Friday, December 13, 2013


DON’T MISS
 SHARRON MATTHEWS AND GEORGE MASSWOHL
Sharron and George’s (2nd ANNUAL) 
SUPER FUN Christmas Sing-A-Long  






Buddies in Bad Times Theatre


Date/Time:
December 20th - 21st, 2013 - 8PM 
Box Office:
 416 975 8555 
Online: http://buddiesinbadtimes.com/event/sharron-and-georges-super- 
fun-christmas-sing-a-long/ 
Internet:

“Broadway may have 
Idina Menzel & Taye Diggs as their   
  musical theatre married couple, but so what? 
  We've got Sharron Matthews and George Masswohl” 

-Richard Ouzounian, The Toronto Star 


Canadian musical theatre 
couple, wanna bring you a little Christmas,  AGAIN! 

December 2012 saw the first installment of “Sharron and George’s SUPER FUN 
CHRISTMAS SING-A-LONG” and the night was SOLD OUT WEEKS in advance. 

Sharron and George, along with 
their special SECRET guests, will treat revellers to a new twist on the holiday 
sing-a-long which is on it’s way to becoming a new Toronto Christmas 
tradition. 

The smash sing-a-longs include that Mariah Carey song you all love so much, 
OLD School Carols, Movie Themed Carols, TV Animated Special Xmas Songs, 
Traditional Carols and so much more...SO MANY SING-A-LONGS! 

That hysterical duo, the Christmas Carols - Michael Hughes (2012 NYC Bistro 
Award Winner) and Ari Weinberg (The ONE and Only) are BACK!! What will they 
do this year? 

The super popular cookie table will be back as well!! Will you bring some this 
year!?!? 

Also, Micheal Hughes’ will, once again, collect non-perishables for the Food 
Bank!!  Many chipped in last year.  Let’s break records in 2013!! 

George Masswohl 

The four time Dora nominated George Masswohl is one of Canada’s leading musical 
theatre performers and actors. Nominated for a Jessie Award in Vancouver for his 
acclaimed portrayal of “Sweeney Todd”, a role he performed in front of Stephen 
Sondhiem himself, Masswohl has played many major roles at Shaw and Stratford. 
From Lazar Wolf in the acclaimed Susan H. Schulman production of “Fiddler on the 
Roof” starring Brent Carver, to Frederik in “A Little Night Music” at the Shaw 
alongside Goldie Semple, to the world premiere of “Time And Again” at Off- 
Broadway’s prestigious Manhattan Theatre Club, George is a much sought after 
artist. 

Sharron Matthews


Named “Woman Of the Year 2012” by UK’s The New Current. Sharron’s hit show 
‘Sharron Matthews Superstar: GOLD’ was named “One of the Top Cabarets of 2012 
Edinburgh Fringe” by the Scotsman. In 2012, Sharron toured ‘GOLD’ to Toronto, 
Scotland, London, New York City and Cape Town, South Africa.  She received the 
Scotsman’s BEST OF THE FEST for “Jesus Thinks I’m Funny” In 2011 and was named  
#1 Cabaret in New York City in 2010 by Andrew Martin, Nite Life Exchange and 
WPAT Radio for ‘Sharron Matthews Superstar: World Domination Tour 2010’. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013














JANAK KHENDRY DANCE COMPANY

PRESENTS

JOHN MILTON’S
PARADISE 
LOST



The recent world premiere of Janak Khendry's Paradise Lost was an eclectic and impressive spectacle combining Indian classical and modern Western dance styles with the iconic narrative regarding Adam and Eve's struggle with good and evil in the Garden of Eden. By following John Milton's literary masterpiece to the letter, with help from various Milton scholars, Khendry has created a faithful narrative rendition, in dance, of the original text. The central couple, Eve and Adam, played by Eddie Kastrau and Kala Vageesan, appear to represent a coming together of different cultures as they wrestle with desire, temptation, and the infamous devil may care stance of their omnipresent satanic bedfellow. The casting (and choreography) is both interesting and curious, as neither performer fits into a traditional notion of romantic lead. Ms.Vageesan comes closer to what one might expect from a traditonal representation of Eve, but the neutral, beige/pinkish costuming for both characters tends to belie the sensuality and apple mongering, serpent seizing voracity that the once idyllic pair encounter  by the end of the piece. And although the narrative unfolds with literary authenticity, there are times when the choreogrpahy seems a little too true to the action, and might have taken off into more abstract flights of fancy rather than the very naturalisitc representation of actual daily tasks undertaken in the famed lush arboreal  site.

