeting as he stood in front of them and said: “Hello young man! Or young lady!” “UNCLE BOB!!” They would reply and he’d introduce me and they would chat about what the young actor was doing. He gave advice freely when asked. He encouraged all the time. Bob would talk to royalty, Cameron Mackintosh and the stage door keeper of any theatre in the West End in exactly the same way, with respect and consideration.

Young actors trying out shows at some cabaret after their evening performance would ask him to come and see it and offer advice. He often took me. I loved the adoration these young talents (and often not so young talents) showed him. He would sit watching the show: his head cocked to the left, his right arm folded across his chest, and his left arm folded up, resting on the right hand, with the index finger of his left hand perpendicular over his lips; watching with a loving, keen eye. Every suggestion he gave was given with kindness and respect and they were always thoughtful and helpful. The advice was accepted that way too.

He would see talent and know how important it was to give a young talent a chance. I learned in the past year that the wonderful Maria Friedman had unsure moments about her career and her abilities and Bob reassured her. She never forgot that and told him so the last time he went to see her perform.

He was not a push-over mind you. He could speak up and put people in their place. I was told he gave Elaine Paige a talking to and respectfully told her off. He had a lot of time for Patti LuPone because when he worked with her on Les Misérables in London he found her to be totally professional. It seems that people had trouble with that. Bob didn’t. He liked Ms. LuPone. I bought her autobiography for Bob and through a complicated process of getting the book to Patti, she signed the book to him and then mailed it to Bob in the stamped envelope I provided. He was chuffed at that.

While Bob never seemed to lose his cool his patience was often tried. He told me that for one show a young chorus boy had come back from his vacation and Bob saw him going to his dressing room:

Bob: “Oi, what’s that?”

Chorus Boy: “What?”

Bob: “That! On your skin?”

(Pause)

Chorus Boy, brightly: “Oh, that’s a tan, Uncle Bob. I had my vacation in Ibiza.”

Bob: “Right? You’re playing a street urchin in Oliver in Dickensian London with smog and fog all the time. You never see the sun and you have a tan from your vacation in Ibiza.”

The young man finally saw the problem.

Bob: “Ok, off you go to ‘whiten up.’ And he rolled his eyes in disbelief (with a quiet: “Dear oh dear oh dear,”  but not so as the young man would see.

Another time he got a frantic call from a young man in the show:

Bob: “Where are you? It’s past the half-hour call?”

Young Man: “Uncle Bob, Uncle Bob, I’m stuck on the other side of the Gay Pride Parade and I can’t get to the theatre!”

Bob: (sigh) “Well join the parade and make your way to the theatre as fast as you can.”

It wasn’t always young people in the shows he worked who gave him pause. On another musical one of the stars of the show called him and said she would not be in because she had to go to her doctor. The person was a bit of a fragile soul. After some talking and coaxing Bob found out that yes indeed she did feel she had to go to her doctor. But her doctor was in New York and the show she was in was in London! And she said she would be back in a week.

It’s times like these Bob would also say: “The world’s gone mad, Deeah.”

I got a great theatre education from Bob.

I always went to London for my summer vacation to coincide with Bob’s birthday, July 2. Before he retired, he was always working on a show so I would go to his theatre after I saw my show, to wait for him backstage and then go for a drink or for him to drive me to my hotel. The world backstage is completely different from the supposed glitz and glamour of the theatre. Backstage is cramped, dusty, sometimes dingy, grungy, sometimes crowded with actors rushing on and off stage going to and from their dressing rooms etc. From my perspective it was polite, civil, kind, professional, accommodating and respectful.  

This was so true as I watched Bob at work in a theatre talking to the actors or crew. Whether they were coming in or leaving for the night I heard a chorus of: “Hi, Uncle Bob.”  “Night, Uncle Bob”. “Night Uncle Bob,” “Night Bob”.

With Miss Saigon one of the effects was that a ‘life-sized’ helicopter would ‘fly’ into the scene complete with all the attendant effects of a helicopter landing, land and then take on the people trying to escape Saigon. That is if the helicopter worked. At one point the helicopter was out of commission for three months. They created the same effect of the helicopter landing and taking off, with lighting, huge fans, noise and ‘acting.’ The audience couldn’t tell the difference.  This is the magic of theatre: to convince the audience they were watching what they thought they were watching.

Bob worked on The Phantom of the Opera with Harold Prince and Bob said it was the best eight weeks of his working life. He appreciated Prince’s abilities and vision for that show, and Mr. Prince, I would guess, appreciated Bob’s professionalism to make sure that vision was realized.

Bob talked about The Phantom of the Opera with such enthusiasm I could hardly wait to see it. It was the summer of 1987. It was also the summer that Bob was working on the London premiere of Follies at the Shaftesbury Theatre. I spent a lot of time backstage at the Shaftesbury Theatre waiting for Bob. I got an intensive education leaning against a wall outside the stage door guard’s room waiting for Bob.

I went to see The Phantom of the Opera and loved it. I wrote extensively of it in my “Slotkin Letter” when it was in hard copy. I gushed about it when I saw Bob after his show. It was the first preview of Follies and he summed that up: “A shambles, Deeah.” He was calm, cool and pragmatic.

The cast for Follies was large and dressing rooms were at a premium. That meant that even the ‘stars’ had to share. So, Diana Rigg (who played Phyllis) shared a dressing room with Julia McKenzie (who played Sally). Just to keep peace Bob put a fridge in the room for the ladies. I’m sure there were other perks, but he did know how to work with big personalities—and this in no way suggests that those ladies were difficult.

