Thursday, May 2, 2024


"In the World Premiere of Tyson's Song, Bryan and Tyson are two best friends out on their 

last boys night out, but when the evening goes awry, the two Black men are compelled to 

examine their pasts, and the true bonds of their friendship. Tyson's Song examines 

he dominant thoughts surrounding Black masculinity, and mental health."

Tyson’s Song by Peter N. Bailey, presented by Pleiades Theatre

runs from April 24 to May 19, 2024in the Factory Studio Theatre (125 Bathurst St., Toronto, 

ON M5V 2R2). Tickets are pay-what-you-choose starting from $5.

Jamar Adams-Thompson and Kyle Brown take the stage for seventy five minutes and quickly 

develop an intimate rapport befitting best friends who find themselves at a crossroads in their 

young lives. Standing at a bus stop that becomes increasingly elusive as far as a bus actually arriving, 

the two young men share trials, tribulations, and the long history of support and camaraderie they are 

about to see change as they face growing up and out of particular environments they have inhabited for 

a substantial part of their lives.

Playwright Peter N. Bailey speaks eloquently of the discourse inhabited by these two strong 

yet vulnerable young men as he describes the impulse for writing the play;

I wrote Tyson's Song, because I believe there was a need for a new kind of conversation. I see 

more and more spaces being created by black men for the purpose of connecting with other

black men. There is a growing sense among us, I think, that recognizes our survival is

dependent on many things, but in this moment, maybe none more important than our ability

to create the kind of spaces and the relationships that allow us to acknowledge our vulnerability without 

the fear of it being used against us. Common's rhyme on "Real People" resounds in my mind

                                    I guess knowing' I'm weak is when I'm being' strong.

The strength, through deliberation, and compassion for each other, even in times of conflict, 

shines thorough in the perofmrnaues and the direction of this tightly staged piece that reveals, 

with subtlety, and nuance the ways in which these characters can only fully see each other 

once they reveal their deepest fears - standing at a bus stop, late at night, in a large conflicted city, 

waiting to find the complex, at time life-saving intersections in life, love, and friendship where 

they can unite and survive.


Dora Award Winner for Outstanding Performance by an ensemble in" R + K in Action; 
and Moby: A Whale of a Tale; Dora Award Nomination for Outstanding Performance by 
an Ensemble in: Three Ordinary Men. Jamar Adams-Thompson is a Jamaican-Canadian actor 
and storyteller. He is a graduate of. the Acting Program at the University of Windsor and holds 
a BFA Honours degree. In his career thus far, he has worked alongside numerous artists and companies to tell exceptional stories. Select Theatre credits Othello, Beauty and the Beast (University Players), Moby: A Whale of a Tale (Pirate Life Theatre), and The Ruins of Zindor (Luminato Festival Toronto). Film Credits Include: Flee The Light, Black Liberators WWII and Youth Under Fire.


Kyle Brown is a Trinidadian-Canadian actor/singer. He studied Gospel/Improvisational 
Music and Biblical Studies at Gateway College is St. Louis MO- touring the United States 
with the college choir and ensemble. He recently spent a year overseas 
touring the Australian national production of Come From Away. 

Saturday, April 6, 2024

The experience of watching a solo performance of a harrowing script, where one woman eloquently and passionately describes a tragic, physically and emotionally violent encounter lasting five months is both challenging and cathartic as we, as spectators, bear witness to the deep psychological impact of this true story -  a story that "shatters conventions and delivers a chilling and unforgettable exploration of survival and storytelling." < > 

The addition of an unconventional and powerful staging strategy, whereby the performer lip syncs to interview tapes from the actual victim, gives the overall phenomenon a startling and highly engaging element that consistently evokes a strong sense of being both present and absent - a kind of Brechtian 'Alienation Effect' that paradoxically brings us closer to, and distances us from, the actual events that unfold over the course of this 75 minute tour de force. This simultaneous distance/cum proximity allows for a roller coaster of emotion and pure theatrical experience that creates a dual consciousness for the performer and the spectator as they experience both physical acting and the recorded voice.

