Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Topsy-turvy (theatre) season

I already mentioned how I was fairly disappointed with Tarragon's season next year.  Probably the highlight is Hannah Moscovitch's Bunny.  I'm glad it's getting a remount, and I imagine a lot of people will rush out to see this, but it isn't for me.

So Canadian Stage has just announced its 2017-18 season, and it looks a lot more interesting to me than its current season (or Tarragon's next season).  That said, I will still probably only see two shows, though there are two others that are at least worth considering.  I'll get to that in a minute.

I'm probably not going to Shakespeare in High Park.  For the tragedy, they are doing King Lear, and I just don't see how they can do that justice in 90 minutes.  For the comedy, it is Twelfth Night.  I do like Twelfth Night, but I have seen it at the Fringe in 2015 and then in early 2017 done by Shakespeare Bash'd.  So that is probably enough times in recent memory, though perhaps I shall end up taking my son, since I think it is one of Shakespeare's best comedies, and I did say that I should expose him to it.  I'll decide on that later.

Anyway, I have been running around seeing which cities will host the touring company of Karam's The Humans.  It turns out Canadian Stage has the Toronto rights -- and apparently will end up scooping Vancouver's Art Club for Candian premiere in Feb. 2018.  While there is still a bit of cachet in seeing it in Pittsburgh right around Thanksgiving (the play is set during Thanksgiving), that is frankly fairly silly (with a big carbon footprint to go along), so I'll plan on going to see this here in Toronto.

I am also fairly interested in Jordan Tannahill's Declarations, so I expect to see this next winter.

A play that I think might be interesting, but just isn't for me, is Simon Stephen's Heisenberg.  In some ways, he has been mining the same territory since Harper Regan, and it's getting a bit threadbare by now.  But really the deal-breaker is this idea of an attractive woman at a train station throwing herself at a strange man at least 25 years her senior.  I just am so sick of this weird Hollywood contrivance or wish-fulfillment or what have you.  I honestly don't care how the play justifies it, it is a ridiculous, overplayed trope.  And frankly the playwright doesn't sound nearly as clever as he thinks he is, if this review is accurate.

What is interesting is they have followed my advice (only a year later) and are going to be staging Caryl Churchill's Love and Information in April 2018.  I think they'll do a fine job, though they'll probably go overboard on the sound and visual effects.  At this point, I think I'll enjoy the straight-forward staging of this play that will be part of Toronto Fringe this summer, but if I love the play, I will consider going a second time.

With only two plays, I can't get a subscription, but I am still quite excited about these two.  No question for the right audience, combining those two and Heisenberg and Love and Information will make a perfectly reasonable subscription.  Anyway, I've got to run now.

Edit (3/7): One that is pretty consistent is that I am generally uninterested in Mirvish productions, though sometimes one catches my attention.  Somewhat strangely, they are bringing back Disgraced, which I didn't think did all that well.  All the way into next winter (Feb. 2018) Come From Away is coming back to Toronto.  I'll see if I can score some half-way reasonable tickets on this return engagement.  On its pre-Broadway visit, it was only here for a few weeks and there were almost no seats in the range of what I was willing to pay.

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