Date: 2009 July

July 31, 2009, by
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July 30, 2009, by
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Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God – Maev Beaty and Tony Nappo #1

This post is the first of several discussions that took place over email between Africa Trilogy actors Maev Beaty and Tony Nappo. Click here to read the introduction to Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God.

The Human Problem of “What Do I Do?”

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Maev:

Mr. Nappo, a pleasure to be having this “e-discussion” with you.  Let me ask the first question…we’ll start light. We’ve done two workshops of this play now…has your perspective on the West’s relationship to Africa changed?

Tony:

I am not sure whether or not my perspective has changed. It’s just expanded, I suppose. I think at the heart of this play, there seems to be some kind of statement about our choices as human beings to get involved or not in any kind of human crisis. Are we obligated morally to help if we can, and will our help, ultimately, make any difference at all after a crisis reaches a certain point-and, at what cost to us as the individual?

It makes me think, historically, about the Holocaust and, contemporarily, about the Tamils. It seems that people want such atrocities to stop or never to have existed, and rightfully so, of course, but the natural instinct to survive and self preserve would dictate that one doesn’t actually physically get involved which becomes easier the farther removed, geographically, one may be from any given situation.  So is desire for change strong enough to create a pull towards action?

It’s one thing to be appalled by what is happening and quite another thing to do something about it when something isn’t directly affecting your day to day. Like Bono sings in that Christmas song- “Well, tonight thank God it’s them instead of you.” That is one of the truest, saddest lines ever sung. And that sadness seems to permeate Roland’s piece. So, I am thinking, and answering, I guess, in more human terms than factual or political terms. But I am playing Frank, who makes the choice not to help but live his own life- as the actress playing Carol, you must have had to search for the part of yourself that would go- would have to go and at least try to make some difference. What surprised you or didn’t about yourself in this regard?

Photo 36

Maev:

Yes, Carol is a puzzle, as far as the original impetus (or courage?) to go and ‘help,’ but now it seems she’s left with a dismal sense of futility and loss and, I sense, some resentment. It reminds me of a book that Josette mentioned in our Glo workshop which I am now eager to read titled Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working and How There Is A Better Way for Africa. I here confess that I had, of course, heard arguments that aid was not getting to where it needed to go and that it was often sucked up in corruption. But I had always, in my gut, believed it must still be ‘helping.’ From what I’ve read about the book, the author claims aid has made things much worse on the continent.

Carol’s journey feels a bit resonant of this (particularly in relation to Annie – and theatrically, Annie as a metaphor. Did she, in fact, exacerbate the cruelty of Annie’s circumstances?) This relates to the human problem of “what do I do?” And of course, this is theatre, so we are only going to ask lots of questions – not provide answers. But I DO think A3 has a responsibility to open up the questions to everybody. I’m really hoping there will be a way for audiences to immediately (like, in the lobby) respond to the work, ideally on computer (who even remembers how to write with pencil and paper anymore?), with live posting capability.  And I hope there will be lots of resources available for some ongoing relationship/dialogue to the issue.

Click here for an overview of the project and process.

July 23, 2009, by
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Good turnout for a rainy weekday evening

Good turnout for a rainy weekday evening

Christine Horne star of Praxis Theatre Summerworks production Underneath (left), with  Amy Lee star of the Fringe hit Moro and Jasp do Puberty

Christine Horne star of Praxis Theatre Summerworks production Underneath (left), with Amy Lee star of the Fringe hit Moro and Jasp do Puberty

Tim Buck 2 comrades Brittney Filek-Gibson and Ben Sanders battle to see who an have a more ridiculous moustache

Tim Buck 2 comrades Brittney Filek-Gibson and Ben Sanders battle to see who can have a more ridiculous moustache

Praxis Co-AD Simon Rice (left) talks to Underneath Sound Designer Wesley Cheang and Praxis Production Manager Meredith Scott

Praxis Theatre Co-AD Simon Rice (left), talks to Underneath Sound Designer Wesley Cheang and Praxis Production Manager Meredith Scott

Michael Sullivan with Tim Buck 2 Script Coordinator Aislinn Rose

Michael Sullivan with Tim Buck 2 Script Coordinator and director of Fringe hit Rock Time 2009, Aislinn Rose

Praxis Theatre Co-AD Michael Wheeler with GM/Performer Margaret Evans

Praxis Theatre Co-AD Michael Wheeler and GM/Performer Margaret Evans

 

Thanks to everyone who came out and made this event a huge success.