Follies was a long show which meant that whatever I was seeing would be finished before Follies and I could go to the Shaftesbury Theatre where the show was still on, and wait for Bob.  One evening I was leaning against the wall backstage, looking up the corridor and saw Diana Rigg scurry down the stairs dressed very smartly ready for her Act II number. About 10 minutes later she came back to go up the stairs dressed only in a rather skimpy towel. Huh? I wondered what number that was. If this production was anything like the New York production her number should have been “The Story of Lucy and Jessie.”

Well of course this was not like the New York production, it was the London production and Sondheim cut some songs and wrote four others for London. “The Story of Lucy and Jessie” was cut and “Ah, But Underneath” was put in its place. When I saw the London show on its opening night I saw that it was a strip number for Phyllis (Diana Rigg). Over the course of the previews leading to the opening, Ms Rigg’s towel got bigger.

I noticed a dapper man with a lot of wavy hair backstage. He was Charlie, Diana Rigg’s dresser. If she was doing a play she always requested he be her dresser. Apparently, he was also Maggie Smith’s dresser. I don’t want to think of the goings on if both those ‘Dames’ were in a show at the same time and both wanted Charlie to dress them.

Previews progressed smoothly from that first ‘shambles’ preview. The corridor was quiet. I was sitting on the stairs leading up to the dressing room floors, waiting for Bob. It was 11:30 pm and it was a long day for this hard-working cast. A pair of legs encased in baggy pants went by. I looked up. Stephen Sondheim. Royalty! (exhale, Slotkin). Three pairs of legs went by—one in slim fitting jeans, smart boots, one a man’s pair of legs next to that and on the outside a pair of legs in stylish pants. I looked up: Diana Rigg in the slim jeans arm in arm with Charlie in the middle with his other arm through that of Julia McKenzie. Royalty! (exhale, Slotkin).  They leisurely walked up the corridor to leave, saying good night to the stage door guard.

Finally, the opening night. I was to meet Bob backstage to pick up my opening night tickets. It was a buzz of activity. Opening night cards and presents were delivered to the stage door guard for people in the cast. A young chorus boy in the corridor modeled the present given by Cameron Mackintosh to the entire cast: a beautiful cotton dressing gown in silver, grey and black (the colours of the production) with the logo of the show on the back. He was giddy when he modeled it. Bob gave me my tickets. He also introduced me two lovely gentlemen, Peter Robinson and Ernst Goetschi who were also going to the opening. Peter reminded me we had met in Toronto. Both he and Ernst have become fast friends over the years. Cameron Mackintosh came in to wish everybody a good opening. When he saw Peter he thanked him for doing such a good job of painting backstage. (Peter was a house painter then, often engaged by Cameron Mackintosh to paint the back of a theatre in preparation for the opening. Peter then transitioned after that into decorating houses, flats, etc.). I thought that was classy—it’s opening night, emotions are at high pitch and Cameron Mackintosh thanks a man for doing a good job of painting the backstage of the theatre. A lesson in humility and consideration to us all.

The opening of Follies was fascinating. I was intrigued by the changes and saw what was happening in “Ah, But Underneath.” Ms Rigg was using a large towel now. The explosion of applause and cheers must be intoxicating to a cast after all the trauma/drama of putting on a show.

The opening night party was at a club in the West End renamed “Tony’s” referencing the name of a club in the show. It was noisy, buoyant, raucous and joyful for most of those there. The stars of the show were still ‘working’, cornered by reporters for an interview, a quote, a few words about how they were feeling. I saw Cameron Mackintosh take a reporter gently by the arm to a quiet place. Loved that—making the reporter think he was so special that a quiet place was needed for Mackintosh to give him his undivided attention. Bob was relieved, charming and attentive to everybody. What an education I got.   

I began coming to London in January when I travelled with a group of subscribers to Mirvish Productions. We came to London for a week of theatre. I lead a discussion the morning after each show. There was also a walking tour of the West End with the group. Bob often joined us, charming one and all he talked to and he talked to everybody. They loved his stories, anecdotes of the theatres we passed and general comments about the theatre in London. They always asked about Bob when we got home and looked forward to seeing him on our next trip.

I was able to introduce Bob to Bryan Kendall, a dear friend and also a veteran of West End Theatre. Bryan was one of the founders of Theatre Projects, a company that was involved in all sorts of theatrical endeavors. I think both Bob and Bryan knew of the other but had not actually met. I introduced them at a lunch that became a tradition when I was in London. We’d all greet each other and then I’d just sit back and beam as these fonts of theatre knowledge reminisced.

Birthdays

Bob loved a good party for his birthday, surrounded by his family and long-time friends.  Once he rented a boat and we sailed up and down the Thames. There was his brother Frank and Frank’s wife Pam, their children, me, Peter, Ernst, Su Pollard, a wonderful, wild woman of comedy and flamboyant dresser who knew Bob from the Godspell days, Valerie Minifie, also from those early Godspell etc. musical days, Alan Hatton, a fellow company manager and also respected in the theatre.

One birthday there was a smart tea at The Wolseley in Mayfair  for 12 of us? that was so beautiful and elegant you just wanted to take picture after picture—but were forbidden by the management. Bob was not flashy or flamboyant. But he lived life well and wanted his friends to be there to celebrate. I was so glad to be included. I loved every minute of all that.

Vacations.

Bob would arrange some trips for us when I was over there in the summer. Most often we travelled with Peter and Ernst. We went to Yorkshire and saw the desolate, overwhelming moors. Peter’s family lived in North England and we visited them. We visited Bob’s brother and sister-in-law and family in the ‘provinces.’  There was a wonderful trip to the Cotswolds. Wales was terrific. We did the laundry in the flat we rented in Wales and were stunned at how bright colours and whites of the clothes were after a wash, only to find that we forgot to put the detergent in the machine. That was some powerful water. I always wanted to go to Switzerland to meet Ernst’s family. (Ernst is Swiss).

