Fall season is one of my favourite times in Toronto. It also signals the beginning of another theatre season. We are definitely fortunate to have a vibrant theatre scene in T.O. with companies big and small, which are absolutely offering something for all tastes.
I hereby offer you a modest list of shows I think are worth checking out. Some of these have already began their run; nonetheless, there is still some time to catch them before they end.
Past Perfect / Le Passé Antérieur
By Michel Tremblay
Théâtre Français de Toronto (TfT)
Until Sunday, October 5th
English surtitled performances: Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 PM
and Saturday matinées at 3:30 PM
Synopsis: Montreal, 1930. The city is in an economic crisis. Albertine is 20 years old and has a secret dream: to experience a great love that will last a lifetime. Albertine is not one for small hapiness. For her, love is demanding, exclusive, total, just like in the movies. One day, she meets Alex, a young man of 23 years, and believes her dream has come true! But this dream will become a nightmare, a brutal wakeup call. Albertine will forever remain trapped in this broken time, this unfortunate past in which she will seek revenge all her life. A ruthless reckoning, a descent into hell in the tortured soul of a girl broken by love and obsessed with revenge.
If you have yet to attend any of TfT's performances, I highly recommend that you do. Their productions are high calibre and are a great way to experience franchophone theatre without leaving the city.
Escape From Happiness
By George F. Walker
Alumnae Theatre Company
Until Saturday, October 11th
Synopsis: A bizarre event in a dysfunctional family prompts an incident of brutality in this intensely dark Canadian comedy. Part of Walker’s East End Trilogy, this play explores the most tender moments at the most violent times.
The productions from Alumnae Theatre are often interesting and thought provoking. I also like attending their perfomances, which provide a medium for promoting the work of women in theatre. And do not forget, their great space, a converted firehall, which adds to the experience as well.
Life, Death And The Blues
By Raoul Bhaneja
Theatre Passe Muraille (TPM)In Association with Hope and Hell Theatre Co.
Until Sunday, October 19th
Synopsis: This is a concert/theatre hybrid performance that combines autobiography, interview, live music and multi-media to explore the power, passion and meaning of The Blues. Performing with Bhaneja will be the Juno award-winning Canadian R&B/Soul singer Divine Brown with music provided by band members - Jake Chisholm on guitar, Tom Bona on drums and Chris Banks on upright bass.
Hybrid performance has a bit of a twist to it, yes? I will be at TPM for opening night this week, so I will have more to say after that...
An Enemy of the People
By Henrik Ibsen
Adapted by Florian Borchmeyer
Until Sunday, October 26th
Synopsis: The Chief Medical Officer of a small Norwegian town, Dr. Thomas Stockmann, has made a shocking discovery, but to go public with his test results would spell the end of his town's prosperity. The people don't know that the newly-built Baths are contaminated with industrial waste, and if the world finds out, it will send the community into economic collapse.
I am not familiar with this Ibsen play but its themes sound relevant to today's society as well. I would be keen to see this productions; not to mention it also gets you out of downtown for a bit.
What Makes a Man
The songs of Charles Aznavour, re-imagined by Jennifer Tarver and Justin Ellington
October 5th to November 2nd
Synopsis: In a moment of personal self-examination, four distinct aspects of one man are born: poet, survivor, performer and prophet. These aspects combine to make a universal portrait of what it is to be human that deconstructs the fabric of personality. Collectively embodied by four extraordinary vocal artists and supported by a band featuring some of Toronto’s finest musicians, the show promises to be a memorable experience.
I am unfamiliar with Aznavour's work, but what better way to learn about his life and achievements than through live music? I also suggest you look at the line up of artists involved in this production; it sounds like a great night out.
Given that theatre season is just beginning, this is but a small yet varied list of shows for you to enjoy this month. Click on each link for more details on the productions, as well as, for showtimes and ticketing information.