Review: The Book of Life (Volcano Theatre, The Woman Cultural Centre, Rwanda and Why Not Theatre)

Odile Gakire Katese in The Book of LifeThe Book of Life is “captivating and powerful” storytelling, now on stage in Toronto

Rwandan playwright and performer Odile Gakire (Kiki) Katese and Canadian director Ross Manson have created a healing work of theatre with The Book of Life, presented by Canadian Stage at the Marilyn and Charles Baillie Theatre. Written and performed by Katese, the show gives human face to the mass lives lost in the devastating 1994 Rwandan genocide.

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Playlistings for the Week of September 23, 2019

Shows that Caught Our Eye in Toronto for the Week of September 23, 2019

Well, theatre season is in full swing. So many places have launched their seasons, #JFL42 is in full swing, even the Toronto Biennial of Art has performances for you to check out (although, admittedly it’s a pretty difficult website to navigate). There is just so much art happening in Toronto. It makes me a happy camper.

We’ve collected some of what’s up for offer this week and it’s here for you below. And, in case you’re curious, I have highlighted the things in red that makes me wish there were several versions of me and unlimited childcare in this world so I could just spend all my time enjoying art always…

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Review: Alegría in a New Light (Cirque du Soleil)

Cirque du Soleil returns with their classic show Alegría updated and revamped

Seeing Cirque du Soleil live has been on my bucket list ever since I was mesmerized by the TV ads for their then-new and ground-breaking show Alegría in 1994. Sadly, my parents were musical theatre people and not really circus people so they declined my persistent requests for tickets. When I was finally setting off on Thursday night to see the show’s 2019 re-imagining, Alegría in a New Light, a quarter century from its debut, I was struck with a moment of panic. After 25 years of anticipation, was there any chance it would live up to my expectations? Thankfully Alegría in a New Light is absolutely magical and surpassed more than half a lifetime of expectations. Continue reading Review: Alegría in a New Light (Cirque du Soleil)

Review: Actually (Harold Green/Obsidian)

Photo of Claire Renaud and Tony Ofori in Actually by Joanna AkyolRacial tensions run high on Princeton’s prestigious campus in Actually

When I was accepted to Princeton, a family friend I’d perhaps met once took it upon himself to send me a message. He urged me not to go, despite my dreams, due to the school’s less-than-stellar history with minority students and Jewish students in particular. Believing that the events he referred to were in the distant past, I disregarded his note and matriculated, and I fell madly in love with my school and the brilliant people populating it. That didn’t mean, however, that the journey was completely smooth.

Take an elite college full of self-reflective, high-achieving teenagers under pressure to succeed, mix in insecurities, alcohol, hormones, and class tensions, and you have a recipe for angst and bad decisions. It was with that background that I was eager to see Anna Ziegler’s Actually, a production by the Harold Green Jewish Theatre Company in association with Obsidian Theatre Company, now playing at the Greenwin Theatre at the Meridian Arts Centre in North York.

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