North America's only international festival of contemporary, English-language theatre takes over Toronto from April 16 to May 3 with 100 performances, 17 premieres and a slew of workshops, readings, theatre design exhibits and on-stage interviews.
It's hard to pinpoint the single most exciting event at the bi-annual, Du Maurier World Stage Festival, with a mix of groups from Great Britain, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, Lithuania and Chile, and artists such as Brent Carver, Caryl Churchill, Atom Egoyan, David Hare, Robert Lepage, Christopher Plummer and George F. Walker offering their talents.
The Festival launches with Lepage's world premiere of Geometry of Miracles and ends with the premiere of Egoyan's new opera, Elsewhereless, set in a Canadian diplomatic outpost.
In between there are four offerings from Ireland; The Gate Theatre of Dublin with two Beckett plays, Waiting For Godot and ; the Edinburgh Festival's winner of the Comedy Writing Award, Owen O'Neill, with Off My Face; and Corcadora's Disco Pigs, also a winner at the Edinburgh Festival.
Great Britain weighs in with three productions; Out of Joint's Blue Heart, Caryl Churchill's newest play;The Gogamogs, a group of seven young string players who do for music what Stomp does for percussion and Tap Dogs do for tap dancing; and London's The Royal Court Theatre with Conor McPherson's The Weir, a critical hit introducing the theatre's new artistic director, Ian Rickson. There's also Masquerade, a show from Lithuania's Little Theatre of Vilnius; Journey To the Centre of the Earth, an adaptation of the Jules Verne novel from Chile's La Troppa; and Street of Sorrows, from Brazil's Grupo Galpao. They complement three mainstage shows from Toronto companies: Factory withGeorge F. Walker's The End of Civilization, one of six plays forming the astounding Suburban Motel cycle; Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks, two of Canada's most inventive theatre artists, unveiling their latest collaboration Monster; and Tarragon Theatre with Lawrence & Holloman, a world premiere by west-coast writer Morris Panych.
Special events include a tribute to the Shaw Festival's artistic director Christopher Newton; a reading by David Hare; a Speakeasy featuring public interviews with Robert Lepage, Christopher Plummer and David Hare; a series of workshops of new Canadian plays including one by Judith Thompson; and a series of master classes for directors featuring Robin Phillips and Britain's Deborah Warner, among others.
The du Maurier World Stage Festival runs from April 16 to May 3, at Harbourfront Centre. For tickets, a brochure or more information, call: 416-973-4000.
By Mira Friedlander