Praxis Theatre is currently on hiatus! Please find co-founders Aislinn Rose and Michael Wheeler at The Theatre Centre and SpiderWebShow, respectively.

Date: 2007 March

March 28, 2007, by

Nor The Cavaliers Who Come With Us
For two weeks only!
March 28 – April 6, 2007
8 pm @ the Studio Theatre
4 Glen Morris Avenue

Check out Praxis Theatre’s Q&A with the show’s co-creator Megan Flynn here.
March 21, 2007, by

Its a one-man show, dont fuck it up
By James Murray

With Praxis Theatre’s one-man show Steel in the final leg of its three-week run, actor James Murray reflects on the production so far:

The day before the show starts
After a gruelling three months of rehearsals, our pre-show tech/dress rehearsal is an unmitigated disaster. This is understandable since we haven’t yet run the show with full transitions, light and sound cues. The problem is that we have to open the next evening and there is no time for another tech rehearsal. Director Mike Wheeler arranges for us to do a ‘tech-less’ run-through the next afternoon, before opening, because, he says, all of those cues have hindered my performance.

The final and imperative acting notes are: “slow it down”, “talk to the audience” and “become more intimate with them and all those imaginary characters you speak to throughout the play.”

Opening night
At 7:45 pm on opening night, I wait in the office while stage manager Meredith Scott leads the audience to their seats. My stomach is in knots. I have to urinate for the umpteenth time and I’m trying to dispel my fear through long, deep breaths.

My three main worries are formidable and intrusive:

1) Will I remember those 22 pages of dialogue? Word for word?

2) Wow, those transitions are insane! I have to remember them, too?

3) Oh God, I have no water! No access to water during the entire show. I’m going to be T.E. Lawrence crossing the Nefud Desert by the third scene.

Thankfully, opening night brings the most supportive and loving audience any actor could ask for – the show goes way better than I thought it would. There’s a nice reception at “Sparrow”, the bar next to the theatre, and I’m really looking forward to seeing my family when the come to see the show the next evening. Although we feel that tonight’s performance made a decent impact, there is a big notes session the next day. It can be better.

Director’s notes
When it comes to breaking down this show’s first performance, Wheeler pulls no punches. My eye-line was locked over the audience’s heads, he says, and I kept pacing three steps from stage right to left throughout the narratives. Distracting.

“The play looked like a series of monologues”, Mike says. “You need to play off of the audience. You need to look right at them and include them more. Think of them as very intelligent children sitting around a campfire except they don’t know you or trust you yet. You need to win them over.”

He’s right. A one-man show is a lonely stage – there isn’t anyone to play with up there so why not use the people who are sitting just seven feet

I dont just need to break through the forth wall, I need to destroy it.”

away from me? This is one of the last bolts that needs to be tightened. I don’t just need to break through the fourth wall, I need to destroy it. It brings on a whole new challenge, but it makes the build-ups and peaks more compelling. Also, I definitely needed to make the conversations with the imaginary characters more specific and engaging.

The playwright’s parents are in the audience
My most important performance was the night playwright Andrew Zadel’s parents came to see the show. Mrs. Zadel gave me a much-appreciated standing ovation. When I met them after the show, I was overwhelmed by how much this production had meant to them and how proud they were of their courageous and talented son Andrew. I could barely hold back my tears and I’ve never received such a priceless compliment.

There’s only one thing I want to say: Andrew, my friend: when the show closes this Saturday, Steel will not be buried six feet under, nor will it be swept under the bed. Steel is going to have a siesta under a golden day of blue sky and sunshine until the time is right to unleash its power again. Fire awaits.

Be sure to catch James Murray in Praxis Theatres Steel this Thursday, March 22 through Saturday, March 24 at the Queen West Arts Centre, 100A Ossington Avenue, Toronto, Canada. Click here for a map. Tickets at the door.

March 20, 2007, by

March 14, 2007, by

March 11, 2007, by

Small Wooden Shoe tries to be
Reasonable People,
Reasonably Disagreeing

The information
One Night Only!
(It’s a debate and we hope to have it settled by the end of the night)
Sunday March 11, 2007 at 8pm
Harbourfront Centre – Studio Theatre
235 Queens Quay West, Toronto, Canada
Tickets $15 BOX OFFICE: 416.973.4000

The creative team
Produced in association with Harbourfront Centre as part of HATCH.
Conceived and Directed by Jacob Zimmer
Created with and performed by Dustin Harvey, Ame Henderson, Evalyn Parry, Evan Webber
Moderated by Misha Glouberman
Designed by Trevor Schwellnus
Video by Daniel Arcé
Debating coaching by Tim Maly
Stage Managed by Laura Nanni
Series Dramaturgy by Brendan Healy

About the show
Arguably the printing press was the invention of the millennium – in which case it has a great deal to answer for. Coached by Tim Maly and moderated by Misha Glouberman, Small Wooden Shoe debates the printing press and everything since — while trying to keep it useful, entertaining and above all, reasonable. With PowerPoint, a dot matrix printer and most likely some singing.

Gutenberg, Copernican, Newtonian, Darwinian, Industrial, Nuclear, Information – Small Wooden Shoe tackles one after another in the Dedicated to the Revolutions series. Bringing together lecture-demo, talent show and debating tournament, this is theatre that engages the audience in an honest, casual way while maintaining the need to step up and entertain.

