Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hidden theatrical gems

I thought I would mention a couple of shows that are still a bit (or a lot) under the radar.

Tarragon is doing Ntozake Shange's for colored girls.  It is a powerful production, though as many have noted it isn't a traditional drama but different monologues about Black women's experience.  It has gotten a fair number of reviews, but there still doesn't seem to be a lot of buzz around it.  This is a slightly updated version with a poem about HIV/AIDs (and partners being on the DL -- down low) and then an abusive partner gone crazy largely due to his service during the Iraq Wars.  So it has somewhat blurred the original timeframe of the 70s, but some things seem to be timeless.  Anyway, I think it is worth seeing, though I will admit I went and scored rush tickets...  (Details here.)

Much more underground is The Best Dad in the World and other Sad Characters, which is an interesting piece with 3 actors who do short character sketches set in Toronto (I think).  Each one is performed as a stand-alone piece, though the characters all kind of interact in one way or another.  So there is a young cancer patient, whose step-father showed up at the hospice ward and played God.  On one of his visits, he attached a therapeutic clown.  The clown then shows up later, very anxious to meet his drug connection.  We find out that his girlfriend left him after he quit or was fired from his hospital gig.  We also see the man who is now dating his ex, and who was suckered into buying a Botticelli painting at an art cafe!  So it is a fairly intricate kind of sketch comedy, based on character studies.  It might have been interesting to have the characters interact, particularly for the final sketch or two.  In addition to the art cafe sketch, where the menu contained some outrageous puns on artists' names, the sketch about the trans-woman who came from the town of Whimsy was truly peculiar and funny.  This show is at Red Sandcastle through the end of the week.  (Tickets here.)

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