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

Date: 2013 December

December 20, 2013, by

Rifles webs banner 2

rifles crop

Rifles Director Michael Wheeler and Producer Aislinn Rose in The Next Festival Program

Hello Praxis Friends,

Happy Holiday Season to everyone.

We are hard at work on our newest creation, Rifles as part of The Next Stage Theatre Festival this January at The Factory Theatre in Toronto.

In the midst of the Spanish Civil War, Senora Carrar refuses to pick sides: her husband died in combat and she’s determined to keep her two sons alive and out of the conflict. But as Franco’s army marches towards their village, her resolve is challenged.

Performances Times:

Wed Jan 8 9:30pm, Thu Jan 9 5:00pm, Sat Jan 11 2:30pm, Sun Jan 12 7:00pm, Mon Jan 13 9:15pm, Wed Jan 15 7:00pm, Thu Jan 16 5:00pm, Sat Jan 18 7:00pm, Sun Jan 19 9:30pm



Rifles playwright Nicolas Billion. Winner of the 2013 Governor General’s Award for Drama.

This new adaptation is based on Brecht’s little-known masterpiece, Senora Carrar’s Rifles, written in 1937, which Michael directed last year as his Shaw Festival Director’s Project.

This is Nicolas’ first script for the stage since winning The 2013 Governor General’s Award for Drama for his trilogy Fault Lines.

Look for more about the show in this space leading up to the show in January.

Playwright: Nicolas Billon
Director: Michael Wheeler
Producer: Aislinn Rose
Cast: Kate Hennig, Cyrus Lane, Araya Mengesha, Barbara Gordon, Hume Baugh, Philip Graeme, Zoë Sweet, Wade Bogert-O’Brien, Matthew Hines
Original Composition: Beau Dixon
Set and Costume Designer: Erin Gerofsky
Lighting Designer: Rebecca Vandevelde

December 12, 2013, by

2013-12-09 20.26.26

HATCH artistic teams, Harbourfront Centre Communications staff and us, getting together for a little pre-season potluck

As we announced earlier this year, Praxis Theatre is guest-curating Harbourfront Centre’s 2014 HATCH season of new performance experiments. As curators, we were particularly interested in looking at projects that would include experiments in how social media can be included in the development and/or performance of new works.

We’re very happy to say that we have selected our artists for 2014, and while Harbourfront Centre will be launching an awesome new web portal for these artists and their work at HATCH in January 2014, we’re providing you with a sneak peek today of who they are and what they’ll be working on over the next 5 months.

We invite you to take a look, and even engage with their projects online as they develop.

Week #1:
#legacyRob Kempson – Core Artist

Why do we yearn to leave a legacy behind? #legacy features Twitter and three women over the age of 65 who are looking to make the most of it.

This interactive performance project brings three women over the age of 65 up-close and personal with social media in general–and the Twitterverse in particular–in order to consider how we might leave a lasting impression—and how it should be hashtagged.

Follow the ladies on Twitter:


Week #2:
BroadFishMelissa D’Agostino – Core Artist

What happens when the promise of a perfect future hangs on the one thing out of your grasp?

BroadFish is a live theatre experiment by acclaimed performer Melissa D’Agostino that integrates folktales, music, improvisation, and motion pictures to explore the thin line between reality and fantasy, relationships and romance, and the power of myth in our everyday lives. By plunging into the wild world of female stereotypes, BroadFish considers traditional attitudes toward relationships, happiness, and romance, investigating how they’ve evolved and degenerated through the Internet, social media, and digital technology.

Week #3:
The Ballad of _______ BFrancisco-Fernando Granados – Core Artist

The Ballad of _______ B brings together a young refugee’s obsession with opera diva Maria Callas and the queerness of the imagination to centre stage.

The performance is conceived as a character study of _______ B, a once “clean-cut, fresh-faced 18-year-old” refugee whose story appears as a vocabulary lesson in the pages of an instructional ESL book. This work marks a radical departure for artist Francisco-Fernando Granados, from action-based, conceptual approaches to experimental explorations that incorporate digital media, narrative, and recitation.

Week #4:
Faster than Night – Digital BlackBox: Vanessa Shaver, Pascal LangdaleAlison Humphrey – Core Artists

Social media billionaire Caleb Smith is on a mission. Racing against a terrible terminal illness, he is embarking on a deep space voyage with the secret goal of cheating time and death. But when something goes horribly wrong, can you help make a gut-wrenching life-or-death decision?

