All posts by Istvan Dugalin

Apart from his (pathological?) obsession with airplane disasters, Istvan is a filmmaker and film enthusiast, but began his creative adventures in theatre. Starting out as an actor, he soon discovered a preference for life behind-the-scenes. He has experience in lighting design, stage management and production management, but his passion is writing and directing. With several short films and an indie feature under his belt, film has been his focus in recent years, but theatre has been calling him back. You see more of his critical writing at his film reflection blog:

Review: C’mon, Angie! (Leroy Street Theatre)

Amy Lee Lavoie’s new play in Toronto feels like a #MeToo era response to Mamet’s Oleanna

It’s been almost thirty years since David Mamet unleashed Oleanna on the theatre world. Amidst the burgeoning #MeToo movement, I’ve recently wondered what a female playwright might do with a similar set-up. And here, presented by Leroy Street Theatre, is Amy Lee Lavoie’s C’mon, Angie! right on cue! 

In the early ’90s, Mamet warned against the potential dangers of political correctness gone awry, though he came uncomfortably close to vilifying his female character. Lavoie shows considerably more emotional and intellectual restraint. In what feels like a companion piece to Oleanna, she manages to flip the script without showing contempt for either character. Taking that play’s he said/she said scenario out of academia and placing it in a cramped bedroom after a sexual encounter, the story posits that political correctness is no more insidious than the white male entitlement it challenges. Continue reading Review: C’mon, Angie! (Leroy Street Theatre)

Review: The Chemical Valley Project (Theatre Passe Muraille/Broadleaf Theatre)

Environmental issues and the legacy of colonialism are at the core of a new play in Toronto

Broadleaf Theatre’s The Chemical Valley Project, currently playing at Theatre Passe Muraille, takes its name from a small region in Sarnia, Ontario where the Aamjiwnaang First Nations reserve sits smothered by one of Canada’s largest petrochemical corridors. This innovative and spellbinding work of documentary theatre, created by Kevin Matthew Wong and Julia Howman, sheds light on the toxic environment in which this community must live. Continue reading Review: The Chemical Valley Project (Theatre Passe Muraille/Broadleaf Theatre)

Review: The Shimmering Verge (Prairie Fire, Please)

The Shimmering Verge is a “quietly thrilling piece of lyrical storytelling” on stage in Toronto

First premiering in 2002 at the Tarragon Spring Arts Fair before touring Canada and the US, poet Molly Peacock’s The Shimmering Verge has been revived by performer Madeleine Brown and director Karthy Chin. Prairie Fire, Please presents this solo show at Studio 21  (Théâtre français de Toronto) for the next week in celebration of National Poetry Month. 

Anecdotal and self-reflective, The Shimmering Verge is, in essence, Peacock’s love letter to poetry. She has taken great care to craft her love of the medium into tightly composed, intelligent reflections on form and style, life experience and artistic endeavour. Continue reading Review: The Shimmering Verge (Prairie Fire, Please)

Review: ANGÉLIQUE (Obsidian and Factory Theatre)

Obsidian and Factory Theatre present the tragic story of Marie Joseph Angélique in Toronto

The year is 1734. A large fire destroys a hospital and several houses in Montréal. One of those houses belongs to the owner of an enslaved Black woman. As the fire raged, she was attempting to flee captivity. With very little evidence, that woman was found responsible for setting the blaze. She was tortured and hanged. Her name was Marie Joseph Angélique. This is her story.

Factory and Obsidian Theatre present the Toronto Premiere of ANGÉLIQUE, a co-production between Black Theatre Workshop and Tableau D’Hôte Theatre of Lorena Gale’s passionate and persuasive depiction of Angélique’s life leading up to that fire. Through her story, we are given a glimpse into this dark and unsettling part of our Canadian history.  Continue reading Review: ANGÉLIQUE (Obsidian and Factory Theatre)

Review: The Only Possible Way (Nowadays Theatre)

Nowadays Theatre are providing new Iranian newcomers and refugees an outlet to perform on a Toronto stage

Nowadays Theatre Company presents the English premiere of Mohammad Yaghoubi’s meta-theatrical play, The Only Possible Way, at the Berkeley Street Theatre. This workshop production is part of Canadian Stage’s RBC Emerging Company Program and features a cast of Iranian newcomers and refugees, many of whom are performing in English for the first time. 

Thirteen members of this ensemble sit in chairs that flank the stage, from which they take turns stepping into an assortment of quirky, memorable characters in a series of eight scenes. The cast is accompanied by two musicians that set the mood and mark scene transitions with Iranian string instruments. Continue reading Review: The Only Possible Way (Nowadays Theatre)