Fall theatre guide: seven must-see performances

Fall theatre guide: seven must-see performances

Ali and Ali: The Deportation Hearings
What are political satirists to do once a walking punchline—Dubya—leaves office? Go north, of course. Omar Khadr, Abousfian Abdelrazik and the G20 provide fodder for this play set in a Canadian falafel shop, where Ali and Ali are working on their new act, Yo Mama, Osbama! (who doesn’t love a good “yo mama” joke?), and dodging deportation. The characters may border on one-dimensional, but the questions they ask don’t.
Sept. 28 to Oct. 17. Factory Theatre.

The List
In her chilling Governor General’s Award winner, Québécoise Jennifer Tremblay pulls at a thread and unravels a skein of shared anxiety. When a woman tentatively befriends her neighbour, is asked for a favour, writes it down on her list and then overlooks it, tragedy strikes. Solo show habitué Allegra Fulton (Frida K.) stars in this one-woman cautionary tale about the dangers of isolation and multitasking.
Oct. 11 to Nov. 6. Berkeley Street Theatre.

Priscilla Queen of the Desert—The Musical
Just when it seemed drag queens couldn’t get more showy, someone threw two of them (and their transsexual bud) on a bus headed across the Outback, armed with ABBA tapes, rapid-fire repartee and a lifetime supply of glitter. Turns out it was a recipe for international success. The 1994 Australian flick with the soundtrack beloved by tipsy women everywhere has begotten a mega-musical now poised to take over the world, one Kylie Minogue medley at a time.
Oct. 12 to Nov. 28. Princess of Wales Theatre.

Death of a Salesman
You read it in high school. It’s about the American Dream, the corporate machine, the cruel obsolescence of the aged. It’s also about four words: “Attention must be paid.” But at its heart, Arthur Miller’s play is a flawlessly told story about a flawed, flailing man and the woman who stands by him. The chance to watch real-life couple Joseph Ziegler and Nancy Palk embody Willy and Linda Loman makes it that much better.
Oct. 16 to Nov. 13. Young Centre.

The Andersen Project
Before The Nightingale and Other Short Fables—that COC opera with the swimming pool—there was this 2005 one-man show, another Robert Lepage creation with Hans Christian Andersen at its centre. Yves Jacques plays multiple characters, including a Montrealer working on a libretto based on The Dryad, but as is always the case with Lepage’s productions, the visuals are the main draw: luggage becomes a train, graffiti becomes Andersen, and the stripping of a mannequin becomes oddly affecting.
Oct. 21 to 30. Bluma Appel Theatre.

Urbanvessel, the company behind the cappella opera Stitch (best sewing circle ever!), returns with an interactive world premiere. Writer Anna Chatterton, composer Juliet Palmer and choreographer Julia Aplin turned to boxing for material and came away with a performance that combines singing, sparring and gender politics. Audiences are invited to judge, heckle or bet on the proceedings—like at a real match, only with less bloody results.
Nov. 10 to 14. York Quay Centre.

The Year of Magical Thinking
Before the publication of The Year of Magi­cal Thinking in 2005, Joan Didion was known as a brilliant essayist and novelist. After it, her name became shorthand for widowhood, so stunning was her account of the year following her husband’s sudden death (which was also the one leading up to their daughter’s). In this play based on the book, Seana McKenna slips on the cloak of sorrow and stares down loneliness and anxiety—barefaced, resentful and resilient.
Nov. 2 to Dec. 12. Tarragon Theatre.

(Images: Priscilla by Tristram Kenton/courtesy of Mirvish Productions; voice-box by Omer Yukseker; Andersen Project by Emmanuel Valette)

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