Saturday, July 05, 2003

Day Three of the Toronto Fringe: Maggie Gyllenhaal is so hot!

I had an excellent day on the Fringe, so let's get right to it, strike a pose, there's nothing to it...

Shakespeare's Gladiator Games

Okay, so I couldn't hear a lot of what was being said and there were a few too many amputated penises, but Upstart Crow's Shakespeare's Gladiator Games was just plain fun.

The show is a weird comic amalgamation of Troilus and Cressida, Coriolanus, Timon of Athens, Julius Caesar, Titus Andronicus and Antony and Cleopatra, presented as a cable sports show on UCSN (Upstart Crow Sports Network).

The play, which takes place outside in University of Toronto's Trinity College Playing Field, is a giant postmodern mess of just about everything. At one point, they manage to reference/parody Monty Python's Life of Brian, Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange and Titus Andronicus all at once. Julie Taymor is mocked incessantly. There are lots of Greeks and Romans with funny names like in the Asterix and Obelix comic books.

The jokes are corny, the puns are punny: I loved it. Frivolous and clever mix of high and low.

Also, the actress who plays Cressida (Sandra Berjan) looks like Maggie Gyllenhaal. Swoon! (More on her later.)


That's the name of the show: Will.

It seems like ages since I left a theatre in tears. How wonderful to be reminded up just how gut-wrenching and cathartic theatre can be.

Excellent performances by Jennifer Gauthier and Marjorie Chan as a mother and daughter, growing apart, torn apart by a buried past.

The story is about family secrets and how destructive they can be. It's also about mothers and daughters. Its themes are universal, its plot straight-forward and unadorned by gimmicks (unlike most Fringe plays).

Crisp, sparkling dialogue. A truly perceptive script, free of cliche.

At first, I felt that the actors were rushing through the play. Ultimately, however, I think the fast pace was a good idea from director Tara Bastikar; the whole play felt like a sprint to the finish line and, consequently, left me breathless.

And, as I mentioned before, I left the theatre in tears. Heartbreaking.

Highly recommended folks. Bravo.

Random Fringe Gossip

So, yeah. I headed to the Fringe Club/Beer Tent after Will..

There, who did I see, but Sandra Berjan in all her Maggie-Gyllenhaal-esque glory. Go talk to her, Kelly. It can't hurt.

But I chickened out...

So, I had a few beers and chatted with some of the fantastic Fringe folks hangin' around tonight.

Chuck McEwen was congenial.

So were the cast and crew of Living Room, which is going on in the basement of the Sonic Boom music show on Bloor near Bathurst. Co-writer Andrea Donaldson and I and a couple other guys had an excellent discussion about fetuses (feti?) who can ride bicycles and play the drums and whether or not a coconut was a mammal. (It gives milk and it breathes: therefore, possibly, a mammal.)

The cast of Baby Steps was also quite nice, though I think they were only talking to me because they knew I was a journalist. (Damnit! I thought they liked me for me!)

Shenoah Allen (from Sabotage) and Jem Rolls (from, well, Jem Rolls) were fun to chat with. It turns out that Shenoah's car (which was stolen last week in Montreal) has turned up. Police found it about two blocks away from where Shenoah had parked it, but its windows were broken and it had been hotwired.
The theory posited by the Imponderables is that, because Shenoah accidentally killed a deer with the car a few years ago, it was the ghost of the deceased deer that stole the car and took it for a joyride -- as a weird sort of beyond-the-grave deer revenge.

Aha! I knew I had spied the talented Lori Delorme from Unsinkable and the Hungarian Suicide Duel earlier this week. Turns out that she is directing a comedy called Scrambled Eggs being presented at Venue 8.

(This is NOT to be confused with the sketch comedy show Leggs over Easy, also playing in Venue 8. Apparently, the Leggs girls showed up at the Scrambled Eggs show on Thursday and were checking with the people in line to make sure that they hadn't mixed up the two shows. Wooo... Talk about a breach of Fringe Etiquette.)

Turns out also that Lori saw me play Socrates in Symposium: The Musical in Montreal Fringe 2001.

Anyway, after I related my new-found love for Magg--- er, Sandra Berjan to Lori and Shenoah, they encouraged me to go and talk to her. Go on, they said, what do you have to lose?

So, taking a deep breath, I went up to Sandra and promptly turned around and went to the bathroom. She was talking to a much more attractive man. Sigh.

On my way out of the bathroom, however, I bumped into her again. Mustering up the courage, I said:

Hey, you were in Shakespeare's Gladiator Games, right?

Yes, she replied.

It was *squeak* good...

Oh, thank you...

And then she was gone with handsome boy.


Non-Fringe-Related Blog News

1. I found out today that I'm going to be an extra on Train 48 next Tuesday. Yay, convergence!

2. Scottish Blogger Peter is quitting smoking. Go give him encouragement at

Send your Fringe gossip and lovelife advice to

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