So. Why another theatre site?
Well, it’s a good question. More than anything it’s an experiment.
In my dream world, completely separate from this site, theatre becomes an art form of the masses again. These days, all to often, theatre is seen as an elite art form, something fancy. Dress up in pretty fancy clothes, got to a fancy dinner, and then go to a big production (Les Mis anyone?). It’s not the ‘hey, what do you wanna do tonight’ choice of most folks.
Remember back in the day, back when Shakespeare was actually alive, no, you don’t remember? Okay. Fair enough, I suppose there probably aren’t many folks who remember first hand, but remember what you learned about it? Shakespeare, the man who’s plays now are seen as the most elite of elite theatre, he wrote plays for the masses. The equivalent of movies these days really.
So, that’s what I want back. I want theatre to be available, accessible, considered. I want it to not need to be a big moral lesson or artistic statement, I want it to be an experience people can share without too much pressure.
And the truth is, that theatre exists in this city. There are tons of small companies that my friend Paddy called ‘hit and run’ companies because one minute they’re there, the next they’re not. The kind of companies that perform upstairs in a bar, or any space they can get their hands on. The kind of company where it’s cheaper to go to the play than to go to a movie. The kind of company that barely gets any kind of press coverage, because, well, for whatever reason, as theatre people, we’re pretty bad at self-promotion as a general rule.
Now, I’m not insane, I know I can’t change the world and it’s attitudes towards theatre, but I can do as much as I can to make theatre in Toronto known. Which is where this site comes in.
I want to reach people like my mother, who loves theatre, who introduced me to theatre, but only ever in the context of big productions. My mother, who told me that if I hadn’t started bringing her to places like Theatre Passe Muraille she would have been far to intimidated to go there because it seemed like the kind of place that you had to really know what you’re talking about in terms of theatre to go to.
I want to be a quick resource for theatre stuff in Toronto.
So, as the site develops you will see it will have a few areas. The blog on the front end that holds most recent content, and then four other sections: Theatre Reviews, Theatre Profiles, Theatre Musings, and Theater Questions.
Here’s how they’ll work:
Theatre reviews: This one will follow my existing blogTO format for reviewing theatre wherever possible. The idea being that it is not so much a critique of theatre, but rather just an explanation of the feeling of the show, hopefully providing enough information that the reader will know whether or not it is a show they will like, regardless of whether or not I liked it. Because, as crazy as it sounds, it’s been my experience that we don’t all like the same things. I know! CRAZY!!! To help out with this, I will continue the tradition of having a second person come to the show with me so their opinion can be taken into account in the review as well. And, if I don’t have a review for a particular show, I will endevor to post links to other reviews.
Theatre profiles: This will be profiles of theatres themselves, and theatre companies, and possibly actors, I’m not sure. This idea is still in development.
Theatre musings: This will just be random navel-gazing musings by me. Probably kind of more like a journal than anything else. I imagine that the audience for this will be limited, but these I’m pretty much writing for myself. I’m happy if folks tag along, but it’s not absolutely necessary.
Theatre questions: This is a spot where I answer questions from people. The questions are wide open. The idea is that if someone wants to know something, I’ll find out the answer. So, you know, curious about how they made that lightening sound in that last show you went to? Just ask, I’ll let you know, and find out for you if I don’t know myself. All questions and answers will be published, ’cause, you know what they say, if you’re wondering it, then no doubt so is someone else.