Monday, November 2, 2015

Try Your Luck (Toronto Fringe)

So it has been an extremely interesting (and busy) weekend.

It's just too late to go into details, but I saw The House of Poe at Red Sandcastle, which was pretty unsettling, I have to say.  (I actually caught the special late night show on Halloween night.)  It is a mash-up of The House at Pooh Corner with a few of Edgar Allen Poe's more gruesome tales with a seasoning of H.P. Lovecraft's existential dread.  It runs one more weekend.  A more thorough review here.

I also saw Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband at Alumnae Theatre today (having to bike into a massive headwind the whole way).  The play is actually put on by the Toronto Irish Players, and it also runs for another week.  If you decide to go, calling ahead and making reservations is highly recommended.  I went as a last minute thing and was on a wait list for a while, though I ultimately made it in.  (And a sold out house with essentially no advertising or reviews at all!)

Now that I have seen it, I have mixed feelings.  I thought the cast did a good job overall, but some of the characters are a bit overwrought, particularly Lady Chiltern.  I also thought that the play expects us to forgive too much.  It is certainly one thing to wish to engage in a bit of Bunburying (that is quite forgivable) and another to want to whitewash a pretty serious scandal from one's past.  Maybe if The Importance of Being Earnest hadn't been so incredibly well-wrought, then I would be a bit more forgiving of An Ideal Husband, but it just really struck me as a second-rate play (though second-rate Wilde is still quite good).  I am hoping that Lady Windermere's Fan falls somewhere between the two, but closer to Earnest.  I go see that in about 3 weeks.

I had really gone back and forth on whether to go see The Baby at Storefront Theatre.  I knew it was basically just a campy, shlock-fest, but I am hoping at some point to cast one of the actors in a part in Straying South, and going to see them in their work is usually the best way of buttering them up.  But I knew I wasn't really going to like it.  I actually have a pretty low tolerance for camp, as well as plays that go for shock value, particularly when the twists are telegraphed a mile away.  (Storefront has just done The House of Yes, which I considered a pretty terrible movie and had absolutely no intention of seeing a live version of this.)

Why is this so relevant all of a sudden?  Because unlike a few other opportunities I just missed out on, there is one more day to enter the Toronto Fringe lottery.  I pondered it for a while, but went ahead and put in my entry form.

I suppose it is completely crazy to want to do this, with a script only 20% done and three actors I would tentatively cast in parts, but no director and no stage manager.  But most of all, no actual working company.  But you know, these are kind of pesky details.  Winning the lottery means that you suddenly find a lot of people interested in working with you, since you have a guaranteed slot...

Ultimately, I decided to go see Wilde rather than The Baby, but I will go off to Sing-for-Your-Supper tomorrow regardless of whether my piece is accepted.  (I generally would assume it was not, though I didn't hear either way!)  I'll take down a few more names and see if there are people I would want to work with in the future (whether the ball bounces my way or not).

I still didn't quite wrap up my piece set at the 7-Eleven, so I will shoot for December.  I actually polished up another piece and sent in the introductory monologue and the first scene of the second act.  I call this Blue-Grass Mash, mostly because the full thing (not the fragment I submitted) is a quest that leads to Kentucky.  The piece is actually a bit of a homage to Kushner's Homebody-Kabul, though I don't think anyone has gotten the connection unless I told them...  The video artist who kicks things off is somewhat based on my mental picture of a very crass version of Bill Viola (not that I have ever met the man).  You can read the script in its truncated form here.  I suppose if there is a huge outcry for more, I might eventually post the whole thing.  First, I would have to see how well it stands up in the cold light of day, as they say.

Ok, it's been a long and busy weekend, and I think I've done enough for now.

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