Sunday, April 3, 2016

Early (Theatre) Warnings - (mostly) Fall 2016

Since this blog is all-jumbled up at the moment -- and I am still thinking about theatre and other live productions -- I'll list a few things that I have come across that are a bit further away, predominantly events that should occur in Toronto in the fall. Almost all of these have come from the DPS website.

The rights for Annie Baker's The Aliens lapsed (today in fact), but Company Theatre may put it on in the summer or fall or in 2017.  Hard to say.

Alumnae Theatre will be doing August: Osage County in April in fact (so this is actually fairly short notice), but I will not be going.  I think the play is quite interesting (if a bit exhausting), but I saw the original Steppenwolf production, and I just don't want anything to blur my memories of that.

I really haven't had a chance to reflect on A Man Vanishes over at Videofag, but the fact that the space is closing soon does sadden me a bit.  There are three or four events in April and May (so again, sort of short notice -- sorry).  I'm thinking seriously of going to Perfect Gays in late April, but then skipping Ana, which is only on for a single day (April 30).  I'm fairly likely to go see Sheets, which is apparently the last production that will be put on in the Videofag space.  I suspect I will be challenged and feel a bit squeamish about these pieces, but that is kind of the whole point about Videofag and its mission, and it is definitely the kind of thing I don't expose myself to all that often.

Harold Green will be doing Donald Margulies' The Model Apartment in May.  At first, I didn't plan on going, but I've dug a bit deeper and this is a bit of a subversive play, so maybe I will try to squeeze it in.  (Oh, I see Eric Peterson will be performing in it.  That makes it even more interesting, as I've wanted to see him in something in Toronto; it may mean the tickets will actually become a hot item.  Too bad they are performing up in North York...)

Tracy Letts' Bug will be coming to Toronto in late May, but I will pass on this one.  And Coal Mine has already launched into Letts' Killer Joe, but it's another play I just don't want to see.  If you do want to go, the run will probably sell out, so try to get tickets now.  I'm a lot more interested in Letts' later work, not his early plays.  I was a bit bummed out to miss out on his latest play at Steppenwolf -- Mary Page Marlowe -- but it will probably start making the rounds over the next few years.  I should eventually catch it.

Similarly, Albee's The Goat or Who is Sylvia will be coming through in early June, but I did not like this play at all, since I found the characters' actions unconvincing on every level.  Still, most Albee plays are worth seeing at least once.

Perhaps the strangest production yet is some space called "The Garage" on Augusta plans to put on Beckett's Play in early July.  I have doubts that this will happen, but I will keep monitoring the situation (I'm starting to think it may be this Fringe show that caught my attention).  I've never seen this (nor Happy Days), so I would want to go.  Though I am considerably more interested in watching Happy Days, so hopefully it will be mounted here within a few years.

I've already talked about Soulpepper's upcoming 2016 shows here, and there are several interesting plays.  I'm most interested in Arthur Miller's Incident at Vichy and Susie-Lori Park's Father Comes Home from the Wars.  These are must see plays for me (and indeed I already have my tickets...).

I talk about Tarragon next season here, and I may see The Watershed (though I am going to feel less compelled if I see Eric Peterson in The Model Apartment) and almost certainly Sequence and Will Eno's The Realistic Joneses.  Upon further reflection, I probably will be subscribing for the season -- it looks like a particularly strong one.

Coal Mine continues to be a bit hit or miss for me.  I think in the 2016-17 season I'll probably only go see Dennis Kelly's Orphans, which will run for most of April.

The Howland Company was supposed to be doing The Glass Menagerie in early Sept., or at least they secured the rights, but it does not appear to be on their website.  I suspect this is another phantom production.  They seem most interested in putting on plays relevant to Gen X and/or the Twitter Generation (which seems to be the goal of RedOne as well, though they have a slightly grittier aesthetic).  I am not completely uninterested in this kind of work, so I will try to drop in periodically on their website and see what they are up to.

Bloor West Village Players* are supposed to launch their season with Les Belles Soeurs in Sept.  I hope that comes to pass!  It does appear to still be on, though I am not at all familiar with the other plays in their upcoming season.  Indeed in late April-early May (the last play of this season), they are doing a comedy called Fox on the Fairway.  I might go, though it is all about golf, which bores me terribly.  Still, it is not really about the game per se, but madcap antics at the golf club.  Some critics are comparing it to a Marx Brothers farce, though I wonder if that raises expectations a bit too high.  (Note: it definitely did...)

Someone has the rights for Wallace Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon in early Sept.  It would be worth seeing if they actually pull off a full production.  Wallace Shawn writes in a very idiosyncratic style and it is aimed at a very specific audience (New York intellectuals), but I've found seeing his work quite rewarding in the past.

Speaking of phantom productions, Alumnae has put down markers on 3 plays for the same time slot in late Sept.  That may mean they don't know which they want to do, and it depends on the directors' availability, or they will do all three in the season, but change the timing.  I'm not sure.  The first is a fairly recent (2005) play called Colder Than Here by Laura Wade.  It is supposed to be an offbeat comedy about a woman dying of cancer and trying to arrange everything for her funeral ahead of time, both to ensure her funeral is "green" and as a bit of a coping mechanism.  I'd probably go.