One such scene has the couple planting seeds and then entertaining Raphael, played by Tyler Gledhill, with a casual sit down dinner in the woods. This scene reveals the choreographer's thirst for story in a narrative that is rife with opportunities for dance to take over and provide explosive, ponderous, and beautiful expressions through corporeal gesturing and nuance, rather than the excessive attention to actual everyday activity. But these are the choices made by an artist drawn to what he calls Milton's uncanny parallel narrative. Khendry says; "I have realized that John Milton's thoughts coincide and run parallel to the ancient Indian scriptures Upanishad and Bhagwat Geeta. It has always fascinated me that how great minds of different cultures and different time periods can think along the same lines."

There are gorgeous sequences of pure dance where the combination of classical and contemporary movement, in the hands of a very skilled company, becomes an exciting coming together of diverse and distinct forms - merging and complementing each other as dancers gather around balletic and modern couplings and ensemble configurations that tell the story without too much ponderous representational action. One such coupling has a series of male dancers taking part in breathtaking leaps and bounds, made glorious by ravishing colours and drifting folds of layered costumes, revealing snippets of physical sensuality as they appear to be angels in flight. An element of homo-erotica may be perceived within these titillating turns when in fact it could simply be the way that angels and their kin fearlessly frolic in mid air when confronted with the complex commingling of celestial seasonings and hell bent emotions one encounters once winged and fancy free among the billowing immortality of comforting clouds, pearly gates, and all that heaven allows. Heaven only knows.

Musical composition by Eric Cadesky, Ashit Desai, and Alep Desai follows the action with a variety of explosive, ponderous, and hauntingly fearful aural images, not least of which are the instances of Allen Kaeja's unrelenting and powerful presence as Satan. The sight and sound of the devil comes alive with a fully integrated ensemble of musical and dancerly effect. Costuming that might have accentuated the fulsome bodily presence of a tempestuous bad guy tends to take away from Kaeja's immense physical skill, rooted in the obvious muscularity of a past as a wrestler who became a dancer. And when he returns as the serpent his horizontal slitherings are appropriately eerie and enthralling, but the somewhat lounge lizard pajama effect of his costume, perhaps unintentional but present nonetheless, detracts from the slick and powerful characterization Kaeja lends to each and every appearance onstage.

One scene near the end of the piece has three female dancers in gorgeous red and black costumes as they take part in beautiful, engaging choreography that enacts "a scene of humankind's impending demise." As they "build a highway over chaos to make future passage to earth easier" one is able to lose themselves in a pure choroegraphic vision of loveliness and deceptively lilting doom. This is perhaps where the overall ensemble of bodies and movment excels - whereby spectators are given the opportunity to observe images and colour and glean their own interpretation of a timeworn zealous text intent upon teaching its readers the meaning of godliness. Milton was one committed fellow and is known for his many ways of imposing holiness upon a variety of life experiences, from blindness in Sonnet 318 to elegiac ruminations on the tragic demise of a former Cambridge classmate in Lycidas. Janak Khendry has carried the tradition of Miltonic reverence into the twenty first century with grace, diversity and literary aplomb that at times may dwell too concretely on story, but when it takes flight into less literal narratives we have a glimpse of how future incarnations of this spectacularly conceived work of art may allow heaven and hell a more interpretive and less linear approach to unfold.

PARADISE LOST RAN AT THE FLECK DANCE THEATRE (HARBOURFRONT CENTRE) FROM DECEMBER 6TH UNTIL DECEMBER 8TH





Wednesday, December 11, 2013




CUM- ARADERIE


I have nothing against flabby men. I've got a bit of it goin on myself and they don't call them love handles for nothing. Something to grab onto can be, as Mary Poppins once said, practically perfect in every way. But at the end of Delivery Man when Vince Vaughan tells Cobie Smulders that he too will get a bit flabby if she remains "flabby" - well, it is rather hard to stomach coming from a somewhat beefy hot forty something man and being imposed upon the body of a gorgeous thirty something woman. But he is well intentioned and they do have to wrap it all up with a good conflicted chuckle. And if that's not enough maddening heteronormative foreplay, they're also both white. But this is all part and parcel of the latest little dramedy starring Vaughan and an impressive cast of hundreds.

