Sunday, July 16, 2017

Wrapping up the Fringe

It was kind of a strange day.  It threatened to rain, and perhaps it did rain a bit on the east side of the city, but I managed not to get rained on, which was great since I was in line outside of Tarragon for quite a while.  We got over to Tarragon about half an hour early for About Time, which was a series of humorous sketches about different eras (the repressed Victorians, the groovy 60s, the 90s, i.e. the dawn of the internet age).  It was fun, and it was over in an hour, which was good.  Sometimes good ideas do drag on a bit too long.

I grabbed a postcard for Lanford Wilson's Burn This, and it turns out it isn't part of the Fringe at all, but will be playing the two weeks after Fringe.  Apparently, this is one of those plays where the acting pretty much makes or breaks the play.  I was kind of leaning towards going, but it doesn't look like there are any tickets less than $40, and that is a bit steep for a play I probably won't fully enjoy.  I have been trying to impose just a bit of fiscal discipline on my entertainment spending, so unless I find a discount code, I'll probably pass.

We went to a vegan place right past the Dupont subway station for lunch after the performance.  I have to admit, the food was a lot better on a previous visit.  I didn't like my entree much at all.  And I particularly disliked that we were asked to move to make space for a completely obnoxious family.  I watched as both parents submerged themselves into texting on their phones and their two children started squabbling (mostly the fault of the little one, who then started walking on the table).  My mood was completely spoiled, and I shan't be going back.  I made a very clear point of not taking my children to restaurants if they couldn't behave, and so I don't have any tolerance for the selfish, self-absorbed parents you see everywhere today.

I had quite a bit of time to kill, since I had another show at Tarragon at 5:45.  If I had had a bit more cash on me, I probably would have caught one more show at the Tarragon, but instead I went down to the AGO to check out some art.  It was probably the right choice.

I went into the O'Keeffe exhibit.  It was more crowded than it had been on the last visit, since people are waking up to the fact that it will only be around for another 2 weeks.  It was good seeing some of the paintings again.  This will probably be the last time I drop in.

I was mostly there to see the new contemporary exhibit on the 4th floor (Every Now Then), and also Rita Letendre.  Unfortunately, I didn't have a camera or even a phone on me, so I'll have to go back and take pictures later in the summer.

The Letendre exhibit was really quite interesting, though it seems as though I prefer her early work to her later work, with some exceptions.  My favorite piece was Victoire, which is actually in the AGO collection, though I don't recall ever seeing it before.  It reminded me a fair bit of Norman Lewis, though when you get close up, the surface is far more built up (than Lewis's flat, controlled surfaces) with paint almost erupting from the canvas.

Rita Letendre, Victoire, 1961

Perhaps after the exhibit closes, they will put this back into regular circulation.  Interestingly, in the main Canadian section there are two Letendre's (added fairly recently, if memory serves me).  One is quite nice, so I'll put up a picture of that soon.  Neither of these are in the catalogue.

I wasn't sure I was going to buy the catalogue, but the second half is quite intriguing, as it shows different murals that Letendre did around Toronto, with basically all of them out of commission now.  However, Letendre did have a piece of art in the Glencairn TTC subway station.  It looked like this, but was removed over a decade ago.

The good news is that the subway art is being refurbished and replaced.  I'll try to make a visit when it is back in place.  The show may come a bit too late for Letendre, as she is suffering from macular degeneration, and she is largely blind now, though she was still pleased that they had put together a good overview of her work.  Sadly, my grandmother also suffered from macular degeneration, and it is something I worry about getting one day, though perhaps there will be better treatment in another 15-20 years.

Even after a fairly thorough visit to the AGO, I still had some time to kill, so I sat down and read for a while before finally heading back up to Tarragon.  The second time around the wait in line wasn't quite so long.  I was a bit surprised that there were no artists trying to sell me on the merits of seeing their show, but it was the last day and pretty much all the shows were over.  I didn't have the time to try to see any of the Patron choice awards, also that same evening.  (I think the last two years, some of the best of the Fringe migrated up to North York, but it isn't clear to me if that is happening or not.  While I was poking around, I saw that in early November, one of the Jewish theatre companies is doing Arthur Miller's Broken Glass.  This is fairly heavy and also got mixed reviews on Broadway (but better reviews in London), so I'm a bit more likely to go to Broken Glass than Burn This (even though I still am looking for a better deal on tickets).)

Anyway, I was there to see George Walker's Adult Entertainment, which is one of the Suburban Motel plays, produced by Triple Bypass.  It has his trademark mix of caustic wit, violence, darkness and nervous laughter.  Very little turns out quite right for Walker's characters, particularly in this cycle of plays.  I thought it was quite well done, particularly the cynicism on display when one person objects to a kid being called scum and everyone else (including a criminal defense attorney) says, no he is just scum.  I will say that this one and Problem Child are a bit more plausible than Risk Everything where aspects of the plot are a bit too cartoon-ish.  At this point, I've seen 3 of the 6.  Somehow I missed Triple Bypass doing The End of Civilization in 2015, which is a bit annoying.  I probably need to get on their mailing list.  It looks like Factory Theatre did the whole cycle in 1997-98.  I was already gone from Toronto at that point.  Perhaps had I gotten into the doctoral program at UT, I would have been in town and plugged in enough to see them at that point.  I passed up a really great opportunity to see the whole cycle in Vancouver in an actual motel room, but the timing was bad and I was very stressed at that point.  It will just have to remain a decision I regret, although perhaps if Triple Bypass gets big enough they will stage the whole series at some point.  On the whole, it was a good Fringe for me, but I didn't indulge quite as much as I might have.  Maybe next year...

No comments:

Post a Comment