DORA HOSTS HOT
Dora Mavor Moore Awards show hosts Kate Lynch and Michael Healey got off some nice zingers at the expense of miserly government funding bodies and some well-known theatre artists at the Pantages last Monday (June 26).
They also unveiled a podium for purses -- last year, Nancy Beatty couldn't juggle her award, her purse and her acceptance speech -- that was used by a few award recipients, including double winner (for Hamlet and Endgame) Richard Feren. Nightwood's Alisa Palmer, onstage with composer Allen Cole to accept the outstanding new musical award for Anything That Moves, put her gum there.
Missing from that award's photo op was writer Ann-Marie MacDonald. Lynch arched her eyebrow just a little when she delivered the message that the Toronto theatre community had almost lost MacDonald earlier this year -- she'd collapsed under the weight of her own genius.
Before the show, a grinning Tony Nappo, waiting for his date, nominee Jane Spidell -- they played partners in Motel Hélène -- talked about his role as a mob goon in Cletis Tout, currently being filmed in Toronto with Christian Slater and Tom Allen. His boss in the movie is Shawn Doyle, who came to the Doras with his wife, Allegra Fulton.
It was a rare evening out for Fulton and Doyle, the parents of a five-month-old. Fulton, who most recently worked on John Greyson's The Law Of Enclosures with Sarah Polley, gave all the Dora nominees a lucky three-merde cheer at the pre-awards cocktail party.
SAVE THE SILVER
It wasn't easy to recognize Ellen-Ray Hennessy, but there was no mistaking the voice. Painted into a tight silver-sequined dress, she wore sunglasses and a vibrant silver wig that cascaded like a tiered fountain. Her three-inch-long nails were glued on by Ed Roy.
And Roy had another important job. When Hennessy had to pee, he was responsible for pulling down her pantyhose and underwear and pulling up the dress. And after the bathroom break, reversing the process.
DORAS CHEKHOV LIST
Those were Chekhov cheers you heard most of the evening. The Russian writer had a contributing hand in four Dora Awards.
Three went to Theatre Smith-Gilmour's Chekhov's Shorts, the biggest winner in the hotly contested independent division -- Dean Gilmour as male performer, Gilmour and Michele Smith as directors, and a shared best-production award, a tie with Volcano's Building Jerusalem.
For a change, the awards don't simply commemorate past achievements. In the general division, Laszlo Marton won the directing award for Soulpepper Theatre's production of Chekhov's Platonov, adapted by the Hungarian artist with Susan Coyne. The revived Platonov begins performances Tuesday (see interview, page 69), and Chekhov's Shorts returns next season.
Soulpepper's Endgame picked up a trio of other prizes -- outstanding production, Diego Matamoros's performance and Richard Feren's sound design.
Even recipients caught the Chekhov bug. The talented Paula Wolfson, who received a Dora for female performance in a musical for Shaking The Foundations, relied weepily on a Chekhov line about the hard work required of artists.
Toronto audiences don't see enough of Wolfson, who's done a lot of big-musical touring. She's back to open Buddies' next season as one of a quartet of women with relationship problems in Dorothy Dittrich's chamber musical When We Were Singing.