People who didn't know the breadth and quality of work that Nightwood Theatre has done over the past 25 years had their socks knocked off at last week's retrospective FemCab , the company's annual Five-Minute Feminist Cabaret. Even guest speaker and feminist icon Gloria Steinem appeared gobsmacked by the talent, energy and inspiration onstage. How else to explain the fact that she mistakenly called the company Blackwood Theatre?
It was a delicious evening of celebration, ebulliently hosted by Diane Flacks and Karen Robinson in ever-updated clothing styles as the years rolled past. Reading from their Nightwood-produced works, playwrights Djanet Sears , Kim Renders , Monique Mojica , Ann-Marie MacDonald and Sonja Mills reminded us of their performing as well as their writing skills.
But the talent didn't stop there. We loved d'bi.young 's hypnotic reading and lots of the comedy, especially by Maggie Cassella and Cathy Jones . The musical contributions of Saidah Baba Talibah , Maryem Tollar and Lorraine Segato also thrilled the audience. Alejandra Nunez and Colleen Allen led the evening's hot house band.
And there was a final electric moment when almost all of Nightwood's past heads gathered onstage to offer their thoughts about the company's future.
World Stage 2005 , Flying Solo , closed last weekend after offering some 20 shows over three weeks. Its focus on one-person shows gave local audiences a chance to see the amazing variety of work that fits into that seemingly simple word "solo." Not everything was of equal calibre. Some pieces, like Reflection , Throat and The End Of The Moon , were memorable for a few images and moments rather than a full production. But others, like Tim Crouch 's disconcerting but haunting My Arm , and Pochsy Unplugged , which offered death-rattle laughs from Karen Hines , were stellar.
The festival also gave us glimpses of energetic talents, among them Dave Gorman , Caroline O'Connor , Benji Reid , Denise Clarke , Brad Hampton and Marie Brassard , whose Peepshow Project , a work still in progress, will eventually be something special.