Well, now, THAT’S been a while! First there was Fringe, then there was post-Fringe ennui, THAN there was MORE Fringe, Toronto-stylee…I tell you, sometimes it’s hard to find time to Foofarah! But here I am, ready, willing and moderately able to do…whatever…what the Hell do I usually do in these things again?
Oh, that’s right. First things first…
IN THEATRES THIS WEEK!
– HENRY V by William Shakespeare and a Company of Fools. Not strictly ‘in theatre’, but close enough…the Fools are on their usual touring of the parks, this time with one of Billy Shakes’ rip-roaring adventure classics. Check their website for the next swell outdoorsy spot near you (and look for my very own writeup of the show tomorrow morning!)!
– AS YOU LIKE IT by William Shakespeare and Bear and Company. Aaand, same story as above, this time with cool new kids Bear & Co. sharing the city’s parkspace with the Fools, in one of the Bard’s more whimsical bits. I’m trying to bring my niecelets out this Wednesday.
– A WALK WITH MISTER MCGEE by Talish Zafar and Obviously, a Theatre Company. I should have missed this one by all rights, but OATC is so cool they’ve extended their run for two extra shows on the 20th and 21st. I swear I’ll make it this time!
– OTHELLO and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM by William Shakespeare (him again!) and the St.Lawrence Shakespeare Festival. What is it about summer that brings Zombie Bill shambling out of the shadows? Starting over Prescott way, MIDSUMMERS opened on the 14th and OTHELLO joins it on the 18th. Our own Cat Leger directed one of them! I’m not telling you which, so you’ll just have to see them both.
– BLACK COFFEE by Agatha Christie and Ottawa Little Theatre. Kicking off on the 17th, a touch of the mystery, Christie-stylee, from the spry gang at OLT.
– BOEING, BOEING by Marc Camoletti and Theatre de L’ile. Over in Gatineau, un petit peu de la comedie, French-stylee for y’all, and now that I’ve figgered out how to get to their theatre, I’ll be there sooner rather than later.
That’s it as far as I’ve been able to follow…here’s a song I just found!
REFLECTIONS ON FRINGE: I know I’ve already waxed plenty about my Ottawa Fringe this year, but I had a couple more words I wanted to rattle off about my recent 3-day vacation at Toronto’s own Festival. I’ve done my reviews, sure, but what else went on? I got into town late on Sunday evening, and made a beeline to the Beer Tent, or the Beer Alley as it happens to be in TO, a narrow but colourful passageway right thru the heart of Honest Ed’s. Immediately started looking for people I knew, and found much of my Victoria Fringe crew from last summer awaiting…Al and Vic from Bloody Underrated, Yana Kesala from THE UKRAINIAN DENTIST’S DAUGHTER (about to start a run at the Winnipeg Fringe, Go Yana!), and Shane Adamczak, ZACK ADAMS himself! It was a fine scene and only got finer, when my hostess for the trip, the eminently lovable Katie Hood arrived in a flurry of hugs and laughter (note: Katie’s laugh is maybe my fav’rit sound in the world, so there). We even got a sneak-attack hug from Ingrid Hansen!! It was too cool for school, folks, and I couldn’t have been merrier. Katie brought me back to her place on the TTC where I met her dogs’n’cats, with whom I got along famously. No mass hysteria here, folks, just happy animals and a happier Visitor.
The next morning, after walking the dogs, I headed out on my own and promptly got lost. Never fear, I found myself after a tasty breakfast at the Sunrise Grill (Bacon, brie and avacado omelette for victory!) and made it to my first show, MY DRUNK PLAY. And may I say how surprised I was that the famous Tarragon Theatre is in , like, this weird industrial section of the city, surrounded by nothing? I had not expected that. Still, a nice joint, and I’d be back several times over the trip. After that show I hit the Fringe office, also in the Alleyway, where I bought me a ten-show pass (no media accreditation on THIS trip, which does take the pressure off a bit, I’ll admit), then hit my next batch of shows for the day…MUM AND THE BIG C, TONY HO’S SAD PEOPLE, BREAKING VELOCITY and TEMPLE OF KHAOS (I ran into Paddy McCullaigh of R U SMARTER THAN AN IRISHMAN in the lineup…I’d been hoping to catch him on this trip). I tried to get into the ‘beer tent’ afterwards, but there was a freaking lineup, can you believe it? I decided long, long ago that there was no good goddamn reason to line up for a drink outside of cold-war-era Russia, so I battle off down Bloor to Pauper’s Pub for a quick pint. There I was served by none other than Jane Van Rooyen, writer and co-star of MY DRUNK PLAY that I’d see earlier that day. It took me a while to work up the nerve to say hi to her…if only because it would have sounded like such a cheesy pick-up line if I had been wrong about who she was. ‘Hey, are you an ACTRESS..?’ Sigh. Sometimes I overthink things, folks, I really do…Anyhow, she was very nice, and we chatted before I split for Katie’s Hood.
Day two in the big city started with more dogwalking (this time I got my own dog!), a trip to a cafe who’s name I forget for some Eggs Charlottine (mmm!) then off to a new show, THE BLIND SEAL (AN RON DALL), which ended up affecting me in a really fucking lovely way. Then the also amazing MAHMOUD, and my long awaited introduction to Toronto clowning with OF MICE AND MORRO AND JASP. They lived up to the hype. A lonely dinner then at some burger joint of Bloor, before closing out the night with a COMPLETE HISTORY OF ZACK ADAMS. Shane and I had a quick drink at the alley afterwards…and I mean quick, because last call was at midnight! Oh, Toronto, you’re adorable! Come to Ottawa Fringe sometime, we’ll show you how to party properly.
Last Day! Now, this was a Wednesday, so of course after dogwalking (already a habit) I had to hit the Silver Snail Toronto, as the new HARBINGER and BLOODSHOT comix were in, and I’m a Valiant man. That trip put me in a bit of a late-kinda-way however, construction on Queen not helping matters, so I was running to grab some nosh before my first show. Manage a tasty bite at the Tik Talk Cafe before BAD CONNECTIONS, followed by a failed attempt to see the sold-out CAMP SCHECKY. But that was cool as it meant I got to see THE FIRST CANADIAN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES and JEM ROLLS: TEN STARTS AND AN END back to back. Dinner at the always-cool Green Room before meeting Katie for my last show of the Fringe, IN/SIDE THE BOX by Sinead Cormack, who I’d met briefly at the Alley a day before. She convinced me to see her show, and I’m glad she did (another note: flyering TOTALLY works on me, keep doing it, Fringe performers). Katie headed home afore me, and I closed out the fest at the Alley with Shane, Jem Rolls and a few others. It was a sweet ending to a fun, jam-packed tour.
Now that that’s over, I can only sit in envy as people gear up for the epic Winnipeg Fringe. Lotsa great shows I wanna see at that one, and lots more that I’ve seen and am rooting for. Much love to DONKEY DERBY, VERNUS SAYS SURPRISE, ZACK ADAMS, UKRAINIAN DENTIST’S DAUGHTER, LITTLE ORANGE MAN, and many more!! Wish I was there (and I may be next year…among other places. Stay tuned!). In the meantime, I’ll be getting back to my regular schedule of working the local theatre scene, because there’s always plenty there to keep a schmoe like me busy, and giddy as a fuckrat to boot. Peace, love and soul, everyone,