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A Gladstone Hotel room exhibit, a Victorian-era vibrator comedy, and five other things to see and do in Toronto this week

A Gladstone Hotel room exhibit, a Victorian-era vibrator comedy, and five other things to see and do in Toronto this week
Photo by Gabby Frank

A Gladstone Hotel makeover
1Every year, artists and designers from across the city reimagine the rooms inside the Gladstone Hotel and transform them into interactive installations filled with lights, colours and sound. Visitors never know what they’re going to walk into: last year, there was a virtual reality recreation of Ferris Bueller’s bedroom, an astroturf-covered hallway lined with hundreds of (plastic) fingers, and sculptures made from garbage that had been died millennial pink. This year, Toronto-based contemporary artist Cole Swanson painted giant murals made from pigments sourced from the Scarborough Bluffs, and designer and geometry-lover Safoura Zahedi created an Infinity Mirrors–inspired light installation. Thursday, January 17 to Sunday, January 20. $10. The Gladstone Hotel.

A Victorian-era vibrator comedy
2“Female hysteria” was one of the most commonly diagnosed medical conditions up until the early 20th century. The prescribed treatment? Orgasms. In fact, some historians even credit this phenomenon for creating a market for the modern vibrator, which was invented to give doctors a break from constantly having to perform “pelvic massages.” In the Next Room (or The Vibrator Play)—a comedy from award-winning American playwright Sarah Ruhl—revisits this era as a doctor, his wife and their patients try to wrap their heads around this new invention. It’s hysterically funny but also offers a clever look at what happens when women are deprived of sexual freedom. Wednesday, January 16 to Sunday, January 27. $17–32. Tarragon Theatre.

A Gladstone Hotel room exhibit, a Victorian-era vibrator comedy, and five other things to see and do in Toronto this week
Photo courtesy of Roberta Invernizzi

An 18th-century soirée
3Long committed to baroque performance, Tafelmusik has expanded their repertoire to include experimental multimedia shows that capture the theatricality of the period. Their latest, The Harlequin Salon, created by oboist Marco Cera, invites audiences to step into the home of painter and caricaturist Pier Leone Ghezzi for one of his famous soirées in 18th-century Rome. For this theatrical recreation, costumed performers—including soprano Roberta Invernizzi, violinist Elisa Citterio and cellist Christina Mahler—take on the roles of celebrated party guests. Wednesday, January 16 to Sunday, January 20. $30–$78. Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre. 

A Gladstone Hotel room exhibit, a Victorian-era vibrator comedy, and five other things to see and do in Toronto this week
Photo by Brittany Carmichael

A magical light festival 
4A little bit of light can make even the harshest sub-zero temperatures feel slightly more tolerable. Every night until march, the Distillery District will become a maze of glowing sculptures, projections and bright neon colours for Toronto’s Light Festival. There are more than 35 installations this year from artists around the world, including a giant rainbow, life-sized polar bears and a trippy three-dimensional DNA model. Friday, January 18 to Sunday, March 3. Free. The Distillery District. 

A night of political satire
5Playwright Michael Healey is best known for his scathing satire. After his convincing portrayal of Stephen Harper in the final segment of his political theatre trilogy, Generous, Courageous and Proud, back in 2012, he’s revisiting Canadian politics for his newest play, 1979. The plot follows the story of 39-year-old Joe Clark, a relatively unknown Alberta MP who tanks the Conservative government’s reputation a mere six months after being elected as Canada’s 16th Prime Minister. As he scrambles to stay in power, he must confront whether he’s really the person best suited to run the country. Trudeau senior, Mulroney, Maureen McTeer and a young Stephen Harper also make an appearance in this self-produced comedy. Runs until Sunday, January 27. $25–$75. Berkeley Street Theatre.

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A city-wide design exhibition
6DesignTO, now in its ninth year, is Canada’s largest celebration of art and design. This year’s installment features more than 100 exhibitions and events, including indoor geometric furniture sculptures inspired by Chinese gardens, an “urban rug” show displaying area rugs that have been carved into reliefs of cityscapes, and a talk on design philosophy by Tiffany Pratt, the creative mind behind designs at trendy Toronto hot spots like Café Cancan and Piano Piano. Friday, January 18 to Sunday, January 27. Free. Various locations. 

A Gladstone Hotel room exhibit, a Victorian-era vibrator comedy, and five other things to see and do in Toronto this week
Photo by Jamie Griffiths

An Arctic Odyssey
7Using stories gathered from Inuit elders, the Iqaluit-based Qaggiq theatre collective has pieced together an Arctic equivalent to Homer’s Odyssey. Traditional drumming and throat-singing are interspersed with contemporary music and video to retell ancient Inuit tales of the wandering hero, Kiviuq, as he travels through the wilderness, tangling with fantastic beasts and seeking guidance from ancestors. Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic is performed entirely in Inuktitut with English and synopses in the program. Runs until Sunday, January 27. $60. Tarragon Theatre.

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