Cobie Smulders

The basic premise of the film has Vaughan startled and angst ridden by the fact that he unknowingly fathered over five hundred children when he was quite young due to the strategies of a very busy sperm donor clinic. And now a whole bunch of them want to know who he is. Sentimentality, romance, even a faint nod to mutli-culturalism and the rights of adopted children and their birth parents are made throughout this hilarious and terrifying 105 minute tour of explosive heterosexual cum-araderie. But at the end of the day, what's it all about Alfie? What is this film trying to say? The blank narrative canvas of any given movie, as cinematic harbinger of prophetic messages, can make a good little film into a great big weird blockbuster. We can paint our own desires onto the flickering canvas and leave fulfilled, unchallenged, and secure in our knowledge of the universe and how we populate, over-populate, and basically flood the earth with way too many human bodies.

Throughout the film I kept wondering if Delivery Man was a mixed critique of over population or an ad for fertility and the joys of family life. Vaughan does at one point call childbirth and familial fare the greatest thing one can ever experience in a single lifetime. I'm a bitter old queen and for me family life means more than two people sitting at the bar at the same time. Don't get me wrong, I am moved to tears in family films and I did weepily watch the last hour of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner on TCM before going out to catch a five dollar tuesday night showing of Vince Vaughan's strange little cumedy. Spencer Tracy and Beah Richards reminded me of the poignant yet problematic race politics of a seminal Hollywood flick that I still love to be bewitiched, baffled, and bewildered by. As the lounge singer croons part way through this late Hepburn/Tracy classic, "that's the story of, that's the glory of love."  In Delivery Man love is a four letter word - times five hundred. In both DM and GWCTD I laughed, I cried, I felt appropriately hostile toward the predictable Hollywood formula for an entertaining stroll through the lives of untold thousands.

In Delivery Man there's one featured gay guy in the whole crowd of kids searching for daddy, and he seems to have lots of boyfriends, something Vaughan's character is comically startled by. There is also a recovering drug addict, a struggling actor, a lifeguard,  a severely mentally and physically challenged boy in a wheelchair, and a young black woman who Vaughan's character seems quirkily thrilled to be able to include in his collection of unplanned offspring. They come from all races and all walks of life, and when you see them all together at a kind of Woodstockian sibling reunion in the mountains you cannot help but wonder how much trouble they're all going to cause as they get to know each other over the next thirty years. Sounds like a sequel to me. A cast of millons. A film about how we don't have to be blood related to love each other, but in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, a film Scott Thompson once called the gay man's version of It's A Wonderful Life, "we are Blanche, we are!!!!!!" We are all kin and we just have to be careful how close the bloodlines cross. Unless you're in an Oscar Wilde play, then you can marry your cousin. But I digress.

I do prefer my family drama on screen or in a soap opera that I have watched semi-faithfully for forty years, or a madcap comedy starring just about anybody I find hot - and I do happen to find just about anybody hot. It is just so nice to be able to admire the bodies of men and women in whacky turmoil and trying to sort it all out when you don't have to really take part yourself. Too much family drama in real life leads to trauma, heartache, and an endless search for an affordable therapist. Not to mention alcoholism, dysfunction, and some profoundly great parties.

So what am I saying about Delivery Man? It's fabulous. A friend recently compared it to another wondrous family drama about love loss and weaponry - Mr. and Mrs. Smith. The Brangelina family could have posed for the poster of Delivery Man. Go see it. In an attempt to include just about everything it must, by its very nature, leave so much out. But if there is one thing you cannot escape in this film it is the very obvious point that people still love to procreate, sperm donate, have families, romanticize about the joy of life, and then proceed to complain about everything they planned or didn't plan oh so well. I love complaining. It warms the cock holes of my heart.

