Date: 2009 May

May 29, 2009, by
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There is a 10 question quiz making the rounds on Facebook that allows users to determine definitively Your True Theatre Calling.  

Forget for a moment that almost all the theatre artists you know under 35 years of age do more than one thing, and that the new era of artists seems to be an entrepreneurial set that refuses to be defined by a single job desciption out of both necessity and ambition.  The real question is, “Does the quiz work?” Judging by the results below, the technology may need some refining. (This may also be a window into why online dating results in so many ill-suited matches. It all makes sense on paper…..)
May 26, 2009, by
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Praxis will be holding it’s biannual Praxis Gourmet on the evening of Thursday June 4th, 2009.

Praxis Gourmet is an exclusive fine-dining and wine-pairing event, featuring a gourmet five-course meal with wine pairings. This will be accompanied by a live jazz trio and a sneak-preview scene from the upcoming shows this summer. It has proven in the past to be a magical evening and is an essential part of how Praxis raises funds for its productions.

Here’s a look at the menu for June 4th:

Hors d’oeuvres
Endive cups with blue cheese, pecans, dried cherry, and maple vinaigrette.
Heirloom tomato and watermelon gazpacho

First Course
Cured wild caught Rainbow Trout, with wild arugula, Bartlett pear and citrus vinaigrette.

Second Course
BBQ locally farmed turkey with lemon, dijon, and smoked paprika.
Roast fingerling potato
BBQ white and green asparagus
Wild leek aioli.

Cheese Course
Locally produced sheep’s milk cheese from Monforte Dairy.
Marmalade of orange, basil and balsamic.

Desert 
Home made Orange Spice Ice Cream in BBQ half peach with ginger white chocolate tuile.

The price is $110 per person, with all funds going towards our upcoming Summer Season.
A limited number of reservations are still available. 

Email simonrice(at)praxistheatre.com to reserve your spot today.

We hope you can make it for this evening of great food, wine and theatre!
May 22, 2009, by
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If the belligerent relative that showed up late to your cousin Dora’s wedding to shout out horrible truths to the dismay of the assembled guests was an awards show, it would probably be the Harolds. It’s sort of like the Doras in the way that the Moon is sort of like a football. It’s happening on Monday. 14 Harolds are awarded – the recipient of last year’s award choosing who to pass it on to next, and the real trick is you have to trick them into going without knowing they’re getting Harolded. It works to varying degrees. Visiting, dancing and heckling is strongly encouraged, and although Harold didn’t drink, you probably will.

May 19, 2009, by
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O’Donnell is part of his own documentary crew at Addis Abba
By Lindsay Schwietz 

A lot has been written about Darren O’Donnell. You can find him on the cover of Eye Weekly, a comprehensive article in Taste T.O., and even The Toronto Star. Just the mention of his name can incite debate about the value and purpose of his work, or the obsessive love of twenty-something women.

Can Darren O’Donnell and his company, Mammalian Diving Reflex’s newest work with children be considered theatre? Do his theories of Social Acupuncture and his attempt to break down our boundaries and force social encounters have a place in the Toronto theatre community?

Parkdale Public School vs. Queen Street West 2: Eat The Street is Mammalian Diving Reflex’s newest project, where a group of students from Parkdale reviewed eleven restaurants in the Queen Street West area. It all culminated in the awards ceremony at the Gladstone Hotel on May 11th. 

I had been to one of the dinners, at Addis Abba, an Ethiopian restaurant where we all shared platters of food and sat at a long table, mingling youth and adults. This involved being watched by the other diners in the restaurant, many sitting atop a higher platform peering down at us. Everyone of us at the table were “the players” – the flash of the camera every few seconds, the video in our faces asking us what we think, the audience witnessing an impromptu celebration of sorts. It was a collective experience, viewed by others, documented extensively and influenced by who was in the room.

Sitting in the back room of the Gladstone Hotel, it all seemed so anti-climactic. We are out of the public eye, in a room that looks a lot like any other small awards ceremony I’ve been to. Not what I had expected.

The Parkdale Pumas enter through the middle of the audience to the stage after a quiet thank you to all the sponsors by Artistic Producer Natalie De Vito, Darren O’Donnell and three of the students act as MC’s for the night. Darren talks about his lucky red socks before announcing the first award for Hottest Waiters is awarded to the Drake Hotel, who went on to win Best Overall Restaurant. They proceed to award Scariest Bathroom: Mitzi’s Sister because of the red light, Least Graffiti in the Washroom: Saigon Flower (causing the  little lady owner to look like she might cry with happiness onstage accepting it), and Coolest Chef: Matthew Matheson at Oddfellows because of his many tattoos. You can find full results on the Eat the Street Blog .

There were two dance breaks, by a brother and sister, doing traditional Indian dancing. There were images of the hottest waiters; video of the coolest chef showing off the many tattoos covering his body; O’Donnell attempting discussions onstage with the youth presenting the awards and them responding with awkward one-word answers. There was mention of some of the people in the room who were regulars to the dinners and supportive journalists. Some restaurants showed to accept their awards, some didn’t.

Darren O’Donnell’s past works with children, include the internationally touring Haircuts by Children, where youth were taught to cut hair, then gave out free haircuts to willing adults, and the Children’s Choice Awards, allowing children to experience art, theatre, dance, etc and give awards to their choice of categories. Both events share similarities to Eat The Street in their reliance on spectacle and media.

Jury members rate their culinary experience.

But the awards ceremony for Eat the Street was less about the spectacle and more about celebrating the people in the room, what is around them every day, their diversity and ultimately, their similarities. This was more community focused than a theatrical act and everyone present seemed somehow connected to the project.

