The Weekender: Christopher Plummer and the TSO, Bill Maher and six other items on our to-do list
1. CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER AND THE TSO
We’re of the opinion that Christopher Plummer could stand on a stage reading a grocery list and it’d still be compelling. This is convenient, because his current project sees the one-time Captain von Trapp narrating on stage—though his subject matter is significantly more edifying. Plummer will recite passages from Henry V while an orchestra performs the score of Laurence Olivier’s 1944 film version. September 22 and 24. $35–$179. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., 416-593-4828, tso.ca.
2. THE WORD ON THE STREET (FREE!)
For book nerds, the most exciting thing happening this weekend is definitely this annual literary event. One of six bookish fests happening at the same time in cities across the country, Toronto’s version of The Word on the Street offers writing workshops, foodie demos by top cookbook authors and a new youth venue, This Is Not the Shakespeare Stage. September 25. Queen’s Park, 416-504-7241, thewordonthestreet.ca.
3. THE ODD COUPLE
Before Tony Randall and Jack Klugman, and Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau portrayed neat freak Felix and slob Oscar on TV and the silver screen respectively, The Odd Couple was a Tony Award-winning show written by Neil Simon. Soulpepper Theatre revives the classic Broadway play, this time with Diego Matamoros as TV news writer Felix and Albert Schultz as sports writer Oscar. September 22. $28–$65. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, 55 Mill Street, Bldg. 49, 416-866-8666, soulpepper.ca.
4. TORONTO INTERNATIONAL SCRABBLE OPEN
As avowed word people, we can definitely get behind a good game of Scrabble. But we’re nowhere near as serious as the participants at this board game throwdown, which pits Scrabble players (including some world champions) against each other and a computer named Quackle—the person with the highest score competes in one last man-versus-computer challenge. For those who would prefer playing to watching, the Open shares a venue with Toronto Scrabble Club’s annual Michael Wise Memorial Tournament and new players are welcome to register in advance. September 22–25. $35. Bond Place Hotel, 65 Dundas St. E., torontoscrabbleclub.com.
5. BILL MAHER
Bill Maher is political, controversial and hilariously funny. He started his stand-up career in 1979 and since then has hosted a TV show or two, put together a documentary about religion and racked up Emmy nods in the double digits, insulting thousands in the process we’re sure. September 24. $39.50–$69.50. Massey Hall, 178 Victoria St., 416-872-4255, www.masseyhall.com.
The second Shakespearean event of the weekend (see #2), this one also appeals to the Simpsons generation. Part one-man show, part multimedia extravaganza, this popular play by comedian Rick Miller finds him acting out Macbeth using characters from The Simpsons universe. The storyline is more Shakespeare than Groening, but let’s be honest: the reason we’re going is to hear Homer d’oh his way through the “Is this a dagger?” monologue. To September 25. $35–$45. The Factory Mainstage Theatre, 125 Bathurst St., 416-504-9971, factorytheatre.ca.
7. SMALL WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL
Some of the world’s most talented music makers—like India’s Asha Bhosle and the UK’s Quantic, for example—are in Toronto this week for the tenth anniversary of this world music fest. Musicians from across the country share the stage with their peers from Iran to Argentina, and this weekend, check out the free events at Yonge-Dundas square where Haitian hip hop, Cameroonian drumming and Chinese contemporary are all on offer. September 22–October 2. Various locations, 416-536-5439, smallworldmusic.com.
8. THE POWER PLANT FALL PROGRAMMING
Three new exhibits open this weekend at The Power Plant. Separate but thematically linked, the exhibits are by emerging artists from around the world and are all concerned with the methodology of storytelling. First, there’s the Power Plant-commissioned Derek Sullivan installation, which includes a set of 52 limited edition books suspended from the ceiling. Also on offer are Simon Fujiwara’s Welcome to the Hotel Munber, a multimedia recreation of a hotel bar in 1970s Spain, and The Plot, a trio of films that all have non-linear narratives. From September 24. $6. The Power Plant, Harbourfront Centre, 231 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4949, thepowerplant.org