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.

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