Mouthpiece and Little Death take the stage at the Theatre Centre in Toronto as part of The RISER Project
I had the pleasure of seeing Mouthpiece and Little Death, two performances from The RISER Project by Why Not Theatre, in one night. The RISER Project is a collective effort to help small and independent theatre productions run their shows without the burden of financial costs. With the help of a $100,000 grant from the Toronto Arts Council’s Open Door Program, The RISER Project can shine the spotlight on some unexpected productions. There are four shows in this year’s line-up: Mouthpiece by Quote Unquote Collective, Little Death by Little Death Collective, Mahmoud by Pandemic Theatre, and Paolozzapedia by Bad New Days Performing Arts.
Mouthpiece is a performance piece starring Amy Nostbakken, Norah Sadava, and a bathtub. Nostbakken and Sadava both play the inner thoughts and expressions of one woman. The show goes through the day of this woman who has just experienced the loss of her mother as well as the loss of her voice. The dialogue jumps from the process of the woman arranging her mother’s funeral, to inside her mind where reality and imagination blend together.
Continue reading Review: Mouthpiece/Little Death (The RISER Project)
Toronto’s Bad Dog Theatre Company offers hilarious budget-friendly weekly improv
The Bad Dog Comedy Theatre is hard to find on a cold night, but my plus-one and I were able to spot it hidden between buildings. We opened the door and walked up a narrow staircase into a bar. The place was packed. All the bar seats were taken. People were chatting excitedly. I could feel the hyped energy of the place before we even got our tickets. I knew then, that this was going to be a fun crowd.
A fun crowd is essential for the kind of show that Pushpins is doing. The crew of ten comics have to improvise sketches based on suggestions by the audience. Instead of asking for suggestions every few minutes, the crew takes only two suggestions from the audience at the very beginning: a location and an adjective. The crew uses that to collectively invent a little universe. The audience gives them an idea and they run with it.
Continue reading Review: Pushpins (Bad Dog Theatre)
The Daisy Theatre is Heartwarming and Enlightening
I had no idea what to expect when I sat down in The Factory Theatre’s studio theatre. All I really knew is that The Daisy Theatre was an adult puppet show. I couldn’t conceive of what a puppet show that had banished children would be like. When the show had finished and the audience rose in a standing ovation, I thought: Oh, that’s what they meant.
The Daisy Theatre is said to be different every time. Ronnie Burkett has an arsenal of puppets back stage, and he picks different ones for each performance, improvising dialogue and audience interaction. For the show I witnessed, most of the jokes were for the Toronto-centric crowd. They were jabs at our hipster urbanites, nods to our neighbourhoods, and inside-jokes about the city’s theatre community. It was absolutely fantastic. As someone who’s city-born and raised, I felt like I was part of this secret club, even though a nagging part in the back of my head reminded me that he probably did the same thing back in Calgary. I still couldn’t help but love the lie.
Continue reading Review: The Daisy Theatre (Ronnie Burkett Theatre of Marionettes)
Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre presents shorts and vignettes highlighting women’s issues
Today is International Women’s Day, when we focus on the accomplishments and social issues regarding women. To me, it’s ridiculous to have one day in March dedicated to half of the world’s population. Every day is Women’s Day! Every day we should demand respect and attention to injustices across the world. The Vagina Monologues Meets The F Word brings up these injustices and shows us that they should be a part of our daily conversations.
The Vagina Monologues are shorts written by Eve Ensler where women confess about, well, their vaginas. The content can be raunchy, funny, emotional, or all of the above. Each vagina has its own tale to tell. However, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre wasn’t just hosting The Vagina Monologues. The show was being blended with The F Word, which is currently celebrating its 5th anniversary. The F Word is a series of vignettes that explore controversies and issues dealing with women around the world. Together the Vagina Monologues and The F Word combined into a frenzy of female empowerment. So, when I had this opportunity to gain this merit badge for my feminist sash, I jumped at the chance.
Continue reading Review: The Vagina Monologues Meets The F Word (360 Productions)
Toronto’s Humber College Theatre presents a showcase of multi-talents in This Side of Heaven
This Side of Heaven cannot be contained by a stage. The show uses promenade staging, so that players and the audience mingle on the floor. The players travel across the large expanse, taking a moment to stare at the audience members who stay in their seats. They stop to make eye contact, to sing, or to wag their tongues mockingly. This Side of Heaven isn’t a play – it’s a spectacle.
This Side of Heaven is an experimental smorgasbord. There was dancing, singing, dialogue, monologue, puppetry, and circus acting. It was a taste of what Humber Theatre has to offer. A variety of talents compacted into a show. I was in awe of the multitude of what was unfurling in front of me.
Continue reading Review: This Side of Heaven (Humber College Theatre)