Most often we travelled with Peter and Ernst to their house in France and for several summers the four of us would fly there, rent a car and sally forth to the tiny town where the house was high in the hills. It was mostly calmly idyllic travel, except in one case.

We usually drove to Stanstead Airport, about an hour out of London I think. We would arrive early, eat a leisurely breakfast and check in and get on the plane. Except one time, on our way in the car, I checked for my passport and it wasn’t there. I left it somewhere in Bob’s flat (I was staying with him). Panic. My efficient friends went into overdrive. Bob got himself back to his flat in Barnes. Peter and Ernst continued on to the airport. I offered to just stay behind for the few days they would be away. They wouldn’t hear of it. Bob called when he got back to the flat and checked in various places I thought the passport might be. Nothing. I then remembered that after I went through customs at Heathrow coming into London, I put the passport in my jeans back pocket and not my backpack as usual. That’s where it was. Bob found it. He raced back to the airport taking a ‘tube’ and a train and made it within one minute of the check-in closing. I was so embarrassed at this lapse. No one made me feel stupid. I was not treated to bad temper or exasperation, and certainly not from Bob who had to do all that tearing around. Loved them all for that. And we laughed for years after that. 

In France we explored the countryside. We ate well (Ernst is a wonderful cook). We drank well (wine-making was the ‘industry’ of the village). And we played cards. There was a game of cards we played requiring strategy. I’m terrible at all that maneuvering.  Bob was quiet and held his cards close. Ernst was watchful and had a Cheshire-cat- smile. He tried helping me keep up. Peter was ruthless and wanted to win at all cost. He played with cunning, urging me to discard the one card he needed to win: “Come on, Sweety, “Daaahling (putting it on thick)  just one card, sweety.” He usually won he was so focused.  And Peter made me laugh harder than I have ever laughed before in my life; bent over silent-laughing, red faced, gasping for air, thinking:  “I will pass out from lack of oxygen. Can one pass out from laughing?”  I’m thinking, “He’s doing this on purpose. He knows he can crack me up and distract me!” The game had to stop while I controlled myself. Until the next time. Ernst smiled his sly smile. Bob made a little roll of his eyes. These guys knew Peter so well.

Health Challenges.

Over the years Bob had a few health issues, all met with a stoical resolve as he got on with life. A few years ago he developed dementia. It didn’t affect his memory—miraculously that seemed fine. It affected his speech. It was called Pick’s Disease. It’s not that Bob forgot words. It’s that he couldn’t form them. When he did talk it was all gibberish but he said the words as if knew what he wanted to say. He would labour over trying to get the words or a sentence out and one had to be patient. Usually my conversation was asking him yes or no questions or telling him how things were in Toronto. Still heartbreaking to seem him labour so.

When I was in London, now in the summer as well as in January, I’d call him every day in the morning to see how he was and to arrange a coffee date. I would take the train or tube to Barnes where he was living (on the other side of Hammersmith), walk to his flat then we both would walk to a café or restaurant for coffee or lunch.  When he was healthy he walked with a purpose, a confident stride. He’d firmly take my hand and guide me across the street. I loved that ‘take-charge-attitude’.

With the dementia and his age his walking was unsteady. But Bob was fearless in that he walked every day for the most part. Peter and Ernst got him a cane to help steady him as he walked. Bob was a very proud man and refused to use it. Sometimes he fell. I had to be firm and insist he take the cane when we went out to the café. He was not happy about that.

This last January when I was in London I called Bob and arranged to come to the flat at a certain time and day and then we would walk into Barnes Village (about 20 minutes walk) and have a coffee. I confirmed the information on the day and for him to stay there until I arrived.

In the morning of that day I went with friends to the Museum of London around the Barbican. After a quick snack I headed off to Bob’s. Taking the tube was tricky since the Hammersmith Bridge was under repair and buses were unreliable. So I took a cab. It took a bit more than an hour. When it looked like I’d be a few minutes late I called Bob—there is a kind of code—I call, leave a message then call again in the hopes he heard me. He didn’t pick up. That happens some times.

I finally got there, rang the loud bell and waited. And waited. And…..I knocked. Nothing. I went to the neighbours who I knew. They weren’t home. I looked around the corner thinking perhaps Bob was waiting at the bus stop. Nothing. I went back to ring the bell again. Nothing. I waited on the street for 15 minutes thinking he would come walking up. Nothing. God forgive me, but I wanted to kill him. (Exhale). I walked up the road to the train station (thinking I might see him coming the other way-but no). The train came and I was back at my hotel in no time. I called Bob again about an hour after arriving at the hotel. He answered! I asked: “Where were you? I was a bit late but I was there at your flat and you’d gone.” I couldn’t understand his answer of course. I said, “I’m sorry I missed you.” And he answered clear as a bell and full of emotion: “I’m sorry I missed YOU!” My heart melted.

Peter and Ernst arranged for a carer, a wonderful man named Kenneth, to come in every day for a few hours to make Bob a meal; see the place was clean and give him general help. Then it became necessary for full time help to be there—Bob was wondering off. In one of his wanderings Bob fell outside a store in Barnes Village. He had broken ribs. He got pneumonia and was in hospital. Peter and Ernst kept in close touch with me. Peter said he was failing rapidly. 

On Saturday, September 5 Peter sent me an e-mail asking me to call him. I knew it wasn’t good. I called London and Peter said: “He’s gone.” I loved that he didn’t want to tell me by e-mail.  That night, for comfort and something mindless, I began watching an old James Bond movie on T.V.: To Russia with Love. At the end the credits rolled and a smooth crooner voice sang “To Russia with Love”. I know that wonderful, smooth crooner voice. It was Matt Monro.  A little sign from Bob saying: “Get on with it, Deeah.”