So avid film buffs, I'm off to the bar, to see my buff, well toned kin. And the good news is, when you're tired of boozing it up with 'real' family, the Carlton Cinema now has a bar. You can laugh and cry and drink til your heart's content. And you can do it all by your self!

Monday, November 25, 2013

THE SUM OF ITS PARTS

The first hour of Joan MacLeod's recent play The Valley feels like an unfamiliar old soap opera you have never seen before and have trouble understanding just what the characters are going through. If the playwright is familiar with the kind of turmoil she explores in her new family drug and depression drama it is not easily apparent in the opening sixty minutes. Re-shaping and editing half the first act into a more concise and engaging thirty minute back story for the four interconnected characters could make this meandering two hour narrative into a sharp and explosive interrogation of familial relations, addiction, depression, and the particluar battles confronted by individuals living in our westernmost metropolis. But the metaphors of valley and mountain never quite take off, and the explosive scenes that save the play at the end of the day are just placed too late to make the overall experience a totally fulfilling one. But, alas, this could be the nature of the play and its subject matter - that long mind numbing journey through addiction, disbelief, despondency, depression, what have you - and the violent confrontations with the problematic yet frequently necessary policing of these timeworn battles.

Direction by Richard Rose is superb, as he arranges his cast onstage for the entire piece, giving the final scenes an intense, cloistered and claustrophobic kind of group therapy effect where everyone sees everything and everybody all of the time, thereby allowing them to witness the intersections and inter-connectedness that the formula for the play depends upon, yet only fully attains in the final scenes. Set design by Graeme S. Thomson is superb as a semi in-the-round effect, with furniture arranged so nothing is missed, heightens the directors attention to triangular and intense emotional and physical confrontation at the core of the two very separate yet related narratives. But the laying out of the back stories just moves much too slowly into the real action of the second half.

Performances by an ensemble cast are stellar. All of the actors move effortlessly, with great emotional power and grace through somewhat banal opening conversations toward a very powerful climax. But the connections and the topical details are too often left up to thinly constructed metaphors and plot lines that do not do the city of Vancouver and its diverse population justice. The Valley begins with too many lows, and when the highs are finally achieved they are moving, beautifully written, and beautifully performed, but bogged down by the sum of this plays many layer-less parts.

THE VALLEY RUNS AT TARRAGON THEATRE UNTIL DECEMBER 15TH
NEEDLES AND OPIUM

The current two week run of the Robert Lepage masterpiece has aged exquisitely. Given huge strides in technology over the past twenty years, and a revamped cast with two actors instead of the solo performance by Lepage himself twenty years ago, this is pure surreal theatrical magic as acrobatic performances have two gifted actors clinging effortlessly to a set that appears to float in mid air. 

Marc Lebreche gives a subtle, charismatic performance as Cocteau and the contemporary artist suffering from romantic and cultural discord and finding infrequent solace in dream like connections to the past struggles of Miles Davis and Jean Cocteau. Wellesley Robertson III creates a gorgeous dance like gestural character that inhabits the set like a formidable ghost commenting silently and seamlessly - by way of extreme physical agility and emotional acuity - upon diverse cultural issues. 

Lepage's script stands up well two decades later as single lines and monologic telephone dialogue comically, poignantly and prophetically reveal the very human struggles of artists trying to gain emotional and material stability in a shaky global environment often divided by language, custom, and an endless thirst for cultural, economic, and social success.

The Ex Machina production team has done it again with magnificent projections, lighting, costumes, and sound design. Not to be missed, Needles and Opium gives us a timely and timeless message regarding the multi-national policing of dreams and the cross-cultural conflicts Canada continues to experience as a frequently and sharply divided country of vast misidentifiable contrasts. 

As Lepage commented in his brief opening night remarks after the performance, Toronto has recently received dubious international attention. Even with the advent of our mayor's surreal escapades, he remarked that it is a city he has always loved - a city he has been away from for far too long, and has now graced us with yet another magnificent example of theatre as profound and engaging spectacle.

