Andrew Lamb , associate director at the drama school of the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People , recently finished helming the inaugural production by the Drama School Ensemble , composed of 10 students from grades 11 and 12. We caught their production of Sharman Macdonald 's After Juliet , a look at tensions between the Capulet and Montague teens following the deaths of Romeo and Juliet. Picking up on the themes of love and revenge in Shakespeare's play, Macdonald - whose daughter, actor Keira Knightley, suggested the idea to her mother - carries over some of the Bard's characters. Rosaline, the object of Romeo's mooning before he meets Juliet, is central here, as is Benvolio, Romeo's cousin and friend, infatuated with Rosaline.
The play shows its British roots (one character is Glaswegian, others use "feck" a lot), but that didn't stop the largely teen audience from reacting strongly to the hour-long show. Gender-switching a few of the characters - Jajube Mandiela 's Lorenzo had a nicely macho edge - Lamb showed us a world where age-old rivalries aren't easily buried.
The standout performance was Adriana Disman 's as Rosaline, who did indeed love Romeo but didn't want to be too easily won by him. Macdonald's given her the play's best speeches, and Disman revealed a conflicted woman driven equally by anger and loss. Paolo Santalucia 's cynical, explosive Valentine was also impressive.
Cleverly designed by April Viczko with a look that incorporated Elizabethan and punk styles - lots of safety pins, black lipstick and chains, along with the occasional farthingale - the production should have had a longer run.
Actors Repertory Company (ARC) concludes its Theatre ForePlay Reading Series with a staged reading of Edward Bond 's Great Peace , the third play in a trilogy set in the aftermath of a nuclear catastrophe. The British playwright, whose works often involve tough choices in our dealings with other people, looks at a time when the military is in charge of society. Part of the play grew out of an improv Bond held with university students, in which he asked them to see themselves as soldiers who had to choose between killing their brother or killing a stranger. All the students took option A.
Volcano's Ross Manson directs a cast that includes Matthew Deslippe , John Fitzgerald Jay , new company member Benjamin Clost (one of the city's best but least used performers) and guest Tanja Jacobs . An audience talk-back follows the reading.
Harbourfront Centre 's Hatch: Emerging Performance Projects seeks groups and ideas for next year's series, which includes a residency package and at least one public presentation of the developed work. They're on the lookout for artists committed to contemporary and creative performance-based work. Deadline is May 19. For more info check out www.harbourfrontcentre.com/hatch.
There's more to child power than a production of Jacob Two-Two Meets The Hooded Fang. Mammalian Diving Reflex puts scissors in the hands of grade 5 and 6 students from Parkdale Public School and lets them give haircuts to the general public at salons around town over the next two weekends. It's an empowering thing for the kids and indicates confidence on the part of those who sit down for a trim. After all, argues artistic director Darren O'Donnell , we must start granting a say to children, "creative and competent individuals whose aesthetic choices should be trusted." It's a step, he says, toward granting youngsters the chance to have a political say in their community - in fact, toward children's "complete political enfranchisement."
Subtitled "a performance about the future," Haircuts By Children takes place Saturday (May 20) in a west-end salon and the next weekend, appropriately, as part of Harbourfront Centre's International Children's Festival . For further info, check out www.mamma-lian.ca.