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.

the marquise of O- (the red light district) 2015 SummerWorks Review

photo by rockitpromo

the marquise of O- (the red light district), adapted and directed by Lauren Gillis and Ted Witzel for SummerWorks, is loosely based on an 1808 short story by Heinrich von Kleist, filtered through Kant’s ideas on reality and knowledge, and the remix culture of Reddit.

This story, about a widow whose life and honour are saved from an encroaching army by an instantly-besotted count, and who later mysteriously falls pregnant, is both devotedly retold and revised into a modern exploration of how we treat rape, and how belief and rationalization can be tenuous and dangerous things.

Continue reading the marquise of O- (the red light district) 2015 SummerWorks Review

Review: The Short Short Play Festival – Cassandra, Table For Two, Salty Bachelors (Social Capital Theatre)

Director Kerry Ann Doherty rehearses with Allan Price and Randy Read

Last night, I reviewed three of the twelve plays being presented at The Social Capital Theatre as part of The Short Short Play Festival. It’s a great idea: present four different groupings of three plays twice each over four nights in a casual setting with a bar.

As the adorable, tiny shorts hanging from a clothesline on the ceiling indicate, these are short works of theatre, twenty minutes tops, that don’t often get to see the stage. After my second night, and having seen half of the festival, I’m inclined to agree that good things come in small packages.

Continue reading Review: The Short Short Play Festival – Cassandra, Table For Two, Salty Bachelors (Social Capital Theatre)

Review: The Short Short Play Festival – In Frame, The Park, Grow Up Juliet (Social Capital Theatre)

Anand Rajaram, Taylor Trowbridge, Sunnie James, and Tahirih Vejdani

The Short Short Play Festival delivers bite-sized plays on stage in Toronto

The Social Capital Theatre serves up a buffet of short plays in an intimate Toronto setting in The Short Short Play Festival — a perfect evening for those who find hour-long plays to be taxing. It’s snack-size theatre, full of variety; a 20-minute play has to make its point quickly, and leave us with one indelible impression.

Plays of this length rarely get a chance at performance and so an appetizer menu of 12 plays over four days is a treat. As Shakespeare might say, though, they be but little, they are fierce.

Continue reading Review: The Short Short Play Festival – In Frame, The Park, Grow Up Juliet (Social Capital Theatre)

The Dinner Table (Fail Better Theatre) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

I’m not sure ifThe Dinner Table poster The Dinner Table (Fail Better Theatre) entirely needs a review. There are only twelve seats at this site-specific Toronto Fringe Festival production that promises dinner and a show, with a rotating cast of two storytellers, so the run is a sell-out, save a stray ticket here or there. The two storytellers change every night, so no two shows are at all alike, except thematically. Even dinner, freshly cooked and served to all guests, is different each time. Was my reviewing presence superfluous? Possibly. Am I glad I had a chance to be there? Absolutely. Continue reading The Dinner Table (Fail Better Theatre) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

I Love You, Judy Merril (House of James) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Jim SmithJudy Merril, pioneering female science fiction writer of the 1950s, anthologist, and dissident, seems like a fascinating thinker who is unfairly being forgotten after her death in 1997. Unfortunately, I felt I learned more about her from the attractively-designed program than I did from  I Love You, Judy Merril (House of James) Jim Smith’s one-man Toronto Fringe Festival show, which is well-intentioned, but only orbits its subject. Continue reading I Love You, Judy Merril (House of James) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Morro and Jasp do Puberty (Up Your Nose and In Your Toes Productions) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review

Photo of Morro and Jasp

In Morro and Jasp do Puberty, presented as part of the 2015 Toronto Fringe Festival, clown sisters Morro (Heather Marie Annis) and Jasp (Amy Lee) are going through puberty, a time when everything is awkward and nothing is certain. Puberty might be unsure of itself, but this duo is anything but; having toured their shows at Fringe for almost a decade, they are masters of the craft. They have exquisite timing, hilarious dialogue, and a stubborn streak of empathy and melancholy that makes this show more than just a good time. Continue reading Morro and Jasp do Puberty (Up Your Nose and In Your Toes Productions) 2015 Toronto Fringe Review