Thursday, January 27, 2011

Preview: Eternal Hydra

Opening this week at the Factory Theatre is the critically acclaimed Eternal Hydra. The show joins Ruined as a must see powerful piece of theatre playing right now in Toronto. Cara Ricketts and David Ferry star in the play that is being produced by Crow’s Theatre in association with Factory Theatre.

Show Description:
Vivian, a scholar, unearths a long-lost manuscript by firebrand author Gordias Carbuncle that is supposedly a work of staggering genius. When Selma Thomas’s connection to Carbuncle is discovered, it sparks a controversy reaching from the high-powered publishing world of present-day New York, to 1930’s Paris, and the American Civil War. Eternal Hydra is about identity politics, sex and the myth of genius – a thrilling look at the making of a modern masterpiece.

Eternal Hydra
Written by Anton Piatigorsky
Directed by Chris Abraham
Until Feb. 13
Factory Theatre, 125 Bathurst St.
TICKETS: $28 to $40 at 416-504-9971 or by clicking here!

Photo by Monica Esteves

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Preview: Questo Buio Feroce

Opening tomorrow at the Harbourfront Centre, as part of World Stage 2010-11, is Questo Buio Feroce, or (The Wild Darkness.) The show, by performer/creator Pippo Delbono is being hailed as a theatrical spectacle combining dance, theatre and carnival. Questo Buio Feroce is inspired by the autobiographical essays, The Wild Darkness: The Story of My Life, by American Harold Brodkey.

Brodkey, was writing about his life as he neared death from AIDS. The Wild Darkness was published in 1996. For this stage adaption, Delbono, worked with actors and non-actors alike, including former homeless performers, and even one individual who lived for over 40 years in a Naples asylum for the insane. It is sure to be a gripping evening.

EAP is going to see the show on Thursday, to take part in the Q and A after the performance. Questo Buio Feroce runs January 26th - 29th. Click the header for box office information. (Image courtesy of World Stage and photographer Gianluigi di Napoli)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

An open letter to Theatre20

Dear Theatre 20,

Congratulations on the launch yesterday and the remarkable reception. It is amazing to see so much theatre energy in Toronto, and it is all because of you. We are looking forward to your residency at the Panasonic because it means you'll be right around the corner. Your website is attached to the letterhead, for all to see. Justin and I are ever so impatient for full productions, which we understand wont begin until next season. But surely there will be lots to talk about until then. I've "clipped" a few of the articles that have been written in the last few days just in case you want to read them over and over. Here is one from The Globe and Mail yesterday, and here is the CBC coverage. It is very exciting to think about all of the great potential for an elevated, if perhaps less commercial brand of theatre. We have high hopes and expectations for all of the artists who have come together for your vision.

Here's to amazing things to come!
Liza Mattimore
Emerging Art Productions

Friday, January 21, 2011

Preview: Redheaded Stepchild & A Maude Lynn Evening

Great fun this weekend at Buddies! Check out these two hit shows as they come together for four evenings only!

For tickets click here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Preview: Ruined

Opening this week at The Berkeley Street Theatre is the sexually and politically charged RUINED, by Lynn Nottage. The piece is presented by Obsidian Theatre Company in association with Nightwood Theatre Company.

Show Description:

Set in a present-day small mining town in Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lynn Nottage's Ruined (2009 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) follows a young woman's path to Mama Nadi, a savvy businesswoman who, in the midst of a complex civil war, both protects and profits from the women whose bodies have become battlegrounds.

At once heartbreaking and captivating, Ruined pays homage to the courageous and resilient women who must piece themselves together after the ruin.

Sounds pretty compelling to us. For tickets please click here!

Written by Lynn Nottage
Directed by Philip Akin
Starring: Yanna McIntosh, Sterling Jarvis, Richard Alan Campbell, Marci T. House, Daniso Ndhlovu, Muoi Nene, Thomas Olajide, Anthony Palmer, Sabryn Rock, Marc Senior, Andre Sills and Sophia Walker

Jan 16th - Feb 12th, 2011
Berkeley Street Theatre, Downstairs
Toronto, ON

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Canadian Opera Company 2011-12 Season

This morning the COC announced It's upcoming season. Among the seven operas the company is planning, are four COC premieres, two of which have never been performed anywhere in Canada. Plus, one of Opera's most enduring classics, Tosca. Click the header to see the full COC press release.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Preview: Fool For Love

Opening this week is another VERY interesting piece from Red One Theatre Company and Ezra's Atlantic Co-op, Sam Shepard's Fool For Love.

