All posts by Megan Mooney

Megan loves being in the thick of all things theatre, but her ultimate goal is to promote theatre to the world of non-theatre people. It was the same when she was the theatre writer for blogTO, or the Fringe Correspondent for CBC Radio One‘s Here and Now, as it is as the founder of Mooney on Theatre. Her basic belief is that there is theatre/performance out there for everyone to love, they just need to find it. This is not to be confused with the idea that everyone should love theatre for theatre’s sake, in fact, as obsessed as she is with theatre, even *she* doesn’t love all types of theatre.

How to get people out to the theatre…

Unfortunately I have no magic answers, but getting bums in seats is certainly a challenge.

Grinder’s Grumblings has a piece about just that.  Since Grinder is talking about theatre in Canada in general (but mostly outside of Toronto – with a focus on smaller and community theatres) it can be an even more difficult challenge.  Although, that said, when I used to work with Guelph Little Theatre we often had bums in seats, and the theatre operated in the black with no gov’t funding at all, so, there is also something to be said for being the only game in town. 

Anyway, I like a lot of what Grinder says.  All too often, with smaller productions (not things from established houses like Tarragon or Factory etc) it seems like the philosophy is ‘if you build it, they will come.’  Unfortunately this is, as you know, a flawed philosophy in this day and age.  So, I’m going to ramble about this for a bit, and then give folks some of my tips on marketing their shows…

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Gordon Pinsent – A Canadian legend honoured by The Company Theatre

So, it’s hard to say what you would know Gordon Pinsent best for, considering he’s done pretty much everything, including becoming an Officer, and then a Champion of The Order of Canada.  Which is only right, because he’s always kind of seemed like the quintessential Canadian actor (and director, and writer). 

Well, on September 25th Pinsent is set to receive yet another accolade…

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Norway.Today – Theatre Smash

Norway. Today - Steven McCarthy and Ieva Lucs Suicide is a pretty heavy topic. Not one you expect to laugh while exploring, but with the Theatre Smash production of Norway.Today makes you do just that. This show, inspired by true events, explores two people desire to die, but not alone, but it does it with a sense of humour and humanity that make it enjoyable to watch.

My show-partner for this was Elaine, who commented that she always gets to go to shows she’d never think to go to when she goes to the theatre with me. We both agreed that it was a good show overall. I was pretty concerned that it was going to be a teen-angst oh-so-painful kind of show – hard not to be worried about that when the topic is suicide – but like I said, the show is full of irreverent moments that add to the story.

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Diversity in Theatre Part 2 – a related article by Richard Ouzounian from 2004

In the world of, the more things change, the more they stay the same, check out this article by Richard Ouzounian that was published in the Toronto Star in 2004 (The Star doesn’t have articles older than 4 years old online, but this is reprinted with Richard’s permission)  It’s a bit depressing how relevant this article is four and a half years later.

Continue reading Diversity in Theatre Part 2 – a related article by Richard Ouzounian from 2004

Diversity in theatre – It sure is white-bred around here

By Megan Mooney

Today I learned something new that has got my mind kind of reeling. Richard Ouzounian had a write-up on Philip Akin in today’s Toronto Star. The write up had one part that left me agog.  To my horror I read the following paragraph:

Akin is a considerable figure on the Canadian theatre scene, a respected actor and director, one of whose most impressive credits is actually a little embarrassing: in 2007, he was the first black Canadian to play the title role in Othello at the Stratford Festival, something that took 55 seasons to happen.

So, wait a minute…

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Richard Monette gone to that big theatre in the sky

It was pretty sad, and surprising, to wake up to the news of Richard Monette’s death at age 64.

It’s always hard when people die really suddenly.  I mean, hard for those left behind, because there was no time to spare, I imagine it’s the best way to die though.

Richard Monette was a pretty amazing guy.  I never met the man, but I remember hearing about the things he did at Stratford and being impressed.  Don’t get me wrong…

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A question to Toronto theatre folks – does the TIFF do anything for you?

by Megan Mooney

I often find that when people find out that I’m a theatre chick they assume I must also be a film fanatic.  So, when the Toronto International Film Festival rolls around people are often asking me what I think of movies, or what movies I’m going to and on and on.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love a flick as much as the next person, but I’m more in line with your average Sam on the movie front.  Recently I’ve seen Dark Knight and The Mummy 3.  Not what you’d call highly intellectual fodder or cinematic genius.  But fun, undeniably fun.

So, now my question…

Continue reading A question to Toronto theatre folks – does the TIFF do anything for you?

RENT – it's a play, it's a movie, it's play, it's a movie, it's a play, it's… oh, my head just exploded…

by Megan Mooney

When I was in university RENT was hot shit.  I mean, some people loved it, some people hated it, but it was actually talked about.

Then it was mostly forgotten (at least by me) until 2004 when it was parodied in Team America: World Police with the musical number “Everybody has AIDS”.  Then, perhaps riding the wave of new recognition through Team America (although, really likely not) it was made into a movie, in 2005, which seems all the rage this decade (Chicago, Hairspray, Mamma Mia pop to mind.  Evita was a bit ahead of the curve, doing the mega-musical as a movie thing in 1996).

During this whole time, RENT continued to run on Broadway, in fact, it’s been running on Broadway for more than 12 years.  So, you know, it’s pretty popular.  But now, the play, cum movie is a play again, but in a movie theatre.

Continue reading RENT – it's a play, it's a movie, it's play, it's a movie, it's a play, it's… oh, my head just exploded…

The Arts in Canada

There is a great article in today’s Globe and Mail by Russel Smith called “Extra! Extra!  The arts don’t matter!”

He talks about the recent arts cuts, how they likely won’t become an election issue, although they should, and generally laments Canada’s lack of support of the arts.

An excerpt:

Most people are simply unaware of the importance of culture in diplomacy and for international reputation – unaware that it might perhaps be a problem if Canada is simply not on the radar of powerful people in Berlin and Tokyo and Dubai, and that culture is a powerful symbol of a nation’s identity.

These things are difficult to explain and even harder to measure.

I recommend checking it out.