In Soulpepper‘s production of Art, Yasmina Reza’s 1994 one-act play which won the 1998 Tony for Best Play, friendships are threatened and the nature of art and creativity is questioned. Serge (Diego Matamoros) buys a very expensive painting that is the epitome of modern art: it appears to be, essentially, a blank, painted-white canvas, with a few white lines running across its expanse. Serge loves his painting, while Marc (Oliver Dennis) derides it. Yvan (Huse Madhavji) plays both sides, desperate to be the peacemaker and to be liked by both men.
Definitions of what and who are “criminal” or “insane” have historically been tailored to benefit the rich and powerful at the expense of the poor and marginalized. This fact is readily apparent as one watches Audible Songs From Rockwood at the 2019 SummerWorks Performance Festival, a song cycle by Simone Schmidt (aka Fiver) based on the case files of ten women incarcerated at Rockwood Asylum for the Criminally Insane between 1856-1881.
Gender Reveal Party, presented by Flamingo Rampant at the 2019 SummerWorks Performance Festival, is a work-in-progress, much like the gender identities of many of its participants. Created by Mooney on Theatre senior writer S. Bear Bergman, it riffs off the idea of the “gender reveal party” that has become a major social media fad in the past decade, starting with a fateful 2008 blog post -which the blogger reportedly now regrets. In these parties, as a baby sits in utero, its parents, via the inside colour of a cake, piñata, or some other intricate ritual, communicate to their guests the assigned gender of the child.
“Do you consider yourself to be an anxious person?”
We live, as they say, in an age of anxiety. The daily stream of fear from world news means that we not only shoulder our own burdens, but those of billions of others. Worry Warts, presented by Convergence Theatre at the 2019 SummerWorks Performance Festival, is a short, guided tour through our personal anxieties, helmed by a troupe of sympathetic listeners.
A (musical) Midsummer Night’s Dream, presented by Driftwood Theatre in Withrow Park, was adapted to a musical in 2004 by composers Kevin Fox and Tom Lillington and director D. Jeremy Smith. They wanted to put an a cappella twist on Shakespeare’s classic comedy of fairies and love triangles. The result is a fun, well-paced show that packs on the charm and shakes off a lot of the potential staleness of this constantly-performed classic.