Archive | January, 2012

Interview with Jenn Fraser and Graham Isador – Founders of Pressgang Theatre

27 Jan

Young, ambitious, and talented. It’s an apt description of both the creative duo of Jenn Fraser and Graham Isador, and of their company, Pressgang Theatre. While they have big plans for the future, their forthcoming storytelling night, Narcotics Synonymous, promises to be a raunchy, unapologetic, and highly entertaining evening of tales all heavily involving mind altering substances and beverages. Have a listen below for a tantalizing preview of Narcotics Synonymous, and other Pressgang projects simmering on the back burner.

Narcotics Synonymous is one night only – Saturday January 27, Comedy Bar (945 Bloor St. West), 9pm, $10.

Interview with Ins Choi – Writer and Co-Star of ‘Kim’s Convenience’

25 Jan

The Toronto Fringe Festival has a delightful habit of spouting out some little gems that grow into big hits – The Drowsy Chaperone, Da Kink in My Hair, and My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding being notable examples. Its latest success story is Ins Choi’s ‘New Play Contest’ winner Kim’s Convenience. Following a sold out run at the 2011 Fringe, this charming, funny, and poignant show about the not always luxurious life of a Korean-Canadian family and their mom and pop convenience store, is back on stage as part of the 2012 Soulpepper season. Here is Ins Choi and his thoughts on the rise of  Kim’s Convenience, the power of customer loyalty – even in the face of a race riot, and the price of cigarettes.

For tickets to Kim’s Convenience head over here, and for more general info about the show, head over to the Kim’s Convenience website here.

Interview with Rosanna Saracino and L.A. Lopes, Director and Co-Star respectively of ‘No Exit’

25 Jan

A fresh presence in the Toronto theatre scene, Art & Lies Productions, is having no trouble finding its niche or voice. Founded by a quartet of talented female artists (not that their gender matters), this company is embracing absurdist theatre with a vengeance. With one production already under their belt (Death by Woody Allen), they are back on stage with Jean Paul Sartre’s wry and well known treatise on misery, No Exit. Here are director Rosanna Saracino and co-star L.A. Lopes with their thoughts on the underlying profundity of absurdist theatre, why cramped black box theatres can be a blessing in disguise, and how Bugs Bunny and an Italian upbringing can provide endless inspiration.

No Exit runs until Feb 4th at the Passe Muraille Backspace. For tickets, head over here.

Interview with Michael-David Blostein – Star of ‘Cabaret’

23 Jan

Emerging but already widely lauded musical performer, Michael-David Blostein, is currently wowing audiences as the ‘Emcee’ in Kander and Ebb’s dark classic Cabaret – now playing at the Hart House Theatre. Here is the gravy-voiced actor with his thoughts on the admirable and stunningly liberal qualities of pre-Nazi Germany, on working with theatre big-wig Adam Brazier, and why bigger isn’t always better – at least when it comes to performances. Thanks to the recently re-opened Green Room for hosting the interview.

For tickets and more information about the Hart House production of Cabaret, head over here.

Next Stage Interview with Heather Marie Annis and Amy Lee (aka Morro and Jasp) – Co-Creators of ‘Go Bake Yourself”

10 Jan

Clown sisters Morro and Jasp are back (performing in the newly minted Ante-Chamber space at the Next Stage Festival) with their own brand of cooking show – part Iron Chef, part Julia Child, all hilarious. Here are the ladies behind the famous red noses with their thoughts on how they are living proof of the old adage about “too many cooks in the kitchen”, their recently found love of site-specific theatre, and the tantalizing possibility of a future dramatic “Morro and Jasp” show.

For tickets and more information, head over here.

Next Stage Festival Interview with Alistair Newton – Writer/Director of ‘Loving the Stranger’

10 Jan

When you see Alistair Newton’s name – or that of his company, Ecce Homo Theatre – associated with a project, you can be certain you will be in for a highly theatrical, heavily researched, and critically minded piece of stage work. His refined Next Stage Festival remount of Loving the Stranger, which chronicles (among other things) the story of gay concentration camp survivor and artist, Peter Flinsch, is no exception. Here is our conversation with Alistair, including his thoughts on the dangers of apathy, the dichotomous nature of Weimar-era Germany, the political value of entertainment, and how an 89 year old man decorates his kitchen cupboards.

For tickets and more information, head over here.

Next Stage Festival Interview with Kat Sandler – Writer/Director of ‘LoveSexMoney’

9 Jan

Kat Sandler and her company, Theatre Brouhaha, are having a pretty good year. Not only is the remount of her timely and imaginative 21st century relationship dramedy, LoveSexMoney, currently playing at the Next Stage Festival, but her new work, Help Yourself, won the Toronto Fringe Festival’s coveted New Play Contest and will be sure to be an early attention grabber at this summer’s festival. Here is Kat (and friends) with their thoughts on love and intimacy in the digital age, how the internet has raised our standards for romance, and sex robots – really.

For tickets and more information, head over here.

Next Stage Festival Interview with Allison Beula – Writer/Director/Choreographer of ‘The Tiki Bikini Beach Paradise Party A-Go-Go’

9 Jan

Sometimes the only thing better than a goofy genre movie, is an equally goofy send-up of said genre. Renaissance woman of the stage, Allison Beula, has put together such a send-up with her loving parody of the 60’s surf movie, curtly titled The Tiki Bikini Beach Paradise Party A-Go-Go. This perfectly crafted cheese-fest first took the 2011 Toronto Fringe Festival by storm (check out our review here), and is back to warm the winter-braving crowds at The Next Stage Festival. Here is Allison with her thoughts on why surf movies are so bad they’re good, the advantage of taking on all the key creative roles, and how the perfect musical collaborators can sometimes just fall in your lap.

For tickets and festival information, head over here. For more information about the show, head over here.

Next Stage Festival Interview with Jessica Moss – Creator and Star of ‘Modern Love’

7 Jan

The Next Stage Festival is underway and Jessica Moss is already garnering some very positive attention for her high-energy and laugh-out-loud funny take on romance in the age of facebook and twitter, Modern Love. Here is our conversation with Jess, her thoughts on her love/hate relationship with the internet, why fast paced performances have never been daunting to her, and how live theatre can be an antidote to solitude. Forgive the noisy audio, Shanghai Cowgirl is a busy place on a Friday night.

For tickets and details, head over here.

Next Stage Festival Preview: Interview with Uncalled For

4 Jan

Here is a tasty leftover to mark the start of the Next Stage Festival:  Our interview with sketch troupe and perenial  audience favourite, Uncalled For, recorded earlier this year at the Toronto Sketch Comedy Festival. Key members, Matt, Dan, and Anders, share their thoughts about political comedy, the divisions (or lack thereof) between sketch and theatre, and their return to Toronto for this month’s Next Stage Festival with their smash hit show, the delightfully surreal Hypnogogic Logic.

For tickets and details, head over here.