All the scripts can be purchased at TheatreBooks, now at its new address: 101 Spadina, 416-922-7175.
by Ins Choi (Anansi), $14.95
The first Canadian play premiered by Soulpepper, Kim's Convenience began life in the fu-GEN writing unit before its smash Fringe run in 2011. It's a funny and heartwarming piece about the patriarchal Korean-Canadian owner of a corner store and his family, some of whom bend to his will and some of whom battle his demands. The show was so popular that Soulpepper scheduled a second run last spring and is bringing it back next May.
THE LITTLE YEARS
by John Mighton (Playwrights Canada), $16.95
Mighton's elegant, nuanced play just finished a successful run at the Tarragon, a remount (with some cast changes) of the 2011 Stratford production. Dealing with time, depression, fame and family, it follows the life of Kate, whose interest in science in the 1950s is squashed by a society that doesn't think women should pursue such a career. Mighton finds a note of redemption for Kate in her young niece, who's poised to do everything Kate wasn't able to accomplish. It's a play that invites you to read between the lines.
DRAMA: PILOT EPISODE
by Karen Hines (Coach House), $17.95
One of the finalists for this year's Governor General's Literary Awards, Drama centres on a psychiatrist who moves from Toronto to a western oil town looking for a fresh start. Too bad a young TV writer hangs himself in her bathroom the first day she starts practising there. Hines, who made the Toronto-to-Calgary move herself, is known for her sharply satiric clown Pochsy and plays like Hello...Hello. Here, she looks at contemporary TV, psychoanalysis and what it means to have a conscience today. Love to see a local company tackle this highly theatrical work.
LOST: A MEMOIR
by Cathy Ostlere and Dennis Garnhum (Scirocco), $14.95
Another GG finalist, Lost is based on the autobiographical story of Calgary-based Ostlere, whose brother, David, a world traveller, disappeared on a 1995 sailing expedition. Leaving home to find out what happened to him, Ostlere undergoes as great an interior journey as the one that takes her across the Atlantic. The result, in this stage version for solo performer she created with director Garnhum, is a touching look at grieving and how one moves on to follow a dream. In the hands of a powerful actor, this would make a gripping piece of theatre.
A BRIMFUL OF ASHA
by Asha and Ravi Jain (Playwrights Canada), $16.95
Mother (Asha) and son (Ravi) clash in Brimful, which just finished a second run at the Tarragon: she wants him to marry now; he wants to do it in his own time. Trading passionate arguments and smiling put-downs, the pair know how to get at each other while pushing their implacable points of view. In person and in print, the real-life mother and son make an impressive comic team, even if Asha denies her clear ability as a performer. Bonus here: Jain family photos and Mama's recipes for aloo gobi and rajma.
TEACHING: IT'S HARDER THAN IT LOOKS
by Gerry Dee (Doubleday Canada), $29.95
Comic Gerry Dee based his popular TV series Mr. D (back for a second season in January) on his years as a high school teacher. His new memoir goes back to the real hallways and classrooms that inspired his stand-up act - and the series. And don't forget, Dee and his Mr. D cast-mates Bette MacDonald, Darrin Rose, Mark Forward, Mark Little, Naomi Snieckus and Jonathan Torrens perform live on New Year's Eve at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. ticketmaster.ca.