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Friday, June 12, 2009

Praxis Blog and Website pre-relaunch blackout

Photo by stuartpilbrow licensed under Creative Commons 2.0

The integration of the Praxis blog and website will likely cause some problems over the weekend. Regular programming will resume on Tuesday June 16, 2009.

One url to rule them all!

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Praxis Theatre blog is moving

The new address of the Praxis Theatre Blog is:

Our integrated website with a much more functional blog on the homepage will be up and running June 16th.

Please take the time to update your blog rolls and bookmarks.

See you on the flipside!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Indie Dora 2009 nominees


Layne Coleman Tijuana Cure
Brendan Gall, Mike McPhaden, Rick Roberts & Julie Tepperman The Gladstone Variations
Tara Beagan Miss Julie: Sheh'mah
David Yee lady in the red dress
Anton Piatigorsky Eternal Hydra

You Fancy Yourself Produced by Contrary Company in association with Theatre Passe Muraille
The Gladstone Variations Convergence Theatre
lady in the red dress fu-GEN Asian-Canadian Theatre Company in association with the Young Centre for the Performing Arts
Eternal Hydra Crow's Theatre
Appetite Volcano in association with the Exchange Rate Collective

Mary Francis Moore You Fancy Yourself
Rebecca Benson, Alan Dilworth, Ruth Madoc-Jones & Aaron Willis The Gladstone Variations
Nina Lee Aquino lady in the red dress
Chris Abraham Eternal Hydra
Sarah Sanford Appetite

David Ferry Someone Who'll Watch Over Me
R.H. Thomson Someone Who'll Watch Over Me
Steven McCarthy Norway.Today
Ins Choi lady in the red dress
David Ferry Eternal Hydra

Maja Ardal You Fancy Yourself
Janet Amos The Gladstone Variations
Christine Horne Miss Julie: Sheh'mah
Karen Robinson Eternal Hydra
Liisa Repo-Martell Eternal Hydra

Victoria Wallace Mourning Dove
Teresa Przybylski Miss Julie: Sheh'mah
Camellia Koo lady in the red dress
John Thompson Eternal Hydra
Gillian Gallow Appetite

Shawn Kerwin Miss Julie: Sheh'mah
Julia Tribe + Reva Quam Wise.Woman
Gillian Gallow Appetite
Barbara Rowe Eternal Hydra
Victoria Wallace And Up They Flew

Andy Moro Miss Julie: Sheh'mah
Trevor Schwellnus minotaur
Michelle Ramsay lady in the red dress
John Thompson Eternal Hydra
Rebecca Picherack Appetite

Christopher Stanton minotaur
Romeo Candido lady in the red dress
Richard Feren Eternal Hydra
Robert Perrault Appetite
Waylen Miki An Inconvenient Musical

Congrats to all!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Actors’ Equity adjusts rules to further empower NYC Member-Creators

The agreement, which is not technically an Equity contract, but is "promulgated by Actors' Equity Association to allow its members to participate in productions in small theaters without the benefit of an Equity Contract."

Members receive no salary or benefits and the performance and rehearsal schedules are limited in number. The terms of the code, created by and for the members, are designed to protect both the Equity actors and the interests of those theatres in New York City that operate under an Equity contract.

Approximately 1000 productions went on in NYC last year under this agreement, which does not forbid producers and actors coming to a sub-Equity standard agreement on pay. This code can only be used by Equity actors working in theatres with less than 99 seats in two types of situations:

A) The Basic Showcase Code for use on independent one-time productions.
B) The Festival Showcase Code that allows actors to work for not-for profit producers who create a season of work.

 Some of the recent changes include:
  • Maximum ticket prices have been increased from $20 to $25.
  • Maximum rehearsal time has been increased from four to five weeks.
  • Maximum budget to fall under the basic code is increased from $20,000 to $35,000.
  • Performances may now be held over a six-week period.
These changes were the result of the Off-Off Broadway Committee, which is made up of members of Equity who have worked under the code and producers who have produced under the code.

Will this significant shift by AEA towards allowing its membership greater ability to leverage their labour to kick-start careers and productions have an impact in Canada?

