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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stan's Cafe and HATCHLab: Learn to a make crazy experimental theatre for free

Stan's Cafe is coming to Harbourfront Centre in Toronto. These guys are crazy (in a good way). In an effort to allow facilitate skill and idea transfer between international and local artists, they are currently accepting applications, due tomorrow, to work with their AD James Yarker. 

The press release reads:
"HATCHLab is an intensive peer-to-peer learning opportunity presented as part of Harbourfront Centre’s HATCH: emerging performance projects and World Stage programmes. HATCHLab’s goal is to create a space for conversation about practice and to cross distances between artists in Toronto’s performance community and our international peers. Previous HATCHLab’s have featured New York’s TEAM (Theatre of the Emerging American Moment) and Australia’s Back to Back Theatre. This time, Stan’s Cafe Artistic Director James Yarker will lead a workshop on performance creation, devising, and the meetings of theatre, visual and performance art cultures.

Space in HATCHLab is limited. Interested participants should apply no later than Thursday, April 30. The workshop is being created for the participants, so please include a bio and resume in your email, and tell us why you’d like to be part of the workshop and what you’d like to get out of it. Email your submissions to Successful applicants will be notified no later than Friday, May 1."
Check out these videos of the two shows they will be presenting, before you decide if this is a good idea:

The Cleansing of Constance Brown

Of All the People in the World

Monday, April 27, 2009

What should we discuss now?

Any suggestions?

Friday, April 24, 2009

City of Wine - Pentheus and Jocasta

Pentheus directed by Tatiana Jennings, Humber College, Toronto
Performs: Tues May 5 @ 8pm, Friday May 8 @ noon

Having closed the show on April 18th, Pentheus is still fresh in our minds and bodies at Humber College. We celebrated a great run at our theatre, and look forward to the remount in May. Much like the other participating schools, we’re wrapping up our year and time at Humber, with other final performances and projects taking place. Our time at Theatre Passe Muraille is fast approaching, and our remount rehearsals are on their way as well! As Torontonians we have the luxury of knowing Passe Muraille as audience members, so we’re familiar with the space. However, we will be faced with the point of view of performers, so will soon be navigating a newly taped-out rehearsal floor that will reflect the City of Wine setup. As the date draws closer, we talk often of meeting the other students from across the country, as well as directors, technicians, family, and the general public that will be involved with City of Wine. It’s such a thrilling way to exit theatre school, working amongst one another and closing the distance between schools across the country. What better way to enter a career in the arts than to work with other emerging artists from all necks of these Canadian woods? It’s with this inspiration that we press forward, managing to get through our year-end tasks and performances, looking forward to the City of Wine and all that will follow.

Emily Farrell

Jocasta directed by Craig Hall, Studio 58 at Langara College, Vancouver
Performs: Wed May 6 @ 4pm, Friday May 8 @ 8pm

Image by Emily Cooper

The living definition of playing at work: Remember how in elementary school you folded pieces of paper until they couldn’t get any smaller, then pulled them out and they looked like accordions? Imagine that, but as set pieces. The furniture for Jocasta is made of paper, yup. These set pieces fold accordion style into completely flat slabs, get carried on stage and then opened up and stepped on, sat on, jumped on, or whatever else one may want to do to it. On a nightly basis I am amazed at the abuse that these little buggers can take. On the opening days of rehearsal all the named characters would go off to work on emblems and other types of character building processes, whist we, the unnamed, would spend hours figuring out how crazy of shapes and designs we could make with these while still being able to support a person! And it didn’t stop there, these pieces were an obsession for the run of the show, I continue to find new ways that they can be folded, one of the many reasons I didn’t get a chance to blog about it. I don’t feel that any amount of description can do justice to how cool these things are; therefore I posted a demo of them on YouTube. Check it out. Also there you will find a promo video for the Vancouver production. It has shots of people actually standing on these guys. Enjoy

Joel Grinke

Click here to get fully up to date on City of Wine

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Chris Dupuis is talking to The Globe and Mail (but are they listening?)

Toronto-based theatre artist and journalist Chris Dupuis has taken on the Margaret Wente and The Globe and Mail over their willingness to print her recent article on HIV and the issues surrounding HIV disclosure in his recent article in XTRA

Dupuis, who is also editor of the Time and Space Magazine, a forum for critical discussion of contemporary art, performance and politics; finishes his finely-tuned critique with this final challenge:
The damage that Wente has done to the general public’s perception of HIV-positive people and advocacy groups is immeasurable. I have never been so ashamed of another member of my profession.

I call on the Globe’s editors to assign a rebuttal piece to Wente’s work to run on the front page of a future Saturday edition of that paper.

