All posts by Ilana Lucas

Ilana Lucas has been a big theatre nerd since witnessing a fateful Gilbert and Sullivan production at the age of seven. She has studied theatre for most of her life, holds a BA in English and Theatre from Princeton and an MFA in Dramaturgy and Script Development from Columbia, and is currently a professor of English and Theatre at Centennial College. She believes that theatre has a unique ability to foster connection, empathy and joy, and has a deep love of the playfulness of the written word. Her favourite theatrical experience was the nine-hour, all-day Broadway performance of The Norman Conquests, which made fast friends of an audience of strangers.

Review: A Christmas Carol (The Three Ships Collective/Soup Can Theatre)

Photo of the cast of A Christmas Carol by Laura DittmanUnique adaptation of A Christmas Carol makes use of immersive environment at Campbell House

Most people who have grown up in our yuletide-obsessed culture know the story of A Christmas Carol, but as a Jewish chorister weary of performing in nonstop Christmas concerts every December, I’ve largely steered clear of it. My interest was piqued, however, by The Three Ships Collective/Soup Can Theatre’s promise of an immersive version that explores Toronto’s lovely, period-appropriate Campbell House.

As it turns out, Justin Haigh’s adaptation of Dickens’ classic, which leans more heavily on its human relationships and less on its religious aspects, helps to prove why the piece and its moral message are so enduring. Christmas or not, who hasn’t dreamed that the rich and powerful might suddenly see their way toward upholding their share of the social contract?

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Review: Stars: Together (Streetcar Crowsnest)

Photo of Torquil Campbell and Amy Millan in Stars Together by Dahlia KatzMeta-play and concert celebrates and explores the 20-year legacy of indie band Stars

Montreal’s indie-rock darlings Stars are celebrating their 20th year of making music by starring in a play about themselves at Streetcar Crowsnest. Stars: Together, a combination “rock-doc” and concert, is a self-aware piece, created by the band, Chris Abraham, and Zack Russell. It combines Behind the Music-style drama and metatheatre to form something a little weird and a little wonderful.

I’m a very casual fan of Stars – I’ve enjoyed their music, but never sought it out, and couldn’t name all eight of their albums. For true fans of the band, this show is a no-brainer, but it’s not just a concert, and can be enjoyed on both a theatrical and musical level.

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Review: Improv Showdown (Second City/Hotel X)

Photo of Nkasi Ogbonnah and Chelsea Larkin in Second City Improv Showdown by Steve BlackburnGames and improv feature in this family-oriented comedy show

Hotel X, the new luxury lodgings on Exhibition grounds, is hosting Second City’s family-oriented Improv Showdown during the month of December and early January as part of their holiday programming.

Kids, their parents, and other hotel guests who have booked a Family Fun Package are invited to watch two small teams of veteran Second City improvisers take on a variety of games in a quick 50-minute set. Members of the public can purchase tickets to the show too ($20 for adults, $15 for kids).

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Review: Here Are the Fragments (ECT Collective/The Theatre Centre)

Photo of Allan Louis in Here Are the Fragments by Dahlia KatzHere are the Fragments is an explorative deep dive into life with schizophrenia

What is it like to live with a mind affected by schizophrenia – a mind gradually colonized by voices, thoughts, and experiences not your own? These are the questions asked by Here are the Fragments, ECT Collective’s fascinating immersive theatre work currently transforming The Theatre Centre. Written by neurologist Suvendrini Lena, it’s inspired by the writing of Frantz Fanon, a French West Indian philosopher and psychiatrist, whose short but vital life and works on decolonization inspired models for both community psychology and political revolution.

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Review: Girl in the Machine (Seven Siblings Theatre)

Photo of Madryn McCabe and Alex Clay in Girl in the Machine by Stephen KingGirl in the Machine is a dystopian exploration of the not so distant future

Girl in the Machine, Olivier Award-winning playwright Stef Smith’s 2017 one-act, has garnered a lot of comparisons to Black Mirror in its vision of a technological dystopia. Set in the not-too-distant future, it uses a fictional technology to explore our current technological addictions and their impact on our relationships with the here and now. This production, by Seven Siblings Theatre, is a hip, thoughtful, and discomfiting show from a promising young company. Just like in any new technical release, however, there are some bugs to work out.

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