The second is Paula Vogel's How I Learned to Drive, which I have no interest in seeing.  I've already passed up an opportunity to see this in Chicago and I'll pass it up here as well.  It's kind of frustrating, since this is the Vogel play produced the most often, whereas I want to see Hot and Throbbing or even Desdemona (though I don't think that is remounted very often).

They are also considering Melissa James Gibson's This, which I am 95% sure I saw in Chicago at Theatre Wit (one of the last shows I would have seen before decamping for Vancouver in fact).  I might go see it again, though it isn't a particularly high priority.

On the other hand, Hart House is known for sticking to their announced schedule.  They just put that up. I'll definitely see Wajdi Mouawad's Tidelines in mid Sept.  I'll probably skip Much Ado About Nothing in Nov., since I saw a version recently at Tarragon, though I might change my mind.

In late Sept. Tafelmusik is doing Handel's Water Music, which I'll probably go see.  I've listened to their recording so many times that it would be cool to see live.  In mid Oct. they have an interesting concert programmed around the cello.  But that is pretty much it.  I doubt I will see any other concerts in the 2016-17 season, and I don't plan on subscribing.

In November, Canadian Stage will be doing Payne's Constellations, though I won't be there.  I thought the script was terrible.

What Canadian Stage should be doing is Caryl Churchill's Love and Information.  Astonishingly, they are going to be scooped by a high school production!  Etobicoke School of the Arts is doing this show, next weekend in fact.  I am kind of torn.  I have no problem going to see a college production of some play, but I just can't see travelling an hour out of my way to see a high school production.  Someone in Toronto will surely put on the play in the next year or so, right?  If so, I will post it here.**

On a more positive note, I was checking out what rights have been applied for at DPS, and apparently Stupid F***ing Bird is coming to Toronto in March 2017, so I will definitely keep an eye out for that. 

This is perhaps the strangest coincidence.  I was updating the post about Shostakovich, and there is a short blurb in there about how I try to catch Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time whenever possible.  Apparently, a group performed it last year in Toronto, but quite under the radar.  To prevent that from happening again, I did a bit of searching, and apparently the Toronto Symphony Orchestra Chamber Soloists will be performing this on Dec. 10, 2016, but all the way out in Kingston!  That's quite a ways to go, though I suppose I could manage it if there was something worth seeing at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre.  Still, I will see if there is someone to contact in the fall to find out if they will also be doing this same concert programme a bit closer to home.  Today I just saw that Amici will be doing the Quartet for the End of the Time on April 30, 2017, which should be pretty incredible, and I probably don't need to hear it in Dec. and then 4 months later, so I'll basically wait to see how soon I can order single tickets for next season.  I may also see if anyone from work is interested in going.

In terms of very long-term planning, the Moordale Concerts look pretty interesting.  I may not subscribe to the entire 2016-17 series, but Jan 22, 2017 the Heath Quartet is doing Dvorak's String Quartet 13, and on April 23 the New Orford String Quartet will be doing Schubert's String Quintet, which is always worth seeing, so I will try to pencil that in as soon as I get a 2017 calendar!  And then just a week later Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time as I mentioned above.  So April is already looking busy!

The Royal Conservatory has their new dates up, and it looks like I would pick and choose.  I may or may not be able to get to 4 dates to make it an actual subscription.  The most interesting is Nicola Benedetti playing Baroque hits including Vivaldi's the Four Seasons on March 3; I'm pretty sure this would be a higher order of professionalism than the concert at Casa Loma, but the outdoor setting is also nice and has its own attractions.  Another interesting concert on Feb. 10 features the bassoon, though not Mozart's Bassoon Concerto (I'm not sure I've ever seen this live.).  In addition to Villa-Lobos’s Ciranda des sete notas, they will be doing Sibelius’s Symphony 5.  I'll probably go to this concert.  I'm somewhat torn over the Academy of St Martin in the Fields Chamber Ensemble concert on Oct. 21 where the highlight is Schubert's Octet but they are also doing Mozart's Quintet for Horns and Strings K 407.  I just saw the Schubert and it isn't one that I want to see over and over.  Still, I may go in the end.  Nov. 13 there is an all-Bach concert (and indeed it is all-Bach, all-violin) featuring Viktoria Mullova, which is intriguing.  The JCT Trio concert on Jan. 21 looks worth attending as well, though I hope I'll be at TRB in D.C. around then.  Finally, while this is a bit pricier, Gidon Kremer and his chamber orchestra Kremerata Baltica will be in town Feb. 4 doing an all-Russian program ending with Mussorgsky's Pictures at an ExhibitionIf I pick up one of the jazz concerts, I can probably get to 4-5 events.  Anyway, there is still quite a bit of time to think about this.

I think that's enough long-range planning for one post.  Back to catching up on my blog backlog.  Ciao.

* My interest in this troupe has declined dramatically, and I currently plan on skipping all their future productions, including Les Belles Soeurs.  C'est dommage.

** There really are no professional or semi-professional productions of Love and Information anywhere nearby.  In April 2017, it will be put on in Philadelphia by the Theatre School at Temple University.  I probably would not travel just for that, but if the dates happen to mesh with Spring Break, perhaps a trip to Philadelphia and Washington DC next year would round out the East Coast cities that the kids really ought to see.

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