Scene and heard
Want some sly comedy to ease the stress of holiday shopping?
Check out Theresa Rebeck 's The Scene , a look at the politics and superficial relationships fostered by the entertainment industry. Presented by the Pilot Group , the play focuses on Charlie and Stella, an unemployed New York actor and his successful TV producer wife. Things get rockier when Charlie takes up with Clea, a fresh-faced ingenue from Ohio.
"Charlie isn't a bad guy," says director Kyra Harper , "he just makes bad choices. I think he destroys what he has with Kate because their relationship has gone off the rails. She's taken charge, and he doesn't feel like he's a man, that he can deal with more knocks to his ego."
On the other hand, notes Harper - a fine actor who we don't see onstage often enough - part of Charlie's problem with emasculation stems from the business in which he works.
"Though the play is set in the States, the situation isn't so different here," she sighs. "Ageism is a huge factor in our industry, a problem that women have faced for a long while. But in the past five or seven years, it's hit men as well, especially in film and TV.
"A lot of it has to do with the fact that executives and producers are getting younger. As a result, when a part calls for a man in his 50s, the finished product turns him into someone in his late 30s, maybe 40."
Rebeck, co-author of Omnium Gatherum, has written what Harper calls a comedy of manners.
"It's a social satire, not a farce or a sitcom. The writing is ironic in its humour, but it's underlined with a great deal of pathos. We're working to find the balance between the comedy and the grittiness of the relationships."
How can a wicked witch morph into a cabaret diva?
It's not hard for Sharron Matthews , who's used to drawing crowds for her monthly Sharron's Party! shows.
She's back with a special Christmas event that stops at the Diesel Playhouse next Monday (December 10) as part of a tour of southern Ontario.
Billed as Sharron's Christmas Party! , the event doesn't give the talented Matthews much time off from her day job - playing the Wicked Witch of the West in the production of The Wizard Of Oz at the Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People . Witchy cackling must be a good way to keep the voice in shape.
Her guests for the show are Thom Allison (who plays the Tin Woodsman in the same production) and Dmitry Chepovetsky . And if you like her work, you can pick up her newly released CD, Party Girl!
Here's a way to add to your holiday booty and support theatre at the same time. Buddies in Bad Times holds its annual seasonal auction, Who's Your Santa?, on Saturday (December 8), hosted by Maggie Cassella.
Among the celebrity Santas offering goods for giving (or keeping for yourself) are gallery owner Dennis O'Connor, drag artists Miss Conception and Deb Pearce, OUTtv celebrities John Simpson and Chris Carter and Northbound Leather's Anna Giaouris.
Available for purchase is art by Kurt Swinghammer, Sarah Nind, Juno Youn and others, travel packages, theatre tickets and ? no surprise here ? sex toys.
Tickets include admission, nibblies, a pair of silent auction tickets and tickets for door prizes.
Two groups are looking for submissions for upcoming festivals.
Nightwood Theatre's Write From the Hip, a program for novice playwrights, is looking for women aged 18 to 29 who want to develop their skills writing for the theatre; previous experience isn't necessary. Those chosen take part from May to September in weekly workshops, mentoring and seminars in play development. Each member will create a short piece to be staged during the Groundswell Festival.
Send a package that includes two to four pages (maximum) of creative writing, a one-page letter of interest and a resume to Lisa Codrington, Co-Director of Youth Initiatives, Write From the Hip Submissions, Nightwood Theatre, 55 Mill Street, #301, Case Goods Warehouse, Building 74, Toronto M5A 3C4. No e-mail submissions. Deadline is January 15.
The performance art group 7a*11d holds its seventh International Festival of Performance Art next fall in Toronto. There's even a chance for those who can't attend the festival to submit via the curated D2D Direct To Documentation video program.
Deadline is January 15. For the full application and submission details, see www.7a-11d.ca.