2009 Theatre Subscription Series Profiles – Buddies in Bad Times Theatre

Next in the subscription series profiles is Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

I’ve already said on this blog that ‘non-theatre’ people have told me that they’re intimidated by theatre, and that’s part of what spurred me on in the development of this site.  I want people to know there’s nothing to be intimidated by.  I bring this up now because I have heard from people that sometimes they’re *extra* intimidated by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

I suspect it is an unfortunate a danger of the perception of a niche market.  People worry that if they’re not part of the niche they won’t ‘get it’ and will not be welcome to the show.  So, in this case, I think people are worried that if they’re not queer, they’ll somehow be unwelcome.  I suspect that theatre companies like Fu-Gen, who focus on theatre by Asian playwrights, have to deal with the same assumptions from non-Asian audiences.  This is, of course, patently untrue. 

So, I’m here to tell you, I have enjoyed some of my favourite theatre on stage at Buddies in Bad Times theatre.  There is nothing to be intimidated by.  It’s a really great place to catch a show, and don’t fuss about ‘getting’ it.  There are enough universal themes out there, that if you’re worried about relating to something, don’t worry, you’ll find something you relate to.  So, go to Buddies. Surprise yourself at Buddies.  Support Buddies. Losing Buddies would be a big loss to the theatre scene in this city.  In case you’re wondering why this diatribe for Buddies and not other theatres, well, the truth is, it’s the case with all theatres, it just seems to me though, as the seasons at Buddies shrink, that they are the most vulnerable of the bunch.   <ed. note – It has been brought to my attention by the publicist at Buddies that their fundraising was a success and they are on solid footing.  Of course I still think you should support them, but I don’t want to contribute to rumours of a demise of the theatre based on the events of last year, when in fact, they were sucessfully addressed.>

And so, now, after all that rambling, lets get onto the specifics of the 2009-10 season at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and their subscription series:

Buddies is doing my favourite version of a subscription series.  It’s a totally flexible subscription (you can basically use it like a punch card).  Also, with every ‘season’s pass’ you get a week pass to the Rhubarb festival and an evening pass to the Hysteria festival, and reserved seating to the shows you choose to go to.  All you need to do is choose how many shows you want to go to other than those festivals.  The options are:

  • 3 night pass for $60 ($20/ticket)
  • 5 night pass for $80 ($16/ticket)
  • 7 night pass for $100 (~$14/ticket)
  • Under 25 or students can get a 3 night pass for $40 (~$13/ticket)

And, those per ticket prices don’t include the festivals, so, really, technically it’s even less per ticket.

And there are bunches of shows to choose from:

NEON NIGHTZ  Sept 23 – Oct 10, 2009

Sensational and salacious work by Toronto’s premiere burlesque troupe. In icy wintry Montreal, where’s a soul to go for comfort, confession and salvation? As The Scandelles’ Sasha Van Bon Bon and Kitty Neptune reveal, the strip clubs of Montreal in the ’90s were in as high demand as those more sanctified places of refuge. From the iconic feature dancer, to the lap dance confessional, Neon Nightz explores the human side to the world of exotic dancing and uncovers some surprising revelations.

DEVOURING LIONS  Nov 5 – 8, 2009

An evening of 3 works melding the heat of Sub-Saharan Africa with the chill of the Canadian Winter. Based on a 14 year love affair with West Africa and a 3 year creation process, the title piece, Devouring Lions, investigates the power of personal strength and the sources we seek to gain it. Shown alongside a first time remount of Michael Trent’s 2002 solo piece ‘that no moon we call new’ and the premier of a new trio featuring performers from Ghana, West Africa and Canada.

THE SILICONE DIARIES  Nov 14 – 21, 2009

Buddies is thrilled to host this powerful and intriguing tell-all by local transsexual celeb and queer art goddess Nina Arsenault.  Transsexual Nina Arsenault’s sixty cosmetic surgeries and procedures, augmentations and alterations may be "fake" but her diaries are nothing but real. The Silicone Diaries presents a full, frank and fierce exploration of the contradictory sensations and the joy and tumult indelibly written on, through and throughout her body. An outrageous, inspirational and often hilarious performance that garnered standing ovations at its World Premiere in Saint John, New Brunswick. Brendan Healy directs as Nina draws the battle lines and wrestles with the conventions of patriarchy to come to peace with her radical, queer body.

