As you put on or watch someone else put on makeup, do you ever think of Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard saying she’s ready for her close-up, Mr. DeMille?
That feeling inspired Buddies’ associate artist Moynan King to develop The Beauty Salon, a blend of performance and primping opening tonight (June 5).
“The show explores the line between the theatrical and the social, creating an awareness of how we ourselves perform in what for many people is an everyday activity,” says King.
“A beauty salon is the obvious place to look at that, and we’ve turned our salon into a place where you can have your nails done and also watch a big song-and-dance musical number.”
With eight attendants taking care of everything from facials and massage to shoe-polishing and breast enhancement, the audience can be part of the show or just sit back – with a touch of voyeuristic pleasure, perhaps – and watch the action.
King’s done smaller versions of the show at the 2005 Hysteria, the Gladstone and Montreal’s Edgy Women fest, but now she’s turned it into a large-scale extravaganza and installation. Designer Sherri Hay has redone the Buddies Mainspace as a 50s salon in pinks and pastels, complete with a big staircase and central fountain.
Unlike most theatrical performances, there are several start times. You can book an appointment for 8 pm, 8:40 pm or 9:20 pm.
“It’s all about performance,” adds King. “Some of it is really obvious, and some is so subtle you don’t realize you’re part of a performance.”
The 14th annual Harold Awards, celebrating Toronto’s indie theatre and dance communities, moved to the east end for the first time last week.
Hosted by Jacoba Knaapen, one of the 13 founders of the awards in 1995 – and a later Haroldee herself – the festive event acknowledges the contribution made by artists and arts supporters. It also honours the spirit of the late Harold Kandel, an inveterate theatregoer remembered for his spontaneous reactions to the shows he attended, sometimes heckling and sometimes huzzahing.
Known for her own heckling at previous Harold parties, Knaapen was at the receiving end of jeers this time around, but she dished out some pretty quick comebacks.
The 2008 inductees include theatre artists Cayle Chernin, Brendan Gall, Allyson McMackon, Leslie Arden, Cathy Gordon and husband-and-wife Robin Craig and David Craig, dance artist Jenn Goodwin, dramaturge Iris Turcott, designers Lorenzo Savoini and Rick Banville, production manager Jonathan Rooke, multidisciplinary artist and educator Teodoro Dragonieri and arts administrators Sandra Tulloch and Jim LeFrançois.
Those labels don’t always cover everything the honourees do.It’s often the case that those involved in the indie arts community branch out into new though related areas, either by choice or of necessity.
That’s also true of the recipient of the Ken McDougall Award for emerging director, Jacob Zimmer, the head of Small Wooden Shoe.
He summed up the spirit of the evening by reminding us that the community isn’t made up of independent artists, but rather of interdependent artists.
Let’s face it – sometimes we want our Shakespeare in small portions.
Alchemy Theatre, which regularly offers full-length works by the Bard, moves into miniature mode with Shakespeare’s Bits, a selection of six scenes each helmed by a different director.The directing team includes Esther Jun, Adrian Marchuk, Tyler Seguin, Jessie Fraser, Sarrah Warren and Bobby del Rio.
The evening also includes Charles George’s When Shakespeare’s Ladies Meet, in which Juliet, Cleopatra, Portia, Katherine, Desdemona and Ophelia play onstage together. Alchemy’s Simon Michellepis directs.