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: Fish Water (Next Stage Community Booster 2021)

Photo of Mara Da Costa Reis in Fish Water at the Next Stage Community Booster 2021

We all consume things we know that are bad for us, in order to escape, to connect, to feel. That’s one of the messages of Mara Da Costa Reis’s Fish Water, now playing in the Next Stage‘s 2021 virtual festival Community Booster as part of the Storytelling series.

Reis’ story, which begins as an innocuous flirtation between a young woman and her Thai food delivery girl, contains an unexpected gut punch.

Continue reading Review: Fish Water (Next Stage Community Booster 2021)

Review: Lacuna (Next Stage Community Booster 2021)

Photo of Juliet Jones-Rodney, Chantal Forde, and Trina Moyan in Lacuna

Lacuna, now playing as part of the virtual 2021 Next Stage Community Booster, asks us, “Is theatre even theatre without the exchange of energy?”

Writer Chantal Forde is joined by Mandy Roveda, Juliet Jones-Rodney, and Trina Moyan, in an on-stage representation of a Zoom call, each actress holding a frame around her face as they try to create together.

This attempt at creation is halted by general pandemic malaise and technical difficulties, and their private anxieties. These include the desire for connection vs. the reality of latency, the wearying need to constantly combat white supremacy, the challenge of finding individuality rather than representing a larger community, and the frustrating lack of space for women’s bodies.

Continue reading Review: Lacuna (Next Stage Community Booster 2021)

Review: Begin Again (Next Stage Community Booster 2021)

Photo of Cat and the Queen and Sasha Singer-Wilson in Begin Again

Begin Again – a combination of song and spoken word now playing as part of the 2021 virtual Next Stage Community Booster – is about the act of prayer.

Loud or quiet, large or small, desperate or calm, these pleas to a higher power are what creators Cat and the Queen and Sasha Singer-Wilson believe we all turn to in moments of need.

Continue reading Review: Begin Again (Next Stage Community Booster 2021)

Feature: The Corona Variations (Convergence)

Photo of a telephone by Fei Peng Hu

In the past several years, a phone call has begun to seem almost invasive, the unhappy middle between in-person nonverbal cues and the ability to carefully craft one’s sentences in text. Now that we can’t be in the same place, and screens are tiring and omnipresent, perhaps it’s time for a resurgence. Convergence Theatre’s The Corona Variations, written and directed primarily by Julie Tepperman, is theatre inspired by our current anxieties about the world around us and the changes to our lives as we knew them. It’s theatre that “phones home.”

Continue reading Feature: The Corona Variations (Convergence)

Preview: Converge Against Corona & The Corona Variations (Convergence Theatre)

Photo of red phone handset with cord by Negative Space

How will you participate in this “Phone Play”?

Every industry has been hit hard by COVID-19, and the performing arts are no exception, with a projected $500 million loss in ticket sales for arts organizations in Toronto alone. Seasons are cancelled, artists are out of work, and people are scared. Conversely, however, there has been an explosion of innovative creation since the lockdown, with livestreamed sing-alongs, balcony concerts, writing challenges, and virtual rehearsals.

Convergence Theatre, generator of such theatre events as Worry Warts (Summerworks 2019), The Unending (Fringe 2016), and The Gladstone Variations (Fringe 2007), is responding to the pandemic with Converge Against Corona, and has issued a call for participants and patrons alike.

Continue reading Preview: Converge Against Corona & The Corona Variations (Convergence Theatre)