At 23, I tested positive two years before I even got my first professional acting job. Everything I've done professionally has happened since I tested positive. But when that doctor looked into my eyes, told me I was HIV positive and then said, "You're going to die." I had a decision to make. It wasn't if I was going to go, but how I was going to live. I knew that if I was going to survive, I had to take care of myself the best I could and that meant (and means) staying firmly and actively engaged in what thrills and interests me. Perhaps, I do not have the luxury of disinterest.
My mother is going to a drag show next week. And I'm not the one dragging her there. This past summer I was lucky enough to catch Jinkx Monsoon, the most recent winner of RuPaul's Drag Race, in her cabaret show The Vaudevillians. So lucky, in fact, that I saw the show twice in the week I was there. I even dragged my mother along to the second viewing in order to score VIP seats. Mom's an OBGYN in her fifties and would much prefer a British mystery series to live theatre, but when The Vaudevillians ended that night I realized something: she had been quiet throughout the performance.
A heist is going down in Toronto and you're invited to infiltrate a secret world of operatives, agents and radicals. All you need is your iPhone. F/, a Toronto-based dance company, has created Jacqueries; a promenade-style dance/theatre hybrid layered with digital elements that audiences experience via an iPhone app.
Fringe festivals are all about providing an accessible avenue for independent theatre artists to produce and perform their work in front of an audience. The Fringe is really the essence of theatre; virtually anybody can submit a show to the Fringe and the festivals place no limits on content so shows can be bold, raw and uncensored.
Original Kids Theatre Company Alumni are presenting the first local production of the Tony Award-winning smash hit Avenue Q later this month. The Canadian troupe has learned all the right tricks with life-size replicas of the puppets used on Broadway, so I took my interview to the true stars of the show -- the puppets themselves!
One reason the play is shocking: It is so badly written. The playwright, Beverley Cooper, used court transcripts and apparently knocked it together in a short time. It shows. If you have a couple of hours and want to know what really happened to Steven Truscott, you would be better off reading a book about him.
The motion-picture adaptation of the beloved global stage sensation Les Misérables has been seen by more than 60-million people in 42 countries and in 21 languages around the globe and is still breaking box-office records everywhere in its 27th year. Yet, mere minutes in, I went oh, oh, something is off. This is overproduced to hell and back.
Could the time be ripe for a Gilbert and Sullivan revival? After taking in Vancouver Opera's opening night of The Pirates of Penzance, I am inclined to say yes. Ours is an era ripe for satire. How about a Pirates set on a beach in Somalia -- with the Major General as a BP executive covering up toxic waste? It can be applied to so many difficult situations -- and seems to make them somehow more bearable.
Watching Robert Lepage perform his seminal work The Far Side of the Moon in Vancouver last night, was an exercise in nostalgia. The play, that eloquently poses the question "are we alone?" by juxtaposing the space race with one man's quiet individual and familial struggles, pits the vastness of the cosmos against the smallness of the mundane. In the end there is an uneasy, but graceful reconciliation.
Canadian actress and emerging playwright, Sarena Parmar, has performed in film, television and on the stage. In this in-depth interview on Extraordinary Women TV with Shannon Skinner, Parmar discusses her rapid rise in her acting career, how her South Asian background has influenced her work, her interest in human rights and advocacy, and also her involvement with Plan Canada's "I Am A Girl" campaign.
To say that the theatrical works of Young Jean Lee are thematically diverse is something of an understatement. They may tackle different issues, but what they do have in common is their origins: her work begins by putting herself into an uncomfortable situation and then writing/performing her way out of it. It's a unique working process that has resulted in some of the most celebrated experimental theatre on the continent.