Show Description:
Set in a motel room on the edge of a desert, Sam Shepard's intensely sexual psycho-drama is one of the Pulitzer-prize winning playwright's best known works. Written by the Academy award-nominated actor (The Right Stuff) while he was in the process of leaving his first wife to be with Hollywood actress Jessica Lange, the play is a vivid and violent exploration of the terrible bonds of love and family and fate. Eddie and May are the tragic heroes of this tale - lovers who became so before realizing that they were the son and daughter of the same man. When his two separate families discovered his secret the father disappeared and was never seen again. The motel room becomes the crucible for the two lover-siblings, and a father who may or may not be real, to act out the tale of their obsessive, destructive bonds and to try once more to be free of each other forever.

Fool for Love by Sam Shepard
Limited engagement.
Only 10 performances.
Jan. 13th – 21st at 8pm, with a 2pm matinee on Sunday the 16th.
Meta Gallery, 124 Ossington Ave.
Toronto, ON

To reserve tickets, please email

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Typecast Dance on Missed Connections

On Sunday afternoon I went over to the National Ballet School, to talk to Pamela Rasbach and some of the Typecast dancers about her latest work Missed Connections. The piece features dancers, Austin Fagan, Luke Garwood, Lara Gemmiti, Larissa Hiraishi, Benjamin Landsberg, Missy Morris and Katlin Torrance. Pamela, Lara, Larissa and Missy stayed behind after their rehearsal, to share with me their experiences working on this piece. Here is what they had to say:

Q: Pamela, can you start by telling me a little about the piece?

Pamela: So, it is called Missed Connections and it started off with an interest in this giant community of people who connected through computers and weren't able to say [things] in real life. I was curious about what leads up to that, or causes it. Eventually, it broadened into this bigger world of technology. How technology is a huge aspect of our lives. And in an effort to connect us it has actually disconnected us. I can't go up to someone and say hi. I have to write it on this website and hope that they see it. There are so many missed connections there.

Q: What is it that people aren't able to say in real life?

Pamela: Anything and everything, whatever they might need to say to another person. There are so many moments that we experience. Something as simple as an encounter or conversation is hindered because we have these online mechanisms in place.
Larissa: Connections are altered through these devices. You understand your communications solely through your own interpretation of what you read or see on these websites.

Q: Have any of you ever filed a missed connection or had one filed about you?

Larissa: I had one written about me, I went on as a joke. And I had no idea who it was, but I knew it was about me because I had been doing promotions and he described me and my exact location.
Pamela: I had one written about me too. I used to work at Starbucks and one of the other baristas searched Bloor and Jarvis and there I was, "to the tall brunette..."

Q: But for the most part aren't these people you don't really want to have a personal interaction with?

Pamela: Yes, but that is because they can't come up to you and say it in person. That is what makes them creepy online. That is the problem with all of this. It is hindering real interaction. Those are not the interactions I want but they seem to be all the interactions that are happening.

Q: So how has that manifested itself in your piece?

Pamela: I have separated the piece. There are themes of particles in space, since that is what we all ultimately are, particles in space. And, how we go through the motions not really connected to anything. And so Missed Connections explores that at the extreme. I don't have to talk to you I can just send out my thoughts into the impersonal world of the web. That personality-less interactions. So even when dancers are dancing together they are not looking at one another. Then towards the end I explore more the human sense of being. Thinking about our story... There is no narrative, it is extremely abstract. But you sort of hope for certain things to happen. Certain vague outcomes. You are hoping for certain outcomes.

Q: If this piece could have the impact on society that you would like to see, what would that impact be, or how would it look?

Pamela: Because of the company mandate, (creation for young people) we wanted to explore issues facing young people. Not necessarily kids or teenagers but people who are young adults. So I knew I wanted to explore the way these things shaped their lives. It is so relevant. We all have our Blackberry's and cell phones.
Missy: I say it is more about how it has impacted us. It has made me much more aware of these interactions and the roles they play in my life. So I don't see it as a large scale social change I see it more as awareness. I mean, you can connect with so many more people but the interaction is so much more defused and passive. It has made me much more aware of the people who I want to have a deeper connection with and make that effort.
Pamela: And actually touching... that is the power of dance in this piece. Physical contact.
Larissa: Our ability to contort and control our own image. For example Facebook, you can craft your own image in such a manufactured way. It is such an edited version of your self. And with phones, you are always analysing your interactions at such a high level. 'What did they mean by that etc.'
Lara: The other weird aspect of text messaging is you find yourself saying things you would never say in real life. I have had arguments over BBM, and as I am sending messages, I think, 'did I actually just say that?' It is so bizarre. I have ended up saying things that I'd be embarrassed to say to someone directly.
Larissa: You always view texts or messages based on how you are feeling. When things are not being presented to you, in a true sense, the ability to infer or interpret is so strong. We often misunderstand or miss connect based on our own reading of what is said. We lose those interactive clues that you get from one-on-one interaction. There is such a lost context.
Lara: I think the thing about this piece, for the audience, is that it doesn't matter if they are dancers or just regular human beings. Whether they understand what they are watching in a technical way, is not important. Because first and foremost we are all human beings. So many of the sections of the piece begin with us walking onstage. You see us as a human being first.

