All posts by Istvan Dugalin

Apart from his (pathological?) obsession with airplane disasters, Istvan is a filmmaker and film enthusiast, but began his creative adventures in theatre. Starting out as an actor, he soon discovered a preference for life behind-the-scenes. He has experience in lighting design, stage management and production management, but his passion is writing and directing. With several short films and an indie feature under his belt, film has been his focus in recent years, but theatre has been calling him back. You see more of his critical writing at his film reflection blog: http://captiveviscera.wordpress.com/

Review: Stones (Aluna Theatre)

Stones is a multi-disciplinary look at a history of violence against women, on stage in Toronto

Stoning is an appalling practice. The cruelty and brutality of it is deliberate; the purpose is not only to kill, but to terrify, torture and humiliate. It is an ancient practice still seen in some parts of the world.

As a response to a long history of violence against women, of which stoning is a particularly horrific exemplification, Aluna Theatre presents Stones—a multi-disciplinary collaboration—to depict the misogyny that fuels that violence. Continue reading Review: Stones (Aluna Theatre)

Review: Frozen (Seven Siblings Theatre)

Harrowing play takes to the Toronto stage

In the b current studio at Artscape Wychwood Barns, Seven Siblings Theatre presents Bryony Lavery’s compelling play about grief and forgiveness—Frozen. In modern day England, ten year old Rhona is found sexually abused and murdered. Circumstances then conspire to draw three characters together: Nancy (the mother of the murdered girl), Ralph (the murderer) and Agnetha (a visiting American psychologist researching violent criminality in men). Continue reading Review: Frozen (Seven Siblings Theatre)

Review: Everything I Couldn’t Tell You (The Riser Project/Theatre Why Not/Spiderbones)

Everything I Couldn’t Tell You delves into the power of culture to heal, at the Theatre Centre in Toronto

Megan is an Indigenous woman who has recently been woken from a coma. The procedure has damaged her brain, unleashing painful memories that drive her to alcohol and sudden, brutal violence. 

Can two deeply damaged neuroscientists help her heal? This is the basic dramatic question posed by Everything I Couldn’t Tell You, currently playing at The Theatre Centre as part of the The Riser Project 2018. Continue reading Review: Everything I Couldn’t Tell You (The Riser Project/Theatre Why Not/Spiderbones)

Review: Speaking of Sneaking (The Riser Project 2018/Why Not Theatre)


Speaking of Sneaking entices Toronto audiences again as part of The Riser Project 2018

Before the house doors have closed, before anyone has had a chance to settle into their seats, the mischievous and energetic Ginnal is up and about: introducing himself, making sure you have a program, that you’ve gone to the bathroom, that you fully understand that he is—beyond any doubt—the focus of this show and that he demands your full attention.

Part of The Riser Project 2018, Speaking of Sneaking is created and performed by daniel jelani ellis. Based on experiences growing up queer in Jamaica and, later, making a home in Canada, the show has been in development since 2010 when he introduced it as part of the Emerging Creators Unit at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. Since then, he has presented a version of it for the Rhubarb festival and now, for Riser, he has teamed up with director/dramaturge d’bi.young anitafrika and choreographer Brian Solomon. Continue reading Review: Speaking of Sneaking (The Riser Project 2018/Why Not Theatre)

Review: Love and Information (Canadian Stage Company)

Toronto’s Canadian Stage presents Caryl Churchill’s play Love and Information

I adore the work of playwright Caryl Churchill. First and foremost, it is provocative on an intellectual level, best appreciated if you’re consciously drawn to the ideas contained in dramatic situations. She favours non-naturalistic devices that prompt the audience to engage—consciously—with the mechanics of theatrical presentation, to examine language and movement, notice patterns and reflect upon them. Because of this, her text can be tricky to sell—emotionally. With masterful precision, Canadian Stage Company’s production of Love and Information allows all the ideas to sizzle and pop with fiery life. Continue reading Review: Love and Information (Canadian Stage Company)

Review: Black Boys (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre)

Black Boys is “campy, joyful, and riotous”, on stage at Buddies in Bad Times in Toronto

After a successful nation-wide tour, the 2016 hit Black Boys returns to Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. I never saw the first production, but it certainly left an impression on the theatre scene. All of us who missed it were appropriately disappointed. The Saga Collectif has returned with their exploration of queer male Blackness and, with it, your chance to partake in this dynamic and provocative experience before its two-week run is over. Continue reading Review: Black Boys (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre)

Review: Cottagers and Indians (Tarragon Theatre)

Toronto’s Tarragon Theatre presents Drew Hayden Taylor’s play; an uplifting piece of Canadiana

Drew Hayden Taylor’s Cottagers and Indians, currently playing at the Tarragon Theatre, is a light and warm take on the conflict between native culture and bourgeois property owners. From the first moment we see Arthur Copper in his canoe and Maureen Poole on her cottage dock, we know exactly who each of them is and the audience can settle in for an uplifting piece of current Canadiana. Continue reading Review: Cottagers and Indians (Tarragon Theatre)

2018 Progress Review: Dis Merci (Joe Jack et John, curated by Volcano)

Dis Merci, currently playing at The Theatre Centre as part of the Progress Festival, is a Joe Jack et John production, curated by Volcano Theatre. Several neighbours in Quebec prepare to welcome a Syrian refugee family into their neighbourhood, but as they plan the celebration, their unique prejudices and collective dysfunction complicate their very best of intentions. Continue reading 2018 Progress Review: Dis Merci (Joe Jack et John, curated by Volcano)

2018 Progress Review: LOST in TRANS (FADO Performance Art Centre)

LOST in TRANS, conceived and performed by Dickie Beau, curated and presented by FADO Performance Art Centre, is currently running at The Theatre Centre as part of Progress Festival. Taking found audio recordings, Beau channels disparate personae and weaves them together to create an offbeat and haunting universe of misplaced characters. Their voices seem to flow through his body, revealing their desires and suggesting rich interior lives that have become lost in space and time. Continue reading 2018 Progress Review: LOST in TRANS (FADO Performance Art Centre)

2018 Progress Review: MDLSX (Motus)

MDLSX, produced by Motus and featuring the intensely charismatic Silvia Calderoni, is presented by The Theatre Centre as part of the Progress Festival. It is deeply, forcefully compelling and extremely hard to define. Any attempt to label it and slot it neatly into a category seems both false and disrespectful. Calderoni’s performance is, in essence, an act of defiance—a valiant and passionate reaction to repressive conventions of labelling and categorization. Continue reading 2018 Progress Review: MDLSX (Motus)