So much to see…

Busy weekend ahead, my friends. Off to Theatre Passe Muraille tonight with my pal Lizzie to see the Songbook Series 2: Madonna show, featuring our girlfriend, the amazing and talented (not to mention #1 Johnny Depp fan) Kat Leonard. Saturday, I’m off to Red Sandcastle Theatre, where Kat and I will be joined by my friend Kerri, to see Alice in Blunderland (and pals Rosemary Doyle and Brenda Somers). Then, Sunday night, I’ll be seeing Jessica Moss’s show Modern Love at the Factory Theatre Studio (part of the Toronto Fringe Next Stage Festival). Oh, and next Friday/Saturday, Kat is playing the Next Stage beer tent!

I’ll be back with the scoop on my Friday night/weekend adventures soon.

In the meantime, check out this piece from NOW Magazine on the Next Stage Festival, featuring an interview with Jessica Moss: http://www.nowtoronto.com/stage/story.cfm?content=184589

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Holiday panto @ Red Sandcastle Theatre

Hey kids – still more holiday hijinks to be had. Check out Alice in Blunderland at Red Sandcastle Theatre, by Rosemary Doyle and featuring Alumnae pal, actor Brenda Somers – on at Red Sandcastle Theatre until January 7: http://redsandcastletheatre.com

I’ll be checking it out on Saturday.

p.s. – One of my favourite things about Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows was Stephen Fry, as Holmes’ brother Mycroft. No spoilers – but he’s hi-larious!

Obsessive love & other pastimes

I’m ba-ack.  Hope the weekend was as enjoyable for y’all as it was for me.

On Friday night, I had the great pleasure of seeing two of the four shows featured in the Love and Obsession Theatre Festival at Red Sandcastle Theatre: Festival producer/playwright/actor June Morrow’s The One and Kat Leonard’s A Depper Kind of Love.

The One (directed by Pat McCarthy, and featuring actors Sean Ballantyne, Jason Davie and Tony Culverwell on film/PPT and June Morrow as the only live actor) is about the search for finding your ultimate soul mate – the one who completes you. June’s multi-media combo of PowerPoint, film and live narration takes us on a journey with Jane Love, a struggling actor/writer looking for love and a good review of her Fringe play. I particularly loved how she started Jane’s story with the myth of how humans came to this search for their other half. Originally, we were two people in one, attached at the back – in Jane’s example, a man and a woman – and things were pretty darn nifty for a while until Zeus became jealous of how awesome these creatures were. Rendering them asunder with a bolt of lightning, Zeus sentenced humans to roam the earth in search of their other half, the one who would complete them (not an easy task as no one knew what the other looked like, what with having been joined at the back and all). Jane goes on to struggle with feelings for two men: her “nice guy” doctor fiance Charlie and sexy “bad boy” actor/Fringe star Julian. In the end, she finds love through imagination and compromise – and comes to realize that maybe there’s not just one “one.” And I like to think she’s right.

Kat Leonard’s obsessive fan girl opus to Johnny Depp – A Depper Kind of Love, which was produced at the Toronto Fringe Festival this past summer, directed by Christopher Sawchyn, with technical direction/photography by Rod Pizzaro – has a new ending in this run of the show. In fact, the progression of the show has a darker edge to it this time around – and with some very effective results. And more real in a way too. The song “Hope for Dopes” was cut and the ending appears onscreen (Kat also uses media, projecting images and music videos) – and towards the end, you’re not quite sure if she’s going to lose her mind or possibly go postal. A totally different feel from the Fringe show, but really powerful – and it works!

Both shows used variations of the Jerry Maguire line “You complete me” – in Kat’s case, it became “I complete you.” And I still love “I’d lick him off a dirty sidewalk” (also from A Depper Kind of Love).

After Kat’s show, a bunch of us went to the Rob Roy for pints and nachos. The weekend continued to be pretty much about friends and food after that, with a fabulous Saturday night dinner party at my friend Liz’s and Sunday brunch at the Sunset Grill with my pal Polly, which was followed by a successful hunt for a new laptop (I’m picking it up this afternoon after leaving it with the Future Shop folks for set-up). 

So – who would you lick off a dirty sidewalk?