It’s time for the Globe to put things right
In support of Dupuis and his attempt to garner balanced coverage to this issue we invite readers to leave puns in the comments section that make discuss Margaret Wente and her approach to journalism: We'll go first:
  • That's Wente happens when you present material out of context.
See how easy it is?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

City of Wine - Harmonia and Laius

Harmonia directed by DD Kugler, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver
Performs: Tues May 5th @ 4pm and  Thurs May 7th @ 8pm

This process of rehearsing a show for remount is a strange and wonderful thing. Strange because things are the same, and yet different; it’s clearly not a new production, and yet it’s not quite the same as the first one either. But this is what’s wonderful about the process as well. What an opportunity it is to come back to characters and a story with the kind of understanding that only a production can give you, and then continue to work! To be able to solidify as well as break open the elements of the original show! To make new discoveries (not least of which is that where once you had space on the stage for entrances and exits, you now have a solid wall…)! This chance to take a second look at our work is a gift, and we are excited to be able to bring this story to life again as part of the City of Wine Festival.

Caroline Sniatynski

Laius directed by Eda Holmes, George Brown Theatre School, Toronto
Performs: Wed May 6 @ noon and Fri May 8 @ 4pm

The writing of this paragraph is wedged between an Italian line run of Laius, and a performance of one of our spring shows! Here, at George Brown Theatre School, we are ending off our year (and time at theatre school) by performing two shows in rep: a Restoration comedy (The Relapse) and a musical (The Baker's Wife). In between 12-hour tech rehearsals, we have been getting together to review blocking, run lines, practice transitions, and review the live music we will have to pull together again for our remount of Laius in May. It is a challenge to keep three shows ready to go at a performance level, but we all feel our acting muscles are the strongest they've ever been -- it is amazing how many worlds we can hold on to at the same time. In fact, leaving this script for days and weeks at a time to enter other characters, examine other issues, and experience other eras has actually sharpened the clarity of the Theban world for me. I have a keener sensorial understanding of what that world feels like, where its moral compass lies, and how its tragedies resonant specifically for the characters. We all look forward to reoopening the world of Thebes with fresh eyes and hearts, especially in the presence of so many other students entering the world with us! We are all also very excited to be hosting so many out-of-towners in our city ... we will welcome them with wine and more wine.

Leora Morris

Click here to get fully up to date on City of Wine

Sunday, April 19, 2009

City of Wine: The biggest thing ever

City of Wine tells the epic story of the city of Thebes and its citizens through a cycle of seven plays by playwright Ned Dickens. Produced by the award-winning dramaturgical theatre company nightswimming, the cycle will be performed twice over May 5th to 9th, 2009 at Theatre Passe Muraille in Toronto, Canada.

What did it take to make it happen?
  • 1 playwright
  • 15 years
  • 9 Workshops
  • 12 dramaturgs
  • 14 directors
  • 25 designers
  • 110 theatre artists
  • 172 professional actors
  • 9 schools
  • 42 school sessions
  • 233 student performers
  • 248 individual supporters
  • 4 Canadian cities
  • 5 days in May
  • 12 hours of theatre
McGill University professor of theatre studies Dennis Salter recently declared to Macleans Magazine, "Nothing on this scale has ever been tried in Canadian theatre."

Leading up to this event, student performer/bloggers from across Canada will be sharing their production and experience with the Praxis blog with one submission from an artist involved in each of the seven shows.

City of Wine bloggers were each given the same broad criteria: Write one paragraph about and include one image of your production. The statement, “Why I am too busy to blog about City of Wine” was suggested as a starting point for these soon-to-be graduated performers, but was not strictly prescriptive.

Stay tuned for the first responses this week!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Variation #1: Sarah Sanford

“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of Nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy.”


Enter this website and click on the box next to DINING ROOM. When the animation loads and the fly has landed, click on #3 along the bottom.

Sarah Sanford is the conceiver/director the original dance/theatre work Appetite opening April 17th in Toronto at Theatre Passe Muraille and April 30th in Philadelphia at The Wolf Building.

Click here to learn more about Praxis Theatre's Variations on Theatre.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Theatre on the internet: Praxis Theatre's Variations on Theatre

Inspired by the success of Praxis Theatre’s 101 Sentences About Theatre, this week marks the debut of a new series: Praxis Theatre’s Variations on Theatre. The series asks artists to respond with a combination of the three key elements present in theatre:

Image, sound, text.

These will consist of:

A) One image
As a jpeg or YouTube clip.

B) One song or sound 
As a link to a Myspace based artist, a website that has sound, a written description of the sound, or other legal means devised to transfer knowledge of sound through the internet.

C) One piece of text 
No constraints. Not crazy long.