Love you Bob,

Lynn

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I’m interviewing Juliet Stevenson this Friday, Nov. 13, on CIUT FRIDAY MORNING 89.5 fm beginning at 9 am, in anticipation of the production of BLINDNESS that will play Toronto. Juliet Stevenson is the voice of the Narrator and the Doctor’s Wife in the production. She’s brilliant. Listen in.

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Heads up for the week of Nov. 9 – 15, 2020.

Monday, Nov. 9, 2020. 2:00 pm

Richard II

Streamed for free:

Richard II, starring Fiona Shaw in the title role, will air beginning Monday, November 9. The controversial 1995 National Theatre production was directed for the screen by Deborah Warner and designed by Hildegard Bechtler, with Shaw starring alongside Donald Sinden, Richard Bremmer, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Kevin McKidd, and Paola Dionisotti.

Macbeth, starring Patrick Stewart and Kate Fleetwood, streams beginning Monday, November 16. Directed by Rupert Goold, the filmed adaptation of his Chichester and Broadway production also stars Martin Turner, Michael Feast, and Paul Shelley.

Finally, the channel will air Shakespeare’s Sonnets starting November 23. The film showcases all of Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets, read by a cast that includes David Tennant, Dominic West, Stephen Fry, Kim Cattrall, and more.

Click here to access The Shows Must Go On.

Tues. November 10-15, 2020

The Groundswell Festival from Nightwood Theatre.

Readings and events are free and accessible to all.

Please check back closer to the event date for the direct links to attend. All offerings will be available for ten days after the first presentation.

This November the Groundswell Festival goes digital, offering an invitation inside the creative process with readings of brand new works from our Write From The Hip playwright’s unit, led by Program Director Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, as well as opportunities to gather for provocative conversations and workshops. This season’s festival, designed for Zoom by Michelle Tracey, will share new plays and conversations from Bilal Baig, Shelley M. Hobbs, Erum Khan, Rachel Mutombo, Pesch Nepoose and Phoebe Tsang, public conversations including discussions with Deaf-led collective SPiLL.PROpagation and national arts advocacy collective AD HOC Assembly, as well as free professional development opportunities for playwrights and artists. 

Images of each member of the write from the hip program arranged in a grid, clockwise from the top left corner: Rachel Mutombo, Pesch Nepoose, Phoebe Tsang, Shelley M. Hobbs, Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, Erum Khan, and Bilal Baig.Clockwise from top left: Rachel Mutombo, Pesch Nepoose, Phoebe Tsang, Shelley M. Hobbs, Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, Erum Khan and Bilal Baig.

Tuesday, November 10, 6pm ET – Refusal by Shelley M. Hobbs

Wednesday, November 11, 6pm ET – Better by Rachel Mutombo 

Thursday, November 12, 6 pm ET – All my forgotten dreams by Erum Khan

Thurs. Nov. 12, 2020, at 6:30 pm Romeo and Juliet

Part of the Stratford Festival’s initiative to stream filmed productions.

This one stars Antoni Cimolino and Meghan Follows from several years ago.

Thurs. Nov. 12, 2020 8:00 pm UNCOVERED

From the Musical Stage Company.

The Musical Stage Company announces dates and line-up for the first-ever digital edition of beloved annual concert series
  UNCOVERED: NOTES FROM THE HEART
Featuring: Divine Brown, Bruce Dow, Sara Farb, Hailey Gillis, Raha Javanfar, Stewart Adam McKensy, Andrew Penner, and Jackie Richardson. 

Introducing Banks Prize winners Dillan Chiblow, Eva Foote, Germaine Konji, and Kale Penny
November 11 – December 6, 2020

  The Musical Stage Company is thrilled to announce the dates and line-up of performers for the first-ever digital edition of their annual signature concert event, UNCOVERED. Spotlighting iconic songs with wildly imaginative arrangements by music director Reza Jacobs, over the last decade UNCOVERED live has grown from a one-night-only event to a six-night, multi-venue series that has thrilled thousands. Featuring the same high-quality arrangements, orchestrations, sound, and musicianship that audiences have come to expect from the live experience, UNCOVERED: NOTES FROM THE HEART will be an up-close and personal audio and visual feast, taking you into the worlds and hearts of Canada’s finest artists. Traditionally on stage at the prestigious Koerner Hall,  the 2020 edition of UNCOVERED will be presented digitally from November 11 – December 6.   This year’s line-up is as illustrious as ever, including Divine Brown, Bruce Dow, Sara Farb, Hailey Gillis, Raha Javanfar, Stewart Adam McKensy, Andrew Penner, and Jackie Richardson along with Banks Prize winners Dillan Chiblow, Eva Foote, Germaine Konji, and Kale Penny. Orchestrations and arrangements are by the incomparable Reza Jacobs, with additional arrangements by Jamie Drake and Justin Gray.  Each song will be created as a unique cinematic experience for the audience and the concert will be presented on a set performance schedule to ensure a traditional theatre viewing expierence.  While The Musical Stage Company had been excitedly planning a concert that featured the musical catalogues of Elvis Presley & Dolly Parton for this year, they have used this unexpected moment of pause to reflect with profound songs of change, hope, reflection and inspiration by artists like Elton John, Bob Marley, Carole King, Bob Dylan, Cat Stevens and many more

Performances will run on a set schedule from November 11th – December 6th at 8:00pm Wednesday – Saturday; and also at 2:00pm Saturdays and 4:00pm Sundays. Tickets for UNCOVERED: NOTES FROM THE HEART are on sale here: www.musicalstagecompany.com for $30 per household (Groups of 8 or more save 20%!). Song list details and more will be revealed in the weeks to come on The Musical Stage Company website and social channels.

