Hakk. Fucking cough. Blah blah blah, etc. That’s how it is, let’s move on, righty-o? While I’m still breathing over here.
Weak and rotting though I might have been, I still managed to push out for five shows yester, tho I had to pass on the performance bar. Sorry, Ghost Bees! Play Ottawa sometime, I’ll make it up to you. The first four shows, oddly enough, were all at the Theatre Passe Muraille…two main, two studio. And I love that studio space, but ouch, those…let’s call them ‘seats’, shall we? But what the heck, I was already feeling terrible.
First show was in the mainspace, and it was one I was dead excited about, d’bi.young’s WORD! SOUND! POWAH!, a follow up to her brilliant blood.claat that I saw earlier this year at the GCTC in O-town. d’bi is an actress, dub-poet and just all-around genius, and when she puts on a show, strap yourself in. The story is one of revolution in Jamaica, and the struggles of the beaten-down young, here represented be Benu and her dubpoet allies, versus the entrenched and brutal poitical power. She tells the story with music, spoken word, verses powerful enough to knock you out of your seat, and enough energy to keep Toronto running for another hundred years. Visitor like, so please…go see it.
Next up was IXOK’ (pronounced e-shock), a dance-theatre piece about a little more revolution, this time down Guatemala way. Told by performer Mayahuel Tecozautla, with musical accompaniment by percussionist Brandon Valdivia, and they make a dynamite combniation onstage. Mayahuel too has plenty of energy to share with her audience, and the story was a powerful one, well told. The use of music and imagery was pretty keen, and the dance and acting was balanced nicely too. A shorter piece, but there’s a lot packed in there. Worth it.
Stayed in that spot for THE SADDEST GIRL IN THE WORLD, a disturbing but pretty fine story of a terribly depresed (or possibly lazy) young girl named El, who battles with her mother, seduces the shiftless renters downstairs, and has occasional Lynchian dream-conference with a long dead deer. Strong performances, and especially lead gal Noa May Dorn as El, who has to be in just about every scene of this longer piece, that offers no easy answers to El’s dilemma. And if you sit right up front, on the right..? You get a real good look at the deer! I even got a picture. Awesome.
A quick bop next door back to the mainspace, and I just make it in time for THE KREUTZER SONATA, Ted Dykstra’s one-man powerhouse performance about a jealous rage powered by Beethoven, and it’s a very smart look into a troubled mind. It’s fascinating to watch this man, seated for most of the performance in a comfy chair, rationalize his descent into mania, the way most such men likely do, and Dykstra carries it off with wit and charm. He owns the stage from his perch, and it’s a lovely thing to see.
From there I hustled down Queen to the T.A.N. coffee house, for ANATOMY OF A BROKEN LOVE AFFAIR. A slightly confused scene at the front door aside, we eventually made it in to the back of the shop…which disappointed me. If you’re going to stage a breakup play in a coffee shop, why not USE that interesting space, instead of cramming us into the dull blank wall at the back? Anyways. The play itself was nicely done, and leads Megan Dunlop and Colin Doyle perform well as lovers who meet up, fall in love, fall apart, and dissect the whole affair for our benefit. A little dry in spots, and some aspects of the goings-on weren’t really clear to me, and mostly it was just…nice. Not a knockout, but a good piece, well acted.
…and then, I was done. Hacking, coughing, dripping all sorts of things that we don’t need to go into. I found a hole in the wall with cheap rye n’ gingers to try and help knock me out so I wouldn’t be bothering my fellow hosteliers with my sick-sounds all night, and that was it for my day three. Here’s hoping I get a few healthy days out of this silly vacation. Or at least, more good shows. Til Tomorrow,