Life examined on stage

One of the things I love about theatre is the examination of life and the world around us it provides – and the universality of personal experience.

This past Friday/weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing two thoughtful and entertaining pieces of theatre (one of them twice, as I covered both opening night and the talkback matinée of the Alumnae production): GuineaPigging by Catherine Frid (Alumnae Theatre Company) and The Time of Your Life by William Saroyan (Soulpepper).

For my take on GuineaPigging, please see the posts from Saturday and today on the Alumnae blog: www.alumnaetheatre.wordpress.com GuineaPigging runs on the Alumnae main stage until Sat, April 30.

As for The Time of Your Life, here’s the first couple of lines of playwright Saroyan’s prologue: In the time of your life, live – so that in that good time there shall be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life your life touches. Seek goodness everywhere, and when it is found, bring it out of its hiding- place and let it be free and unashamed.

Wow. I wish I’d written that. Written and set in 1939, the play’s portrait of social change, hard times and the human response to life’s challenges are still so relevant to today. And Joe, the central character played with love, strength and vulnerability by Joseph Ziegler, is the play’s agent of goodness.

An excellent – not to mention large – ensemble cast, with stand-out performances from Ziegler, as well as Derek Boyes, Kevin Bundy, Stuart Hughes and Karen Rae. A honky tonk microcosm of humanity, with the audience watching as life passes through and Joe works to make amends for his ill-gotten gains by doing good with his time and his money.

This was a truly inspirational piece of theatre. Check www.soulpepper.ca for dates and details.

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Science runs amok @ Alumnae Theatre’s GuineaPigging

Hey all – check out the fun and games at last night’s opening of Alumnae Theatre’s world premiere of GuineaPigging: http://alumnaetheatre.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/guineapigging-opening/

More amazing TV

It’s Thursday and I’d normally be hunkering down to watch Grey’s Anatomy tonight, but instead I’ll be at Alumnae Theatre working the final set painting shift for GuineaPigging. And, anyway, Grey’s is a repeat tonight.

Last week’s music event episode was incredibly moving and displayed an amazing array of vocal talent. Here’s one of my favourite songs/scenes – Chasing Cars, by Snow Patrol. The trio of voices at the end just give me chills (WARNING: graphic ER trauma): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NMVFmRiPifY

For the more squeemish among you, here’s the song without the scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AMleHZMT-8&feature=related

Republic of Doyle had a very exciting season 2 finale last night. I love this show. I just wish Jake and Leslie could catch a break.

If you missed either of these, you can probably catch them on-line: Grey’s Anatomy on www.ctv.ca and Republic of Doyle on www.cbc.ca 

For my ongoing GuineaPigging set painting adventures at Alumnae Theatre, see the Alumnae blog: www.alumnaetheatre.wordpress.com

Some new TV jazz

Listening to the Glee season 2, volume 4 soundtrack CD right now. I find it stifles the urge to kill.

Anyway. In less disturbing news, did ya catch the premiere of The Borgias on Sunday night? It’s got everything: money, power, sex, murder. And it all takes place in the good ‘ole Vatican in 1492. And, sweet Jesus, it’s good to see Jeremy Irons and Colm Feore on the small screen together. Fabulous cast all around. It’s airing at 10 p.m. on Bravo – and if you missed the double-episode premiere (apparently, Bell satellite customers were shaking their fists when service went down Sunday night), you can watch it on www.bravo.ca 

Also just recently caught Endgame (on Showcase, episodes run several times a week) which is interesting (and shot in B.C.), as well as Dana Delany’s new show Body of Proof (ABC or City TV on Tuesdays at 10 p.m.). Crime/murder mystery stuff with neat twists: a Russian chess champion (played by Canadian actor Shawn Doyle) traumatized by the murder of his fiancee, is terrified of leaving his hotel and solves crimes without ever leaving it (presumably to pay for the huge hotel tab he’s running); and a former neurosurgeon turned medical examiner after a car accident left her unable to do brain surgery solving murders/suspicious deaths. Both darkly funny – and a good mystery is always a good time. Plus, Delany’s legs are to die for. Literally.

Friends, food & scenic painting

At long last, got a day off this past weekend amidst busy times at Alumnae Theatre and my office job: Saturday – and it was lovely.

After getting some chores out of the way, I accepted an invitation from my neighbours Terry and Phyllis (who live in the loft building next to my house) to join them on their patio for a late morning coffee. It was gorgeous out in the sun – and a light jacket was all I needed to feel comfy outdoors, relaxing over coffee and conversation. We were soon joined by their neighbour Randi, who shared a tall boy of a lovely Swedish cider with us; it had Elderberry in it, and tasted like champagne and flowers. Terry and Phyllis brought out some snacks shortly before I left – and the only reason I left was because I was meeting two friends for a late brunch at Zocalo.

Zocalo is run by life and business partners Paul Hardy and Heather Braaten (who I met at Alumnae Theatre) – and I met two other Alumnae pals there, sisters Catherine and Martha Spence. It was our first time having brunch there – and Catherine’s first time there, period – and we were very excited to be there, not to mention finding a time/date when we could meet. We started with mamosas (Martha and I had the version made with pink grapefruit juice – a lovely change from o.j.), then I had the squash and sweet potato soup, followed by the quiche with greens – the latter I had with a crisp Chardonnay. Relaxed dining over the course of about three hours left room for dessert; I had a feeling there was something with pumpkin and spices (I smelled the heavenly aroma  when I arrived) and the pumpkin loaf was delicious! The atmosphere is welcoming and cozy, our server was lovely – and we even got to see Paul and Heather before we left.

Zocalo’s website is still under construction, but you can get info (including press coverage) at Urban Spoon: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/10/1534373/restaurant/Junction-Triangle/Zocalo-Toronto

The rest of the day, I vegged and made a meatloaf (which I’ll be consuming this week). Saturday was a lovely, languid, relaxing oasis in some very busy times.

Part of those busy times included Friday night and Sunday on the painting crew for Alumnae’s upcoming show GuineaPigging. Not counting travel time, between the office job and painting, Friday was a 14-hour day for me; Sunday was only about seven. We got tons done – with small crews of four or five people. Check out my post on the Alumnae blog, as well as the Alumnae website, for more on that, as well as info on the play: www.alumnaetheatre.wordpress.com and www.alumnaetheatre.com