- North America
- Rebecca Bartley
Toronto is well known for its food and nightlife, but nothing compares to the city’s love for its art culture. Whatever the medium, diverse artists flock to the city to showcase their talent. However, Toronto’s home-grown talent can always be found right around the corner, evidenced by the theatres and performances scattered across the city. Since the show must always go on, here are the 10 plays you can’t miss this autumn in Toronto.
Banana Boys — Factory Theatre
Presented by Factory Theatre, Banana Boys examines the deep challenges of being torn between cultures and identities, with a specific look into Asian-Canadian culture. This play focuses on a group of five young Asian-Canadian men who are drawn together and reunite through the death of their friend. Viewed as a comedy with a dark twist, this play focuses on what the men must go through and confront on their journey of life together surrounding the loss of their friend. Banana Boys was adapted for the stage by Leon Aureus and was based off the novel written by Terry Woo. Banana Boys is quoted as ‘a call to anyone who has felt out of place in the world.’ The play will run this fall from November 3-22.
Blind Date — Tarragon Theatre
Presented by Tarragon Theatre, Blind Date focuses on the character of Mimi — played by creator Rebecca Northan — and the night of a mysterious blind date. However, when her blind date fails to appear, Mimi turns to the audience for help on the matter. Quoted as a ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants adventure’ and a ‘saucy, daring and entertaining evening,’ this play is totally unscripted and what happens next is anybody’s guess. The play will run this fall from September 8 – October 4.
Domesticated – The Company Theatre
Presented by The Company Theatre, Domesticated explores the life and ups-and-downs of popular politician, Bill Pulver. What happens when this politician is discovered by police at the bedside of an injured prostitute? Bill’s image and life is turned upside down in this dark comedy which follows the scandal behind the cameras and into the private lives of his family and home. Facing total public humiliation, Domesticated is deeply serious and showcases the unpredictability of power, sexuality and politics. Starring Canadian theatre and film icon, Paul Gross, and Martha Burns, Domesticated is a must-see. Written by Pulitzer and Tony award-winning author Bruce Norris, this play can be seen during the fall from November 17 – December 13, 2015 at the Berkeley Street Theatre.
House at Poe Corner — Eldritch Theatre/Red Sandcastle Theatre
Presented by Eldritch Theatre, House at Poe Corner is a play quoted as a ‘Kindergoth masterpiece to strike nightmares into the timorous hearts of the dead children that lurk inside us all.’ This play welcomes the audience into the Ghoul Haunted Woodland of Weir, where Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of the supernatural and uncanny are re-enacted by twisted stuffed animals, creepy table top puppets and a bit of parlour magic. The play is written by Eric Woolfe and Michael O’Brien, with narration by Eric Woolfe and Mike Petersen. Just in time to get us into the spirit of Halloween, this play runs during the fall from October 29 – November 7.
Huff — Native Earth Performing Arts Theatre
Presented by the Native Earth Performing Arts Theatre, Huff is a solo performance by writer, actor and award-winning Cree playwright Cliff Cardinal. This play is a dark, comic tale that explores the lives of Wind and his brothers, all who get caught in a torrent of solvent abuse while struggling to cope with the death of their mother. Through their struggles, the focus is on Wind and his dream world which seeps into reality as he’s preyed upon by the Trickster through the hallways at school, an abandoned motel that he loves more than home, and his own fragile psyche. Through this solo performance, Cliff Cardinal portrays over a dozen characters each with their own unique personalities and traits. This performance runs during the fall from October 10-25.
Mary Poppins — Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts
Presented by the Richmond Hill Centre for the Performing Arts, Mary Poppins is based on the famous novel by P. L. Travers and follows the lives of the Banks family. The children, Jane and Michael Banks, long desperately to spend time with their workaholic father, Mr. Banks. However, Mr. Banks believes his children should be more quiet and well-behaved and so decides to hire a nanny. In steps the character of Mary Poppins, a nanny who is stern and proper, yet also sweet and adventurous with a little bit of magic up her sleeve. Mary Poppins hopes to set the Banks family on the right path and reconcile what appears to be a broken family before it’s too late. This classic play runs for only two dates on November 22 and 22.
Mr. Pim Passes By — The Village Playhouse
Presented by The Village Playhouse, Mr. Pim Passes By follows Mr. Pim, a traveling stranger, who one day pays a visit to the home of husband and wife, George and Olivia. During his visit, Mr. Pim innocently mentions the name of a fellow traveler he had recently met. This stranger’s name also happens to be the same as Olivia’s first husband’s name, who was presumed dead. This revelation turns the house upside down and turmoil ensues. Is Olivia’s first husband still alive? Will George uphold his sense of honor and fair-play and let Olivia return to him? Or will he follow his heart and fight for the woman he loves? The play is famously written by A.A Milne, the same man who wrote Winnie the Pooh, and is geared towards an adult-friendly audience. The play runs this fall from September 11 – October 3.
N – The Queen of Paris — Elgin Theatre
Presented by Elgin Theatre, N – The Queen of Paris focuses on the main character named Nana, who when we meet her, is a down-on-her-luck prostitute living on the streets. Viewed as a beautiful and sensual girl, Nana is soon taken in by the theatre as a courtesan, where those around her are enthralled by her as she portrays desire, but ultimately offering destruction to anyone who dares to fall in love with her. Inspired by Émile Zola’s iconic novel Nana, this play is quoted to ‘capture the heart of seduction and romance that dictates the life of this alluring temptress’ and present a rags-to-riches tale for adult audiences to fall in love with. The play premieres this fall and runs from September 24 – October 11.
Nirbhaya — Nightwood Theatre
Presented by Nightwood Theatre, Nirbhaya is a play based on a true story surrounding events that occurred on the night of December 16, 2012 when a young woman and her male friend boarded a bus in urban Delhi heading for home. The play explores and tears away at the theme of shame that silences survivors of sexual assault and unveils personal testimonies from victims. Nirbhaya is quoted as ‘one of the most powerful and urgent pieces of human rights theatre ever made.’ It is also further quoted as ‘an unforgettable work that moves and inspires audiences with the sheer capacity of the human spirit to rise, bear witness, survive and turn the tide.’ This play is written and directed by Yael Farber and will be shown at the Harbourfront Centre Theatre from November 18-29.
Seminar — Panasonic Theatre
Presented by Panasonic Theatre, Seminar is a call to all those who love to write. This play focuses around the lives of four aspiring New York writers who decide to shell out $5,000 for a ten-week seminar presented by Leonard, a former celebrated novelist turned ‘fiction guru.’ The group gathers in one of the students’ apartments in hopes that Leonard will impart his wisdom on them in the art of writing. As it turns out, however, the seminars aren’t so much full of good advice as they are torrents of verbal abuse, building sexual attraction and bitter personal attacks. Written by Theresa Rebeck, this dark comedy opens this fall on November 1.
By Rebecca Bartley
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