Friday, June 8, 2018

Digging deep for a silver lining (new theatre seasons)

I am so incredibly depressed about the state of Ontario and the broader world.  However, I will focus on something that I enjoy, which is tracking down obscure productions before anyone else knows about them.  Partly I do this just because I like being in the know, but also because the more established theatre companies just are not putting together slates that interest me.

Factory Theatre has Bears, which to be fair was interesting, but I saw it already at the Theatre Centre.  Theatre Passe Muraille isn't doing anything of interest to me.  Tarragon has one play about Marshall McLuham (The Message) that I might catch, but that is it, so I definitely won't be subscribing.  (I really wish they had transferred The Breathing Hole from Stratford, but they are doing another play based on an Inuit legend, which isn't as compelling.)  I don't even know what Soulpepper is up to in the fall, but I've already decided I won't be subscribing again for a couple of years.  Canadian Stage still is going in a direction that doesn't appeal to me, though I'll probably check out their silent play, Bigre, playing next April.

The only company I might subscribe to next season is East Side Players.  They open with 4 short plays by Christopher Durang (including The Actor's Nightmare).  Then their middle play is a drama, Time Stands Still by Donald Margulies.  Then they end with Ann-Marie MacDonald's Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet.  Now I don't absolutely need to see this, since I saw it at Brock a few years back, but it was pretty entertaining.  If my friend wants to go, then I'd probably go ahead and subscribe.  Otherwise, I'll just see the Durang shorts.

There are always a few plays I just check to see if they are playing anywhere.  One is Samuel Beckett's Happy Days.  It will be in Boston, but at a time that I really can't make it.  Maybe next year...  Dietz's Yankee Tavern is another one I've really hoped to catch.  It's going to be in Rochester, NY in Feb. 2019.  I think I will try to swing it and catch the Greyhound out there, so I'll sort of pencil this in.  It would be really great to cross this off my list.  I'd actually like to see both American Hero and Lobby Hero (both sort of about the ubiquitousness of security guards in the U.S.).  Supposedly, Lobby Hero will be playing in Mississauga this Sept., but I suspect this may turn out to be a phantom production.  However, I will keep my eyes open to see if it becomes real.

Staying in Mississauga, but turning to productions that are more likely to go forward: in August, Calliope Sound Productions will be doing The Glass Menagerie and P's and Q's Theatre will be doing Neil LaBute's Reasons to be Pretty.

I was so excited to find that Theatre Aquarius in Hamilton was apparently doing Lynn Nottage's Sweat, but they have something else in the slot (Crees in the Caribbean), which just cannot hold a candle to Sweat.*  I'll check in one more time, but definitely a missed opportunity...

In Toronto proper:
Late June 2018 - Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph will be presented at Eastminster United Church.  (I just was not able to see this in Vancouver, perhaps because the movers showed up a day late, but I can't recall any longer.  I'll probably go see this black comedy.)
Sept 2018 - Solar Stage presents A Number by Caryl Churchill
Sept-Oct 2018 - Hart House is doing Heathers: The Musical 
Oct 2018 - Toronto Irish Players present Dancing at Lughnasa by Brian Friel
Nov. 2018 - Crow's Nest performs Middletown by Will Eno.  (I'll probably pass on this, having seen the premiere at Steppenwolf, but this will be of interest to the broader community.)
Nov 2018 - Hart House performs Atwood's The Penelopiad.  (Kind of an odd choice, since George Brown just did this.  I will pass, having seen this twice now.)
Feb 2019 - Studio 180 will do Oslo by J.T. Rogers
March 2019 - Hart House is doing Kat Sandler's Retreat
March 2019 - Eclipse Theatre Company is doing Kiss of the Spider Woman -- in the Don Jail!  I will absolutely have to see this.  Just wonder when tickets will go on sale, since I want to get in early on this show.

Overall some interesting things to look forward to.

* Assuming that Sweat isn't coming to Hamilton or Toronto next season, I did a bit of poking around.  It will be in Vancouver, which is often a tempting destination.  Also, in Pittsburgh and Baltimore, both of which would be very suitable for its focus on the working class.  Porter no longer makes direct flights to Pittsburgh, but it does offer some service, and I've always wanted to check out the museums in Pittsburgh, so it isn't inconceivable that I might go.

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