All posts by Dorianne Emmerton

Dorianne is a graduate of the Theatre and Drama Studies joint program between University of Toronto, Erindale campus and Sheridan College. She writes short stories, plays and screenplays and was delighted to be accepted into the 2010 Diaspora Dialogues program and also to have her short story accepted into the 2011 edition of TOK: Writing The New Toronto collection. She is also a regularly contributing writer on You can follow her on twitter @headonist if you like tweets about cats, sex, food, queer stuff and lefty politics.

Review: LoveSexMoney (Theatre Brouhaha)

By Dorianne Emmerton

Theatre Brouhaha has an admirable mandate: to “combine the primacy of story with the rapid pace of the Information Age to create relevant theatre for the next generation of theatre audiences.”

I love work that is set in the contemporary world and where the content fully engages with the technology at our disposal, particularly the internet. The internet changed the world, it changed business and romance and socializing and marketing. There’s a wealth of issues to be explored so why are so many plays set in the past, or in a present that contrives to ignore the massive effect the internet has on our lives? Continue reading Review: LoveSexMoney (Theatre Brouhaha)

Review: The Mill Part Four: Ash (Theatrefront)

by Dorianne Emmerton

Unfortunately I was not able to see any of The Mill shows before the final instalment, Part Four: Ash, although Mooneyontheatre was able to review Part One: Now We Are Brody. I’m a horror movie buff so the prospect of seeing a horror play was very exciting. I was assured that each piece was a stand-alone and I would be able to understand and enjoy seeing any of the plays without seeing the preceding ones. As part of this assurance I was told that they weren’t in any specific chronology. Continue reading Review: The Mill Part Four: Ash (Theatrefront)

Review: The Bird (Union Eight Theatre)

by Dorianne Emmerton

The first thing you see when you walk into The Bird at Buddies is a giant stuffed bird. The taxidermied wonder is perched on a coffee table on a set of an expansive living room in what looks like, and we later find out is a chic downtown condo building. While the city is never specified, all references feel very Toronto-esque.I had not read any material on the play before going in. I had no idea what it was about. I knew friends were going and I knew I liked playwright Sonja Mills and director Ruth Madoc-Jones, and that was good enough for me. I rather like to be surprised, so if I’m already sure I want to see it, why find out anything more? Continue reading Review: The Bird (Union Eight Theatre)

Review: Now What? (Wrecking Ball Theatre)

by Dorianne Emmerton

I’m not sure how The Wrecking Ball was not on my radar before, being both a theatre buff and a person with political sensibilities. I’m certainly glad I know of it now.

The concept is: the playwrights have one week to write a short script, around ten minutes. The actors have a couple of days with the script, and are on book for the performance. They do tech the day of: this is stripped down theatre. The plays are to be politically relevant to current events. Each show runs one night only.

The promo for Monday night’s show read:

On Tuesday December 7th, the new Toronto City Council including 14 new city councillors and His Worship Mayor Rob Ford will meet for the first time.

The night before this new era of civic governance, The Wrecking Ball presents the works of six Toronto writers who consider the question, “Now What?”

Given this, I expected six short plays depicting a bleak Fordian future but only one of them could really be described as that. They were quite diverse in their approach to the subject. Continue reading Review: Now What? (Wrecking Ball Theatre)

Review: Wide Awake Hearts (Tarragon Theatre)

If you suspect your best friend and your wife are in love with each other, what are you to do about it?

If you’re a successful screenwriter and producer you might just make a film where you cast the two as hot-and-heavy lovers.

Wide Awake Hearts is set staunchly in the world of film, and in being a play about film it is also intrinsically about theatre. It is about writing what you know, or what you think you know; it is about playing a part and trying and failing to divorce yourself from that part; it is about the exquisite manipulation of characters who just might be real people.

As the play opens, credits are projected as if it was a film. The graphics and music are reminiscent of a horror and you know that since you are unlikely to see pure genre on the stage, what you are about to witness will be dark and demented. Continue reading Review: Wide Awake Hearts (Tarragon Theatre)

Review: Homeland (Godot Art Productions)

by Dorianne Emmerton

Homeland, by Godot Art Productions, is a multi-media piece. On one level it is a documentary film featuring interviews on the concept of “home” with people who now live in Toronto but originally came from somewhere else. Some of them consider Toronto their home now and some of them will always consider their native land home.