RUNNING AT THE BLUMA APEL THEATRE UNTIL DECEMBER 1ST
  

Friday, November 22, 2013

TORONTO PREMIERE OF SASHA IVANOCHKO'S GLORIOUSLY SEXY 'SPEAK, LOVE'


PUBLICITY FROM THE WINNIPEG PRODUCTION, RACHEL BROWNE THEATRE



blackandblue dance projects presents
Speak, Love
created by Sasha Ivanochko
with Director Dan Wild and Performer Brendan Wyatt

Let the lover be disgraceful, crazy, 
absentminded. Someone sober 
will worry about things going badly. 
Let the lover be.
                                      Rumi



Language is a skin: I rub my language against the other. It is as if I had words instead of fingers, or fingers at the tip of my words. My language trembles with desire. The emotion derives from a double contact: on the one hand, a whole activity of discourse discreetly, indirectly focuses upon a single signified, which is "I desire you," and releases, nourishes, ramifies it to the point of explosion (language experiences orgasm upon touching itself); on the other hand, I enwrap the other in my words, I caress, brush against, talk up this contact, I extend myself to make the commentary to which I submit the relation endure. 

           Roland Barthes, A Lover's Discourse: Fragments




Seated in a beaten up metal chair, and surrounded by a kind of mobile/collage of other identical and evocative furniturial* pieces, Brendan Wyatt's beautiful body opens the hour long naked offering, 'Speak, Love' - currently running at the Winchester Street Theatre.  In the hands of choreographer/dancer Sasha Ivanochko, (at one point the palms of her hands almost cup his mesmerizing 'member') Wyatt's nude corporeal presence becomes a receptacle for a seamless romp, both light and dark, through ruminations on love, sex, and the ultimate recognition of that little iconic triumvirate of words so many seem to crave the sound of. 

'Speak, Love' is a complex and exciting love meditation not to be missed - and not just because you get to glare at impressive male genitals and Ivanochko's own gorgeous naked physique for sixty minutes (if that's not enough reason to be there!) but primarily because what begins as a subtle, wandering meditation suddenly explodes into a relentless and passionate physical dialogue that is  breathtaking, erotic, and profoundly committed to the human form and all its verbal and physical utterances.

As the dancers speak fragments from Roland Barthes and Rumi to each other, chairs and scattered sheets of paper become a spare, figurative setting for a stream of intricate movements and pleas by the dancers that appear idiosyncratic and somewhat ponderous at first. But once the wait is over it is well worth the wanton wondrous voyeurism as it all comes together in a beautifully layered physical narrative that flirts with the comic, the violent, the bewildered, and the fulfilling hunger for the coupling of human hearts and organs all in one swellfoop. 

A flesh colored hoodie plays a comic - at times fearful - and immensely creative part in the proceedings as the duo's dynamic flesh ultimately becomes one, while the lofty poetic luv utterances lapse into daring and gorgeous, at times hilarious sounds coming from the performer's muffled mouths. Both Wyatt and Ivanochko possess, beyond the obvious allure of their exposed limbs, torsos, what have you, immense vocal and physical stage presence. Ivanochko in particular presents a kind of angry, deceptively neutral, frequently pleading yet always in control manner through a form of measured subtlety via tightly focused facial and bodily composure. Wyatt's voice and expression match his co-stars subtlety as he takes part in highly sexualized entanglements that move in and out of enthralling and skillfully executed choreography that drives home the company name, blackandblue, with obvious and thrilling physical force.

Director Dan Wild, in collaboration with the dancers, has staged a beautiful and provocative piece of dance theatre/performance art that thoroughly validates Ivanochko's feeling that "the nudity is not to titillate but to allow expression of aspects of a couple's relationship." Absolutely - why give titillation a back seat when it can be choreographed with such power and grace, literally taking the human body into one's own hands, caressing, thumping up against, and slithering in and out of so many godgiven nooks and crannies in a fabulous attempt to reveal that love dares speak its name in an endless variety of verbal and corporeal outbursts.