Reasonable People, Reasonably Disagreeing brings together Small Wooden Shoe regulars Ame Henderson (Public Recordings, Clash) and Trevor Schwellnus (Aluna Theatre [Dora winner: Set Design], Public Recordings, Mammalian Diving Reflex), long time Halifax collaborator Dustin Harvey (Secret Theatre, Fire in the Hole, Dapopo) and new collaborators Evan Webber (One Reed Theatre) and Evalyn Parry (Independent Auntie Theatre, Buddies in Bad Times) with Small Wooden Shoe Artistic Director Jacob Zimmer.

After creating the Rhubarb! hit Do You Have Any Idea How Fast You Were Going? (“sly, fun [and] post-modern” – NOW Magazine) and Wave 2’s Connect the Dots (“inventive and form-breaking theatre . . . intelligently, comically and entertainingly.” – NOW Magazine), Small Wooden Shoe brings the third show in the Dedicated to the Revolutions series to Harbourfront Centre’s HATCH, taking on the Gutenberg Revolution – in the form of debate.

March 9, 2007, by

Praxis Theatre presents
An explosive one-man journey through the past and present of the Canadian railroad.

Directed by Michael Wheeler
Starring James Murray
Lighting Design by Paul Hardy
Stage Managment by Meredith Scott

March 8-10, 15-17, 22-24 @ 8pm
Queen West Arts Centre
100A Ossington Ave.
$15 tickets at the door

March 6, 2007, by

49 hours to opening curtain
By Ian Mackenzie

I’m filing this dispatch on behalf of the creative team, which is – as you’ll see – hard at work putting the finishing touches on our play Steel.

There is much to be excited about: the newly established Queen West Arts Centre; Andrew Zadel’s original script; Michael Wheeler’s vision for the play. And yet, as I write this, the 49 hours we had has become a mere 46, less than two days. I can only imagine that the weight of the opening curtain hangs heavily on these theatre artists.

What follows is a short photo easy chronicling a window in this production’s history: 49 hours to opening curtain.

The venue. Queen West Arts Centre.

The space. Looking back toward the entrance of the black box.

Director Michael Wheeler.

A directors notebook.

Stage Manager Meredith Scott and a LITEPAK lighting console.

Lighting designer Paul Hardy.

House lights.

David Galpern and Steels James Murray.

Backstage, looking through blacks that were hung earlier in the day.

Someone elses tool kit.

Three lights.

Steel opens this Thursday, March 8 @ 8pm at the Queen West Arts Centre. Tickets at the door.
March 6, 2007, by
1 comment

We put the question to the streets, so to speak, for this: a random sampling of shows people have seen and liked.

Tara Beagan – Associate Artist at UnSpun Theatre.

“VideoCabaret’s The Saskatchewan Rebellion will change what you know is possible in theatre. Particularly if you’ve not seen any in the series of The History of the Village of the Small Huts, get your arse into the Cameron House as soon as possible. The spastic precision of Michael Hollingsworth is a force to be reckoned with. You will be gleefully and repeatedly clobbered by the genius of this show. The whole creative team astounds, to the point where singling out one person is a bit crass. This is living, breathing visceral theatre perfect for a city whose venues are headed toward extinction there is no abundance of space or budget here, just a vigorous application of talent. At the end of this 74-minute power play you wanna take the whole company to the park and play outside until your fingers can’t work your zipper anymore. Just fucking amazing.”

The Saskatchewan Rebellion is on now for a limited run.

Have you seen any good theatre lately? Please drop us a line with the word.

March 5, 2007, by

We put the question to the streets, so to speak, for this: a random sampling of shows people have seen and liked.

Jessica Greenberg – actor and Director of Education and Outreach for Studio 180 Theatre.

What a refreshing treat to attend an evening at the theatre featuring some spectacular chiquitas. Hannah Moscovitch’s The Russian Play and USSR (Company Theatre Crisis/Absit Omen Theatre) are two plays giving voice to women, beautifully portrayed with wit and grace by Michelle Monteith (The Russian Play) and Maev Beatty (USSR). As always, Hannah’s work is funny, moving, surprising and smart and both Michelle and Maev offer performances well worth the trip down to the lake. The down side is that they only run from Feb. 21-24 as part of the Hatch Festival at Harbourfront Centre’s Studio Theatre. Perhaps these gems will have a future life . . .

The Russian Play will play again during the Magnetic North Theatre Festival June 6-16th.

Helen Taylor – Shaw actor and pet owner who loves to walk her dog, Lulu, in the park. Recently seen in Hana’s Suitcase.

The wonderful Danny, King of the Basement at LKTYP is a Roseneath Theatre production about a single mom and her son struggling to get by in Toronto. It’s hilariously written and acted and genuinely moving to boot. The colourful urban set has its own witty personality. Take your kids, check, go see it even if you don’t have kids. A real gem.

Danny King of the Basement, by Daniel Craig, ran at LKTYP Feb. 4-25.

Caryn Green – actor, producer and baker of delicious chocolate and white Toblerone cupcakes. Currently completing The Passion of Winnie, a short film about Winnie Mandela to be featured at the Luminato Festival, June 2007.

John and Beatrice definitely got my goat! What incredible, brave performances by Canada’s finest actors, Caroline Cave and Rick Roberts, in a gut-wrenching, poignant story about the search for love. A perfect antidote to Valentine’s Day clichés – this play will move you to laughter and tears.

John and Beatrice by Carole Frechette runs at The Tarragon Extra Space until March 24.

Have you seen any good theatre lately? Please drop us a line with the word.