Friday, November 13, 6pm ET – Death of a Father by Phoebe Tsang

Friday, November 13, 6pm ET – Death of a Father by Phoebe Tsang

Captioned reading

Directed by Andrea Donaldson

Cast: Allegra Fulton and Caroline Toal

The ambitious mayor of a small coastal town sacrifices the safety and reputation of his teenage daughter for his political campaign. Twenty years later, his estranged daughter and her mother reconnect at his sparsely attended funeral. This modern retelling of an ancient Greek myth examines the consequences of domestic abuse and parental betrayal, and asks: What is the cost of adulthood and independence? Who benefits from a sacrificial act? Are we capable of selflessness?

Phoebe Tsang is a Hong-Kong born Chinese, British and Canadian poet, author, librettist and playwright. Her writing is characterised by lyricism and rhythmic sense, derived from her background as a professional violinist. Her libretti have been commissioned and premiered by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Canadian Sinfonietta, Continuum Contemporary Music, Tapestry Opera, and Hamilton Philharmonic. Honours include the 2019 Stratford Playwrights Retreat, 2018 Gros Morne Playwrights’ Residency, and Tapestry Opera’s Composer-Librettist Laboratory in 2016. The author of Contents of a Mermaid’s Purse (Tightrope Books, Toronto), she is a recording artist with Off record label (Belgium). www.phoebetsang.com.

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Ghost Quartet in Concert

Streamed on line.

From Crow’s Theatre.

Written by Dave Malloy

Directed by Marie Farsi

Set, lighting by Patrick Lavender

Cast: Beau Dixon

Hailey Gillis

Kira Guloien

Andrew Penner).

Ghost Quartet in Concert is a streamed filmed treatment of Ghost Quartet, a terrific piece which I saw live at Crow’s Theatre last year.

This is interesting.  This filmed version as a concert shows up the marked difference between a live theatre performance seen in a theatre and the filmed version of that live performance.

For context let me begin with my observations about GHOST QUARTET as it played out in a theatre.  The piece is stunningly atmospheric, beautifully designed and meticulously directed and performed production of Dave Malloy’s complex, playful, macabre song cycle.

It’s about ghosts, the macabre, two devoted sisters who were betrayed in love, a broken camera, a subway driver, a photographer, a pusher and a victim, among others. Malloy references Poe’s “The Fall of the House of Usher”, the music of Thelonious Monk, ghost stories, hip-hop, jazz, honky-tonk, mythology and astronomy.  The many benefits of whisky are celebrated by the characters who reveal the many secrets of this beguiling, challenging, glorious show.

The four characters enter Patrick Lavender’s beautifully designed, evocatively lit space.

They each pour a drink, clink glasses, down the drink and then go to their respective places in the space.  The space is eclectic with instruments hanging on the wall. A drum kit is over here. A piano with a bright covering is over there.  There is a small bar and other appropriate pieces.

Three of the characters are dressed casually (Hailey Gillis, Kira Guloien and Andrew Penner). One tall gentleman (Beau Dixon) is in a stylish coat underneath is a suit and tie.

He plays the piano and assumes the spectre of the late jazz great Thelonious Monk. Andrew Penner  sings and plays the guitar while his foot hits a peddle that bangs the drum.  Hailey Gillis and Kira Guloien play sisters Rose and Pearl respectively among others. And they sing beautifully and play various instruments.

Dave Malloy’s two record album of Ghost Quartet is put on a turntable and each song is announced by one of the characters, for example:  “Side one, track one, “I Don’t Know.”

The show and the songs are announced that way to lend it a certain theatricality.

There are several strands of stories and they are not linear in their telling. We are given a taste of each story then it’s left for another. If you keep this in mind and go with the flow and not ‘demand’ it all neatly follow then you will be fine.

While it’s billed as a ‘ghost quartet’ because the characters might be ghosts, the feeling, the atmosphere, is anything but mournful. Hailey Gillis jumps with joy during a few of the songs. In this filed version she is decidedly pregnant, (cause for jumping for joy?) which she was not last year when it played at Crow’s). Kira Guloien is sophisticated and more subdued, but no less compelling. Beau Dixon plays the piano beautifully, speaks with quiet authority and is an imposing presence.  Andrew Penner sings in a strong, mournful voice and plays many instruments, almost at the same time.  

The clarity of the sound is eye-popping and so welcome. The production is directed with dazzling creativity by Marie Farsi.  She is not showing off her talent as much as she is illuminating the show, those songs, those characters and everything surrounding it. Patrick Lavender’s design is both murky, smoky, ghostlike and stark.

As much as I loved the quirky, atmospheric production in the theatre, the transition to film is not as successful. There is a lot of fancy camera work with images fanning out from the central point but the result for the piece as a whole is that it came off as flat.

The whole sense of the eclectic set and the moody lighting gave the piece a consuming atmosphere that worked in the theatre and was lost in closeups. What captivated me in the theatre alienated and distracted me watching the streaming. The talent is unmistakable but I don’t think the piece is well served in this filmed-streamed process.

Ghost Quartet in Concert will stream until Nov. 7.

www.crowstheatre.com

Katharsis

Streamed until Nov. 15, from the Prairie Theatre Exchange, Winnipeg

Written by Yvette Nolan

Directed by Thomas Morgan Jones

Original music and sound by M.J. Dandeneau

Lighting by Ksenia Broda-Milian

Film director, Sam Vint

Cast: Tracey Nepinak

This is a wonderful one person show that is a love letter to an empty theatre.