* 'FURNITURIAL' IS A AN ODD WORD THIS WRITER MADE UP, A WORD THAT HE FEELS IS WORTHY OF THE SPARE, SURREAL AND EVOCATIVE SCENOGRAPHY CREATED BY MARGARET KRAWECKA, THE MARVELOUS MOOD ENHANCING SOUND DESIGN OF CATHERINE THOMPSON, AND THE DISCREET, HOODIE INHABITED, AND UTTERLY VERSATILE COSTUMES DESIGNED BY TANYA WHITE


RUNNING AT THE WINCHESTER STREET THEATRE 
UNTIL NOVEMBER 23RD

blackandblue dance projects presents the Toronto premiere of Speak, Love 
Choreography by: Sasha Ivanochko
Featuring: Brendan Wyatt and Sasha Ivanochko


4 performances only! November 21st – 23rd, 2013 at 8pm and a 4pm matinee on the 23rd. The Winchester Street Theatre, 80 Winchester Street, Toronto
Tickets: $20 or 17.50 for students/seniors/artists and available through Brown Paper Tickets at: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/456890 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

THE SACRIFICE ZONE

The world premiers of Theatre Gargantua's The Sacrifice Zone is a beautifully rendered multi layered melange of sight, sound, movement, and superb ensemble acting. Set within an unspecified locale of great natural beauty that is being threatened by corporate enterprise, the narrative focuses upon the lives of various families caught within the allure of money making projects that claim to ultimately renew the land when
in fact environmental nightmares become the only foreseeable outcome. 

Director Jacquie P. A. Thomas has intricately blocked a superb cast into a seamless plot line that blends beautifully with near acrobatic movement that fleshes out a very simple story into a haunting  cautionary tale regarding life and love and how these timeless constructs depend so profoundly upon the welfare of the earth they inhabit.
There are moments when a naive, childlike super hero narrative, and romantic interplay suffer slightly from a lack of emotional detail, and yet the nature of the tale being told is in fact a very clear uncomplicated one that might have been clouded by too much attention to more complex characterization. These are very straightforward people working hard for a living within a very complex and deceptive corporate environment. The ensemble musical vocal work that ties scenes together, combined with the accomplished physicality of all the actors turns Suzie Miller's very direct, interwoven script into a grand theatrical morality tale about the cost of progress and the ways in which we often rationalize our complicit nature by separating our individual actions from what appear to be larger, corporate based  strategies.
Laird Macdonald's lighting and gorgeous projections, Sheree Tam's sharp complimentary costumes, John Gzowski's powerful sound design, with concise versatile set pieces by Michael Spence, create a cohesive and evocative environment for the action to unfold within. Ciara Adams, Joel Benson, Pam Patel, Michelle Polak, and Michael Spence provide beautiful and clear characterizations that fulfill the primary aim of the story.

At great cost to life, love, and the natural sites we choose to inhabit, the self serving sacrifices we make as we manage, exploit, and define those sites comes across as a strong, emotionally charged tragedy made haunting, beautiful, and damned by a team of artists who know that words are not enough. The powerful movement, sound, and shapes created by Theatre Gargantua, signatures traits of the company's multi-disciplinary mandate, are shown to great effect in the current production of The Sacrifice Zone, and continue to secure their place as one of Canada's foremost multi-disciplinary theatre companies.

THE SACRIFICE ZONE RUNS AT FACTORY THEATRE UNTIL NOVEMBER 30TH

Monday, October 28, 2013

Double Trouble

"We're calling it a comic neurotic thriller."
Adam Paolozza - Artistic Director, TheatreRUN Productions

Coming in at two hours, there's not much wrong with the current production of The Double that couldn't be remedied by a prudent edit that reduces the running time by almost half. Too much explication leading up to the fast paced psychological unraveling of the second act make the opening hour a rather plodding journey through the narrative of the Dostoevsky novella. The original story explores the psychological conflict of a single man usurped in his personal and professional life by the aggressive nature of his other, rather split personality. Issues surrounding industrialization, bureaucracy, and the frequently two-sided nature of capitalist enterprise surface throughout. These social concerns might have been better served by a much shorter opening act utilizing imagery and trimmed down narrative that brings the audience to a quick and concise awareness of the central conflict, rather than the arduous, detailed way in which the text has been adapted into two very distinct and unequal parts.

A very skilled cast utilizes physical theatre to great comic effect, yet falter as the opening sixty minutes relies too much on a simplistic coupling of back story and physical mimicry. The second half however picks up the pace, retreats from the Dostoevsky plot line in creative and entertaining ways, and creates the kind of intrigue and theatrical play that the first hour lacks. An especially effective scene has the protagonist in a kind of lounge singer pose as he parodies his plight in an engaging, energetic, and  anachronistic manner that allows spectators to consider analogies to contemporary social concerns within the realm of everyday working lives.