Frankly, I was slightly disappointed. I wanted the drama, spectacle and grandeur. But I suppose that isn’t what Mammalian Diving Reflex’s Social Acupuncture wing of their company is about. According to their website, they “bridge gaps between people who may not ordinarily have any reason to form relationships. Simultaneous to its impact in the community, it functions as a laboratory of sorts for the performance work of the company, inspiring new techniques and approaches.”

This is the answer. The Eat the Street Awards Ceremony might have been more about a community coming together to share and less about theatre. But it still has theatrical elements and inspires future theatrical production. And it has taught me more about the community of Parkdale that I live in, the people around me, the children that run by me, the families that have recently immigrated here, the restaurants and ultimately about myself and how I fit into that.

Maybe if more theatre in Toronto had that impact on the audience – involved and taught the community – instead of rerunning the same past successful productions over and over again, theatre would hold a more important and impacting place in general society.

May 16, 2009, by
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Text:

The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could perceive.
And particularly they studied the genius of each city & country. placing it under its mental deity.
Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of & enslav’d the vulgar by attempting to realise or abstract the mental deities from their objects; thus began Priesthood.
Choosing forms of worship from Poetic tales.
And at length they announced that the Gods had ordered such things.
Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.

Image:
Sound:
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David Ferry is an actor and director. He stars in Eternal Hydra by Anton Piatigorsky, presented by Crows Theatre opening May 17th, 2009 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto.

Click here to learn more about Praxis Theatre’s Variations on Theatre.

May 12, 2009, by
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Gianpaolo Venuta, star of Over the River and Through the Woods at the Segal Theatre in Montreal, was seen leaving the Jeanne Sauvé mansion late Saturday night with a mystery blond on his arm…Does his girlfriend know about this?

May 11, 2009, by
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“I think anyone can do theater. Even actors. And theater can be done everywhere. Even in a theater.”

Augusto Boal
1931 – 2009

May 9, 2009, by
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Photo by John Lauener – CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE

Cast and crew from all seven shows and schools, join Nightswimming and Theatre Passe Muraille staff on the stage to clarify exactly who caused this whole massive enterprise. (Playwright Ned Dickens)
May 6, 2009, by
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The first public performance of Caryl Churchill’s Seven Jewish Children in Toronto features a who’s who of Canadian theatre. Arguably the most controversial and headline grabbing theatrical text of the past year, the ten-minute piece has already caused controversy in the UK and the US with performances at the Royal Court  and New York Theatre Workshop.

Crow’s Theatre will present the Toronto debut at Theatre Passe Muraille as part of the Directors’ Showcase & Exchange from May 15th to 17th. The reading will be directed by Rose Plotek who recently directed the Canadian and French language World Premiere in Montreal last month. The Facebook page for the event reads reads:

“Crow’s Theatre will also present staged readings of Caryl Churchill’s new play ‘Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza’ – NTS Directing Program alumnus Rose Plotek will direct an ensemble cast that includes Rosemary Dunsmore, Ann-Marie MacDonald, Jeff Meadows & R.H. Thomson.”

If the controversy over the cancellation of My Name is Rachel Corrie by CanStage is any barometer, these performances are likely to become a lightning rod for both sides of the issue. Because it’s important not to be a relativist about everything and take a stand on important issues, we’re throwing it out there that at Praxis Theatre we do not think this play is anti-semetic, and we do think its long overdue for a performance here in the T Dot.

Disagree? Read the text for yourself here, or leave a comment. The best thing about art of this nature is that it has the potential to raise awareness and encourage discussion of important issues.

May 4, 2009, by
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Oedipus directed by Ursula Neuerburg-Denzer, Concordia University, Montreal

Performs Wed May 6 @ 8pm, Sat May 9 @ noon  


After an extremely early morning, long bus ride and exhilarating load in, the cast and crew from Oedipus at Concordia are thrilled to have arrived in the great city of Toronto for the City of Wine festival. It has certainly been a long haul getting here but we are all excited to stage our show at Theatre Passe Muraille. Having adapted to a new playing space and significantly altered set, the show promises to be interesting and fresh for all! It is really great to be involved in the City of Wine Festival. It has already proven to be a fantastic theatre experience and opportunity to meet some wonderful new people and catch a glimpse at the theatre world many of us will continue to pursue in the future. It’s also been a great chance for some national travel, too! Looking forward to seeing you all at the show, cheers!

Hayley Lewis


Seven directed by Sarah Stanley, York University, Toronto
Performs: Thurs May 7 @ 4pm, Sat May 9 @ 8pm


When Seven takes the stage at Theatre Passe Muraille it will be the first time that it is performed. Unlike the other six plays, York’s production has yet to be seen by an audience. This certainly adds to our excitement and anticipation as the City of Wine festival week approaches. For the last four weeks we have been in a whirlwind of rehearsals; doing script work, creating songs, and practicing chorography and fight scenes. The actors have been transforming into their characters and discovering that, although they are “UnNamed”, they are truly complex individuals. Meanwhile our team of dramaturgs and assistant directors have been researching Greek mythology, the Trojan War, and finding connections between the play and current events. Seven is the story of the very last Thebans. After being forced to leave Thebes and fight in the Trojan War, they must face their own mortality and the end of their city’s history. As we have become more and more immersed in this world, the significance of bringing Thebes to its end has really set in. Being part of City of Wine has been such a rewarding journey. We are very excited to see the work that the other schools have done and to celebrate our successes together.

Samantha Serles


Click here to get fully up to date on City of Wine