Saturday, September 17, 2016

College productions -- 2016/17

This probably should be titled (and other odds and ends), since I'll use it to capture a few more things I didn't cover already.

It finally stopped raining, though it will probably be a grey day the rest of the day.  I wonder if that would make it even more appropriate to try to catch Wallace Shawn's Aunt Dan and Lemon (playing at Theatre Passe Muraille), or would it just make it even more depressing to the point I despair about life itself.  I don't have tickets, but I don't think this will sell out, since it is definitely not an uplifting play...  In any case, it runs this weekend and next week.

I looked over the rest of the Theatre Passe Muraille's season, and it does not interest me at all.  I would say the same thing about Canadian Stage.  In both cases, the companies that come in and use their space are far more aligned with my interests and tastes than the main companies.  But this season, I am quite satisfied with Tarragon.

I see from the Samuel French site, that Convergence Theatre has reapplied for the rights to Beckett's Play from Oct. 13-23.  I guess that means they are repeating their Fringe site-specific show.  I think that's pretty cool, though I don't feel compelled to see it a second time.  But if you didn't manage to catch it during Fringe this summer (and wanted to), you should definitely go.  Maybe Facebook is the best way to find out what they are actually up to.

Given all the uncertainty around Unit 102 and where they will land, it looks like I'll have to keep an eye out on their Facebook page as well.  They had a fairly ambitious season laid out...

I already mentioned that Posner's Stupid F***ing Bird should be playing here in March 2017, but I have no idea who is actually putting it on.  I'll fill in with more details if it becomes an actual production and not just a phantom one.  Actually I just read up on Storefront Theatre's season, and they are doing it, which is super cool (and it also dramatically increases the odds that they will put it on compared to some of the smaller indy theatres).  Unfortunately, I seem to be diverging from Storefront, and don't think I'll see anything else they are doing this season. Given that I am going to swing through Chicago soon and see Posner's Life Sucks, I'll be well up on his work.  Now if only that phantom production of Annie Baker's The Aliens lands here soon.

I had known about this -- Master Harold and the Boys is coming to Toronto this Oct. -- but it just got a bit of a write-up in the Now Fall preview.  I've seen a good college production, but I might go again, given that that was so long ago.  The tickets are reasonable, though it is up in North York, and I am not usually thrilled about heading up that way, but I guess it isn't so bad on the weekend.  This appears to be the transfer of the Shaw production, and that certainly got solid to very good reviews, so I ought to go, so as not be a hypocrite when I say that it is mostly the drive that is keeping me from going to the Shaw Festival.

Finally, someone is doing David Lindsay-Abaire's Rabbit Hole all the way in Oct. 2017 (next year), but this is a play that would upset me too much, and I am not going.  Oh, and apparently Soulpepper will be doing Alan Ayckbourn's House and Garden as one of the first productions of their 2017-18 season.  I hope at some point they restage The Normal Conquests trilogy, which I missed by about two months, but this is a reasonable substitute.

Ok, now to the actual college productions.  Hart House is technically not student theatre, though I believe quite a few students get cast in the shows.  I'm quite excited about Mouawad's Tideline this season, and I'll probably see Morris Panych's 7 Stories.  I think I'll pass on Much Ado About Nothing, as I've seen it twice in the past two seasons.

Here is a cool poster advertising all the different plays that the U of T colleges will be putting on.

UC Follies is putting on Mouawad's Scorched, and that is coming up very soon.  This is a blistering play, and it would be great to see it in conjunction with Tideline.  In my case, I saw a Silk Road's unbelievably good production in Chicago, and I just can't risk letting that blur, so I won't see this production, but I would recommend it to others.  Albee is represented by two plays this season -- The Goat or Who is Sylvia and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?  I'm not sure I will go see anything else on the list, though possibly Sondheim's Assassins.  If I'm in the right mood that week, I might go see The Maltese Bodkin, which is a mashup of Shakespeare and the hard-boiled detective genre.

I briefly forgot about the UT School of Music, which has quite a few interesting events throughout the year.  I think the must-see date for me is April 1 when they are partnering with TorQ Percussion Quartet to do Wijeratne's Invisible Cities, but I also thought the concerts on Oct. 1, Nov. 28 and Jan 28 look worthy of investigation.  The April 1 concert is listed here and you can then navigate through the rest of the calendar.

After two quite interesting seasons, I am definitely less inspired by George Brown's 2016-17 season.  While Atwood's The Penelopiad is quite an interesting play, I have already seen it in Vancouver.  A Flea in Her Ear might be amusing.  I think it really hinges on whether I decide to see Noel Coward's Cavalcade.  From the description, it sounds like another Ragtime, though set in London.  That just doesn't grip me.  I suppose if they have a four play subscription -- and I can double up on As You Like It (so as to bring my son) -- I might subscribe.  The Penelopiad is probably worth seeing a second time.

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