Saturday, June 4, 2016

Filling up the Calendar pt. 2 (the Fringe and beyond)

This is basically a continuation of this post.  I think I will try to run by tonight and tomorrow to see if I can get rush tickets to the Coal Mine show.  If that doesn't work, I'll book something for next weekend, although that is also the weekend I expect to get serious about fixing up the deck.

Let me start with some other events that have popped up the radar and then get around to the Fringe.  First, I am starting to hear more and more about Luminato and their new space at the Hearn.  I definitely need to get out there, and check out the art gallery.  I'm still not sold on the James plays, and I think I'll pass on them.  Maybe that is a mistake, but I am just not "feeling it."  I can tell what I do and don't want to spend my time on, and frankly this just seems such a blatant rip-off of Shakespeare's Henry cycle that I can't be bothered.

In general, I am far more tempted by the music events at Luminato but not by the theatre events.  I am tempted by the TSO concert on the 21st, where they are doing Beethoven's 5th Symphony and Gershwin's American in Paris.  On the other hand, I saw the TSO doing Beethoven's 5th right at the start of the season, so I think I can hold off from seeing it for another year or so.  In addition, I am already out two days that week.  I might go see Tafelmusik doing a short one-hour show on the 19th.  I haven't totally made up my mind.  Tafelmusik is doing a few free shows this summer, so that is worth checking out as well.  More information here.  It looks like the first free concert is next Monday, but I'll probably pass and just buy a ticket for the 19th.  On top of everything else, I am still hoping to hear that my piece was accepted for Sing-for-your-Supper, which would also be next Monday.*

I have to admit that I sort of dropped the ball on TIFF Lightbox.  I actually did manage to see both Chi-raq and High Rise, but didn't use some free passes, which look to expire at the end of June.  There is an interesting series they are doing of Shakespeare on film.  Sadly, I will have to pass on Chimes at Midnight.  I am tempted to go see Ran again, but I probably won't.  In the end, I may only go see Hamlet Goes Business on July 1, which is pretty obscure, though I actually do have it on DVD from Artificial Eye, so I guess if I just can't make it, there is a fall-back.  Anyway, this summer/early fall TIFF is doing two great retrospectives: Hitchcock/Truffaut and Eric Rohmer, so I'll try to see a handful of films from each, even if I can't use those free passes.

A little bit further away (or even a lot further), it appears that Alumnae has settled on their 2016-17 season.  In this post, I speculated on what Alumnae would open with, and they have settled on Gibson's This.  I'm certainly more likely to see This than How I Learned to Drive (which I am boycotting), but I wish it had been Wade's Colder Than Here instead of This.  On the other hand, they are doing Sarah Ruhl's The Clean House, which I just missed seeing in Chicago.  I don't think this is a stone-cold classic, but it's still worth seeing once.  It is much harder to find out anything about the Toronto Irish Players (the main co-tenants with Alumnae), but it appears their next production will be Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley, and I'll probably go see that.

While I am rarely that interested in Mirvish productions per se, they do occasionally team up with companies that do interest me, such as Studio 180.  Next Feb., they are putting on the gay-themed comedy (?) My Night with Reg by Kevin Elyot.  After giving it some thought, I expect I'll end up going to this.

Ok, finally, I am ready to discuss the Fringe.  The current program guide is here.  At first glance, I am a bit less interested than last year, though there are a few things that stand out.  I am the most likely to see Shakespeare Bash'd doing The Comedy of Errors, since it is apparently the last time they will do Fringe.  (I saw them last year doing The Merry Wives of Windsor, and it was very good.)  I am not quite sure what they will do after this, though I will make an effort to catch their staged reading of Middleton's The Changeling.)

There is also a site-specific piece (or rather trilogy) of short plays by Beckett, Strindberg and Julie Tepperman (one of these things is not like the others...).  That looks like it might be worth seeing, as well as Weird: the Witches of Macbeth.  There's another adaptation of The Comedy of Errors called A Glass Hive, but I'm not sure I really need to see the same play twice in the same Fringe.  In terms of other productions of plays by established playwrights, they are doing Caryl Churchill's Far Away, which I've seen before.  I probably will pass.  There is a bizarre play called Cowboy Mouth written by (and originally performed by) Sam Shepard and Patti Smith.  I'll check out the reviews, but this seems a bit strange for my tastes.

There are lots of more typical fringe-type plays: one-act monologues and two-handers.  Of the new plays, I am most likely to see Bright Lights by Kat Sanders.  I'll probably go through the list one more time to see if there is anything else that grips me or at least intrigues me a little.  It looks like I am hovering at 4 plays, at which point it isn't quite worth getting the festival pass, especially as so many shows sell out, so you have to pay extra to get the pass and then reserve specific dates.

So there you go.  When you add in Shakespeare in High Park, then the events in Withrow Park, it looks like I have more or less booked up the summer (and a bit beyond).

*  Oops, the SFYS in June was moved to June 13.  I could go off to Tafelmusik without any conflict.  I'm a bit torn as to what to do, and I may end up letting the weather determine my evening plans.

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