THE SALON AUTOMATON  Dec 1 – 12, 2009

After a sold-out run in Montreal, Buddies is proud to present the English-language premiere of this exceptional work from one of Montreal’s foremost solo artists Nathalie Claude. Welcome to the Salon Automaton … a literary salon, a burlesque confrontation, an infernal huis-clos between a sublime hostess (Nathalie Claude) and her three distinguished guests: The Dandy Poet, The Cabaret Artist and The Drinking Patroness. Three authentic human size automatons, fill an ultra modern solitude with their conversation, talent and wit.

LA COMMUNION  Jan 12 – 31, 2010

"War is easy. It’s what I know." — Pantera (real name withheld).  In search of an escape from poverty, an eleven-year-old girl leaves her village to join the insurgent Guerilla deep in the jungles of Colombia. After six years of fighting she flees to Toronto under an assumed identity, where she confronts an even greater challenge: life as a civilian.

BREAKFAST  Mar 17 – Apr 4, 2010

Nominated for 3 Dora Awards, Buddies is thrilled to present a remount of the Aunties’ highly acclaimed and unnervingly intimate production.  Meet Marnie, a woman trying out a self-help program in an attempt to "move ahead" in her life. The audience is invited to her kitchen, as voyeurs to Marnie’s morning rituals. "Randoja’s absorbing, fearless performance" (EYE Magazine) anchors this surreal and chilling encounter with one woman’s psyche, which takes an unflinching look at loneliness, self-delusion and our cultural obsession with self-help and personal transformation. You’ll never look at breakfast the same way again …

RECONCILIATION   Apr 14 – 25, 2010

What would happen if Sky Gilbert wrote The Drawer Boy? RECONCILIATION is the story of two brothers: Blake is a country boy who lives on a farm and Jared is a city boy who teaches linguistics. One crazy night out by the screen door they get roaring drunk and wrestle — not only with each other — but with the issues that divide them: sex, love and broken dreams. When country meets city (and sex is involved) it takes the Ghost of Dad to straighten it all out. But can anybody make it straight?

AN UNTITLED NEW WORK  April 29 – May 9, 2010

Three figures – witnessed and witnessing – are bound, blurred and melded together to reveal a portrait of a dismantled family, its pigments violently peeled away and reapplied. Toronto choreographer Susanna Hood uses the canvases of Francis Bacon to forge, with her performers, a work of missed connections that evoke sensuality, brutality and loneliness. Theirs is a grotesquely beautiful and disarmingly intimate encounter.


THE FESTIVALS included with every season’s pass:

A Festival of Women
Festival Director Moynan King
Oct 22 – 31, 2009

North America’s largest multi-disciplinary showcase of work by women.  Now in its fifth incarnation, Hysteria has become one of Buddies in Bad Times Theatre’s most eagerly anticipated events. Over a ten-day period Buddies plays host to a rapid-fire succession of events ranging from visual art and performance installation to eclectic lineups featuring dance, film, music, spoken word and theatre performances. Hysteria will present the work of 100 female artists from across the globe in the fifth incarnation of this multi-disciplinary, full-facility festival.

Festival Director Erika Hennebury
February 10 – 28, 2010

risk riot rejuvenation For over 30 years The Rhubarb Festival has offered Toronto artists a critic-free environment to experiment with contemporary theatrical explorations. Rhubarb encourages established artists to take new risks and emerging artists to explore the medium of performance creation in an inspired, encouraging space. This year Buddies’ entire facility is wide open for a jam-packed three weeks featuring more than two dozen contemporary theatrical explorations. Canada’s oldest and largest new works festival is famous for playing fabulous host to the most outrageous acts you’ll catch all year round. Rhubarb features one-of-a-kind performances you won’t see on any other stage!


Some things that may (or may not) influence your decision:

– Since Buddies is right downtown it’s very accessible by TTC

– Again, because of it’s location, there are a million and one places to eat and/or go for a drink before or after the show

– This is the cheapest and most flexible theatre series that you’ll find in the city