Q: How did you develop the score?

Pamela: I did a residency in Berlin, in 2009, and while there I became familiar with the work of AGF. She is an electronic composer. So I was trying to figure out, with these themes, what would be appropriate. I had originally been thinking of James Brown, something very heartfelt. But it wasn't really fitting for me. So AGF is the majority of the music. From all different albums, but it is very choppy and segmented, broken. Very technological. She speaks a lot about webs, and lines. And then the other part is Flying Lotus, who is just magical and cosmic. And he has some chords that remind me of wires. I wanted to evoke images of space. Using a lot of sound distortion and robotic.

Q: Does that abstract music make it difficult as dancers?

All: (laugh) Yes, absolutely.
Pamela: It is an absolute nightmare. We still use counts, but we have had to study the music a lot. And we just had to play it and play it, over and over until we could anticipate the music. We have also utilized the techniques of Darryl Tracy, which are all about feeling each others energy, which of course fits nicely with the themes of particles in space. That has been cool because it is about connecting.

Q: Did you choreograph with these dancers in mind?

Pamela: Yes, I had an audition and cast the piece and then I choreographed with the dancers. We worked little by little. But, there is so much choreography that I relied heavily on the dancers to remember what we had choreographed already. The work is so dense, and then multiply that by seven. There was no way for me to remember it all. So, in that regard I asked a lot of the dancers. Most dancers come back to the choreographer looking for the work. But not with a piece this dense.
Larissa: Pamela is also very good at choreographing with the dancer in mind, working with their strengths, and keeping injuries in mind. I mean we, (referring to the other two girls) are very different dancers but you really worked with the people in the room. And made it cohesive
Pamela: That is feedback I have also gotten about the piece. I mean, we cast on a project basis, but I have heard that these dancers really look like a company, which is nice to hear. I don't have a type in terms of who I cast. I like working with different dancers.

Q: How do you, as a choreographer, know when the piece is done?

Pamela: For me it is in the cleaning. When we clean the piece that is the editing process.
Larissa: To me, this piece feels really full, very intricate.
Pamela: And feedback from the dancers. That influences the cleaning a lot.

Q: Can you talk a little about the broader dance community in Toronto, and Canada. And about your struggles or successes with accessing resources.

Pamela: Well, most of us have come out of the Ryerson program or TDT. (Toronto Dance Theatre)
Larissa: For me I find the community here very safe. A safe place to take class and study but to me there is more access to companies, and new and dynamic work in Montreal.
Pamela: My big frustration is that I don't know where the money is, or where it is going. We all work our butts off and it seems like there is never enough support. This is the first time we have gotten a grant, and we have written dozens of applications. So that is a major frustration. I would like to be able to work in dance to support myself but it is very difficult. And I find the audiences to be not very diverse. And for the most part the support seems to go to international or national companies rather than support for local dancers and companies. I mean I get it, it is a small group of people who are constantly complaining to the same small group of governmental support systems, so of course it doesn't feel like a vast or widespread need. I do think things like So You Think You Can Dance, have done a lot for the visibility of dance. But the money doesn't seem to be getting beyond that commercial sector. So we need that breakthrough in contemporary dance. Maybe artists should go on strike and that would make people realize.
Larissa: Everything goes grey.

Q: So why do you think dance is the medium that is best to tell this particular story?

Pamela: I often ask myself that, 'is this the best way to tell this story?' And I think dance presents a dynamic opposition to what is happening in society. We have disconnected so much and we are so dispersed. So when you come together there is an actual touching. We feel more with our bodies than our thoughts and that is a strong reason to express this through dance.

Missed Connections runs at the Winchester Theatre in Cabbagetown January 13th through the 15th. Click here for the box office.

Preview: THE BIRD

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre is welcoming the return of Sonja Mills to their stage, almost fifteen years after the success of Dyke City, in the much talked about THE BIRD.

Show Description:
Kate, a marketing executive and Mia, her taxidermist spouse, host a cocktail party conceived by jealousy and mistrust. When strangers and family mix, hilarity and horror ensue. A contemporary lesbian drawing-room farce by acclaimed playwright Sonja Mills, The Bird is a frank examination of marriage (same-sex and the other kind), infidelity and the fall of capitalism.

I am seeing The Bird on Sunday afternoon and I am very excited. After the exceptional shows we saw all Fall at Buddies and after researching the show itself, I am really anticipating another hit here.