Jordan Baker as Dana H gives a brilliant performance as she runs the gamut of emotion through subtle shades of both horror and a kind of resigned, casually gripping presence as she remains seated in the middle of a Motel room and recounts Dana's story. There are times when one almost forgets that the words are recorded and the performer's lips are moving in perfect sync as Baker gives impeccable physical expression to the taped interviews conducted by Higginbotham's son.

Scenic design by Andrew Boyce, set in a room replete with soft nostalgic shades of green and pink, further conjures this engaging distance that provides a softly eerie environment for the words to unfold within. A perfectly made bed stage left, covered in the typical, explosively drab nonchalance of cheap Motel decor, looms large as an evocative prop framing the solitary action created by the voice of Dana Higginbotham, "a chaplain in a psychiatric ward, who was abducted by one of her patients and held captive in a series of Florida motel rooms for five months." < > 


Sunday, March 3, 2024

about kaeptnbeer

the first life of Swiss poet Pascal Beer ended at the age of 33, when he decided to give away all of his posessions and walked direction west without money for as long as it took him to figure out one thing or another. When he returned from Costa Rica after a year of adventures, he sat down at the typewriter and started his second life. The collections of poems was later to become his first book of narrative poetry entitled “knives in a flower vase, waiting for the lover to return” (2013). 

Within the next ten years, he founded his own publishing house Muskat Media Press (2013) specialized in dirty realism, transgressive fiction and experimental prose, published a novel called “journey to the end of the world” (2017) and a second tome of narrative poetry, “the angriest man in town” (2020).

His new poetry collection is entitled “WE ATOMKINDER” deals with a generation that spent its childhood in the shadow of the cold war and a potential nuclear holocaust. A topic now more relevant than ever. The book has been published by the author’s publishing house Muskat Media Press in February 2024. This is the first book of hopefully many to come being published in English and German.

Pascal Beer lives in Aarau, Switzerland, when he is not sailing the seven seas, living this one big adventure called living.

During a recent North American tour Pascal Beer took part in the open mic at the Eagle (Church Street, Toronto) as part of the monthly Dirty Queer Poetry series founded by Patricia Wilson and hosted by David Bateman. The series welcomes poetry of all kinds, and Dirty Queer poetry, when it is frequently presented, is a welcome feature of the evening. At our recent Christmas edition a number of poet's presented their dirty queer revisions of popular Christmas poems such as The 12 Days of Christmas & The Night Before Christmas. 

The premise behind our idea of dirty queer poetry is to re-appropriate negative, homophobic connotations surrounding conservative notions regarding perspectives on sexuality and queerness, thereby giving LGBTQ2S+ people the opportunity to present and celebrate their diverse sexualities in a supportive queer positive space.

Pascal Beer's work, as you will see in the following review, embodies a kind of -

"queer heteronormativity as it simultaneously uplifts and diminishes the male gaze, always acknowledging the possibility of a woman's power over her potential detractors, enchanted observers, and chosen lovers."

Pascal Beer's new collection of poetry, WE ATOMKINDER, is an engaging, at times explosive critique of the world that the poet inhabits, the ways in which he navigates and negotiates each new situation, and how he finds himself in a kind of existential space that he appears to be comfortably uncomfortable in – always inquisitive and ready for a new encounter within a world he tries to find a place to observe, critique, and somehow enjoy.

The opening poem (A True Friend) illustrates the speakers need to stay both distant and close within a conflicted but valued childhood friendship, while the final poem (Sarah) echoes the discomfort of a specific situation with a self-proclaimed marriage partner - quickly becoming a somewhat comic, yet violently overpowering encounter that  places the female presence within a deceptively dominant pose.

This focus upon women in a world of  deification & objectification - and at one point, a connection to the iconic figure of Barbie – appears at various points throughout WE ATOMKINDER and creates a form of queer heteronormativity as it simultaneously uplifts and diminishes the male gaze, always acknowledging the possibility of a woman's power over her potential detractors, enchanted observers, and chosen lovers.

