Sunday, January 29, 2017

Annie Baker's John in Toronto (and other upcoming theatre)

I just saw this in Now: Annie Baker's latest play, John, is opening in Toronto.  This really has flown in under the radar, but I expect it will be reviewed next week.  It is actually in previews this afternoon.  Apparently, it is being put on by The Company Theatre, but staged at Canadian Stage (in the Berkeley St. location).  It is another long play (3 hours, two intermissions), so for me, I am only going to be interested in a matinee performance.  I'm not in love with Annie Baker's work, but it is usually worth seeing.  I decided I would pass on today's preview, but I'll go next weekend.  Some basic information here, and the Canadian Stage calendar is here, where you actually order the tickets.  The matinee prices are reasonable ($40 for full price), but I didn't look into the evening performances.  (Yet again, I am finding I am completely uninterested in the Canadian Stage productions, but they rent their space out to some interesting events...)

Incidentally, it was The Company Theatre that was going to put on Baker's The Aliens, so I am assuming those plans have been completely scrapped, so perhaps another (more) indy theatre company will take up the challenge.  My understanding is that no one in Toronto has produced The Flick either, though Vancouver actually got a recent production.*  Time to step up your game, Toronto theatre companies...

I was wondering if any of the theatre review websites even mentioned John, but not so far.  I did see that Rabbit Hole, which is playing for another two weeks at Red Sandcastle, got a quite positive review at Mooney's.  I'm still unlikely to go as the plot just sounds far too painful for me deal with (family dealing with the death of a child hit by a car).  But perhaps I'll reconsider, especially if I get enough writing done the rest of the weekend and need a change of pace.  (It's only $20, which is quite the bargain.  Tickets are $25 at the door though, so book ahead here.)

I then did just a bit of poking around on the DPS website, and it looks like late Feb. will bring Philip Ridley's Radiant Vermin, which is a dark comedy/fable about getting on the property ladder.  I might go to this, depending on timing and ticket prices.  (It looks like it will be in Kensington Market in an odd space, and I usually dig stuff like that.  Incredibly enough there will be another production of the same play in April, by Seven Siblings Theatre.**)

As far as I can tell, the Storefront Theatre hasn't been able to find a home for Stupid F*cking Bird in early March, but I will certainly keep checking in.  Early March should bring Proof to Red Sandcastle, and I plan to go to that, so I'll have to be a bit careful given everything else going on in March.

It looks like Alumnae has firmed up their schedule and will be doing Sarah Ruhl's The Clean House in April, and I'll stop in and check that out.  Slightly later in April, apparently Ryerson Theatre School will be doing Ruhl's Eurydice, which is my favorite of her plays to date.  I could go, though I'd say I am leaning against.  (And actually it looks like a single date, so it is probably something like a senior class project and not something open to the public.  Oddly enough, I guess I passed on Soulpepper doing Eurydice in summer 2015.  Was I so exhausted by moving?  Did I think the ticket prices were too high?  Not sure.)

I already mentioned that Ntozake Shange's for colored girls will be at Soulpepper through most of May.  This might be one where I am looking for people to go with, as it is such a downer.

Also, Soulpepper should be leading off next season with Ayckbourn's House and Garden, which should be August/September (apparently this hasn't been officially announced yet...).

Sometimes I get a bit confused about which plays have played Toronto (broadly encompassing Stratford and Shaw).  Lisa D'Amour's Detroit played Ottawa and just recently Vancouver, but apparently not Toronto.  It has more than a few similarities to Will Eno's The Realistic Joneses (which closed at Tarragon recently).  In this case, Detroit was written earlier than The Realistic Joneses.  It is Will Eno's Middletown which is being produced at Shaw this summer.  (I'm sure most of my confusion is that I saw Detroit and Middletown at Steppenwolf in the same season.)  In any case, there should be a two week run of Detroit in Toronto in August.  I don't know if I will go, though of the two plays, I liked Detroit more than Middletown.

Harold Pinter's play about an affair, Betrayal, is coming in September apparently (though I haven't been able to find out much about who is actually staging it).  Soulpepper did this back in 2000, so it's not bad timing for a new production.  I'll most likely go.

Then there is Connor McPherson's Dublin Carol coming in November.  Fly on the Wall Theatre did a great job with McPherson's Port Authority, and they are now tackling Dublin Carol.  However, this is a play that didn't grab my attention when it was done by Steppenwolf many moons ago, and I didn't go then.  And I am not planning on going this time around either, but it is definitely worth checking out if you are a McPherson fan.

Edit (2/18): As I go into more detail here, I found out that Stupid F*cking Bird will be going on as scheduled, and that Love and Information is going up as part of this summer's Toronto Fringe, so I'm a happy camper.

* And I'm just finding out now that UBC is putting on Caryl Churchill's Love and Information as I type this.  I can't believe no one in Toronto seems even vaguely interested, though there was a high school production out in Etobicoke!  This is really embarrassing from my perspective.

** I'm not even sure they are aware they've been scooped.  I remember this happened years ago in Chicago with Mr. Marmalade.  I didn't have the time to see both productions, but I enjoyed the one I did see.  With Radiant Vermin, I'm more likely to just see the Precisely Peter production in Feb., but if I like the script, I might consider going in April.  On Feb. 25, Seven Siblings Theatre is doing a staged reading of Rivera's Marisol.  I like this play a lot (having seen it 3 times), but I'm not so into it I'd go again for a staged reading.  Still for folks who have not seen or read the play, this is a good opportunity.

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