Definition: “Catharsis” (from Greek) “purification” or “cleansing” or “clarification”) is the purification and purgation of emotions — particularly pity and fear — through art or any extreme change in emotion that results in renewal and restoration.”

Katharsis was created from the start to be filmed.

The story is a love letter to the empty theatre and I think theatre in general. The stage is dark except for a ghost-light and a chair. The ghost-light in theatre tradition is the light that is put on the stage after the last person (except for the stage-door guard) has left the building. It is there to ward off ghosts or to provide light so no one will fall off the stage by accident. (Take your pick).

A woman/actress/stage-protector (Tracey Nepinak) in a flowing top and long skirt comes on stage. She is barefoot. She sits in the chair and claps her hands at the light which is beside her chair. The light turns off. She claps her hands again and the light goes on. She does this a few times, smiles at the light and finally takes it off stage.

When she returns, she says out to the darkness: “Ok, you can come back now.” Meaning this is our cue—the audience can come back now. She says she realizes that won’t be that easy because people are scared. At times she is on stage sitting in the chair, playing to the ghost light. Other times she sweeps the floor in an almost ceremonial fashion, making large circular sweeping motions, as if to get rid of the things bedevilling us.

For part of this short 15 minute piece the woman goes and sits in a seat in the empty audience.  She notes how we have always used the theatre to tell stories with lessons we then take into the world. She is that lone audience member who then goes on stage now as the actress and waits to welcome the rest back to the theatre.

I loved the simplicity of Katharsis and the ceremony of it. In her wonderful play Yvette Nolan references her Indigenous heritage and ceremonies to offer healing in times of uncertainty, stress etc. This time of the pandemic certainly has put all of us in a stressful place. Nolan also references the theatre as a place of discovery, healing and to make sense of things.

In almost every Indigenous play I’ve seen there was a ceremony welcoming everybody to come into the circle, without exception. That’s the sense I got in Nolan’s play and Tracey Nepinak’s playing. I loved this piece because of its generosity of spirit and embracing of the missing audience. Tracey Nepinak plays the woman with nuance, humour and sensitivity.  It’s beautifully directed by Thomas Morgan Jones.  

We miss being in a theatre listening to stories. This filmed production of Katharsis makes that ‘missing’ easier to bear.

Produced by Prairie Theatre Exchange.

Katharsis is available for viewing any time until November 15th via the website (www.pte.mb.ca) and YouTube channel.

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Performed by a phone call between two strangers and a computer-generated voice.

Written and created by Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone (600 Highwaymen)

Cast: A, B and a computer-generated female voice.

This initiative was created by the two-person collective known as 600 Highwaymen. It’s a hugely creative, edgy company that focuses on creating theatre that connects people in different ways. A Thousand Ways is one example of their creativity.

From the press release:

“In a time when we’re accustomed to division, when isolation is required, A Thousand Ways offers a chance to experience new ways of coming together. This quietly radical experiment is a three-part journey that takes place over several months, with each distinct installment presenting a new chance at making simple contact with a stranger. This is a path toward finding our way again. Something will be broken. Something will be built. 600 Highwaymen provides the instructions, the map, the recipe. All we need is you.

Part One / A Phone Call
Using a carefully crafted set of directives relayed over a simple phone call, you and another audience member – both strangers – take a journey together over the course of an hour.”

Details of Parts 2 and 3 will be released in the coming months.

Guided by a score of instructions, questions, prompts, and physical directives, people who have never met build a series of performances for one another. 

The first installment in the triptych is calleda Phone Call. Pick up the phone. Someone is on the line. You don’t know their name and you still won’t when the hour is over, but as you follow the recorded instructions, a portrait of your partner will emerge through fleeting moments of exposure.
 
In the future, on dates to-be-announced,  An Encounter and An Assembly (parts 2 and 3) will be presented. The pieces have been created to work collectively or independently. You can attend only one or be a part of any two, or all three
 
A Thousand Ways (Part One): A Phone Call runs November 4 – 22, Tuesday to Saturday at 6:00pm, 7:30pm, and 9:00pm and Sundays at 2:00pm, 3:30pm, and 5:00pm.  Tickets can be purchased at canadianstage.com or by calling the box-office at 416-368-3110.”

Actually it’s the participant that makes the phone call. We are given a phone number to call. Initially I was asked to call a phone number in Massachusetts. Odd I thought as the company producing it is Canadian Stage in Toronto and 600 Highwaymen is in residence with Canadian Stage for several months.  I enquired of the box office. I was then sent another phone number to call, this time in Canada (?!), in Calgary. Also, I had to enter an access code and a security code.

The flat, colourless female ‘voice’ created by a computer welcomed me and noted that my performing partner-stranger had joined the call. We were asked to say hello to each other. We did. My partner on the other line was a woman.  We were asked to decide who would be ‘A’ and who would be ‘B’. My partner wanted to be ‘B’. The ‘voice’ asked us many questions in turn. I was asked the year I was born (I did hesitate a bit….hmmm personal). Did I have tattoos? (no). Why not? We both were asked about the colour of our eyes and hair. Name a person we loved? We were asked to imagine we were driving in the desert and the car broke down. (I’m hyperventilating here). Do we stay in the car or leave to walk to the next ‘town.’

I found that ‘B’ was asked more questions than ‘A’. I didn’t mind that. We found out many things about the other. We were asked to pick out a thing that impressed  us about the other. In retrospect I wish I had picked out more things because there were many impressive things about my stranger-partner. (Stuff to keep in mind when we meet a stranger again).

