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Archive for the ‘Kerry Freek’ Category

Review: A Fool’s Life

Posted by art On October - 6 - 2011

Haruna Kondo in A Fool's Life. Credit: Katherine Fleitas

A Fool’s Life
Written and directed by Dan Watson
Featuring Claire Calnan, Julian DeZotti, Haruna Kondo, Derek Kwan, and Richard Lee
Live percussion by Gaishi Ishizaka
Runs until October 8, 2011 @ The Theatre Centre

By Kerry Freek

Are you ready to be enchanted?

Inspired by the life and short stories of Japanese writer Akutagawa Ryunosuke, Ahuri Theatre’s A Fool’s Life is thoroughly delightful, balancing the right mix of magic, absurdity, and darkness with an impressive focus on movement.

Three stories, “The Nose,” “Horse Legs,” and “Hell Screen,” receive the Ahuri treatment. While Ryunosuke died in 1927, director Dan Watson crafts a modern spins when needed without losing Ryunosuke’s original magic. His well chosen cast is talented, funny, and energetic: Claire Calnan is delightfully expressive in the first vignette, playing a monk with an exceptional nose. In the second story, Derek Kwan grows horse legs with ease, galloping about the stage. Japan-based actor Haruna Kondo stands out: she’s particularly wonderful as a crazed, crippled old artist in the final story, writhing in agony and ecstasy as her character struggles to complete his ultimate work—a screen depicting Buddhist hell. Together, the cast performs its choreography with ease and humour, tumbling from one scene to the next. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Zadie’s Shoes

Posted by art On May - 24 - 2011

William MacDonald and Joe Cobden. Photo: Jeremy Mimnagh

Zadie’s Shoes
Written by Adam Pettle
Directed by Adam Pettle & Jordan Pettle
Starring Joe Cobden, Patricia Fagan, William MacDonald, Harry Nelken, Shannon Perreault, Geoffrey Pounsett and Lisa Ryder
Runs until June 5 @ Factory Theatre Mainspace

By Kerry Freek

What’s luck got to do with it? Benjamin (Joe Cobden), a gambling addict, has lost the money for his girlfriend’s alternative cancer treatment in Mexico. Unsure of his next actions, he goes to synagogue for the first time in years and meets Eli (Harry Nelken), an old man who claims to be a prophet. With three days until their scheduled departure, Benjamin must choose whether to place faith in Eli’s racehorse tip or come clean to Ruth (Patricia Fagan), whose illness and family troubles already weigh heavily on her mind.

The result? A fairly well constructed dark comedy. Refreshingly, writer Adam Pettle pulls no punches in Benjamin and Ruth’s relationship–Ruth may be physically weak, but she’s no fool. Fagan plays her with strength, honesty, and conviction. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Fronteras Americanas

Posted by art On May - 24 - 2011

Guillermo Verdecchia. Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann

Fronteras Americanas
Written and performed by Guillermo Verdecchia
Directed by Jim Warren
Runs until June 12 @ Young Centre for the Performing Arts

By Kerry Freek

“I am lost,” confides Guillermo Verdecchia, writer and performer of Fronteras Americanas, as he leads the audience on a tour of the undefined (and therefore dangerous) borderlands of the Americas.

Part comedy, part autobiography, part post-colonial rant, this performance of the Governor-General’s Award-winning play sees Argentinian-born Canadian Verdecchia take on several stereotypes often attributed to people from Mexico and Central and South America. Indeed, the first “tour guide” we encounter wears a multi-coloured poncho and has a giant moustache. Read the rest of this entry »

Preview: The Simian Showcase

Posted by art On April - 8 - 2011

MONDO’s art department doesn’t often have the opportunity to geek out as much as its neighbouring departments, Comics and Film. It’s just our luck, it seems, that tonight Monkeyman Productions, the self-described “geekiest theatre company in Toronto,” will present four new plays in its Simian Showcase, running at the Imperial Pub until April 16. Videogames, time travel, LARPing, and steampunk culture—it’s all covered. Art department editor Kerry Freek talked with two of the directors over gmail chat earlier this week.