Other info:
  1. A jpeg of the artist contributing to the project. (preferably NOT a headshot).
  2. Name, upcoming project and what role (i.e. director, actor, etc.) in this work is.
  3. Website that provides more detail and information on this work.
(Yes it is easy as ABC-123.)

The goal of Praxis Theatre’s Variations on Theatre is to discover new and interesting ideas about theatrical product and practice through creation as a catalyst for discussion. It also has the potential to accumulate a project that approximates small instances of theatre on the internet. That a live audience doesn't experience these responses in the same space necessarily changes the project in a way that makes this project something different from “pure theatre”. This is why they will be "variations". C’est la vie. We work with what we have.

Variations on Theatre also presents a way for the community to interact with this website as something other than a bulletin board. Or perhaps, asks that you interact with the website artistically to use the bulletin board. In either case, if you follow the criteria and give it an honest try, the process includes pimping yourself and your upcoming project. If you're not hawking any artistic wares, and find the project interesting, we'd like you to join in too.

#1 later this week!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Some questions about the Lebronsemble

The best team in professional basketball, The Cleveland Cavaliers, led by the best player in professional basketball, Lebron James, now begin many games by performing their own piece of devised original theatre. We christen this new troupe: The Lebronsemble.
  • If a typical black box theatre holds 200 people and a typical NBA arena holds 17,000 people; how may sold out performances would you need to reach as many audience members as The Lebonsemble? (Answer: 85 consecutive sell outs.) 
  • Is it surprising in the least that Lebron also happens to be a good director able to meld imagination with compelling imagery?
  • Does their success on the court stem from the strong connection they possess as an ensemble?
  • Have they been studying Stanislavki's Circles of Attention to create better awareness on the floor?
  • Luke Walton sure would make a hunky star of a short musical interlude. Are Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol cooking up their own rival act? (Before you write this off, think about all the courtside celebrities the Lakers could incorporate.)
Watch and decide:

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Appetite - The Play

If there was an "Academy Awards of Dance/Theatre YouTube Promo Clips" this one would likely receive a nomination.

Click here for more info

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

3 reasons to get your indie theatre company online by noon yesterday

by Michael Wheeler
About 25% of the time I put into being Co-Artistic Director of Praxis Theatre is devoted specifically to our blog and online presence .

That we would have ever ended up spending this much time developing our theatre company online never occurred to Co-AD Simon Rice and I when we began Praxis in the winter of 2003, but it seems wholly necessary in the early spring of 2009. We think it's so important we're in the middle of putting time and money into integrating and re-launching our website and blog at

Why? Because theatre, like virtually every other art form and industry, is being radically reshaped by the power and popularity of online media. Here are the top three reasons why:

Click here to continue reading this article on the Toronto Fringe Festival website. 

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Out and about

Jane Maggs (left) and Dana Puddicombe (right) were spotted at the opening night party for Small Wooden Shoe's Dedicated to The Revolutions at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 
Is there trouble brewing between these two co-founders of East of Reason Theatre?
Seems like it.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Praxis Theatre announces summer season

Praxis Theatre will present two new original works in the summer of 2009!

1) Tim Buck 2 @ The Toronto Fringe Festival

The first iteration of our original adaptation/exploration of the Progressive Arts Club's depression-era protest play, Eight Men Speak, will be presented at The Tranzac as part of The Fringe Club.

2) Underneath @ The SummerWorks Theatre Festival

Playwright and international security adviser Andrew Zadel, author of the award-winning Steel, returns to Praxis Theatre with his tale of UN forensic pathologists struggling to arrive at definitive answers in Kosovo.

Rum and Vodka - the remount

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

PCC to the performance nation: What has changed?

PCC Toronto asks the question: “What has changed?”

The Images Festival, Harbourfront Centre, Small Wooden Shoe, Buddies In Bad Times Theatre, The Theatre Centre, Dancemakers, and SummerWorks Festival come together to host the 11th meeting of the Performance Creation Canada Network.


Performance Creation Canada (PCC) is a nationwide network dedicated to the nourishment, management and study of performance creation in Canada, and the ecology in which it flourishes. The meeting is aimed at creating a discussion between artists in dance, theatre, music, film, and visual arts who are interested in the well being of Canadian performance creation. The conference is designed to open conversation, and open minds.

This year PCC meets in Toronto April 2nd-5th.

Click here to read their dedicated blog with all the juicy details.

2009 Keynote Speaker: Jillian Mcdonald

Scheduled Panelists/Moderators include: David Michael DiGregorio, John Jameel Farah, Oliver Husain, Sung Hwan Kim, Jillian Mcdonald, Darren O'Donnell, Beatriz Pizano, Helena Reckitt, Julia Rudelius, Sarah Stanley, Small Wooden Shoe, Evan Webber and Carl Wilson