The Bird
A Buddies in Bad Times and and Union Eight Theatre Production
By Sonja Mills
Directed by Ruth Madoc-Jones
Movement Director Clare Preuss
Featuring Anna Chatterton, Lesley Dowey, Bruce Hunter, Veronika Hurnik, Caitlin Morris-Cornfield, Jimi Shlag and Astrid Van Wieren
Sound Designer Kevin Centeno
Lighting Designer Kimberly Purtell
Set and Costume Designer Patrick Du Wors

For tickets please click here!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Typecast Dance

Today, I am off to the National Ballet School to peak in on rehearsals, and talk to choreographer Pamela Rasbach. Justin and I are going to see Missed Connections this coming Thursday, January 13th. Missed Connections is Ms Rasbach's third full length piece, and It is only on for a few days so be sure and click here for more info.

Missed Connections runs January 13-15 at the Winchester Theatre.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Jessie Tyler Ferguson @ Joe's Pub

I'm really into this performance, and Perez Hilton of all people, has the best clip. Thanks Perez! Check out Jessie Tyler Ferguson, of Modern Family's fame singing, "So This Guy Was Climbing Up a Mountain..." at Joe's Pub in New York.

Preview: Assassins

Back by popular demand following its sold out run last year is Sondheim's Assassins. Presented by Birdland Theatre and Talk is Free Theatre, Assassins is the most American of musicals that lays bare the lives of nine individuals who assassinated or tried to assassinate the President of the United States.

Check out the clip below for a preview of last year's production...

Directed by: Adam Brazier
Starring: Graham Abbey, Whitney Ross-Barris, Kevin Dennis, Alex Fiddes, Lisa Horner, Martin Julien, Paul McQuillan, Janet Porter, Steve Ross, Christopher Stanton, Jonathan Tan, Alicia Toner, Geoffrey Tyler and Ezra Tennen
Venue: The Theatre Centre
100-1087 Queen Street West
Previews: January 6 & 7, 2011
Opens: January 8, 2011
Closes: January 23, 2011
Performances: Wednesday – Monday at 8 PM; Saturday and Sunday at 2 PM
Tickets: All tickets are $35
Tickets are available through Arts Box Office by phone at 416-504-7529, or by clicking here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Next Stage Festival

The Fringe Festival, one of summers' hottest theatre tickets, is heating up the winter now-a-days. The fourth season of the Next Stage Festival started this past Wednesday at Factory Theatre, and from what we hear it is sure to be a smash. Next Stage was conceived as a way to advance the best from the Fringe, giving them wider audience and further development.

Next Stage is a a much needed niche in the City's theatre scene. Tons of great shows get their first shot at production during the Fringe, but many never go anywhere from there. We applaud Fringe for recognizing and seizing an opportunity to continue to promote and develop shows, with great potential. Below are a few links that will tell you more about the shows on at this years Next Stage Festival and what people are saying about them.

This years line up can be found here
EyeWeekly's coverage is here
Richard Ouzounian from The Star had this to say about the festival.
And Now's coverage is here

The Next Stage Festival runs until January 16th. See you at the Festival

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Preview: The Misanthrope

A new adapted version of the classic Molière work The Misanthrope is opening this week at Tarragon. In this interpretation; "Molière's fierce satire about personal and aesthetic integrity is set in today’s celebrity culture machine. Despite the Misanthrope’s biting critique of the film industry, he has fallen in love with a rising starlet. Torn between desire and unflinching morality, our contemporary anti-hero strikes out at hypocrisy in a world shamelessly built on it. Will love or misanthropy triumph?" (

Sounds really interesting to us, we are checking the show out on Thursday and will let you know what we think!

The Misanthrope
By Molière
Tarragon Theatre
30 Bridgman Avenue Toronto
In a version by Martin Crimp
Directed by Richard Rose
Starring Patrick Galligan, Stephen Gartner, Michelle Giroux, Stuart Hughes, Brandon McGibbon, Julian Richings, Maria Ricossa,Andrea Runge and David Storch

For tickets or more information regarding The Misanthrope please click here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Preview: Parade

Last night Parade opened upstairs at the Berkeley Street Theatre. Unfortunately it has not been getting very inspiring reviews...

For Nestruck's review over at The Globe and Mail click here, and for Ouzounian's review at The Star click here.

We are still planning to see Parade and encourage you to do the same if you are musical theatre supporters as Jason Robert Brown has produced some incredible music here and it is carrying an all Canadian cast. For tickets please click the header or here.


Book by Alfred Uhry
Music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Directed by Joel Greenberg
Starring Michael Therriault and Tracy Michailidis
At the Berkeley Street Theatre Upstairs
Parade runs until Jan. 22.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Liza and I both wish you all a very Happy New Year!

Last year's theatre season started seven months into the year for EAP as Liza and I were both across the world traveling through India, South East Asia and China together. We returned home full of optimism and ambition and it turned out to be our most productive and successful year to date. With 2011 upon us, we hope to carry the knowledge and insight garnered from 2010 and continue to push and inspire EAP into challenging and creative directions.

See you at the theatre!