The creators, 600 Highwaymen, gave the ‘voice’ a sense of humour. At one point in the process the flat voice said, “Oh shit, fuck, I forgot to ask a question” and then asked the forgotten question. At another point the “voice” repeated a question, contradicting the statement at the beginning it would not repeat a question.

At the end the questions concluded and the ‘voice’ said it was finished and said good bye. I wished that we were given the opportunity to say good-bye directly to our stranger. I would love to have thanked “B” for a lovely experience and laughing at my humour—I, in turn, marveled at things she said and experienced. She in fact had been born in Calgary and only recently moved to Toronto—why then did I need to call Calgary? Stuff to ponder.  

A Thousand Ways (perhaps representative of how we find out about the life and thoughts of a stranger) is a fascinating experience. I so love the creative thinking and artistic endeavours of 600 Highwaymen. Check them out.

Presented by Canadian Stage and 600 Highwaymen.

Runs Nov. 4-22  

Details: www.canadianstage.com

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SOLITARY REFINEMENTS
ARTIST MARKET
THEATRES MAY HAVE CLOSED, BUT CREATIVITY
HAS PREVAILED
You’re invited to a festive holiday market featuring cooking,
sewing, beading, and many more treasures created by
members of Toronto’s theatre community. Find out how
your favourite artists have been staying creative, and lend your
support by getting an early start on your holiday gift buying!

Featuring stunning work from Oliver Dennis, Jenna Harris,
Marcia Johnson, Melanie Leon, Arwen MacDonell, Michelle
Monteith, Lisa Nighswander, Jordan Pettle, Kim Purtell,
Maria Ricossa, Brenda Robins, Brigitte Robinson, Tara
Rosling, Keira Rydeard, Hallie Seline, Jessica Severin, Sarah
Strange, Sidebiz Studios, Michelle Tracey, Anna Treusch, and
Mariuxi Zambrano.


Hosted by Soulpepper and the Young Centre for the
Performing Arts. Safe Space protocols in place (see below)
YOUNG CENTRE FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS – DISTILLERY HISTORIC DISTRICT


Thursday, November 26: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday, November 27: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Saturday, November 28: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

COVID-19 PROTECTIVE MEASURES
To ensure the safety of guests and artists, we ask everyone to comply with public health guidelines. This includes: wearing a mask or covering at all times while indoors, keeping a two metre/six feet distance from others, washing/sanitizing your hands often, and avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, coughing or sneezing into your elbow, and staying home if you are sick.


We will be limiting the number of guests in the Young Centre at one time and collecting contact information
for contact tracing.

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Heads up for Nov. 2- 8, 2020

Tue. Nov. 3, 2020

Conflict

Streaming from the Mint Theatre in New York City

Has Been Extended to Nob. 8!

Mint Streaming Series

HOW TO WATCH:

  • Read these instructions and then CLICK HERE be taken to the Production Archive Page for CONFLICT.
  • Click on the first image under the Videos heading. You will be prompted to enter the password.
  • You will also be prompted to enter your name and a valid email address.
  • If don’t have the password, send an email to streaming@minttheater.org and check for a reply.
  • If you don’t see a reply, check your spam folder. Make sure you have a valid “reply to” address (@outlook.com addresses can be a problem.) Our auto-responder can only answer your email once, so don’t don’t lose the reply. If you don’t receive a reply, put “Second Request” in your subject line and be patient. Thank you.
  • Click the four arrows in the bottom right corner to watch the video full screen.
  • For Closed Captioning, click the CC button in the toolbar at the bottom of the video viewer and select “English CC”.
  • You may be able to watch CONFLICT on your TV, depending on your specific equipment. Here’s a web page from “wikiHow” with a variety of articles that may help.

Mint is proud to have our artists back on payroll while offering you an opportunity to experience great plays and productions from the safety and comfort of your own home. We are gratified to know that we are providing a lift

Wed. Nov. 4, 2020.

Morro and Jasp on Line. From Toronto

http://www.morroandjasp.com/send-in-the-clowns.html

Wed. Nov. 4-7; at various times.

Live on the phone from Canadian Stage:

CANADIAN STAGE PRESENTS 600 HIGHWAYMEN’S A THOUSAND WAYS
 
(Part One): A PHONE CALL begins November 4
 
From one of the world’s most acclaimed theatre companies, a performance in three parts about communication, distance, and reconnection
  WRITTEN & CREATED BY Abigail Browde & Michael Silverstone
Toronto, ON – In a time when we’re accustomed to division and isolation is required, Canadian Stage is excited to launch the special year-long residency of celebrated New York City-based company 600 Highwayman, getting underway in early November.  Most recently in Toronto to present The Fever at the 2018 Luminato Festival, 600 Highwayman members Abigail Browde and Michael Silverstone will be sharing three new works over the course of nine months that respond directly to the social impact of the pandemic, in the new triptych A Thousand Ways.
 
“As theatre-makers around the world explore the question of what theatre can be right now and what it will look like in the future, 600 Highwaymen bring an offering that mines theatre from the thrillingly simple and vulnerable space between two strangers,” says Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy. “The company has been exploring this fertile space in innovative ways since their inception and we feel very fortunate to have them in residence with us at this time, to share this work with our audiences and to inspire our own artistic explorations.”
 
A quietly radical experiment, A Thousand Ways offers a chance to experience new ways of coming together in a three-part journey that takes place over several months, with each distinct installment presenting a new chance at making simple contact with a stranger.  Guided by a score of instructions, questions, prompts, and physical directives, people who have never met build a series of performances for one another. 

The first installment in the triptych is a Phone Call. Pick up the phone. Someone is on the line. You don’t know their name and you still won’t when the hour is over, but as you follow the recorded instructions, a portrait of your partner will emerge through fleeting moments of exposure.
 
