Caminos Festival:-plays on identity;culture, language Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
Caminos Festival, now in its second year, took place at the Daniels Spectrum in Toronto, October 5-8th. Sponsored by Aluna Theatre, and this year in partnership with Native Earth Performing Arts, the Festival presents plays that are not only written and performed by Pan-American artists, but also deal with issues of identity, social justice, language, history, and other cultural/personal situations. (Last year, I reviewed Antigonas: Women’s Tribunal, the story of women whose relatives were “disappeared” in the ongoing civil war in Colombia, and also a Maori version of Othello.)

A dramatic on-stage moment

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Well worth “WAITING FOR GODOT,” even after many years.” Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
I attended this performance with a friend who acted in the play in university; he says that, even after many years, he still discovers new meanings.Soulpepper’s current production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, directed by Daniel Brooks, is well worth seeing, both for people, like me, who love the play, have seen it several times, and enjoy noting the variations in production, and for new audiences. It is a play that needs to be experienced, rather than understood intellectually. Each production shows me a new facet of the play, as well as recalling familiar lines and actions.

a dramatic moment while “Waiting for Godot”

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“PICTURE THIS”, Soulpepper’s silent movie shenanigans Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
Picture This, now at Soulpepper, is like a Hungarian strudel: crafted with expertise and love, sweet but not saccharine, a bit flaky, and containing a filling that is both delicious and nutritious. The play, adapted by Morris Panych and Brenda Robins from Hungarian writer Melchoir Lengyel’s 1937 script, The Battle of Waterloo, is a “love-letter” to motion pictures, theatre, and all the arts.  Clever dialogue, brought to life by Panych’s insightful, well-paced directing, an excellent cast, and a creative set, combine to make this an enjoyable evening in the theatre.   Robins, part of the Soulpepper ensemble since 1999, also acts in the play, in a double role as film director’s assistant and wardrobe mistress.   Photo by  Cylla von Tidemann


the cast in a scene from “PICTURE THIS”

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Relaxing by the “Golden Pond” Reply

Review by Michael Piscitelli

At the end of the summer, you’re probably back from your cottage after a relaxing time of doing a whole lot of nothing while enjoying the lovely weather and trying your best to ignore the awful bugs. After getting back home, what better way to start off the fall and school season, than to go see a show reminiscing about the time you just came home from? Ernest Thomson’s “On Golden Pond” is a slice-of-life show about an elderly couples’ time spent in the twilight years of their lives at their family bungalow.                                                               the folks who live or visit ‘On Golden Pond”
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“The Changeling”, a challenge to stage & witness Reply

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin
            The seventeenth century play THE CHANGELING by Middleton & Rowley is arduous to stage, difficult to perform and grueling to watch. Despite the foregoing and being dated, Changeling is still popular enough for TV repetitions; radio broadcasts and – of course -stage representations. Stratford’s (& always SHAW’s) Jackie Maxwell has re-dated it to the pre-WWII practice-session Guerra civil- the Spanish Civil War. However, neither Franco’s right-wing forces nor the Falangists, anarchists, Fascist or Nazis involved in the struggle would have incorporated ‘thou’s or ‘maiden’ references into their vocabulary, even their Spanish substitute. So, time & lines seem anachronistic.

another on-stage tense dialogue moment in “THE CHANGELING

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“HMS Pinafore” – all the ‘♫Whys & Wherefores ♫’ 1

Review by Danny & Terry Gaisin

The first time we saw Gilbert & Sullivan’s 1881 operetta ‘HMS PINAFORE’, it was presented by a community theatre group that considered the lyrics remedial for folks with some speech challenges, and certainly singing was more fun than reciting tongue-twisters! The play has a strong but subtle message and denigrates ingrained British snobbism and oligarchic political attainment (think today’s White House). Stratford’s Lezlie Wade meticulously underscores the play’s comedic bent with impacting visual images; a creative and functional set, plus acute physical activity. Her choreographic utilization of the set’s two curved staircases will remind older individuals of the Busby Berkeley routines from the late fifties.

Admiral Laurie Murdoch chastising Captain Steve Ross before the crew & all those sisters/cousins/aunts!

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