Neil Silcox

First up, Neil Silcox, director of Camilla Maxwell’s Chun Li.

MONDO: How’s the production going? Are you ready for opening night?
Neil:  Yeah, I’m feeling really good about it. We had our Tech/Dress last night and it went over really well with the people who hadn’t seen it before.

MONDO:  Great! What exactly attracted you to “geek” theatre? I’ve seen you in other shows (Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night) and this seems like a bit of a jump away from Shakespeare.
Neil:  That’s a part of what drew me to it. I found myself in—not exactly a rut, let’s say a groove. The top or my resume just kept saying Hart House, Hart House, Canopy, Hart House, Hart House, Canopy. I really loved working with those people, but I thought I needed to diversify. So anyway, one day I’m sitting on the subway and Marty Choderek [one of Monkeyman’s founding members] plops down beside me and we got to talking about Monkeyman and I asked if they were looking for directors. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Nohayquiensepa

Posted by art On March - 20 - 2011

L-R: Chris Stanton, Carlos Gonzalez-Vio, Mayahuel Tecozautla, Beatriz Pizano. Photo: Katherine Fleitas

Nohayquiensepa (No one knows): A Requiem for the Forcibly Displaced
Directed and designed by Trevor Schwellnus
Choreographed by Olga Barrios
Featuring Carlos Gonzalez-Vio, Lilia Leon, Victoria Mata, Beatriz Pizano, Chris Stanton and Mayahuel Tecozautla
Sound design by Thomas Ryder Payne, Costumes by Andjelija Djuric
Runs until March 27 @ The Theatre Centre

By Kerry Freek

For just under an hour last Tuesday, audiences plunged into a purgatory inhabited by victims of corruption, both dead and alive, in a place of confusion and terror.

Inspired by violence in a Colombian river town and reports on the activities of Canadian mining conglomerates, Aluna Theatre’s Nohayquiensepa is a tattered eulogy expertly layered with dance, theatre, projection and sound. It premiered last week at The Theatre Centre. Read the rest of this entry »

Interview: Ross Bonfanti

Posted by art On March - 6 - 2011

This weekend, we talked with Ross Bonfanti, one of the artists taking part in The Artist Project Toronto (March 3-6) at the Queen Elizabeth Building on the Exhibition grounds.

What draws you to toy parts? They’re often used as a medium for your pieces.

Toys symbolize innocence, youth and generally in some way prepare us for some aspect of adulthood. The use of doll heads in particular is a way of representing the universal anybody.  The way I distort them symbolizes people’s own particular perception of reality.

You also use concrete. Why?

Not only do I like concrete for its aesthetic qualities, I like to use it as a symbol of an urban existence. It is heavy, cold, and in its liquid form can be manipulated into a multitude of things. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: 300 Tapes

Posted by art On December - 7 - 2010

Joe Cobden in 300 Tapes. Photo by Bobby Theodore.

300 Tapes
By Public Recordings
Co-produced by Public Recordings with Alberta Theatre Projects and The Theatre Centre
December 1-12 @ The Theatre Centre

By Kerry Freek

Warm lights softly graze three tape racks. Each dangles in a corner of the stage, an equilateral triangle with audience members perched on its three sides. Three men in their late 20s / early 30s (Brendan Gall, Joe Cobden and Frank Cox-O’Connell), wear headsets and recorders. They tend to each tape rack with care, like they’re handling memories themselves rather than the analogue medium that contains them.

While the concept runs the risk of being sappy (or snooze-worthy), 300 Tapes turns out to be a surprisingly lovely physical interpretation of memory. Read the rest of this entry »

Erin Wells, Anastasia Phillips. Photo by Tim Matheson.