In the future, on dates to-be-announced, An Encounter and An Assembly (parts 2 and 3) will be presented. The pieces have been created to work collectively or independently. You can attend only one or be a part of any two, or all three.

Thur. Nov. 5. Watch party from 6:30 pm.

Steamed from Stratford, Ont.

Long Day’s Journey Into Night.

Considered the definitive production directed by Diana Leblanc. Starring: Martha Burns, Peter Donaldson,  Martha Henry, William Hutt, Tom McCamus. This wonderful stage production played at the Tom Patterson Theatre for two summers.

The film of that production was directed by David Wellington.

Also watch the latest edition of Leer Estates and see what fresh Hell Dan Chameroy and his band of merry characters get up to.

Subscribe to: https://www.stratfordfestival.ca/AtHome?utm_source=wordfly&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=B20%40HomeOct26SUBEM&utm_content=version_A

Thur. Nov. 5

Streaming from Crow’s Theatre, Toronto

Ghost Quartet—extended.

  Ghost Quartet In Concert is a digital streaming hit!     Thanks to the amazing response from our audiences on social media, attention from CBC News and a rave review from Kelly Nestruck in the Globe and Mail, we have added three additional performances of Ghost Quartet in Concert, including a Dinner and a Show edition on Saturday November 7!   Get tickets   👻👻 Extension Dates 👻👻 Digital Streaming:
Thursday November 5 to Saturday November 7
Dinner and a Show:
Saturday November 7
 

Thurs. Nov 5-7 at 7:00 pm

Streaming for free From New York City.

Guards at the Taj
 By Rajiv Joseph
Directed by Amy Morton

Tickets are free but reservations are required, with a suggested donation of $25 per viewer.

Guards at the Taj had its world premiere during our 2014|2015 season. It won 3 Obie Awards and 4 Lortel Awards, including “Best New American Play” and “Outstanding Play!”  

Live with Atlantic: Remix
Sunday, November 8
3-4pm ET


Join us live as Rajiv Joseph and Amy Morton interview each other about their collaboration and careers! Registrations are free but required.   

Friday, Nov. 6 at 7:30 pm and Sunday Nov. 8 at 2:00 pm

From Infinitheatre in Montreal.

Two livestreaming tour-de-force performances with Ellen David and Brian Dooley

Canada’s longest-serving PM also its strangest…

In association with KIN Experience

Present:

King of Canada

Written by Paul Van Dyck Directed by Zach Fraser

Starring Ellen David and Brian Dooley

Special livestream performances: Fri., November 6, 7:30pm

& Sun., November 8, 2:00pm

The Medium: “While we cannot alter the shadows of things that have been. We can always alter how we perceive them now.”

Montréal, October 2020- Infinithéâtre remains committed to being the first English company to welcome audiences to live theatre in Montreal. (And with a world premiere to boot) The cast and production team have been rehearsing full on since September; everything is ready to go as soon as they get the green light. With that in mind, the company is thrilled to announce two livestreamed performances, absolutely free. These exclusive King of Canada presentations, with full production values, are on Friday, November 6 at 7:30pm and Sunday, November 8 at 2:00pm. Watch the show from the comfort of your own home…

In keeping with the US presidential elections—we had our very own oddball, questionable head of the country. This new play highlights the secret séances put on for PM Mackenzie King, while still in office! Paul Van Dyck’s witty and biting examination is a gem of a script serendipitously perfect for these difficult times. Brian Dooley mesmerizingly embodies King while Ellen David plays The Medium, along with conjuring 30 other characters, including 3 dogs all named Pat.

“When London theatres were closed by the plague, Shakespeare wrote some of his best plays. We at Infinithéâtre have pulled together, and with an inspired director, a brilliantly creative design team and actors at the top of their craft, have forged something truly special,” said Infinithéâtre Artistic Director, Guy Sprung. 

Infinithéâtre, in association with KIN Experience, presents, King of Canada

Special livestream performances: Fri., November 6, 7:30pm & Sun., November 8, 2:00pm

For reservations to view the livestreams please sign up at https://forms.gle/WkmKeRNz9FNKGfCE6

A direct access link will be sent to the email address provided prior to the beginning of the show

The stream is free, donations gratefully appreciated

For any questions, please call the box office: (514) 987-1774 #104

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Groundswell is a fantastic festival that provides a glimpse into new work in development. I first saw a reading of Jordi Mand’s wonderful play Between The Sheets there.

Here are the details:

  The 2020 Groundswell Festival From November 10-20 our Groundswell Festival goes digital, offering an invitation inside the creative process with readings of brand new works from our Write From The Hip playwright’s unit, led by Program Director Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, as well as opportunities to gather for provocative conversations and workshops. This season’s festival, designed for Zoom by Michelle Tracey, will share new plays and conversations from Bilal Baig, Shelley M. Hobbs, Erum Khan, Rachel Mutombo, Pesch Nepoose and Phoebe Tsang, public conversations with Deaf-led collective SPiLL.PROpagation and national arts advocacy collective AD HOC Assembly, as well as free professional development opportunities for playwrights and artists – including a grant workshop with Natalie Liconti and Naz Afsahi. There is so much to check out, be sure to visit our website and get your calendar out to make plans for a November full of theatre! This year’s Groundswell Festival programming is accessible to all and free to watch.

If you have the capacity, please consider making a tax-deductible donation in support of the future of feminist art. Click here to donate online, or contact Victoria at victoria@nightwoodtheatre.net. Thank you to RBC Emerging Artists Fund for their support of our Write From The Hip playwright’s unit, and to the University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA program for their sponsorship of the 2020 Groundswell Festival!

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