Newly formed Digital BlackBox blends live performance with real-time 3D animation and audience interaction to hone a new approach to storytelling, the first of its kind in the world. The company includes RADA-trained actor, writer, and performance-capture specialist Pascal Langdale; writer, director, and 2009 Elliot Hayes Award-Winner Alison Humphrey; creative producer Vanessa Shaver; and executive producer Jo Singh Brar.

December 9, 2013, by

Hon James Moore being sworn in as new Minister of Industry. The Globe and Mail reported Ministers with new portfolios were given 'enemy lists' during this federal cabinet shuffle.

Hon James Moore being sworn in as new Minister of Industry. The Globe and Mail reported Ministers with new portfolios were given ‘enemy lists’ during this federal cabinet shuffle.

Saturday morning I woke up to discover the Federal Minister of Industry, James Moore, took to Twitter to respond to one of my tweets, which he deemed “false”.

It started with his tweet below, which I never saw, because I “have been blocked from following this account at the request of the user”.

I remember this “blocking” occurred roughly a year-and-a-half ago during The Freefall Festival. I was debating the merits of Conservative cultural policy on Twitter with Moore during Jonathan Goldsbie’s Enchanted Streetcar Ride. Soon after I mentioned that our hashtag #route501 was trending above the Ontario provincial budget, Moore proceeded to block me.

Anyhow, the narrative begins with this tweet:



As if hope was the exclusive providence of mindless platitudes…. But this is a story about specific facts, so I will refrain from commenting further. Because I am blocked from seeing tweets by Minister Moore, it came to my attention when it was quoted by Kelly Nestruck, Theatre Critic for The Globe and Mail (who has not blocked me, yet).



When I saw this, what didn’t come to mind was grammar or Layton. What occurred to me was that Moore’s tweet was extremely rich. As a Cabinet Minister his staff would have been responsible for putting together one ‘Enemies List’ for incoming Heritage Minister Shelly Glover, and he would have received a second list to be brought up to speed on the “enemy” situation from the people that brought you Industry Minister Christian Paradis.

So given that Moore was involved with not one, but two sets of enemy lists during the cabinet shuffle several months ago, I tweeted this:



Of course by “predecessor” I meant “successor”.

There followed a brief conversation between Nestruck, playwright Sean Dixon and myself about whether the NDP used apostrophes properly in their mailings. Went to bed early enough to avoid The Raptors embarrassing themselves, and woke up to this tweet:


I was confused by this tweet by a Minister of the Crown in response to allegations that he and his office created lists of enemies at the request of, (say it in your best Duffy Baritone) The P.M.O.

On July 16, 2013. The Globe and Mail reported Harper’s office

sent a memo asking for lists of “enemy stakeholders” for new cabinet ministers.”

Is The Honourable James Moore calling The Globe and Mail “liars”?

On July 17, 2013. Recent Harper Cabinet Minister Peter Kent heavily criticized Enemy Lists:

For those of us of a certain generation, it evokes nothing less than thoughts of Nixon and Watergate.”

Is The Honourable James Moore calling Conservative MP Peter Kent “mindless”?

On July 24, 2013. The Toronto Star’s Susan Delacourt reported over 200 civic-society groups, including Amnesty International Canada and Oxfam Canada, had asked for access to enemy lists, but were being stonewalled by the Harper Government:

It is worrying more widely… with respect to the state of democracy in Canada. Plain and simple, in a healthy democracy government does not publicly talk of its critics and detractors as enemies.

Is The Honourable James Moore calling Amnesty International “childish”?

Franke James discovered incontrovertible proof she had been placed on an 'enemy list' that cause go'v officials to interfere with her work because she created art about The Tar Sands. Learn more.

Franke James discovered through FOI requests proof she had been placed on an ‘enemy list’ that caused govt officials to interfere with her work because she created art about The Tar Sands.

I am asking these questions non-rhetorically, because for Moore’s tweet to be truthful, then the answer to each must be “yes”.

So we are left with two versions of the truth:


A massive conspiracy involving The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, a broad spectrum of civic society, and even a member of Moore’s own caucus, which has colluded to make us falsely believe Cabinet Ministers in The Harper Government created and received ‘enemy lists’ during the last Cabinet shuffle.


Harper Cabinet Ministers and their offices made and received ‘enemy lists’ as requested by PMO.

Perhaps the Minister mis-tweeted and this was just a Fordian slip? Getting a bit tedious being asked to believe in the absurd as plausible these days.