You can't beat the price. Or the opportunity. Buddies in Bad Times' Ante Chamber Series offers a kickass week of readings by five hot playwrights, with even hotter casts.
First up? Kent (Poor Super Man) Staines's Tina's Room, about five strangers who meet when they help pack up the apartment of a mutual friend, gets a reading Monday (May 28) by a cast that includes Louis Negin, Holly Lewis and Damien Atkins.
On Tuesday (May 29), Shoshana Sperling reworks her hit Fringe play, Vella Dean, about a pop music performer who's controlled by agents, fads and a sad past personal life.
The series continues until June 3, with new plays by Sonja Mills, Atkins and Blair Francey, and a lineup of actors that includes Diane Flacks, Shaun Smyth, Scott McCord and Clinton Walker. 416-975-8555.
The French may think Jerry Lewis is a genius, but don't hold that against them. Direct from Paris comes La Dernière Lettre, Vassili Grossman's play about a Russian family trapped between Nazism and Stalinism. Directed by documentary filmmaker Frederick Wiseman, the play won awards for its solo performer, Catherine Samie, during its original run. Looks très promising. In French with English surtitles. Friday and Saturday (May 25-26) at the Isabel Bader Theatre (93 Charles West). 416-534-6604.
harold gets mod
Last week's announcement that the Chalmers Awards are kaput overshadowed the presentation of the Harold Awards, which recognize unsung heroes on and off local stages.
This year's winners include playwright Daniel David Moses; Theatre Passe Muraille's Layne Coleman; actor/director Paul Bettis; newly appointed Factory Theatre managing director Nancy Webster; administrators Jane Marsland, Jan McIntyre and Kristen Van Alphen; production manager David Hoekstra; producer Naomi Campbell; technicians Michelle Ramsay and Adrien Whan; and the folks behind Arts Vote, Tim Jones, Pat Bradley, Susan Serran, Sandra Tulloch and Rose Jacobson.
Winner of the Ken McDougall director's fund award is actor/director Patrick Conner, who helmed one of last year's best SummerWorks plays, Poochwater, and is remounting his recent Rhubarb! success, AC198, at this summer's fest.