Office politics clash with a newfangled business lingo in The Memo playing at Unit 102 Theatre in Toronto
Anyone familiar with the language of business knows that it can get a little… dramatic. Corporate lingo has this amazing way of charging forward impressively — driving results to generate insights for maximum value, and so on — without actually saying anything.
Vaclav Havel’s hilarious 1965 comedy The Memo, in a new production by Thought for Food theatre company at Unit 102 Theatre, addresses the nonsense of office jargon, and though utterly absurd, it’s spot on. Desk jockeys be warned, however: this ain’t “The Office.” The Memo is a darker comedy than that, and it kind of hurts.
Continue reading Review: The Memo (Thought for Food) →
Beatrice & Virgil tells an allegorical tale about the Holocaust premiering at Toronto’s Factory Theatre
Yann Martel, the beloved Canadian author of Life of Pi, had a hard time writing his third book, Beatrice & Virgil. At least, if the story is as autobiographical as it appears — it follows an author struggling to complete a new novel after the global success of his bestselling animal allegory … sound familiar? — then we can believe it was a difficult journey.
And no wonder: Beatrice & Virgil is an allegorical story about the Holocaust, once again involving animals. There are easier subjects, and safer ways to treat them. Theodor Adorno warned that writing poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric, and here we have a monkey and a donkey talking about genocide. It’s risky.
Continue reading The Problem of Hope: Damien Atkins Discusses Beatrice & Virgil (Factory Theatre) →
A study on the concept and theory of colour, I Send You this Cadmium Red is playing at Toronto’s Enwave Theatre
What do we talk about when we talk about color? Probably not the same things John Christie and John Berger did. The two men — one an artist, the other an art-writer — passed letters back and forth on the subject for more than two years, a beautiful correspondence that was later collected into the book I Send You This Cadmium Red. It’s a philosophical effort, but never fancy or arcane: just red, blue, and the rest. Beneath the simplicity, however, lies an astonishing depth.
Continue reading Review: I Send You This Cadmium Red (Art of Time Ensemble) →
Me Talking to Myself in the Future is one woman’s retrospections at Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
At one point midway through Me Talking to Myself in the Future, currently playing at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, the show’s creator and star Marie Brassard interrupts herself in the midst of a reverie and says, “I am telling a story which makes no sense.”
When she delivered the line on opening night, the audience laughed with palpable relief, as though she’d named the elephant in the room. Afterwards, my friend and I agreed that her candor in that moment helped us connect to the performance — in truth, the show is often quite hard to follow (at least by the standard of stories that makes sense).
But things aren’t what they seem in this hallucinatory play about evolution and transformation, including that stodgy old elephant, which turned out to be a red herring. Brassard wasn’t conceding to literal-mindedness, but gently reminding us to shift our expectations.
Continue reading Review: Me Talking to Myself in the Future (Buddies in Bad Times) →
The Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival gives Toronto playwrights a forum to try out new works.
The screaming at the old firehall can be a little distracting. I’m sitting with Pat McCarthy and Carolyn Zapf, co-artistic directors of the Alumnae Theatre Company’s New Ideas Festival (March 12-30), and the whole building reverberates with banging and yelling from the rehearsal studio below. No one seems to notice and I don’t question it. The bedlam in the background is just part of the furniture; you might as well wonder why a chair has legs.
Continue reading “Go Out and Try It”: Old-Fashioned Innovation at the Alumnae Theatre’s New Ideas Festival →