Stage Scenes

Rating: NNNNNscottish curse Since its premiere in the early 1600s, Shakespeare's Macbeth has been dogged by a curse that few will.


Rating: NNNNN


scottish curse

Since its premiere in the early 1600s, Shakespeare’s Macbeth has been dogged by a curse that few will deny. Stage artists aren’t even allowed to say the play’s name in a theatre unless they’re rehearsing or performing in it. Instead, they refer to the work as Mackers or the Scottish Play.

There’s a complicated series of counter-spells that must be said if someone invokes the play’s name, unwittingly or not.

Even with caution on the part of the company, the curse has struck the Hart House production, which opens tonight (Thursday, September 12) under David Gardner’s direction. John LaBow, rehearsing the part of King Duncan, fell off a ladder and broke his leg. He’s been replaced by Martin Edmonds.

Chris Coculuzzi — who’s previously played Hamlet and been a mainstay of Upstart Crow’s delightful Shakespearean parodies during the Fringe — plays the title role, with Pip Dwyer as his lady. Bet they’ll watch what they say in the theatre.

west coast draw

Can’t stop Michael Healey’s The Drawer Boy from grabbing audiences around the world. It’s toured Canada, played Europe — Healey himself directed one version — and debuted in the States at Chicago’s prestigious Steppenwolf Theatre. That production led Time magazine to dub the show one of the year’s 10 best.

Now The Drawer Boy makes its American West Coast premiere as the season opener at California’s San Jose Rep, running through the end of September. Healey’s in good company. Also in the San Jose season are a recent piece by Eric Bogosian and the premiere of a new show by respected Asian American playwright Philip Kan Gotanda.

highway ride

Wonder what native playwright Tomson Highway’s been up to? The author of The Rez Sisters, Dry Lips Oughta Move To Kapuskasing and Rose divides his time between Sudbury and France, but he’s in town for the launch of a new kids’ book, Dragonfly Kites, and a cabaret concert with Patricia Cano on Sunday (September 15), a funder for Theatre Inferno.

The concert combines Highway’s story The Incredible Adventures Of Mary-Jane Mosquito with songs from the musical Rose, which premiered two years ago at University College. Cano played Emily Dictionary in that production, and she and Highway have already toured the concert to Europe as well as several Ontario towns.

You can expect Highway to provide a context for the play’s songs and also to accompany Cano before he began writing plays, he was trained as a concert pianist. See listings for details.

crazy characters

Second City alumni Bob Martin and Melody Johnson firmly believe that not all sketch comedy is about telling a funny story.

Taken with the style of legendary sketch duo Mike Nichols and Elaine May — famous for their shows in the 60s, before Nichols moved on to directing and May switched to film work — Martin and Johnson have created a sketch cabaret that’s character-driven rather than situational.

If that sounds more like the stuff of theatre rather than comedy venues, remember that both of them have stage experience, Martin in The Drowsy Chaperone and Daniel Brooks’s The Good Life, Johnson at Stratford and several shows with Necessary Angel.

Also featuring Jack Mosshammer, with songs by Lisa Lambert and direction by Sandy Balcovske, An Awkward Evening With Martin & Johnson is produced by Second City Theatricals in association with the Shehori Brothers. It opens tonight (Thursday, September 12) at the Tarragon Extra Space.

jonkap@nowtoronto.com

glenns@nowtoronto.com

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