Just a short notice that Father Comes Home From the Wars has 4 shows added this week - Mon - Thurs (Sept. 1). Tickets available here. They may bring this back next season, but there is certainly no guarantee, so this is your last chance to see a moving exploration of how slavery distorted family bonds and other relationships. I probably won't be able to get around to my extended review (which will be spoiler-heavy anyway) until the weekend, but I would recommend this for anyone interested in the African-American experience and how it is portrayed on stage.
I would recommend passing on High Park this year (All's Well That Ends Well and Hamlet), though if interested, it runs another week or so.
I just found out that Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie will be opening this week at the Theatre Centre and running for about two weeks (details here). I expect I'll go, as I haven't seen this in years. Maybe I can combine the show with a trip to the Stephen Bulger Gallery to see the Vivian Maier exhibit, which runs through Sept 10. I've seen several exhibits of her work, and it is definitely worth checking out - and indeed, the unofficial pairing with The Glass Menagerie and its unfulfilled longings seems quite appropriate.
I've already written a bit about Tafelmusik, Tarragon and Soulpepper, which will kind of fill out the main artistic season for me. I'll start getting tickets fairly soon. I'm still debating Hart House where I really want to see Mouawad's Tideline and perhaps 7 Stories by Morris Panych, but I think I'd skip the rest of the season.
Anyway, let me jump to next summer, since both Stratford and Shaw have posted their upcoming seasons! Stratford is here, and Shaw is here. Per usual, Stratford interests me more, and I am just more likely to go out that way, since I hate trying to get to Niagara-on-the-Lake. (I read that the outgoing director didn't like thinking about traffic and how to get out-of-towners to turn up, but it seems like a no brainer to me to try a shuttle bus, since it has been so successful for Stratford.)
At Stratford, I will definitely see Middleton's The Changeling (finally, though I did have the opportunity to see a modern take on it at the Storefront Theatre*) and Sheridan's School for Scandal. I will probably pass on Twelfth Night, just because I've seen it several times and I can't really justify Stratford prices for that. I am sort of torn on Murphy's The Breathing Hole, which sounds sort of interesting, but at the same time might be a real incoherent mess. I guess it depends just how much they are charging for it, and if I can come up with one weekend to see everything. I very much doubt I would travel to Stratford just to see The Breathing Hole. That pretty much covers it. They did Romeo and Juliet just a few years back, so I won't go to that, and I clearly won't go to Tartuffe, since I hate the play so much.
Shaw is less interesting from the get-go. There is a small chance I would see Saint Joan. I don't really care for Friel's Dancing at Lughnasa. I actually saw Eno's Middletown at Steppenwolf several years back and didn't think it was all that great. I certainly wouldn't go a second time. Michael Healey's 1979 is a bit of a wild card. It could be fairly clever, and no question if Video Cabaret was doing it, I would go. But I would rather see it in Toronto (or even Ottawa in April 2017) rather than going down to Shaw, so I am leaning against. That is kind of the way I feel about An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins. I'm pretty sure this is a play that would sort of enrage me (for good and bad reasons very much like The Shipment by Young Jean Lee) and I'd probably go if it gets transferred to Toronto, but I am not going to travel down there and then sort of stew about the play the whole drive home. So I might go to Saint Joan, but even that is fairly questionable. It is interesting that they appear to have cut things back to just one musical (no question that the musicals from the past two seasons were critically panned), but Shaw still isn't really my cup of tea.
* It also means I'll probably pass on Shakespeare Bash'd's staged reading the play (currently slotted in for Nov. 13 at the Imperial Pub). I'd rather go into the Stratford not knowing much about the play (aside from there are lots of bloody betrayals) and let the plot unfold. However, I am fairly likely to try to see Shakespeare Bash'd's full production of Twelfth Night this winter (and possibly take my son) rather than pay Stratford prices for a play I've seen many times. Not saying that I won't ultimately go to Stratford for this, but I generally like smaller, more intimate productions of Shakespeare's comedies.