All posts by Darryl

Review: The Flying Dutchman – Canadian Opera Company

By Darryl D’Souza

Canadian Opera Company presents a visually impressive production of Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman

The Canadian Opera Company’s (COC’s) production of Richard Wagner’s famous opera The Flying Dutchman, now playing at The Four Seasons Centre For The Performing Arts, is very beautiful and certainly well worth seeing.

While most operas have simple and often contrived plots, The Flying Dutchman, much like Wagner’s other masterpiece, Tristan and Isolde, has a seemingly simple plot centred around a love story that is, in actuality, incredibly complicated and convoluted. Richard Wagner, who wrote the libretto himself, and was incidentally, I believe, the first operatic composer to do this, based The Flying Dutchman on a famous folkloric myth. Continue reading Review: The Flying Dutchman – Canadian Opera Company

Review: The Aleph – Soulpepper Theatre Company

By Darryl D’Souza

the aleph diego in chair

At the beginning of Soulpepper Theatre Company’s production of The Aleph, playing at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts, the house lights were left on to illuminate a “set” that consisted of just a single swivel chair and a large closed curtain. 

A man entered the room, whom I knew to be the star of the play, Diego Matamoros, and started telling what I thought was an anecdote about his experience as an actor. Diego never approached the stage, but instead, stood in the rafters talking while he handed out a picture of himself taken 30 years ago. I was impatiently waiting for him to stop wasting my time telling me what I thought was a personal story and to start the play already. It turns out he had, and relating this anecdote was actually the beginning of the play. 

If you think that making the audience actually forget that they are watching a play is an accomplishment, then The Aleph was certainly successful in this respect. Reality and fiction were blurred, in the beginning at least. My issue was I felt that it was ultimately a play without the play. Continue reading Review: The Aleph – Soulpepper Theatre Company

Communion – Tarragon Theatre

By Darryl D’Souza

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I have conflicting feelings about Daniel MacIvor’s latest play, Communion, playing at Tarragon Theatre (where, incidentally, MacIvor is the new playwright-in-residence). To be fair, I am a huge fan of MacIvor, so my expectations for this play were very high. I’ve actually been waiting to see Communion ever since I first heard about it last September. 

However, experience has taught me that high expectations – whether they’re for a play, novel or film – are often a sure-fire recipe for disappointment. I was disappointed to a certain extent, but also enthralled with the intriguing characters, their complex relationships with each other and the fact that it was far more political than MacIvor’s last Tarragon play, A Beautiful View. Continue reading Communion – Tarragon Theatre

Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci – Toronto Opera Repertoire

By Darryl D’Souza

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I went to the operas Cavalleria Rusticana and Pagliacci as part of a double bill at the Bickford Centre Theatre put on by the Toronto Opera Repertoire. I was thoroughly engrossed during the performances of both and impressed by the experience.

What impressed me most was the calibre of the singing. In my opinion, the calibre of the singing is the ultimate litmus test for judging whether any opera is a success or failure. While the Bickford Centre Theatre is certainly not the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, (the home of the Canadian Opera Company), and in all truth seems more like a high school gymnasium than a theatre per se, the singing was as good – if not better – than what you’d expect to hear at the average Canadian Opera Company performance.

If you feel like opera is not for you, you’re definitely not alone. In fact, our motto here at Mooney on Theatre is: “Theatre is for everyone…so how come it doesn’t feel that way?”. If this is true of theatre in general, it’s even more true of opera. Ever since its inception over 300 hundred years ago, due to high ticket prices, seeing opera has been almost solely the privilege of the bourgeois class. Continue reading Cavalleria Rusticana & Pagliacci – Toronto Opera Repertoire

Next Stage Festival – Icarus Redux

By: Darryl D’Souza

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Watching Icarus Redux at the Next Stage Festival was a strange experience for me. I can’t say that I loved it, but I didn`t loathe it either. The gap between the original myth of Icarus and Daedalus and this production is rather enormous. 

If you don’t know the myth, basically Daedalus, imprisoned in Crete with his son Icarus, devised a pair of wings made out of wax and feathers to escape captivity. He warned Icarus not to fly too close to the sea, as the wing’s feathers would get wet. And, more notoriously, not to fly too close to the sun as the heat would cause the wax attaching the wings to melt. Icarus flew too close to the sun, the wax melted, and he plummeted to his death into the sea. Daedalus mourned the loss of his son, whose death he had caused by creating the wings. 

Here’s where Icarus Redux picks up. It’s about the relationship between a father and son, seemingly imprisoned in their home (a modern Crete). Continue reading Next Stage Festival – Icarus Redux