We must be getting older: Our earliest such events in 2003 and 2004 were heavily beer and shooter based affairs. There was a noticeable rise in decent wines and single malt scotches this time around.

The Circle of Life, so it goes…..

P.S. It’s not too early to book your tickets to Underneath, opening August 7th at The Factory Theatre.

Just CLICK HERE to get yours today.

July 22, 2009, by
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Praxis Party

Our last such party packed the Duke of York. This time we're taking all of our non-acts to The Cobourg.

Praxis Theatre heads to The Cobourg for a night of good tunes, friendly company, access to reasonably priced alcohol, and celebration!

TONIGHT:
533 Parliament Street
8pm to 1am
$10 @ le door

No variety acts. No acts whatsoever!

Come have a drink with us and celebrate the ridiculous summer schedule that only Praxis would be brave/insane enough to take on.

2 new Canadian works, 2 casts, 2 directors, 2 stage managers, 2 design teams.

1 SHOW DOWN, 1 TO GO:

Our production of Tim Buck 2 @ Toronto Fringe was a huge success.

Our production of Underneath @ Summerworks is fast approaching.

All powered by local artists leveraging their labour to get new original works off the ground.

Stop by for a drink, or stay for the evening. We’d love to see you there!

July 21, 2009, by
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plastic dollwooden doll

Peggy Pickit Sees the Face of God – Roland Schimmelpfennig

As the Africa Trilogy Series continues, there will be a number of conversations between Maev Beaty and Tony Nappo, two actors who have been involved in the project from the intial workshop in 2008. To have a full understanding of what they will be writing about, this post describes the show they have both been working on, Peggy Pickit Sees The Face of God, and some ideas from the playwright, Germany’s incomparable Roland Schimmelpfennig.


The Story:

Set in an unidentified Western city, Peggy Pickit begins with a white married couple arriving at another white couple’s house for a reunion. All four were best friends at medical school. All are now 41. Two have just returned from crisis work in Africa –escaping a particularly violent flare-up. They have been gone for six years. The other two stayed at home, had a child, and made a lot of money. Each couple looks at the other with envy. Both marriages are in trouble. The returning couple left behind a local child in Africa that the other couple was sponsoring. The fate of that child is unknown, but we learn she is dependent on drug therapy, and without treatment, she will likely die.

The evening turns into a post-colonial version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf . Accusations, pain, anguish and bitter comedy are used to explore damage/guilt in the West.  The title refers to a small plastic doll intended as a gift for the African child – a child whose only representation on stage is a small wooden carving.

Says Schimmelpfennig:

ROLAND

  • There are things that are too big, too cruel, too complicated to be transformed into dramatic art.
  • There seems to be almost no acceptable way to show the disaster of AIDS in Africa on a theatre stage. But I am sure there is one, and I have tried to find it.
  • The focus of dramatic art is always on the human being. Theatre deals with people. Theatre is not that good at dealing with theory or with global economic structures. Theatre is good at giving these things a name and a human face. In the first draft of the play I am writing for the project, it is the face of a little girl. Or the faces of two little girls: Annie living in an unidentified African village, and Kathie, living in an unidentified Western city. We see these girls – but only through the lens of four Western adults grappling with impossible decisions, and through the figurines these girls play with.
  • From my personal point of view, as a writer (as far as I can say it by now), this subject needs a very clear and striking transfer to a western context. And that is why I want to write the play and take part in the project.
  • In the end there will be three points of view on a more than complex matter – as far as the writers are concerned. More creative minds will be involved: directors, actors and others. The result of all these people’s effort will be a rare and powerful experience. It will link people. It will raise attention.
  • Click here for an overview of the project and process.

