Catch the award-winning Danny, King Of The Basement while you can. Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People brings back the Roseneath Theatre production one last time before Roseneath retires the piece.
A look at a boy who moves regularly from one low-rent home to another with his single-parent mother, the show last played Toronto in 2001 and won a Dora for outstanding production. Its themes include the power of the imagination and of friendship, concepts that haven't changed.
Neither, unfortunately, have the statistics that inspired the show: a shockingly large percentage of Canadian children live below the poverty line.
Though the play's been performed around the world some 700 times and nominated for the German Children's Theatre Award, it's had little social effect here in Canada.
"In terms of children's poverty," sighs playwright David S. Craig , "nothing's different in political agendas or daily life.
"We've played to nearly 250,000 people, but most of them have been children. When Ed Broadbent invited us to perform for the 2005 opening of Parliament, only six or seven MPs turned up."
Too bad. The piece doesn't just make a political point; it's also first-rate theatre for young and old, a notion that's close to Craig's heart.
"If you want to invest in the aesthetic life of a population, you'd want to give serious thought to work for children. In Europe the most intelligent, clever theatrical minds are engaged in creating the best theatre for children, whom artists consider a valuable, essential part of the theatre community.
"Here in Canada, most practitioners slough off theatre for young audiences as something that's not their responsibility."
Directed by Richard Greenblatt , the Toronto production of Danny features Jacklyn Francis , Yanna McIntosh , Jordan Pettle and Cliff Saunders . See Opening, page 79.
It's not your average theatre experience. The Chaos Collective revisits the 20s avant-garde parlour game Exquisite Corpse, invented by a group of surrealist poets who each wrote down a few words without seeing what the last person had scribbled. They considered the result a poem that represented the group's collective unconscious.
The title comes from the first game, which included the phrase "The exquisite corpse will drink the new wine."
Chaos Collective's version of the game, which they dub "surreality theatre," involves playwright/actors Dmitry Chepovetsky (Toronto), Jenn Griffin (Vancouver) and Heidi Waters (Montreal), who each wrote a play without a predetermined theme and without knowing what the others were creating. The scripts were then turned into a dramatic collage by dramaturge/director Liesl Lafferty (Winnipeg).
The result, Blind Submissions: Reliving The Exquisite Corpse , is an unknown commodity for the company. But they know it will be so for the audience, too, so six of the performances, including the previews, are "pay what you think it's worth" - you pay admission after the performance rather than before.
See Previewing, page 79.
Here's a different take on The Rocky Horror Picture Show. It's thesource for A Series Of Savage Events: A Love Story, the latestpiece by the acting students at the Centre for IndigenousTheatre.
In the hands of director Muriel Miguel (Spiderwoman Theater, TheUnnatural And Accidental Women) and the young performers, the showbrings together indigenous cosmology and the artists' personalexperiences.
As the dynamic Miguel states, "We wanted to tell our own stories. Buthow do you tell stories of oppression, alcoholism, drug and sexualabuse without turning people off, especially if you're talking toanother generation? And these actors are young enough to talk to thenext generation."
Choreography is by Troy Emery Twigg, with musical direction byMicah Barnes and design by Andy Moro. See Opening.