An especially evocative piece (A VIEW OF SCHÖNENWERD) speaks of beauty and potential doom within an everyday setting where the poet's skill for creating a direct and engaging narrative epitomizes the general themes of the overall collection. This thematic strain surfaces as both warning and delight in a profoundly fractured world of nuclear power plants, beautiful women, and the peace and the smiles that help us move through frequent views of chaotic natural and unnatural landscapes.




everything that

once was free

now comes at a price.





a roof over your head


now I take advantage of these last

few things that cost me nothing

like the sundown

outside my window

with a view of the

nuclear power plant.


seeing all of these

beautiful girls walking past

my window,

I feel adrift and at

peace, knowing that

their smiles

are not meant

for me.


            Even the sudden line break between -        I feel adrift and at


speaks of the overall collections narrative power and engaging consistency, as it both startles and enlightens, separating a sense of disconnection and formlessness through the clear focus that Pascal Beer maintains throughout WE ATOMKINDER. He both joins & separates the positive and the negative images and connotations of a single thought, showing that a fragile yet comforting sense of peace may come with the potentially explosive nuclear baggage of a world always on the edge of disaster.

copies of WE ATOMKINDER can be ordered through -

or by writing to Pascal Beer's Canadadian agent at

for a link to Pascal Beer's blog go to -





Wednesday, January 10, 2024


Created by Dave Malloy, who was first introduced to Toronto audiences with his whisky-fuelled song cycle Ghost Quartet at Crow’s Theatre, NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 is choreographed by Ray Hogg (Dixon Road), the critically acclaimed artistic director of The Musical Stage Company and directed by Chris Abraham (Uncle Vanya).

The celestial cast includes Divine Brown as Hélène, Evan Buliung as Pierre, Rita Dottor (Ensemble), Camille Eanga-Selenge as Sonya, Donna Garner (Ensemble), Hailey Gillis as Natasha, George Krissa as Anatole, Lawrence Libor as Dolokhov, Marcus Nance as Andrey (and Bolkonsky), Heeyun Park 박희윤 as Mary, Andrew Penner as Balaga, Louise Pitre as Marya D., and Brendan Wall (Ensemble).


In 'Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812 are,' Divine Brown (left), Camille Eanga-Selenge, George Krissa (at back) and Hailey Gillis. 

Photographed by Dahlia Katz


In the opening moments of this spectacular show a cacophony of sound hints at a jumble of indecipherable word and mashed up music, and yet only for a moment - a moment long enough to simultaneously alienate (as in Brecht) and impress with the beautiful, complex and skilfully articulated noise about to unfold - yet gradual enough to prepare the audience for an in your face, frequently environmental, and always action-packed musical evening that flies by even at its two and a half hour, one intermission breakneck pace. And there are Russian inspired cocktails available for pre-order at the bar. Vodka galore! The Kahlua however is a delightfully distracting and slightly bewildering addition. Order double vodka and you will be fine.

There were times when I felt like I was trapped in a Meatloaf concert. Having seen two Meatloaf concerts in the 70's and 80's I can't imagine, even at an advanced age,  a better and more pleasing soundscape to be trapped within. A cross between rock opera, cabaret, operetta and techno-type sounds I am not well versed in but singularly impressed by in this particular production, the score is a masterpiece of seamless ballads, deceptively melodic recitative-cum-conversation and internal meditation - infrequent melodic spoken word laced exquisitely by an ensemble without a single weak performance. 

Standout moments come from every cast member - with intense highlights soaring from the lungs of Evan Buliung, Divine Brown, Heeyun Park  박희윤 , Louise Petrie, George Krissa. Marcus Nance, Hailey Gillis, and Lawrence Libor - among others, too numerous to mention.

