A massive artisan fair, an epic Canadian opera and six other things to see, do, hear and read this week
A market that’s like Etsy come to life
The One of a Kind Show and Sale features dozens of artisans who make everything from jewellery and clothing to furniture and toiletries. Looking for scented candles? A stained-glass window for your birdhouse? The perfect necktie for your cat? You’ll find it all here. Wednesday, March 29 to Sunday, April 2. $13. Enercare Centre.
A play from Da Kink in My Hair alum Ngozi Paul
Paul’s one-woman show is about a black woman’s lifelong struggle to understand her race and sexuality. First staged at SummerWorks 2015, The Emancipation of Ms. Lovely combines music, dance and drama to draw a parallel between her search for identity and pop culture. Tuesday, March 28 to Saturday, April 8. $35. Streetcar Crowsnest.
An ultra-Canadian operatic opus
The opera Louis Riel, from the Canadian composer Henry Somers, returns a half-century after its premiere to mark Canada’s 150th anniversary. It documents the life, trial and execution of Louis Riel, the charismatic (and possibly mad) Métis leader who championed Manitoba’s French and Indigenous people. Famed baritones Russell Braun (Riel) and James Westman (John A. Macdonald) are well-matched nemeses, backed by an Indigenous assembly, in a libretto that includes French, English and Michif, the Métis language. To Saturday, May 13. From $50. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.
A free lunch that’s no joke
On April 1, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., popular chicken chain Nando’s is giving away free quarter-chicken meals at all of their Toronto and Etobicoke locations. No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke, but there’s one teeny-tiny, totally-worth-it catch: you need to bring in at least one non-perishable food item to be donated to the Daily Bread Food Bank. It’s dine-in only, so arrive early—the free meals (like the seats) are on a first-come, first-served basis. Saturday, April 1. Free. Multiple Nando’s locations.
A provocative play within a play
Can a western theatre company do justice to another country’s suffering? In Kiss, Chilean playwright Guillermo Calderón tells the meta-theatrical story of a group of North American actors attempting to stage a Syrian wartime melodrama. The provocative piece on colonialism and representation continues Calderón’s career-long affinity for politically charged production. Tuesday, March 28 to April 16. $35.10-$69. Berkeley Street Theatre.
An autographical play straight from Australia
Canadian Stage kicks off a festival of works from Australia with Jack Charles v. The Crown, a piece from the country’s longest-running Indigenous theatre company, Ilbijerri. In it, entertainer Jack Charles waves his own life story—rising out of addiction and crime to become a beloved actor, musician and elder—with 70 years of Australian Aboriginal history. Wednesday, March 29 to April 8. $35.10-$69. Berkeley Street Theatre.
A First Blood screening with Ted Kotcheff
The filmmaker who directed Wake in Fright, Weekend at Bernie’s and Uncommon Valor returns to his hometown this week. At TIFF, the legendary Canadian journeyman will launch his autobiography, Director’s Cut: My Life in Film, with a screening of First Blood, the film that launched the Rambo legacy. Tuesday, March 28. $14. TIFF Bell Lightbox.
A quadruple-bill ballet
The National Ballet of Canada debuts a smorgasbord of cutting-edge choreography this week. The performance includes the North American premiere of Wayne McGregor’s Genus, an intricate, 24-person dance work that draws inspiration from Darwin’s Origin of the Species. The program also features two short works by George Balanchine and Robert Binet, and Jerome Robbins’ The Concert, about a group of concertgoers at a Chopin concert. Wednesday, March 29 to Sunday, April 2. $39-$265. Four Seasons Centre.