Members of Canadian Actors Equity Association voted 96-1 to express dissatisfaction with the options currently available to Member/Creators at the 2009 AGM. [Click here for full info and more photos on the CAEA website.]   

The 2009 CAEA AGM held on February 24th in Toronto saw a massive turnout to support a Member Resolution calling for Equity to provide a Showcase-type agreement for use by its membership. The final vote in support of this motion was 96-1. The issue brought out so many members, that the minutes to several previous AGMs were passed by an assembly that had finally achieved quorum. Clearly CAEA has a mandate to come up with a new system that supports members that want to hustle to get something off the ground, but no one knows what will be proposed.

What do you think? Should CAEA adopt a Showcase-type code? Should the rules in the U.S. have anything to do with Canadian rules? Are these agreements “the thin end of the wedge” that will spell the end of reasonable protections for performers? Has that been the case in New York? Is this a good way to facilitate artists creating their own work?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Facebook reveals Your True Theatre Calling

There is a 10 question quiz making the rounds on Facebook that allows users to determine definitively Your True Theatre Calling.  

Forget for a moment that almost all the theatre artists you know under 35 years of age do more than one thing, and that the new era of artists seems to be an entrepreneurial set that refuses to be defined by a single job desciption out of both necessity and ambition.  The real question is, "Does the quiz work?" Judging by the results below, the technology may need some refining. (This may also be a window into why online dating results in so many ill-suited matches. It all makes sense on paper.....)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Praxis Gourmet - Summer 09 Edition

Praxis will be holding it’s biannual Praxis Gourmet on the evening of Thursday June 4th, 2009.

Praxis Gourmet is an exclusive fine-dining and wine-pairing event, featuring a gourmet five-course meal with wine pairings. This will be accompanied by a live jazz trio and a sneak-preview scene from the upcoming shows this summer. It has proven in the past to be a magical evening and is an essential part of how Praxis raises funds for its productions.

Here’s a look at the menu for June 4th:

Hors d’oeuvres
Endive cups with blue cheese, pecans, dried cherry, and maple vinaigrette.
Heirloom tomato and watermelon gazpacho

First Course
Cured wild caught Rainbow Trout, with wild arugula, Bartlett pear and citrus vinaigrette.

Second Course
BBQ locally farmed turkey with lemon, dijon, and smoked paprika.
Roast fingerling potato
BBQ white and green asparagus
Wild leek aioli.

Cheese Course
Locally produced sheep’s milk cheese from Monforte Dairy.
Marmalade of orange, basil and balsamic.

Home made Orange Spice Ice Cream in BBQ half peach with ginger white chocolate tuile.

The price is $110 per person, with all funds going towards our upcoming Summer Season.
A limited number of reservations are still available. 
Email simonrice(at) to reserve your spot today.

We hope you can make it for this evening of great food, wine and theatre!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Harold Awards this Monday: May 25th

If the belligerent relative that showed up late to your cousin Dora's wedding to shout out horrible truths to the dismay of the assembled guests was an awards show, it would probably be the Harolds. It's sort of like the Doras in the way that the Moon is sort of like a football. It's happening on Monday. 14 Harolds are awarded - the recipient of last year's award choosing who to pass it on to next, and the real trick is you have to trick them into going without knowing they're getting Harolded. It works to varying degrees. Visiting, dancing and heckling is strongly encouraged, and although Harold didn't drink, you probably will.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eat The Street: Is it theatre?

O'Donnell is part of his own documentary crew at Addis Abba

By Lindsay Schwietz 

A lot has been written about Darren O’Donnell. You can find him on the cover of Eye Weekly, a comprehensive article in Taste T.O., and even The Toronto Star. Just the mention of his name can incite debate about the value and purpose of his work, or the obsessive love of twenty-something women.

Can Darren O’Donnell and his company, Mammalian Diving Reflex’s newest work with children be considered theatre? Do his theories of Social Acupuncture and his attempt to break down our boundaries and force social encounters have a place in the Toronto theatre community?

Parkdale Public School vs. Queen Street West 2: Eat The Street is Mammalian Diving Reflex’s newest project, where a group of students from Parkdale reviewed eleven restaurants in the Queen Street West area. It all culminated in the awards ceremony at the Gladstone Hotel on May 11th. 

I had been to one of the dinners, at Addis Abba, an Ethiopian restaurant where we all shared platters of food and sat at a long table, mingling youth and adults. This involved being watched by the other diners in the restaurant, many sitting atop a higher platform peering down at us. Everyone of us at the table were "the players" - the flash of the camera every few seconds, the video in our faces asking us what we think, the audience witnessing an impromptu celebration of sorts. It was a collective experience, viewed by others, documented extensively and influenced by who was in the room.

Sitting in the back room of the Gladstone Hotel, it all seemed so anti-climactic. We are out of the public eye, in a room that looks a lot like any other small awards ceremony I’ve been to. Not what I had expected.

The Parkdale Pumas enter through the middle of the audience to the stage after a quiet thank you to all the sponsors by Artistic Producer Natalie De Vito, Darren O’Donnell and three of the students act as MC’s for the night. Darren talks about his lucky red socks before announcing the first award for Hottest Waiters is awarded to the Drake Hotel, who went on to win Best Overall Restaurant. They proceed to award Scariest Bathroom: Mitzi’s Sister because of the red light, Least Graffiti in the Washroom: Saigon Flower (causing the  little lady owner to look like she might cry with happiness onstage accepting it), and Coolest Chef: Matthew Matheson at Oddfellows because of his many tattoos. You can find full results on the Eat the Street Blog .

There were two dance breaks, by a brother and sister, doing traditional Indian dancing. There were images of the hottest waiters; video of the coolest chef showing off the many tattoos covering his body; O'Donnell attempting discussions onstage with the youth presenting the awards and them responding with awkward one-word answers. There was mention of some of the people in the room who were regulars to the dinners and supportive journalists. Some restaurants showed to accept their awards, some didn’t.

Darren O’Donnell’s past works with children, include the internationally touring Haircuts by Children, where youth were taught to cut hair, then gave out free haircuts to willing adults, and the Children’s Choice Awards, allowing children to experience art, theatre, dance, etc and give awards to their choice of categories. Both events share similarities to Eat The Street in their reliance on spectacle and media.

Jury members rate their culinary experience.

But the awards ceremony for Eat the Street was less about the spectacle and more about celebrating the people in the room, what is around them every day, their diversity and ultimately, their similarities. This was more community focused than a theatrical act and everyone present seemed somehow connected to the project.

Frankly, I was slightly disappointed. I wanted the drama, spectacle and grandeur. But I suppose that isn’t what Mammalian Diving Reflex’s Social Acupuncture wing of their company is about. According to their website, they “bridge gaps between people who may not ordinarily have any reason to form relationships. Simultaneous to its impact in the community, it functions as a laboratory of sorts for the performance work of the company, inspiring new techniques and approaches.”

This is the answer. The Eat the Street Awards Ceremony might have been more about a community coming together to share and less about theatre. But it still has theatrical elements and inspires future theatrical production. And it has taught me more about the community of Parkdale that I live in, the people around me, the children that run by me, the families that have recently immigrated here, the restaurants and ultimately about myself and how I fit into that.

Maybe if more theatre in Toronto had that impact on the audience – involved and taught the community – instead of rerunning the same past successful productions over and over again, theatre would hold a more important and impacting place in general society.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Variation #2: David Ferry

The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations, and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could perceive.
And particularly they studied the genius of each city & country. placing it under its mental deity.
Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of & enslav’d the vulgar by attempting to realise or abstract the mental deities from their objects; thus began Priesthood.
Choosing forms of worship from Poetic tales.
And at length they announced that the Gods had ordered such things.
Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.

Click here

David Ferry is an actor and director. He stars in Eternal Hydra by Anton Piatigorsky, presented by Crows Theatre opening May 17th, 2009 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre in Toronto.

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

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Out and About

Gianpaolo Venuta, star of Over the River and Through the Woods at the Segal Theatre in Montreal, was seen leaving the Jeanne Sauvé mansion late Saturday night with a mystery blond on his arm...Does his girlfriend know about this?