Buliung (as Pierre) delivers a show stopping, marked by intimacy and booming emotion, in a ballad-like piece near the middle that joins the ranks of impeccably written and performed stand alone songs from the greatest of musicals. A spectacular and diverse hodgepodge of lyric and music, with appropriately anachronistic words and phrases, transports this wildly entertaining musical version of Tolstoy's novel War and Peace into a welcome yet startling testament to the sad endurance of war over centuries of struggle between soldiers and civilians. 

set design by Julie Fox and Joshua Quinlan - costume design by Ming Wong - lighting design by Kimberley Purtell - sound design by Ryan Borshuk

George Krissa as Anatole bears his well-toned, audience-pleasing chest in a fleeting and unforgettable scene, giving substance, comedy, and craft to his many winking, satiric sideways glances, poses and musical prowess. And he does this with an incredibly diverse range of both voice and physical bravado/virtuosity. Krissa's performance pairs brilliantly with the equally as alluring and emotionally varied, beautifully sung performance by his romantic conquest Natasha (played by Hailey Gillis) - who, even in her iconic misogyny- based shame, culled from the great themes and novels of Tolstoy's time period, she manages to boldly and powerfully disavow full guilt as something she can never recover from. It was far too thrilling for her to fully forget. The villainy too subtle and intriguing to resist, the romance too fine. The chest too beautiful and bare to bear without barely swooning. . . Sorry, I couldn't resist.

NATASHA, PIERRE & THE GREAT COMET OF 1812 shines brightly through the work of an ingenious technical crew and design team - directed with brilliant detail and nuance by Chris Abraham - bringing gorgeous sets, costumes, lighting, choreography, sound and music, into a simultaneously intimate, lush and grand romantic setting - making it all worthy of this 12 TIME TONY NOMINATED spectacular Canadian premiere of a highly acclaimed musical.


Wednesday, December 6, 2023

The current double bill of Daniel MacIvor's Here Lies Henry and Monster, running at Factory Theatre until mid-December, is a seamless and action packed study in the art of the emotional roller coaster - with touches of stand-up, horror movie, psychological word play, and a very complex perspective on ways in which story-telling and truth-telling inhabit (and 'un' inhabit) each other in unexpected ways that both thrill and perplex spectators in a moving and entertaining way. 

The presentation of these two very different 70 to 80 minute scripts compliment each other through the power of solo performances by Karl Ang (Monster) and Damien Atkins (Henry...), and reveal MacIvor's (with Daniel Brooks as collaborator) timeless talents for delving into the psyches of complex personalities, and their takes on the world at large.

Karl Ang takes on, in a skilful and engaging way, the voices of several characters that inhabit a harrowing childhood experience, and the accompanying graphically described scene from a gruesome film that has informed the central characters lives, as well as the intersectional presence of the horror film as a genre and a life experience. Ang is a master of vocal versatility and draws spectators in with a clear and powerful performance.

Atkins delivers a more playful, yet equally as mesmerizing performance thorough the character of Henry - a complicated mess of a man who is simultaneously endearing and infuriating as he rambles through a series of meditations on being alive, confused, and intent upon telling truth through lies, laced with the looming presence of mortality though another form of lying - as in horizontally inclined. He is especially engaging through the use of extreme physical agility as he is directed by Tawiah McCarthy with a very clear and expertly calculated finesse - at times dancing and moving about with an elegant comic grace and diverse physicality. Soheil Parsa's direction in Monster is equally adept at bringing precise and punctuating blocking, as well as fine emotional layering to the characters Ang so brilliantly inhabits.

Having seen the original productions with MacIvor in the roles, it might make sense to compare the varied performances. And yet there is no comparison. Gifted actors like MacIvor, Ang, and Atkins do justice to these complex scripts. From what I can remember, MacIvor brought a unique and singular energy to the roles that gave the theatrical solo performance experience a meta-theatrical tone and through-line, brought about by MacIvor's prolific output as writer and performer. Ang and Atkins bring more of an actor'ly presence, delving into specific character and emotional layers, while MacIvor inhabited the voice of the writer and actor through a kind of performance monologue technique that defies traditional notions of theatrical enterprise. Clearly, it is difficult to articulate the differences, and yet the mounting of these two productions reveals the timelessness of the scripts, and the ways in which they can be brought to life decades later by a brilliant production team.

