For the 2005 Fringe, Allyson McMackon transformed August Strindberg 's unusual two-hander The Stronger - about the chance Christmas meeting of a wife and her husband's lover - into a stunning text-and-movement piece for three women. The hit production gets another revamping as The Stronger Variations , this time with three men added to the mix. The Theatre Rusticle production, in association with Harbourfront Centre, runs at York Quay's Studio Theatre (235 Queens Quay West) from December 7 to 16. 416-973-4000.
A new Dancemakers
Dance companies don't change artistic directors often, and when they do it's often an opportunity to freshen up a stale vision. That's clearly the case with Dancemakers , the 32-year-old contemporary dance institution that stumbled under the 16-year tenure of Serge Bennathan . His shoes are being filled by Michael Trent , who's got lots of cred in the exciting indie dance scene. He puts his personal stamp on the company in its opener, cheekily titled The Home Season , which features a revival of his 2001 piece Random Access, and Dark, Quiet And Cool, a new solo performed by him. November 8 t0 19 at the Dancemakers Centre (55 Mill, building 58). 416-367-1800.
Sleepless in Toronto
Nearly a decade ago, Daniel Brooks and Guillermo Verdecchia had a success with the intriguing Insomnia , which focuses on a sleepless Everyman troubled by a rocky marriage, a shaky career and a yen for his sister-in-law. Necessary Angel revives the play under Chris Abraham 's direction, with Brooks, Colombe Demers , Fiona Highet and Randy Hughson in the cast. Expect a razor-sharp production with that group of artists. Performances begin November 7 and run to November 26 at Buddies in Bad Times (21 Alexander). 416-975-8555.
Dance critics don't often gush in print, so when a colleague of mine at one of the daily papers called Christopher House 's latest work "among the greatest dances ever created in Canada," it must mean something. House and Toronto Dance Theatre have been flirting with greatness for several years. The theatrical and multidisciplinary Timecode Break , which premiered earlier this year at the Canada Dance Festival, could help gain the crossover crowd they deserve. October 31 to November 4 at the Premiere Dance Theatre (207 Queens Quay West). 416-973-4000.
Poet Robert Graves and military hero T. E. Lawrence (Lawrence Of Arabia) had at least two things in common: they were caught up in the Great War and were appalled by the senseless slaughter they witnessed. In The Oxford Roof Climber's Rebellion , playwright Stephen Massicotte imagines what they might have done about the political lies they were told and the disillusionment they felt. Richard Rose directs a cast that includes Tom Rooney and Jonathan Crombie as Lawrence and Graves. November 7 to December 17 at the Tarragon (30 Bridgman). 416-531-1827.
Playwright Tom Walmsley is known for his savage humour, exhibited last season in 3 Squares A Day, directed by Kate Lynch . Now Lynch tackles another darkly glistening Walmsley script, Descent , in which a self-absorbed poet and his party-animal friend meet a woman who seeks a wild night of passion before committing herself to a conventional marriage. Deborah Hay plays the woman, with John Blackwood , Paul Fauteux , Brendan Murray and Christopher Morris as the various men in her life. Performances at Theatre Passe Muraille (16 Ryerson) begin October 21 and run to November 19. 416-504-7529.
In times of global strife and uncertainty, it's our comics who reveal the biggest truths. George Carlin 's no-bullshit revelations seem like just the ticket. The comedy legend plays a single show at Roy Thomson Hall (60 Simcoe), significantly enough on Remembrance Day, November 11. 416-872-4255.
Apple of his eye
Caught in a loveless marriage, a husband and wife face added complications when he begins an affair and she's diagnosed with cancer. Factory Theatre opens its season with Vern Thiessen 's Governor General's Award-winning Apple , which features a strong cast ( Kevin Hanchard , Niki Landau and Sarah Orenstein ) directed by Ken Gass . The show runs October 14 to November 12 at the Factory Mainspace (125 Bathurst). 416-504-9971.