March Madness continues
with special events
Plenty of theatre offerings including a fundraiser for Canadian actors
By Byron Toben
“March Madness” is a term first introduced to describe the 1939 Illinois high school basketball playoffs and then expanded to apply to the U.S. college basketball playoffs to determine the national championship. It has since evolved to describe many events in the month of March as old man Winter creeps into Spring.
Adding to my recent listing of mid-March free or low-cost events, I now add others.
The unique Mint Theater in New York specializes in overlooked plays of merit. “Lost Plays Found Here” is its motto.
The unique Mint Theater in New York specializes in overlooked plays of merit. “Lost Plays Found Here” is its motto. Its streamed collection is not just Zoom head shots but full preserved productions with costumes, sets, etc. Two of such cap off March:
Women Without Men (until March 21)
Set in an Irish boarding school in the 1930s, written by Hazel Ellis, an actress with the Gate Theatre of Dublin and performed there to acclaim in 1938. Despite that, it was never published or produced again until this Mint Theater version in 2016.
Katie Roche (until March 28 )
Written by Teresa Deevy, it portrays a mercurial servant with lofty ambitions.
The Mint has simplified linking up. Special passwords are no longer needed. Free, although donations appreciated (and deserved).
Brick Brothers Circus (until March 24 )
This one-ring circus, an Edinburgh Fringe hit, stars the acrobatic Bildovitch family. All done tongue in cheek. Considered a classic among puppeteers.
March 25 to April 22
Toronto’s innovative Factory Theatre streams You Can’t Get There From Here, a new collection of audio dramas consisting of five episodes released once a week over five weeks. Available free wherever podcasts are available.
They offer listeners fresh perspectives on Toronto landmarks and neighbourhoods. Episodes are commissioned from creative Canadian playwrights and feature over 20 vocal artists.
Here are the episodes:
Episode 1 – Sisters by Anusree Roy
Episode 2 – First Metis Man of Odessa by Matthew Mackenzie
Episode 3 – You Can’t Get There From Here by Yvette Nolan
Episode 4 – Every Minute of Every Day by Keith Barker
Episode 5 – The Toronto Pigeons by Luke Reece
Toronto residents can visit the sites while they listen or, like the rest of us, listen from home.
March 25 at 5:30 pm
The Cummings Centre continues its free Musique à la maison concert series with Celtic band Solstice featuring Pat Lesyk (guitar/vocals), Kate Bevan Baker (fiddle/vocals) and Dave Gossage (whistle, electric guitar, harmonica). Great fun.
‘Colm Feore as Polonius and Lucy Peacock as Gertrude are a few of the professional actors reading Hamlet, Ophelia, Falstaff, Mistress Quickly and Anne Hathaway.’
March 19 to 23
Wil, an online fundraiser for the Actors Fund of Canada
This is a reading of a new feature film to benefit the venerable Actors Fund of Canada. Set in 1590, it features the then-26-year-old Wil Shakespeare, a promising playwright with a wife, three children and lots of debt. His new play Romeo and Juliet closed on opening night. However, his agent gets Wil a job running a summer theatre at Elsinore Castle in Denmark. The odd characters he meets there provide lots of action.
Colm Feore as Polonius and Lucy Peacock as Gertrude are a few of the professional actors reading Hamlet, Ophelia, Falstaff, Mistress Quickly and Anne Hathaway.
My minor quibble… shouldn’t the title be Will (two ls?) Just sayin’. Free, but viewers urged to contribute voluntary donations to the cause. Don’t miss this one!
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.