All posts by Istvan Dugalin

Apart from his (pathological?) obsession with airplane disasters, Istvan is a filmmaker and film enthusiast, but began his creative adventures in theatre. Starting out as an actor, he soon discovered a preference for life behind-the-scenes. He has experience in lighting design, stage management and production management, but his passion is writing and directing. With several short films and an indie feature under his belt, film has been his focus in recent years, but theatre has been calling him back. You see more of his critical writing at his film reflection blog:

2018 Progress Review: Dis Merci (Joe Jack et John, curated by Volcano)

Dis Merci, currently playing at The Theatre Centre as part of the Progress Festival, is a Joe Jack et John production, curated by Volcano Theatre. Several neighbours in Quebec prepare to welcome a Syrian refugee family into their neighbourhood, but as they plan the celebration, their unique prejudices and collective dysfunction complicate their very best of intentions. Continue reading 2018 Progress Review: Dis Merci (Joe Jack et John, curated by Volcano)

2018 Progress Review: LOST in TRANS (FADO Performance Art Centre)

LOST in TRANS, conceived and performed by Dickie Beau, curated and presented by FADO Performance Art Centre, is currently running at The Theatre Centre as part of Progress Festival. Taking found audio recordings, Beau channels disparate personae and weaves them together to create an offbeat and haunting universe of misplaced characters. Their voices seem to flow through his body, revealing their desires and suggesting rich interior lives that have become lost in space and time. Continue reading 2018 Progress Review: LOST in TRANS (FADO Performance Art Centre)

2018 Progress Review: MDLSX (Motus)

MDLSX, produced by Motus and featuring the intensely charismatic Silvia Calderoni, is presented by The Theatre Centre as part of the Progress Festival. It is deeply, forcefully compelling and extremely hard to define. Any attempt to label it and slot it neatly into a category seems both false and disrespectful. Calderoni’s performance is, in essence, an act of defiance—a valiant and passionate reaction to repressive conventions of labelling and categorization. Continue reading 2018 Progress Review: MDLSX (Motus)

Review: Oleanna (Theatre Penumbra)

Toronto’s Theatre Penumbra presents a timely, intimate version of David Mamet’s play Oleanna

Theatre Penumbra’s production of David Mamet’s Oleanna is terrifying—to me, anyway. I had read it in my early twenties and saw Mamet’s own film version, but I was unprepared for how hard it would hit me now. There in the front row at Red Sandcastle Theatre, sometimes mere inches from the drama as it unfolded—and despite knowing how the story plays out—I held my breath and braced myself. Continue reading Review: Oleanna (Theatre Penumbra)

Review: Evita (Scarborough Music Theatre)

Scarborough Music Theatre’s passionate production of Evita will wow audiences

I was a fresh-faced adolescent with a burgeoning interest in musical theatre when I first encountered this rock opera. Inspired by the content, I went on to participate in a scholastic speech-writing competition with my piece on the rise and death of Eva Perón. Since then, I’ve acquired several cast recordings and my obsession has blossomed, but alas—I’ve only seen one prior staging. So it was with great excitement that I attended Scarborough Music Theatre’s handsome production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical Evita. Continue reading Review: Evita (Scarborough Music Theatre)

Review: Cloud (Scapegoat Collective)

A “dark meditation on the nature of ambition and contentment” on the Toronto stage

We’ve had a solid decade of immersion in social media. The internet itself has become such an essential, integrated part of our daily lives that it often requires us to ask probing questions about the nature of human interaction and the possibilities of personalized technology. With similar thematic concerns as Black Mirror, Scapegoat Collective’s production of Daniel Pagett’s Cloud (currently playing at Artscape Sandbox), delves into some very intriguing speculative fiction. Continue reading Review: Cloud (Scapegoat Collective)

Review: Pool [No Water] (Cue6)

Pool (No Water) is a “haunting and darkly amusing tale” on the Toronto stage

Pool (No Water) is perhaps the type of story that speaks to me most deeply. It seduces, cleverly—almost covertly—draws you in and then, once you feel safe and invested, demands your complicity in thoughts, feelings and actions that are, on the surface, deeply repugnant. At the Citadel Theatre, Cue6 is offering a very special gift to the Toronto theatre scene: their vibrant and compelling production of Mark Ravenhill’s fascinating play. Continue reading Review: Pool [No Water] (Cue6)

Review: Songbuster — An Improvised Musical (Songbuster)

Three more chances to catch this hilarious musical improv on stage in Toronto

I just saw my first improvised musical and I was thoroughly entertained and impressed with the efforts of the company behind Songbuster — An Improvised Musical. After prying into the summer adventures of an audience member, the team have their setting and begin building a story and characters out of thin air. Suddenly, the cabaret space at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre becomes a hippy commune on Vancouver Island where lost families are found, romance is kindled and all manor of crises are created and averted! Continue reading Review: Songbuster — An Improvised Musical (Songbuster)

Review: Burn This (Gracemoon Arts Company)

Burn This is “gritty” and “intense” theatre that captivates Toronto audiences

I enjoy all kinds of theatre, from the grand spectacle of mega musicals to the gritty naturalism of kitchen sink dramas. I have a particular obsession, though, with gritty and intense productions in unconventional venues. I am also drawn to poetic narratives where the language itself takes you to a very special place. With their stunning production of Lanford Wilson’s Burn This, Gracemoon Arts Company has crafted a theatrical experience that seems tailored to my very specific sensibilities. Continue reading Review: Burn This (Gracemoon Arts Company)