All posts by Keira Grant

Black Ballerina (Syreeta Hector) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Photo of Syreeta Hector in Black Ballerina by Jason Tse

 Black Ballerina by Syreeta Hector playing at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West) as part of the 2019 SummerWorks Festival, is visual storytelling at its finest.

Syreeta Hector exploits and expands on ballet training in this solo dance performance. She explores the complexities of her Black, Indigenous identity manifesting within the confines of a highly traditional, Eurocentric art form.

Continue reading Black Ballerina (Syreeta Hector) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Closer (Vice Versa) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Photo of Jenn Godwin in Closer

 

Closer by Vice Versa Company playing at Toronto Media Arts Centre (32 Lisgar St.) as part of the 2019 SummerWorks Festival, redefines traditional understandings of “upstage” and “downstage” by using a Parkdale alley spanning a city block as the performance space. It was somewhat daunting to sign a liability waiver and be led into a dark alley in advance of this performance, but the show was not at all scary. Continue reading Closer (Vice Versa) 2019 SummerWorks Review

Review: Pandora (Fawn Chamber Creative)

Pandora blends opera and ballet to explore the tale of the classic myth, on stage in Toronto

Pandora, by librettist James Brock and composers Joseph Glaser, Kit Soden and David Storen was my first Fawn Chamber Creative show. I am astonished that I did not know about this company before, but I am glad I am in the know now. Their current production Pandora (musical direction, Adam Scime, stage direction, Amanda Smith) is an opera-ballet inspired by the Pandora myth. The opera unfolds in a vignette by each of the three composers, with all three libretti written by Brock. Continue reading Review: Pandora (Fawn Chamber Creative)

Review: Shanawdithit (Tapestry Opera/Opera on the Avalon)

Tapestry Opera presents the premiere of a landmark Canadian-Indigenous in Toronto

Musically and thematically Tapestry Opera and Opera on the Avalon’s world premiere Shanawdithit is a testament to the possibilities of new opera. While the story is historical, it explores the subject of colonization in a manner that is very much in contrast to opera’s history of romanticizing, exoticizing or orientalizing non-Western European cultures. Continue reading Review: Shanawdithit (Tapestry Opera/Opera on the Avalon)

Review: Inner Elder (NativeEarth/Nightwood Theatre)

In the era of Truth and Reconciliation, Michelle Thrush’s one-woman show, Inner Elder, is an engaging breath of fresh air for anyone who hasn’t gotten around to reading the report yet. Written by Michelle Thrush and directed by Karen Hines, the hour-long show is part storytelling, part stand-up and very funny. Thrush effectively uses humour to tackle heavy subject matter such as anti-Indigenous racism and stereotypes, residential schools and land claims. Continue reading Review: Inner Elder (NativeEarth/Nightwood Theatre)

Review: Otello (Canadian Opera Company)

The Canadian Opera Company brings a perfect interpretation of Verdi’s Otello to the Toronto stage

Canadian Opera Company’s current production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello is the perfect interpretation of this well-known tale for 2019. The original story by Cinthio on which Shakespeare’s play is based was meant as a cautionary tale on the perils of interracial marriage and miscegenation. This production of Verdi’s opera, directed by David Alden comes across as the story of an unscrupulous man fueled by vengeance and racism using his foe’s internalized racism to manipulate him and bring about his demise. Continue reading Review: Otello (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: La Bohème (Canadian Opera Company)

Canadian Opera Company’s revival of its 2013 production of La Bohème is aural perfection

The Canadian Opera Company’s current elegantly simple production of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème is aural perfection. Regardless of what certain pompous composers and music historians have had to say about Puccini’s composition style, there is a reason why he has been an audience favourite for almost one hundred and fifty years. In my view Puccini is what opera is all about. Towering, raw emotion in response to life and death situations and breathtaking musical beauty. Continue reading Review: La Bohème (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: All of our Dreaming (Dreamwalker Dance Company)

Dreamwalker Dance Company’s current presentation All of our Dreaming, dramaturged by Sarah Chase opens with an intimate performance in the antechamber of the theatre of Grace Theatre Centre. The audience sat in a semi-circle on the floor, cushions, and camp stools enclosing company founder and artistic director Andrea Nann as she delivered In a Landscape, a solo choreographed by Peggy Baker that comes across as highly personal. This modern dance piece is accompanied by a rippling piano piece of the same name by John Cage. The walls and ceilings are draped with back-lit sheets, upon which were projected stencils of flowers and patterns (designed by Elysha Poirier), heightening the cocoon-like feel of the space. The experience, characterized by impossibly supple and graceful gestures by Nann, set the tone for the performances that followed on themes of nature, transformation and spiritual discovery. Continue reading Review: All of our Dreaming (Dreamwalker Dance Company)