Something Wild

January 27, 2011

I wrote this story in the Toronto Star this week about “reality-based” theatre, of which there’s a bunch in Toronto lately. I had a great conversation with Judith Thompson about the privilege of watching teenagers onstage (she recently did a show at the Next Stage Festival that featured several teens playing themselves, which was fascinating to watch) and a nice long chat with Andrew Kushnir about verbatim theatre (unfortunately, I only had room in the story for a fraction of what we talked about). Finally, I interviewed the Italian director Pippo Delbono. Well, sort of. He was filming a movie in Brazil and the publicist couldn’t get a hold of him, so I e-mailed over some questions and he answered them in Italian, and then we scrambled to find a translator and then my washing machine broke and I had to wring out all my clothes and finally I got the translated interview back and I finished my story.

I went to see Delbono’s Questo Buio Feroce (The Wild Darkness, but everything sounds better in Italian) last night at Harbourfront, and even after reading up on Delbono, and interviewing him, and writing a story about his work, and seeing the show, I still have no idea what the hell I watched last night. It was awesome. There was a fashion show in the middle of the piece and a woman wore a crinoline around her neck. There were the lyrics of My Way translated into Italian and spoken as a poem, which is a goofy conceit that I never get tired of. There was an unexplained rendition of Cinderella which featured four women in beautiful dresses running around the stage and screaming. And then at the end, the company took at least a dozen bows. As a meditation of death and illness, only a few moments really worked for me, and the whole piece never quite gelled, but it was nutty and unusual and so much fun to watch.

How novel

January 25, 2011

It is obviously no secret that I am a mega book nerd and, after half a dozen years working as a bookseller in one of Toronto’s loveliest bookstores, I’m a bit of a book snob too. So I’m completely in love with Laurence Cossé’s A Novel Bookstore from the always-appealing Europa Editions. It’s both a noirish mystery and a celebration of great books and bookstores. And it indulges in a pleasant little persecution complex for people who think they’re smarter and have better taste than everyone else. But mostly I’m in love with it for lines like “She blessed the sky that augured bad weather: by this evening she’d have finished Cities of the Plain. She knew she was about to spend an unforgettable day.”

And today someone on Facebook shared this wonderful little site, and now I am desperate to visit this incredible hotel in Thailand. After my November pilgrimage to Hay-on-Wye, the tiny Welsh town with over 30 bookstores (more about that later, I’ll be writing about it for the National Post’s travel section), I see no reason why all my future vacations can’t be about books.

So Many Ones

January 11, 2011

Nope, this time I don’t even have an excuse like I was trying to write some big meaningful post about some traumatic life event before chronicling the minutia of my name in the papers again. I’m just lazy. But hey, it’s a new year now! Maybe I’ll keep up some semblance of blog posting regularity in 2011. Maybe monkeys will fly out of my butt. Maybe I’ll just start a Tumblr blog of Wayne’s World quotes (probably not).

December was a Very Sondheim Month – I went to see him in conversation with Robert Cushman, and saw the lacklustre Mirvish/Stratford production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and read Part One of Finishing the Hat and am going quietly insane until Part Two comes out, and I interviewed the lovely Lisa Horner who is in Birdland Theatre’s incredible production of Assassins right now. I saw the show last night, and it was every bit as good as last year, and sometimes even stronger. (Also, my friend Whitney is in it this time around, and she’s so great!) (I’m aware that it’s January now. Maybe every month will be a Very Sondheim Month!)

I’m not going to catch you up on all the things I’ve written in the months since I started neglecting this blog, because really, who cares, but this one from a couple of weeks ago about the Serial Diners was pretty fun, if a bit weird. (By the way, the fries and gravy at Kramden’s aren’t half bad.)

I also started up this absurd little project to make cleaning out my parents’ basement more fun. If you’ve ever wondered how I turned out so weird, well, just look at all the crap I was raised with. (And just wait until I unearth Pee Wee’s Playhouse!)