Archive | February, 2012

Interview with Mike Ross – Co-Star of Soulpepper’s production of ‘High Life’

28 Feb

In its early days, Soulpepper was strongly associated with classic “theatah” – its programming dominated by revered chestnuts rarely penned more recently than the 1950s. They have since broadened their spectrum to include more contemporary fare, and a perfect case in point is their current production of Canadian playwright Lee MacDougall’s 1996 crime and drug riddled dark comedy High Life. Here is co-star Mike Ross with his thoughts on relating to a despicable character, High Life‘s unusual romantic element, and the unexpected and “brain melting” reality of live theatre that reared its head on opening night.

For tickets and more information about High Life, head over here.

Interview with Half Pint Theatre – Producers of ‘Tick Tick Boom’

21 Feb

Before writer/composer Jonathan Larson made good on his dream of penning a smash Broadway hit, as he did with Rent, he questioned said dream in Tick Tick Boom. This modest musical about holding on to one’s ambitions in spite of the realities of life is one that hits close to home for the members of Half Pint Theatre. This fresh Toronto based company was founded by four talented and emerging musical theatre performers who, instead of waiting for their ship to come in, have decided to build their own damn ship and are self-producing Larson’s semi-autobiographical work (opening in two days at Buddies in Bad Times). Here are Esther Vallins, Alanna Stone, and Tara Litvak – three of the four founding members – with the story of their company so far and their own personal experiences with hitting the metaphorical wall.

For more information about Half Pint Theatre check out their blog here, and for tickets to Tick Tick Boom, head over here.

Interview with Marla Brennan – Performer in the COC’s ‘Love from Afar’

9 Feb

The Canadian Opera Company can be given credit for its even handed programming choices. Crowd pleasing chestnuts are often well represented in their seasons’ line ups, but there are always a couple of lesser known dark horses that tantalize with possibility. One such example is Kaija Saariaho’s contemporary and contemplative Love from Afar, helmed by Cirque du Soleil veteran, Daniele Finzi Pasca, and currently playing at the Four Seasons Centre.

Finzi Pasca does not shy away from his festive roots, packing the production with eye candy and acrobatic flourishes. One of the performers contributing to this visual feast is Marla Brennan, clown and shadow puppeteer. Here’s Marla on her new found appreciation for the operatic genre, her own experience in the pursuit of love from afar, and the joys of smiling.

For tickets and more information, head over here. And check out some beautiful bonus photos of Love from Afar below.

Interview with Shak Haq – Director of UC Follies’ ‘Tommy’

7 Feb

Popular musical theatre can, at its least interesting, be a pleasant but doughy experience (I’m looking at you Mamma Mia). Thank goodness for outside-of-the-box hits like Hair, The Rocky Horror Show, Avenue Q, Sweeny Todd, and of course, Tommy.

This psychedelic work, based on the concept album of the same name by legendary band The Who, was one of the first to marry the electric world of rock and roll with the footlights of Broadway – ultimately paving the way for the now pervasive jukebox musical, and subsequent rock opera hits like Green Day’s American Idiot.

Multi-disciplinarian Shak Haq is at the helm of the UC Follies’ (one of U of T’s oldest dramatic societies) production¬† of Tommy, now playing at the Hart House theatre. Have a listen to our conversation below.

For tickets and more information, head over here.

Heads Up: Hamlet Live

3 Feb

A heads up for anyone interested in the convergence of new media and traditional theatre; you may be interested to check out Hamlet Live, an innovative and ambitious new presentation of the well known play. Audience members have the choice of either experiencing the production in the traditional manner – from a seat in the theatre – or for a lesser price, to stream the show online and in real time as it is captured by multiple camera operators.

Even the marketing of this production is cinematic in nature, with a post-apocalyptic premise guiding the design choices (I hear there may even be an aerial fight sequence), and multiple glossy trailers heralding the show. An example of one of the trailers is embedded below.

Hamlet Live has several performances left. For tickets and more information, check out the website here: