THAT was a hectic day or so, for a vacation. Didn’t get off work on the wednesday until 11pm (I think my boss was inflicting petty revenge by scheduling me for a nite shift the day before my first, like, EVER vacation). Drinks, then home for a quick final check and few hours snooze before a 6 am rise to drag my freshly-shaved-head self across town to the train station. I’d been looking forward to this…trains are better than busses (my usual mode of to-Toronto transport), right?
Well, a little faster, anyhow. Surprisingly uncomfortable seat, and I developed a mysterious sore throat along the way. Oh well. VACATION!
Checked into my hostel, the lovely Clarence Castle, wehere the staff has gotten a lot more brusque since my last stay. Seriously, I have yet to even see one of them crack a smile. It’s getting creepy. But, it’s a bed, and that’s all I needed. A bed and food and coffee, because at thispoint it was after 2 pm and I hadn’t had either all day. I caffeined up at Starbucks, then had a burger and fries at SHANGHAI COWGIRL. I was running a little later than I’d planned then, so I hustled on over to my first ever Summerworks venue, the FACTORY THEATRE. Where, it turns out, they’ve got a litle beer garden set up, so huzzah! Tho I was still feeling a little under the weather and didn’t partake just yet. And my first show got decided for me when a beautiful lady in a pretty dress walked over and handed me a free ticket to the permiere of SHED, which I happily accepted (I think she may have ben the writer…I’ll get back to you on that one).
Headed on in after saying hi to Pitch Blonde’s Laura Anne Harris and her beau Chris, a good sort of bloke, who awere also in attendance. Laura just owned Winnipeg at their Fringe Festival, and rightfully so. But on to SHED. This was a pretty darn well-done show, and a nice way to start the festival. All four leads were very good, and youngster Jovan Kocic as troubled Mitch really impressed. I thought they could have used a smaller venue, actually, to emphasize the claustrophobic nature of the play’s messages of alienation, desperation and just plain being trapped, but that’s aesthetics. It was a good story told in an intriguing way, and I do approve.
Thee, first show down! Still feeling a little off, I picked up some advil and halls to try and fight things off, then headed right on back to the Factory for BIOGRAPHIES OF THE DEAD AND DYING, a play by Andrew Templeton. A two-manner about a writer, alice, who is famous for one novel she can no longer stand, and the men in her life…a poet ex-husband and a a handyman, both played by Jeff Meadows, and a ghost known as Old Tom who may or may not be lurking in the house Alice has rented on Vancouver Island.
It’s a sharp funny script, the leads are fantastic, great chemistry, great direction, and the naughty bits are just enough to get the audience on the good side of feeling dirty. Very recommended indeed.
By this time, I’d been going pretty long that day, still a little out of it, and mildly homesick/trainlagged. So my next show was a definite pleasure, Ottawa’s own COUNTRIES SHAPED LIKE STARS. And yes, this was my third time seeing this gem, and I’d do it again. If you haven’t seen it, run screaming to the Theatre Centre and catch it as soon as you can, because it will make everything in your life better, I promise. Nick DiGaetano and Emily Pearlman are killer-cool magickal in this fairy tale love story, featuring my favourite use of lighting in any show, ever. And I got to be Ursa Major this time!
I’d say more, but I’m still getting my Toronto legs under me. Headed straight home to the hostel last nite, no boozing jut yet. Feeling better today, tho…had me a hearty bowl of Pho that seems to have done the trick as far as curing what ails me. Gonna take it easy the rest of this AM til the next show, at 4. Maybe hit the Beguiling for some comix. Yeah, that’s the stuff. Oh, speaking of which, check out the new MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER from Dark Horse…fun stuff.
Right, of fI go…get you out to some shows, Toronto, and Ottawa, I’ll see you next week! Til Tomorrow,