The shows can be seen as a double bill or on separate evenings. For dates and times see;


Here Lies Henry (2006)

Produced by

Da Da Kamera

Presented by

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

PlaywrightDaniel MacIvor
Daniel Brooks


The Alexander Street Chamber Theatre


September 19th, 2006 – October 15th, 2006


An idyllic SORT OF miserable SORT OF nightmarish SORT OF story book SORT OF remarkable SORT OF regular SORT OF story. A man alone in a room with a mission to tell you something you don’t already know.

With Here Lies Henry, MacIvor gives voice to the character of Henry, a self-confessed liar. Henry rambles with a mixture of energy and fun. He’s a thirty-something optimist who ponders the meaning and pointlessness of life. He begins slowly by revealing things about himself, such as his childhood, his homosexuality, and his lies. He claims his assignment is to tell the audience something they don’t already know. Since Henry is a professional liar, it’s difficult to distinguish between his lies and the truth. Presented in a minimalist style familiar to da da kamera audiences, one actor, light and sound combine to give an atmosphere of intimacy breaking down the fourth wall and making the audience feel like they are part of the drama. That is to say, making them feel like they are part of Henry’s world which of course, they are. MacIvor cannily distills the human condition and seesaws hilariously between truth and lies, and more lies. (, 2006).



Monster, a one-man play, begins in the total darkness of a movie theatre. After a long silence, someone in the audience rudely shushes his neighbour, and the show begins. Daniel MacIvor transforms himself into a series of characters whose lives seem eerily related. There’s the young boy who tells the story of the neighbour lad who hacked up his father in the basement. There are alcoholic Al and shiny Janine, the lovers who quarrel, make up, and decide to marry after seeing a movie about a lad who … well, same thing. There’s the ex-drunk who dreamed up the movie, but got no credit because he was said to have stolen the idea from a famous unfinished film, a claim that so angered him that he went back on the sauce. And there’s the movie maker who made that incomplete epic.” 

                                                                    - Philadelphia Inquirer



Sunday, November 19, 2023

l-r - Pye, Bateman, Monet "The Very Unauthorized biographies - available at a fictional bookstore near you



Rob Wilkes, of Big Sky Design, has created a thoroughly engaging and aesthetically beautiful  multi-faceted structure for Jono Pye’s new website - highlighting in diverse ways through the use of moving images, and easily accessible categories, a variety of work ranging from still life to landscapes, portraits, bicycles, and comic book characters. 

Pye’s immense energy and love for an eclectic array of styles is brought together through a combination of the serious and the playful found in any given work - whether it be the colourful countenance of the most infamous member of The Group of Seven, or the ways in which landscape simultaneously separates and coheres in a decidedly Cezanne’esque manner, through the use of carefully executed, delicately divided brush strokes that display vibrant depth and infectious colour.

In his design for the website Wilkes has showcased his keen sense of continuity and visual engagement, making an online tour of the artists work a refreshing journey through hue and form. 

Pye continues to create work that gives life and enjoyment to the perception of everyday objects, from saxophones to apples, peaches, pets, bikes, barns, and the never ending serio-comic qualities of the human body in all its complicated glory. 

Rendering portraits of revered artists from the past, as well as favourite characters from the beloved Archie comic book series reveals a paradoxically cohesive eclecticism that  is brilliantly showcased in a website that adds a new layer of creativity and imagination to a lifelong process.

And writing Pye’s unauthorized bio for the site, with notes and ideas provided by Jono, was a new and delightful adventure for me as I wove memories, both factual and fictive - like much of life - from the career of an artist whose work attests to commitment, playfulness, and a seemingly endless capacity to create.

poster from 2022/2023 Toronto exhibit