Toronto’s fab fall theatre guide
Eight stage productions on the radar from storefronts to bats and goats
The musical ‘Bat Out of Hell’
LUKUMI (THE WATAH THEATRE)
This exciting new work is billed as an “Afro-futurist Dub-Opera set in post-apocalypse Turtle Island in 2167” and is penned by award-winning local playwright and actor d’bi.young anitafrika. The world premiere of Lukumi at the Tarragon Extra Space, beginning Sept. 22, could be one of the most exciting theatrical events of this season (Tarragontheatre.com).
So this is a bit of a cheat to get a couple of plays mentioned, but the fine folks at the east end’s Crow’s Theatre are kicking off their second season with back-to-back powerful works delving into modern sexuality. First up is Asking For It, by Ellie Moon, that reflects on the Jian Ghomeshi scandal at CBC, followed by Lo (Or Dear Mr. Wells), by Rose Napoli, which investigates the student-teacher relationship. Both plays have mature content warnings (Crowstheatre.com).
The Annex’s beloved Tarragon Theatre kicked off its new season on Sept. 19 with Undercover, the latest from powerhouse Rebecca Northan, creator of the award-winning Blind Date. Like Blind Date, an audience member is plucked from the lobby to participate in the production, this time as part of a whodunit caper as a rookie detective following a murder on the Tarragon stage (Tarragontheatre.com).
This new production slated to open at the Theatre Centre on Oct. 7 looks at how digital technology impacts lives and is reshaping human evolution. And of course, there is a lot of technology used in Flashing Lights, created by Bad News Days and Ahuri Theatre. The work combines an absurdist narrative on a brave new world with physical theatre using technology (Theatrecentre.org).
Theatre Gargantua is celebrating 25 years with the world premiere of its new work Reflector, created by Jacqui P. A. Thomas. This new work also explores technology, and more specifically photography and its role in our lives and our collective memories. In addition, there is technology blended into the work, with large-scale projections and more. Reflector opens Nov. 3 at Theatre Passe Muraille (Passemuraille.ca).
The east end’s upstart storefront Coal Mine Theatre hit the ground running with The Aliens kicking off its new season. Award-winning Dutch play Poison, by Lot Vekemans, is up next. The heart-wrenching drama about love and loss opens Nov. 15 (Coalminetheatre.com).
BAT OUT OF HELL
With any jukebox musical — creating some sort of framework around a collection of hit songs — there are risks. There have been many poor productions, but also some real winners. Mamma Mia! anyone? Now we have Meat Loaf’s hits from his iconic Bat Out of Hell album in musical form, set against some sort of dystopian landscape with a West Side Story–esque plot device involving two young lovers. Could go either way, but the reviews have been very positive (Mirvish.com).
THE GOAT, OR WHOIS SYLVIA?
Soulpepper has two works by American playwright Edward Albee in its 2017–18 season. A Delicate Balance is set for January 2018, but first up on Nov. 8 is The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, which premiered in N.Y.C. in 2002, when it won the Tony Award for Best Play. The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? tackles the topic of marital infidelity and its impact on families, but in typical Albee fashion, the objective of affection is not another woman, but a cute barnyard animal (Soulpepper.ca).