Adam Paolozza, Viktor Lukawski, and Arif Mirabdolbaghi create expressive, physically agile characters who are able to move rapidly through a series of challenging gestures and near acrobatic feats. The parts of the The Double that work extremely well take these physical gestures and incorporate them into a story about one man's alienation from himself and the world around him in a lighthearted, comically angst ridden manner. Unfortunately the opening scenes put too much importance upon the mechanical details of a story that could be told quickly and efficiently in ten minutes or less, and then the action could frolic across the stage from that moment on.

The opening moments with an onstage musician grab the viewer and hold the promise of a fully engaged piece of theatre, but take a sharp turn away from the essential flights of fancy that make the second act of The Double a joy to watch. Melodrama and physical comedy appear to be great theatrical strengths for TheatreRUN productions, and the current Tarragon backspace possesses all of this but falls short in a an opening act that is just too long.


THE DOUBLE RUNS AT THE TARRAGON EXTRASPACE UNTIL NOVEMBER 24TH

Tuesday, October 15, 2013




Tarragon Theatre
presents
TheatreRun production of





created & performed by Adam Paolozza, 
Arif Mirabdolbaghi& Viktor Lukawski

directed by Adam Paolozza
music by Arif Mirabdolbaghi
When are you no longer yourself? The anxious government clerk Golyadkin is plagued by a stranger who looks just like him, but is more daring, romantic and brash. Inspired by Dostoevsky’s novella The Double, this uncanny triangle between a neurotic, his doppelganger and a stand-up bass transports us to 19th century Russian high society and Golyadkin’s labyrinthine search for his identity.
This Dora Award winning production is back on the Tarragon stage. Adam Paolozza is currently Tarragon’s Kareda Resident and Artistic Director of TheatreRUN. Arif Mirabdolbaghi is a Juno Award winning musician and a member of the acclaimed Indie Band Protest the Hero.
- two actors and one musician with a double bass
collide in a schizophrenic feast of site and sound -
Tarragon Theatre's Extraspace, 30 Bridgman Avenue
The Double combines Dostoevsky's brilliant prose with physical theatre and original music to create a theatrical Molotov-cocktail filled with laughter and pathos.  An exploration of alienation and paranoia, The Double speaks to our own fragile hold on reality in a time when our identity is as fluid as our facebook and twitter profiles allow.
The Double
adapted from the novella by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Created and performed by Adam Paolozza, Arif Mirabdolbaghi & Viktor Lukawski
a TheatreRUN production directed by Adam Paolozza
Original Music by Arif Mirabdolbaghi
Costume Design by Adam Poalozza
Set Design by Ken Mackenzie
Lighting Design by André Du Toit

Opens October 23 and runs to November 24, 2013 (previews from October 15)
Tarragon Theatre's Extraspace, 30 Bridgman Avenue, Toronto
Tuesday-Saturday at 8pm, Saturday and Sunday matinees at 2:30pm starting October 20.

Tickets range from $21-$53 (including discounts for students, seniors and groups)
AND a Pay-What-You-Can on October 15 at 8pm
- $13 Rush Tickets available at the door for Fridays (on sale at 6pm) & Sundays (on sale at 1pm) starting Oct. 25.
Tickets can be purchased through the box office at 416.531.1827 or visitwww.tarragontheatre.com

Thursday, October 3, 2013


proartedanza




L-R:  Ryan Lee, Tyler Gledhill and Benjamin Landsberg
all photos by Geneviève Caron
 in Robert Glumbeck's Shifting Silence

The opening program for the proartedanza fall season is a beautiful action packed variety of music and choreography that exemplifies the company's mandate for passion in performance

