Welcome to Waiting in the Wings, a new monthly feature where I give a rundown of the productions I have coming up throughout the month. You’ll get a little glimpse into each show and the links for tickets etc. and then you’ll know what reviews to expect as well. Each month’s post will be updated as the month goes on, so I’ll make sure to pin it on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so you can check it periodically and see what I have in store!
There’s a couple of productions coming up in this last week of August, but then the rest will focus on September and all of the exciting shows that are getting ready to open.
August 26th and 27th at 8pm at Ada Slaight Hall
YENSA Festival presents two nights of live dance in two unique programs, each featuring three solo artists and companies from the UK, Montréal and Toronto. YENSA Festival is the first Canadian international biennial festival that celebrates the work of women in dance, from African and Afro-diasporic culture.
Friday, August 26 at 8pm
- Jaz ‘Fairy J’ Simone “Open Light” (Toronto)
- Artists in Motion (AIM) “Black Canadians – Our Stories” (Toronto)
- Lua Shayenne Dance Company (LSDC) “Kira, the Path | La Voie” excerpt (Toronto
Saturday, August 27 at 8pm
- ‘Funmi Adewole Elliott “The Blind Side” (UK)
- Esie Mensah “A Seat at the Table” (Toronto)
- Ekspresyon “Contraste” (Montreal)
Who’s Afraid of Titus?
August 31st – September 3rd at Red Sandcastle Theatre
:Who was Shakespeare? Does it matter? Sky Gilbert (renowned playwright, artistic trailblazer) thinks he was an aesthete; a poet whose plays are about poetry and their effect on us.
“In Titus Shakespeare writes against didacticism. We watch intense characters trying to use poetry as a moral blueprint for life — and failing, ridiculously and miserably.” – Sky Gilbert, Director
In tackling Titus Andronicus, perhaps Shakespeare’s most baffling play, Gilbert is drawing on his research for his new book Shakespeare Beyond Science: When Poetry Was the World, released in 2020 by Guernica Editions. Gilbert has adapted Titus Andronicus for a post-Covid era, asking the question on all our minds Who’s Afraid of Titus Andronicus?. By reducing Titus Andronicus to approximately one hour and 18 concise scenes, Gilbert hones in on the language and the story to present Titus as a queer play about poeticised violence. This adaption asks (but does not answer) the question: does art harm us? Should it?
WHO’S AFRAID OF TITUS? features a stellar cast including Brian Smegal (Stratford Festival) as Titus, Ellen-Ray Hennessy (Canada’s Queen of Voice and Animation) as Tamora, Sandy Crawley (The Hitchhiker) as Marcus, Veronika Hurnik (paula and karl, DNA Theatre/Six Stages) as the Narrator, and Emily Lucasik (Shaw Festival) as Lavinia. The production also features Ray Jacildo, George Alevizos, Max Ackerman and John Humeniuk.
Queen Goneril and King Lear
August 25th – October 2nd and August 27th – October 1st at Soulpepper Theatre
Set seven years before King Lear, Queen Goneril finds Lear’s three daughters trying to find their voices while fighting a patriarchal system at odds with their aspirations. In Goneril we find a natural born leader. In Regan a boundary pusher, and in Cordelia a reluctant peacekeeper. How can they find their voices when no one is listening? Queen Goneril brings the background into focus, and a previously deafening silence to an irresistible crescendo.
Sovereignty is a young man’s game, and it’s time for this aging monarch to fade into the background with one final demand – that his daughters profess their love for him before dividing the kingdom among them. This proves more complicated than anticipated, sending the family spiraling into madness and an unquenchable thirst for power.
*I’m going to be seeing a double bill where you see Queen Goneril by Erin Shields at 1:30 and then Lear at 7:30 and I am so excited for a full day of theatre!
Merchant of Venice
September 8th – 25th at Red Sandcastle Theatre
In a culture of demonstration and forced relevancy, Real Canaan Theatre’s anti-gimmick, no frills approach is a deeply honest exploration of Shakespeare’s perhaps most controversial play. Focusing on human interaction through the medium of classical text, this production seeks to provoke discussion on the transcendence of character, identity politics, and relationship ideals. Balancing the spirit and letter of the law has never seemed a more daunting task. THE MERCHANT OF VENICE is performed by Aaron MacPherson, Bridget Ori, Elyssia Giancola, Freya Scerri Diacono, Hadley Abrams, Kitti Laki, and Roberto Ercoli.
