Can theatre document and also bring about change? That's the question for Alysa Golden, director of Avalonstorm Theatre's premiere production, Tough Change, in which guys with a history of abuse try to alter their behaviour through a men's group. Golden -- a theatre director who's also worked with men who abuse their partners and with women experiencing abuse -- devised the script with playwright Mark Brownell and members of an actual men's group. Participants in the group as well as professional actors perform in the show, which opens Tuesday (May 1) at the Workman Auditorium (1001 Queen West).
Blending group sessions and the men's lives at home, it tells the story from the male perspective. Rather than showing violence onstage or dealing with the source of abusive behaviour -- that's a later step -- it emphasizes stopping verbal and physical abuse.
"The play is a peek into the issues, the difficult journey from abuse to respect, from the other side," says director Golden, who has an MSW. "It's totally realistic, not least in the fact that some men move a little, others move further toward change."
Tickets are $15, but $20 includes admission and a donation toward a ticket for a woman who's experienced abuse. More info at www.whiteribbon.com or 416-698-8981.
No, not that kind. Doohnamow, Savoy Howe's tale about a tomboy New Brunswick woman who comes to Toronto to come out and in the process discovers the empowerment in boxing, punches a lot of emotion into a fast-moving hour. Text is short and often funny, but it's the blend of sensual and combative movement -- set by Learie McNicolls and winningly orchestrated by director Moynan King -- that clinches the match. Howe's engaging in the central role, and she's well matched by Eryn Dace Trudell as the "other" in her life, both a mechanical fighting machine and, tantalizingly, a partner of another sort. Amazing how the pugilistic becomes the amatory.