The director must give them life: make each character an individual, make the scenes sing so that the language comes not from the mouth of Shaw, but from the mouths of unique personalities, and make the arguments reflections of character rather than mere elements of Shaw's argument. That's where this Arts Club production really falls apart.
The Producers are there to make sure that all the needs of every part of the show are met. If our stage is the City of Toronto, the Producers are our City Councillors. These are the individuals, who are chosen by you to be your voice and ensure your needs are met. They vow to work tirelessly to give you the opportunity to do your very best on the City of Toronto stage.
The play itself is interesting enough, and the characters strong enough, to sustain our interest for more than two hours. It premiered in 1954 with Geraldine Page as Lizzie and received a Broadway revival in 1999 with Woody Harrelson as Starbuck. As an exercise for young actors, this production probably works well. As a coherent piece of drama, not so much.
The new Arts Club production "4000 Miles" is inoffensive, irrelevant, and trite. This much-produced American comedy from 2011 provides warm reassurance that familial love is good. Intended to warm the heart with warm humour, it inadvertently challenges us to care about the obnoxious protagonist. But a lack of story is the play's greatest weakness.
While some are horrified by the overtly sexual movies and TV shows consumed by today's youth, a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto's Dalla Lana School of Public Health has a slightly different stance. Shira Taylor, a doctoral candidate at the School's Division of Social and Behavioural Health Sciences, is taking to the stage to educate young adults about sex.
You will not be a normal person when you finish this. You may wake up from this in four years and be like "who is this person that I am now?" I'm always sort of on the verge of tears, I'm too busy to eat or shower, I can't not articulate every single word, I haven't worn real pants in years, I'm not as funny as I used to be, the list continues for literal days.
Audiences will also be treated to a live stage reading of David Auburn's play "Proof", featuring some of Vancouver's top actors, and afterwards get to learn about Auburn's experiences in the theatre, writing technique and approaches, influences, the road to writing a Pulitzer-award winning play, and much more, in an intimate moderated In Conversation.
Lupita Nyong'o's moving speeches, the Dark is Beautiful campaign in India, and Anita Majumdar's play, Same Same But Different, have me in a different frame of mind as we approach International Women's Day. I'm not just thinking about women's rights and battles. I'm thinking about what it means to be a woman of colour in Canada.
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.