September 6th – October 2nd at Crow’s Theatre
In the waning days of Czarist Russia, Ivan “Vanya” Voinitsky, and his niece, Sonya, toil ceaselessly to run their family estate. After retiring, Sonya’s father, a celebrated professor, returns to the estate with his young, glamourous wife. When he announces his plan to sell the land and evict them all, passions explode and lives come undone. The dazzling cast of Carolyn Fe, dtaborah Johnson, Ali Kazmi, Eric Peterson, Anand Rajaram, Shannon Taylor, and Bahia Watson, led by the incomparable Tom Rooney as Vanya, breathes new life into Chekhov’s masterpiece in a new version by award-winning actor Liisa Repo-Martell. Brimming with emotional intensity, comedic genius, and tragic weight, this Crow’s Theatre commission and world-premiere adaptation provides an up-close encounter with a classic of world drama that every theatre lover must see. Directed by Crow’s Theatre Artistic Director Chris Abraham, UNCLE VANYA reunites the creative team of Julie Fox, Thomas Ryder Payne, Kimberly Purtell and Ming Wong from The Seagull, the 2017 sold out-hit co-produced with Canadian Stage and the Company Theatre.
The Shape of Home: Songs in Search of Al Purdy
September 11th – 25th, 2022 at Crow’s Theatre
Created by Frank Cox-O’Connell, Beau Dixon, Hailey Gillis, Marni Jackson, Raha Javanfar, Andrew Penner, The Shape of Home is a musical investigation of the words and ideas of Canada’s unofficial poet laureate, Al Purdy. After a successful run with the Festival Players in Prince Edward County, The Shape of Home is making its mark in the big city at Crow’s Theatre.
September 13th – October 9th, 2022 at Tarragon Theatre
Mike Payette Artistic Director of Tarragon Theatre and Managing Director Andrea Vagianos are excited to announce the World Premiere of Cockroach, which opens Tarragon’s 2022-23 season! The play, a Tarragon Theatre commission, written by Ho Ka Kei (Jeff Ho), runs in the Mainspace from September 13 – October 9, 2022. Cockroach marks the opening of Artistic Director Mike Payette’s first full season of programming at Tarragon Theatre.
Cockroach pulls inspiration from a real life incident the playwright experienced, grappling with how one survives in the face of the dehumanizing and othering nature of racism. In this new work, Cockroach, The Boy and The Bard also explore how language can shape our ability to transform and thrive, and yet, at once, perpetuate feelings of alienation within one’s own cultural experience. With a talking cockroach, a visit from The Bard and a boy searching for himself, these three sides of the same person drive a storyline rich with colour, movement and drama.
From Toronto Theatre Critics award-winning playwright Ho Ka Kei (Jeff Ho), Cockroach is a coming-of-age play about the stories we tell ourselves to comfort, to survive, to resist, to overcome and to be.
September 15th – October 9th, 2022 at Soulpepper Theatre
Parenthood isn’t easy. Especially in front of an audience.
While most people get to keep their parenting struggles behind closed doors, Charles and Norah are laying theirs bare. As the young couple navigate their life as parents of a toddler, they also try to figure out who they are in relation to each other, their son, and the audience. From the creator of Kim’s Convenience comes a humorous and honest story about the rocky rite of passage into parenthood.
Rolling World Premiere
September 20th – October 2nd, 2022 at Canadian Stage
In Public Enemy, the always subversive Choinière fuses painstakingly choreographed rapid-fire dialogue with elements of the fantastical, charting through moments both eerily recognizable and piercingly insightful. Join the exemplary cast, featuring Rosemary Dunsmore, Matthew Edison, Jonathan Goad, Michelle Monteith, and Amy Rutherford, at a family dinner unlike any you’ve attended before – a familiar setting with a surreal twist.
September 30th – October 8th at Red Sandcastle Theatre
CIVILIZED is based on historical reports, writings and speeches during the period of the Laurier government. In 1907, Dr. Peter Bryce, the Chief Medical Officer of the Departments of the Interior and Indian Affairs, reported that the Indian Residential Schools of Canada were “dangerous to health” with “an almost total lack of ventilation with Indian boys and girls dying in overcrowded, unhygienic school-rooms and dormitories.” The Canadian government was funding these institutions and clearly had an obligation to ensure they were properly run and safe, yet the government failed to act. Why? Civilized addresses this question by resurrecting a fictional Canadian government bureaucrat from the past who attempts to defend the indefensible. CIVILIZED is directed by Paul Hopkins and has been performed in Kitchener, Ottawa and Winnipeg this year to rave reviews!
At the Stratford Festival:
- Death and the King’s Horseman
- All’s Well that Ends Well
- Richard III