no horses shot
The joint was jumping at the first annual Backstage Ball, a dance-athon funder last Saturday, April 19, for Nightwood Theatre. Fifty competitors tore up the floor at the Berkeley Church for seven hours (though there was a bit of tired shuffling by midnight) to win awards for longest-on-the-floor contestant, top fundraiser and various other prizes. Elvira Kurt hosted.
Alongside Diane Flacks and Pam McConnell, we judged a feminist interpretive dance competition and gave the prize to writer/actor Marjorie Chan, who began with some cries of "Pain, pain" and made creative use of balloons. Among the other judges were Barbara Hall, the B-Girlz's BBQ, a group of Toronto firefighters (best dirty dancing), Nancy Palk and Theresa Tova (interpretive dance: vagina).
sketch a play
Maybe a picture is worth a thousand words, but sometimes it also inspires a short play. New stage companies Ante-M Theatre and Bodicea Productions sponsor Project: Just Being, a two-part funder for Sketch, an organization that donates art lessons and space to Toronto's homeless, at-risk and street-involved youth. Art pieces produced by Sketch participants are springboards for original pieces by playwrights Bobby Del Rio, Matthew Edison, Matthew MacFadzean, Mike McPhaden, Adam Pettle and others. Directed by a slew of up-and-comers, among them Rebecca Brown, Patrick Conner, Michael Kessler, Zaib Shaikh and Nicole Stamp, the shows run at the Poor Alex starting tonight (Thursday, April 24). See listings for details.
Caught a double header of George Brown Theatre productions, including Lady Windermere's Fan (see review, page 60). The companion show is Friedrich Dürrenmatt's The Visit, directed by Todd Hammond, in which a wealthy woman returns to her impoverished village and offers villagers a huge fortune. It comes, they learn, with a price tag.
The production's most impressive aspects are Camellia Koo's set and the acting of Athena Lamarre as the town schoolteacher. Lamarre, who's been impressive in each George Brown production this year, paints a sharp portrait of a woman who, sucked into a whirlpool of greed, realizes that it means the loss of her humanity.