Zona Pellucida & the Needle Exchange (A Double Bill) – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Review by Mark Augustine

Stephen Lawson, Aaron Pollard

Q: What do you get when you cross the Twilight Zone with Italian Opera and throw in Norma Desmond as the lead character?

A: I’ll be damned if I know. But it’s pretty much what you can expect from Zona Pellucida – a 45 min. one person show from Montreal which played at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

My friend Earnest and I didn’t really know what to expect from “Zona Pellucida”. The posters gave little indication of plot and the programme offered little more. It is one of those kinds of shows where you sit there for the first ten minutes thinking “Ok, I just need to concentrate harder and maybe I’ll get the purpose here!” By the time we hit 25 minutes I just decided to sit back and enjoy the ride.

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Stranger – Praxis Theatre

James Murray as Meursault

by Alex Rayment

It’s cold, slushy, bleak and the credit card bills from the holiday season have arrived. Happy National Depression Week everyone. It’s the perfect time for me to huddle indoors and dust off my keyboard for some good old theatre bloggin’. It also happens to be perfect setting in which to present the famous, anti-nihilistic French classic L’Étranger – the book on which Stranger by Praxis Theatre is based.

So for starters, go read the book.

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Them & Us – Theatre Passe Muraille

Them-&-Us

by Sam Mooney

Them & Us, playing at Theatre Passe Muraille, isn’t really a play; it’s a series of vignettes. All these portraits and sketches focus on male-female relationships and the trouble we have connecting with each other.

You’re going to want to see this one with a friend, because you’re going to want to talk about it afterwards. It would be ideal to go with a friend of the opposite sex. That way you can ask if women say “I don’t believe in romantic love” or if men say “I want to stab you with a fork…in the shoulder”, or if those seem to just be ‘guy things’ or ‘girl things’.

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I haven't forgotten you, I promise…

Clearly I have been woefully neglecting Mooney on Theatre of late.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that is likely to change.

I am basically going to be giving birth any day now, and have not been able to go to a show in quite some time, and quite frankly, can’t imagine that having a newborn is going to allow much time for such things either.

However, I do have my trusty band of writers who are going to start going to shows again, so there will in fact be content again.  Rejoice!

And, on that note, if you know of someone who would like to write about theatre, send them my way.  I’m interviewing new writers.  Best bet is to send me an email at megan@mooneyontheatre.com.  I will outline the details of what I expect, and I’ll ask for a writing sample, but they can wait until they figure out if they’d actually enjoy working with me before they figure out what writing to send.

So, hopefully in a couple months I’ll be able to see a few shows and get back into the theatre scene, but in the meantime I hope my writers will keep you entertained and informed.

And back to CanStage…

As you may remember, there was some blog back-and-forthing about CanStage a while ago.

Well, looks like Richard Ouzounian is adding his voice to the chorus.

Ouzounian seems to think we’re not talking about it, which may be true in a bigger context, but it has been talked about, maybe he just means it’s not being talked about by the right people?  In the article he says:

Yet what really makes this behemoth the elephant in the room is that everybody knows it’s there, taking up space and money, but no one wants to discuss its failure to live up to Toronto’s expectations.

 

For the history, and some of the recent discussion, in case you missed it the first time around:

J. Kelly asks the questions here first in August, then continues in this series of posts.

Then I wrote about it here.

Anyone else have any discussions they’d like to tell me about so I can add them to the pile?

Someone to Watch Over Me – review published on blogTO

I have posted a review of Someone to Watch Over Me at blogTO.  Head on over and take a gander.

A quick snippet:

Mark, it would seem, hates this kind of play. There is no plot to speak of, and you know it’s not going to end well, and, perhaps, not end at all. He said that it felt like he was sitting through yet another retelling of Waiting for Godot. If he’s going to watch a play about the human soul then he’d like to see it tell him something new, and he didn’t feel like this one did.

Here’s the thing, he’s right on all those points, but they don’t bother me at all. I’m just fine with those things if the production is good, and the introspective exploration is done in an interesting way. I don’t have a need for it to be new information.

I was just fine watching the characters banter, fight and play back and forth while chained to the wall. The set didn’t change through out the piece, and there were limited movement opportunities for the actors, given the (admittedly long) chains attaching them to the walls of their cell. This really is a play about the script. So I can completely understand not particularly enjoying the production if the script was the type of thing you weren’t enamoured with.

It’s only on for a couple more days, if you have time I recommend checking it out (but Mark does not.  *grin*)

Boudoir – Les Coquettes (Toronto Burlesque)

By Megan Mooney

Les Coquettes

First, let me tell you that I am a fan of burlesque. I have never not enjoyed myself at a burlesque show (oooh, double negative, wonder if I’ll get in trouble for that). That said, I REALLY like good burlesque (lets be honest, there’s a lot of mediocre out there that you really appreciate for the heart, not for the quality).

With that in mind, let me tell you, watching Les Coquettes was a real treat. The show was funny and sexy and filled with talent, all the things burlesque should be. It’s no wonder all their shows seem to sell out.

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It's a Wonderful Life – Canstage

by Alex Rayment

Being of the cynical and artistic variety, I was expecting It’s a Wonderful Life by Canstage to be essentially a live action version of a classic film – boring, bland and pointless. I was predicting a night of sitting in a theatre surrounded by retirees and grandparents wondering why I hadn’t just stayed home and watched the movie. What I was not expecting was the sarcastic voice in the back of my head to be told (quite promptly) to “sit down and shut up”.

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Festen – The Company Theatre

By Megan Mooney

20081127_Festen

So, I posted a review of Festen at blogTO, I’m going to repost it here, but then, afterwards I’m going to write more, geek out theatre-wise as it were.

Original review:

When I went to The Company Theatre’s production of Festen it was one of those rare opportunities for me to go to a show completely blind. I didn’t know what it was about, so I didn’t know what to expect. All I had heard about the show (even though I purposely tried not to read anything about it, there are things that always slip through) was that it was “intense”. And yes, yes it was. Intense is a good word for it. It was also great.

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