Robert Glumbeck's Shifting Silence opened the evening with sharply focused sequences, divided by a dominant square of light and blocks of dense costume colour. The ensemble, led by Tyler Gledhill's shirtless singularity, moved in solos and duets through contrasting musical interludes. J.S. Bach's classical strains and Senking's powerful electronic music, marked by gorgeous highs and lows, supported the transitions with wonderful nuance and impeccable sound editing. Initially the pairings seemed to have been arranged according to prowess and degrees of corporeal presence. Two red costumes quickly became very distracting as they appeared to denote a connection between the two dancers that never quite materialized. Tyler Gledhill's couplings with Mami Hata were the most connected and dynamic, but Hata's costume suggested otherwise. This would not necessarily pose a problem if the colour and design of the whole ensemble's outfits had not been so reminiscent of a kind of strange Star Trek sci-fi motif. Showcasing the muscularity of Gledhill's bare torso seemed to be a physically defining moment, but a somewhat incongruous choice when the whole company might have been served better by more form fitting, less crisp, interplanetary lines. Same sex pairings between Gledhill and other dancers such as Ryan Lee were able to transcend the designs and showcase the dynamic beauty of Glumbeck's choreography. 

Shifting Silence provided a powerful and evocative series of contrasts, all focused around the opening presence of Gledhill's dominant role, creating an exciting and satisfying overall impression of Eda LeShan's  epigraph contained in the program note -





"When we cannot bear to be alone, it means we do not properly value the only companion we will have from birth to death."


Moving into, away from, and in tandem with Gledhill's pivotal red trousered turn, Shifting SIlence was indeed a gorgeous and powerful journey from the beginning of life to an unspecified end, with a single powerful companion to embrace, diverge from, and ultimately consume and be consumed by.

Tyler Gledhill and Mami Hata 
in Robert Glumbeck's Shifting Silence

The second offering, a collaboration between artistic director Roberto Campanella and artistic associate Robert Glumbeck began to suggest a perhaps unconscious movement into the more balanced progression of costume definition and exhilarating physical tones for the overall evening. Entitled simply, Beethoven's 9th-3rd Movement, the high and lows of movement and music worked well in relation to each other as the slow meditation of musical tones gradually built to Beethoven's signature crescendo - ending the piece on an almost anthem like note that led well into the final section of the program. Costume Coordination by dancer Anisa Teipar began to reveal a subtler sense of form and colour that allowed bodies to flow in a less distracting manner than the evening's opening sequence. The bodies are the primary vessel in dance, after all, and there are times when costume can overwhelm movement to a bewildering degree. The Beethoven sequence succeeded beautifully and could have added another level of dynamism had the men's costume's been more sharply defined. The women's torsos were lightly draped in elegant semi sheer greyness with shortened casual lower body apparel and simple black socks. The men wore monotone clad gymwear that allowed them to embody a kind of casual, generalized presence. Chairs played a significant part in the sequence and became beautiful integrated props in a piece that possessed shades of Chekhov's over-furnished dramas where a somewhat familial ensemble scrambles through the domiciled and emotional interiors of complex physical maneuvers. The first appearance of a single chair evoked a sense of "oh no, not the thing with the chair again!" But quickly these simple timeless utilitarian objects provided a fully integrated and mesmerizing part of a truly committed and theatrical element of praartedanza's signature promotional cut-line stating that they do in fact embody great passion in performance. 

The final selection of the evening took this sense of passion to the height of perfection through brilliant, powerful choreopgraphy, engrossing music, and sublime costuming by Deanna Sciortino. Venetians Snares, the main performing alias of Canadian musician Aaron Funk, provided a recorded electronic soundscape that possessed a crescendo laden, patterned rhythm that moved the dancers through breakneck pacing, allowing for exciting solos and dynamic pairings. The entire ensemble took virtuosic turns in this engrossing finale, punctuated with simple black trousers and bare torsos for the men, and similar black two piece outfits for the women - covering the chest area with a slim horizontal swath yet defining the body with a strong accentuated power and grace. Entitled Fractals, Guillaume Côté’s choreography matched the envigorating power of the music and ended the program with a fabulous interpretation of the “development of snowflakes, flowers, or clouds” whereby “strict order and unpredictable influence are integral to the formation of fractals.” This idea of “order and chaos, along with shape and pattern” was a beautifully realized tribute to the complexity, serenity, and pandemonium of nature’s varied emotional and material offerings.




Anisa Tejpar and Tyler Gledhill                                                                                                                            


Anisa Tejpar, Erin Poole and Tyler Gledhill

                                                          
                         proartedanza - at the Fleck Dance Theatre, Harbourfront, until October 5th