Brian Current and Anton Piatigorsky's new opera, Airline Icarus, delivered a smooth flight even if the destination wasn't always clear.
Performed last week as part of Soundstreams' season, the Maniac Star-produced opera is set right before and during a mysterious flight on Air Current (get it?). The production makes great use of the Daniels Spectrum's Ada Slaight Hall, using its rake and width to suggest the interior of a big plane, with soloists and chorus switching seats like passengers on a long flight.
The passenger manifest is amusing, from a heavy-drinking businessman (Geoffrey Sirett) who's interested in an ad exec (Vania Chan), who's more intrigued by a scholar (Graham Thomson) who's got his nose in a book about Greek mythology.
The crew consists of a baggage handler and pilot (both played by Alexander Dobson) and a flight attendant (Krisztina Szabó), who's got her eye on that businessman.
And a talented chorus rounds out the cast, huddling together to express their fears and anxieties about travel.
Current's score is haunting, evoking everything from the soothing pings before onflight announcements to the stomach-churning sounds of turbulence.
Piatigorsky's libretto is more uneven. There are moments of brilliance early on, but the piece has no arc, and the ride ends abruptly. It's unclear how the myth of Icarus - the boy who flew too close to the sun - applies.
Director Tim Albery might also have steered the work in a clearer direction, especially in the final third.
But at 50 minutes, there's room for further development. So perhaps there'll be a return trip someday.
You can't find theatre more politically powerful than that written for the Wrecking Ball, an occasional event that taps into everything from upcoming elections to governmental mismanagement, racism and other social concerns.
#YesAllWomen, the latest Wrecking Ball and 16th in the series, deals with misogyny and violence against women. Suggested by the social media campaign that, since a series of killings in May in California, has revealed tales of sexist behaviour around the world, the evening features not only new scripts but also the work of performance artists.
Participants in the evening, presented in association with the Theatre Centre, include playwrights Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, Nicolas Billon with Keavy Lynch, Falen Johnson and Colleen Osborn; comedians Jess Beaulieu and Faisal Butt as well as spoken word artist Leonard Cervantes.
The evening is pwyc, with proceeds going to the Actors' Fund of Canada.
Toronto becomes a little bit of Dublin once a year for the annual Bloomsday festival, a celebration of James Joyce's epic novel Ulysses, set in Dublin on June 16, 1904.
On that day, cities around the world ReJoyce! and honour the Irish writer's work with parties that include readings from the text as well as Irish music and song. Toronto's been involved for decades under the leadership of Anna Livia Productions and its head, the talented Mary Durkan.
This year's event will be held at the Performing Arts Lodge, beginning at 8 pm.