Homeland is also a music and dance number. Composer Reza Moghaddas has crafted a lush soundtrack of electronic and live music, performed by himself and Lorenzo Castelli. The dance is performed by Megan Nadain, a lovely young woman with admirable physical prowess.

Megan enters the stage through the audience which is very intimate given the small venue of the Theatre Passe Muraille backspace. This entry signifies a journey, foretelling the stories of travelling to Canada we then see, projected onto a crumpled screen hung on the stage.

Megan’s outfit is a similarly crumpled white, adorned by a crude rope around her waist. Reza and Lorenzo wore similar shirts, however the effect was compromised for me by the fact that both men wore contemporary casual jeans and shoes. Continue reading Review: Homeland (Godot Art Productions)

Review: The Girls who Saw Everything (Ryerson Theatre School)

by Dorianne Emmerton

The Girls Who Saw Everything is presented by Ryerson Theatre School with a cast of their fourth year graduating class and guest director Ruth Madoc-Jones. Madoc-Jones has been involved in some of the most intriguing new theatre in the city so I was intrigued to see both her work and the fresh crop of actors about to be loosed into the Toronto theatre scene.

Ryerson’s Abrams Studio (46 Gerrard St E) can be a little hard to find, so if you’re heading there be sure you know it’s on the north side of Gerrard in the Ryerson Theatre School academic building, second floor (across the street from the large Ryerson theatre.)

Before the play even started I was impressed with the simple and elegant set. Wooden cross beams at odd angles allow the audience to see into a hallway running along the back of the stage. Large wooden crates provide levels and surfaces used to make different scenes within the play but which also evoke the feeling of a warehouse, the setting of the main action. A corner draped with coloured scarves is an exotic portal where mythical elements of the play enter and exit. Continue reading Review: The Girls who Saw Everything (Ryerson Theatre School)

Review: Soulseek (Birdland Theatre)

by Dorianne Emmerton

When I first walked into the Walmer Centre Theatre to see Birdland Theatre’s SoulSeek I wasn’t sure what I was seeing: was the back of the stage covered in a multitude of different sized crosses because the building is a repurposed church or was that part of the set?

Turns out it’s part of the set. It must have been a lot of work to prepare: there were hundreds of white crosses suspended to cover the entire back wall. It is just one example of the massive amount of preparation that was obviously put into SoulSeek. Director Stefan Dzeparoski has embraced multi-media to an impressive extent for a non-profit theatre company like Birdland Theatre.

Continue reading Review: Soulseek (Birdland Theatre)

Review: Fernando Krapp Wrote Me This Letter: An Attempt at the Truth (Canadian Stage)

by Dorianne Emmerton

Fernando Krapp Wrote Me This Letter: An Attempt at the Truth is playing at the Bluma Appel location of Canadian Stage. It’s their first show under the artistic direction of Matthew Jocelyn, who also translated and directed this show.

Jocelyn has announced a new mandate for Canadian Stage, which involves unconventional contemporary theatre. As the press release states they want to be “at the vanguard of contemporary theatre” and “question, challenge move and entertain not only with the tales they tell but with the way they tell them.”

Fernando Krapp is definitely an unconventional show: I have certainly never seen anything like it at the theatre formerly known as Canstage. Written by the German Tankred Dorst, the characters are allegorical clowns, who play out a fable about how love interacts with power.

Continue reading Review: Fernando Krapp Wrote Me This Letter: An Attempt at the Truth (Canadian Stage)

My Happy (Pyretic Productions) – 2010 Summerworks review

by Dorianne Emmerton

Me Happy.jpg

In Pyretic Productions Me Happy a young woman named Biddy lives in a tiny remote town in Ireland called Muff. Muff’s only claim to fame is three large cliffs which provide a spectacular view, constant danger of falling to one’s death, and an ideal venue for cliff diving.

That’s right: diving in Muff. That’s the kind of humour at work in Me Happy. It’s no workout for brain, but on a rainy dreary Sunday I was quite happy to be entertained with some bathroom humour. Continue reading My Happy (Pyretic Productions) – 2010 Summerworks review