Studies in Motion: The Hauntings of Eadweard Muybridge
An Electric Company Theatre Production presented by Canadian Stage
Written by Kevin Kerr
Directed by Kim Collier
Choreography by Crystal Pite
Runs until December 19 @ Bluma Appel

By Kerry Freek

You’d think the promise of murder and nudity would be a recipe for a great show. Rather, the plot portion of Studies in Motion is a disappointingly bland imagining of the life of a potentially fascinating individual: Eadweard Muybridge (1830-1904), one of the founding fathers of modern-day cinema. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Wide Awake Hearts

Posted by art On November - 18 - 2010

L-R: Raoul Bhaneja, Maev Beaty, Lesley Faulkner, Gord Rand. Photo by Cylla von Tiedemann.

Wide Awake Hearts
By Brendan Gall
Starring Raoul Bhaneja, Maev Beaty, Lesley Faulkner and Gord Rand
Directed by Gina Wilkinson
Runs until December 12 @ Tarragon Theatre Extra Space

By Kerry Freek

Our life is conflict, claims writer A (Gord Rand). Why aren’t we looking for entertainment that is peaceful and happy, he asks, as he sardonically pitches a TV drama that promises no conflict whatsoever.

Thankfully, playwright Brendan Gall takes no advice from his characters, introducing conflict into Wide Awake Hearts from the get-go. Read the rest of this entry »

Loving the Stranger, or how to recognize an invert
By Alistair Newton
Directed by Alistair Newton
Presented by Ecce Homo Theatre
Production Designer: Matt Jackson
Musical Director: Dan Rutzen
Choreographer: Graham McKelvie
Video: Adam Levett
Featuring Andrew Bathory, Seth Drabinsky, Matt Eger, Graham McKelvie, Kimberly Persona, Hume Baugh
Runs until August 15 @ Factory Theatre Mainspace

By Kerry Freek

A cabaret-style history lesson, Loving the Stranger is an entertaining and poignant show that explores homosexuality and sexuality, illustrating the continuing many-sided struggle to oppress, eliminate, understand and liberate.

Using only text from interviews, historical archives and legislation, director and playwright Alistair Newton aligns provocative dialogue with comedic satire. In one of the first scenes, actor Matt Eger performs a striptease while reciting text from Paragraph 175, Germany’s anti-sodomy law (May 1871 to March 1994). Later, actors reveal the ridiculousness of a nasty Support Proposition 8 commercial using the precise wording of its script. In addition to a cast of several nameless characters — lovers, soldiers, dudes — the audience meets important historical figures Read the rest of this entry »

Diva of Parkdale Takes on Beauty with Miss Toronto

Posted by art On July - 20 - 2010

Miss Toronto, 1926. The picture that inspired the mural at the Rhino.

By Kerry Freek

You may have seen her. Trapped in time, she resides in a weathered mural on the wall at the Rhino in Parkdale. It’s Miss Toronto 1926, holding a trophy and wearing a headpiece and dress made of flowers. She’s flanked on either side by her runners-up. None of them look too happy.

Inspired by the mural, the members of the DitchWitch Brigade have assembled a new show: Miss Toronto Gets a Life_in Parkdale. Last week I had a chat with Eve Wylden and Antje Budde (performer and director, respectively).*

MONDO: From 1926-1991, Toronto celebrated “beauty” with its own Miss Toronto pageant. Your website says that, while researching the pageant, you found “truths stranger than fiction.” What’s the deal here?

EVE & ANTJE (paraphrased, from now on): Well, one thing we discovered is that the Toronto Police ran the pageant. We found out that it ended in 1991 due to “pressure from outside sources.” What does that mean? We have our theories. Read the rest of this entry »

Reviews by Kerry Freek

The Big Lie

The Big Lie
By Warren MacDonald and Ryan Sero
Presented by Audeamus

Royal St. George’s Auditorium
Fri, July 9 4:30 PM – 355
Sat, July 10 3:30 PM – 362

Danny Bell’s (Ryan Sero) recent turn from hardened journalist to entertainment columnist isn’t sitting well with him, and he’s anxious for a good exposé. Enter the Magnificent Bugiardo (Jack Clift), a magician/spiritualist/con artist with a curvy assistant looking to make the big reveal, uncovering his fraud once and for all. Make the right links and you’ve got a story. Of course, there’s a twist. Read the rest of this entry »



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