Full Fathom five
Scientists argue that life came from the sea. SaBooge Theatre understands that source of creation, for the Montreal-based troupe's biggest hit, Fathom , is intimately tied to the watery depths.
The play, which trails a stream of awards won in New York, Dublin and Montreal, arrives in Toronto for a brief run starting tonight (Thursday, December 15).
Set in an 18th-century Tasmanian penal colony, it focuses on the conflict between two men of science, one a rigid fundamentalist and the other a more open-minded guy who discovers a young man who is able to breathe underwater.
"Fathom began as a short story I wrote, but all that's left of the original is a mother and her water-breathing son,- recalls Jodi Essery , who's part of the theatrical collective that devised the play. "We knew we wanted to do a movement-based piece, spent our time researching before we began rehearsals and spelunked about in the rehearsal hall to find a text and characters.-
Several members of the five-year-old company studied at the Lecoq school in Paris, so physical theatre is part of their training. The script suggests a production filled with moments of stage magic.
"At base, it's about science versus emotion, in this case using the grotesque to find an unexpected aspect of humanity,- says Essery. "Our work tends to be dark and draw on the collective unconscious; here, we're exploring how a society puts up filters that keep people from recognizing their true nature.-
See Opening Listings for details.
Trust Theatre Columbus to take trips into the unknown. We caught a performance of their latest workshop, Martha Ross 's And Up They Flew: A Farce About The 20th Century , directed by Leah Cherniak .
The warmth, charm and bittersweet comedy inherent in the company's work was very much in evidence, even if at this stage in the process the characters are stronger than their relationships.
Standouts in the cast included Jenny Young as a woman who dreams of being the first female to fly solo westbound across the Atlantic, and a mesmerizing Maggie Huculak as an elderly woman who wanders through the central action, a sometimes befuddled, sometimes prescient figure of fate with her own problems to solve.
In a script with sets of philandering couples, disappointed friendships and several people wanting to flee from unhappy situations, the stage is set for all sorts of complications.
The skill of a Theatre Columbus show is that it can mix the joyful with the sad and reveal to viewers something profound about themselves. And this new piece, even early in its life, has the potential for that richness.
A number of works that originated in or played Toronto have had successful runs in theatre centres across the country and abroad.
In the past few months New Yorkers have seen David S. Craig 's Danny, King Of The Basement , Daniel MacIvor 's Marion Bridge and Charles Ross 's One Man Star Wars Trilogy . Just opened is a new production by Parallel Exit , former NOW coverboy Mark Lonergan 's company; he calls This Way That Way "a magical action-adventure Depression-era physical comedy.- If you're in New York City, check it out at the new 59E59 Theaters (www.parallelexit.net).
Toronto Fringe-originated hits keep getting productions elsewhere, too. Claire Calnan 's Inanna was remounted in Victoria over the summer, while Lisa Codrington 's Cast Iron , in the expanded version produced by Nightwood Theatre , had its Caribbean premiere in Barbados, courtesy of Back Row Theatre . California's seen JOB: The Hip-Hopera , 'Da Kink In My Hair and The Drowsy Chaperone .
Speaking of The Drowsy Chaperone, co-writer Bob Martin 's been performing the show in Los Angeles and therefore can't work on the third season of the TV mini-series Slings And Arrows , set in the New Burbage Theatre Festival , a fictional classical company with more than a passing similarity to the Stratford Festival. Co-writers Susan Coyne and Mark McKinney invited award-winning playwright Sean Reycraft (Pop Song, One Good Marriage) to join the team.
In the first two seasons, the drama focused on New Burbage productions of Hamlet and Macbeth, and the upcoming season draws on King Lear. The plum is having William Hutt who's played the role at Stratford as the performer cast as Lear; Sarah Polley also joins the cast as the actor playing Cordelia. Look for the series to run in 2006.