July 14, 2009, by
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This year, for the first time The Best of The Fringe will be at The Berkeley Street Theatre with the support on The Canadian Stage Company and NOW Magazine. Big step up from the old Diesel Theatre stand up comedy chamber that used to host these post-Fringe hits!

Hipcheck – The Musical
Book by Shelley M. Hobbs, Music by Rob Torr; Lyrics by Shelley M. Hobbs and Rob Torr
UPSTAIRS AT BERKELEY: Friday July 17 – 7pm · Saturday July 18 – 7pm · Wednesday July 22 – 9pm

My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding
By David Hein and Irene Carl
UPSTAIRS AT BERKELEY: Wednesday July 15 – 9pm · Thursday July 16 – 7pm · Friday July 17 – 9pm

Politically Correct Bedtime Stories
Based on the Book by James Finn Garner; Adapted by Jessica Beaulieu
UPSTAIRS AT BERKELEY: Wednesday July 15 – 7pm · Thursday July 16 – 9pm · Saturday July 18 – 9pm

Head First
Choreography By: Holly Treddenick and Sabrina Pringle
BERKELEY MAINSTAGE: Thursday July 23 – 9pm · Friday July 24 – 9pm · Saturday July 25 – 9pm

As You Puppet
By William Shakespeare and adapted by Hank’s Toy Box Theatre
UPSTAIRS AT BERKELEY: Thursday July 23 – 7pm · Friday July 24 – 7pm · Saturday July 25 – 7pm

A Singularity of Being
By T. Berto
BERKELEY MAINSTAGE: Thursday July 23 – 7pm · Friday July 24 – 7pm · Saturday July 25 – 7pm

Morro and Jasp Do Puberty
Written and Performed by Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee
UPSTAIRS AT BERKELEY: Wednesday July 22 – 7pm · Thursday July 23 – 9pm · Friday July 24 – 9pm · Saturday July 25 – 9pm

Tickets are $16.50 each and are available starting July 14, 2009
416.368.3110 or www.canstage.com.
The Berkeley Street Theatre – 26 Berkeley St.

Click here for the Facebook event page

July 12, 2009, by
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thumbs down

YEA: 19

NEA: 42

 

Were you at this performance? Let us know your thoughts and feedback. Hopefully this is the first stage of development for this project and we’d like to know what you thought.

Uncertain what this is all about?

These are results from a poll we conducted at the end of each performance of  Tim Buck 2 at the Toronto Fringe Festival .

July 10, 2009, by
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thumbs down

YEA: 21

NEA: 39

 

Were you at this performance? Let us know your thoughts and feedback. Hopefully this is the first stage of development for this project and we’d like to know what you thought.

Uncertain what this is all about?

Come check out Tim Buck 2 at the Toronto Fringe Festival to learn more.

July 10, 2009, by
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2009 Toronto Fringe Festival Patron’s Pick’s are:

St. Vladimir’s Theatre
Red Bastard
July 12, 6:00pm

Robert Gill Theatre
Hipcheck, The Musical
July 12, 9:15pm

Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace
Head First
July 12, 6:45pm

Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace
Sara Hennesy Town
July 12, 7:30pm

Factory Theatre Mainspace
Like Father, Like Son. Sorry.
July 12, 9:15pm

Factory Studio Theatre
Baggage
July 12, 6:45pm

Tarragon Mainspace
Politically Correct Bedtime Stories
July 12, 9:15pm

Tarragon Extraspace
Morro & Jasp Do Puberty
July 12, 6:45pm

Royal St. George’s Auditorium
Killing Kevin Spacey
July 12, 9:15pm

George Ignatieff Theatre
Just East of Broadway
July 12, 6:15pm

Helen Gardiner Theatre
2-Man No-Show
July 12, 9:15pm

July 8, 2009, by
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thumbs down

YEA: 32

NEA: 38

 

Were you at this performance? Let us know your thoughts and feedback. Hopefully this is the first stage of development for this project and we’d like to know what you thought.

Uncertain what this is all about?

 Come check out Tim Buck 2 at the Toronto Fringe Festival to learn more.