By JON KAPLAN
Yes, it's August, and yes, it's hot. But you'll find that heat in the theatres too, as SummerWorks -- the 17th edition edition of the late-summer theatre fest -- ignites venues around town.
Smaller than the Fringe by almost 100 shows, its concentration is one of quality and also geography. The 46 shows are chosen by a jury, so the shows you see have been vetted, unlike the Fringe, where groups are selected by lottery. That doesn't mean that every SummerWorks show is a gem, but most are worth checking out.
And unlike the Fringe, which stretches further across the city every year, SummerWorks is pretty well confined to theatres along the Bathurst corridor -- the Tarragon (30 Bridgman) at the north end, Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson) and the nearby Factory Theatre (125 Bathurst) at the south. There are also a trio of site-specific venues, one near the Tarragon and two close to Queen Street.
One change in the schedule, if you've picked up a print copy of the
SummerWorks guide -- Dorothy Said Theatre's production of The Alternative Project has dropped out of the festival. Its six slots at the Factory Studio have gone to other companies in the venue : Anorexican (August 3 at 4:30 pm), Conscientia (August 4 at noon), Bird's Eye View (August 5 at 7:30 pm), Jasmine (August 6 at 9 pm), Hard Ways (August 8 at 9 pm) and Disciples (August 9 at 6 pm).
Looking for a good place to hang out? Factory has a popular, tree-shaded beer garden, and you'll get to compare notes with other theatregoers; word of mouth is one of the most popular ways to make decisions about what to see at a festival this size. The casts often spend time here before and after their shows, though most of their drinking goes on after. We hope.
The Tarragon will likely have its own little licensed corner, too, as it did during the Fringe.
More updates soon, and be sure to check out our online reviews starting tomorrow, with print reviews next Thursday.