Sylvia talkback, Willow Quartet continues & Love and Obsession @ Red Sandcastle Theatre

Alumnae Theatre’s production of Sylvia is into its final week now (closing on Sat, Nov 26), so you still have a chance to see it. In the meantime, check out Alumnae bloggergal Tina McCulloch’s post on the Q&A with the Sylvia folks that took place after Sunday’s matinée: http://alumnaetheatre.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/report-on-sylvia-talkback-nov-20/  For more info and reservations, drop by Alumnae’s website: http://www.alumnaetheatre.com/1112sylvia.html

Willow Quartet is well underway and continues its run at the Papermill Theatre until Saturday, December 3. For reservations, call 647-342-7454 or go online at www.secureaseat.com

And, finally, the Love and Obsession Theatre Festival – featuring Kat Leonard’s one-woman show A Depper Kind of Love – opened at Red Sandcastle Theatre on Tuesday and continues through Sunday. Get the scoop on that here: http://loveandobsessionfest.com/ I’ll be heading out there tomorrow night to see The One and A Depper Kind of Love.

p.s. – Just realized that, in my post “Of willows & not so little women,” I meant to describe Aunt March as “imperious” and not “impervious” – though she is a stubborn, unresponsive kinda gal. Anyway, I just fixed that. Chalk it up to sleep deprivation and the wackiness of the English language. Okay, so mostly sleep deprivation. Doing some catch-up this week, so I hope to remedy that soon as well.

Big fun & music @ Wonder Women 3

And all for a good cause too: the Canadian Women’s Foundation.

Yep, this was number three for this event, organized by singer/songwriter Arlene Paculan to showcase female talent and raise money for the Foundation. This time, WW was held on the main floor of The Central (which I got to know a bit when my pal Margot Devlin’s husband Shaun, also a singer/songwriter, performed there on a couple of occasions). The Central has amazing sweet potato fries. Sunday night’s program was a big fun, eclectic mix of music: Mina Hardy (on guitar, performing original rock tunes), Kat and the Mp3 (performing tunes from her show A Depper Kind of Love, as well as some covers: Hanky Panky, You Needed Me and Crying), Arlene Paculan (on keys, with pal Mickey on drum box, doing original R&B) and Nicole Coward (guitar, folk).

Friends, family and Foundation folks were in attendance, including Kat’s mum and two aunts, and Arlene’s mum. And there were lots of laughs amid the great music. In fact, the presence of her mum added to the comedy of Kat’s set, with Kat apologizing for the coarse language in her lyrics and even inviting mum to spank her at the end of Hanky Panky. And, since comedy is a huge part of Kat’s music (especially the Depper Love stuff), the best thing about watching Kat perform songs like Jockstrap – besides the fact that it’s a friggin’ amazing song – is watching folks in the audience who are hearing it for the first time, which makes the song even more hilarious. Even Crying got a humourous turn coming out of Kat’s mouth (see photo – courtesy of our pal Lizzie Violet).

BTW – Kat’s one-woman play A Depper Kind of Love is one of the opening night shows at the Love and Obsession Theatre Festival, which opens tonight at Red Sandcastle Theatre.

Check out the program and reservation details at: http://loveandobsessionfest.com/

And here’s Arlene Paculan, singing I’m Worth It (a personal fave of mine):

Set painting, old guy music & obsessive love

You may wonder what the three things in the headline have in common. Well, nothing to be honest – except for in my own head. Stay with me here as I connect the dots.

Last night was the final push on the set for Willow Quartet: assembly and final painting on the production’s first day in the venue, including multiple spray applications on the stage floor to create the impression of a grassy yard and dirt paths around the house. And the entire gang was out last night to pitch in, including the full cast, playwright Joan Burrows, director Jane Carnwath, SM Margot “Mom” Devlin, costume designer Alice Torrance and props gal/ASM Dorothy Wilson. We had a radio on while we were working; a station playing hits from the 80s. Now known as “old guy music.” Yep, the music that I knew and loved in university and theatre school is now – going on 30 years later – old guy music. Here’s the video for a tune I sang along to last night:

If that’s old guy music, then I don’t wanna be young. Jesus, next thing you know, I’ll be yellin’ at kids to get off my lawn. And I don’t even have a lawn.

I have to admit, I was a bit doubtful that we’d even get to the floor last night, but we made it. Ed will do some final touches today. And, chickens, mamma is one tired lady this morning.

Now – onto the obsessive love part. My pal Kat Leonard, along with three other very talented ladies, will be performing their hour-long shows on the subject of – you guessed it – love and obsession, in the Love and Obsession Theatre Festival at Red Sandcastle Theatre. Kat will be performing her Toronto Fringe show A Depper Kind of Love (and I hear it’s a reloaded version of the Fringe performance); also on the bill are Graffiti Highway, Fake News Fangirl and The One. This fest runs from November 22 – 27 and programming allows the audience to see multiple shows in an afternoon/evening. For the scoop on this fest, as well as reservations, check out the Red Sandcastle website: http://redsandcastletheatre.com/?p=224

I think I’ll go watch that Duran Duran video again now.