The acting in Happy Place is stronger than the script

Pamela Mala Sinha's script for Happy Place is receiving an excellent production at the Firehall Arts Centre.

In Happy Place, the psychiatric patients are discouraged from asking one another questions. Instead, they play imaginative games with rocks. (Photo by Tim Matheson)

The storytelling in Happy Place could be more focused and compelling, but some of the play’s content pierces to the heart of the current cultural moment and the cast is stellar.

In Happy Place, playwright Pamela Mala Sinha takes us to an upscale inpatient treatment centre for women who have attempted suicide. Samira has just arrived. She knows that she was raped and tortured five years earlier, but she can’t remember the event in enough detail to identify and accuse her attacker. “I want to cut it out of my head. What I can’t remember,” she says. [Read more…]

Brothel #9: exquisite physical production, stellar performances

Touchstone Theatre is presenting Anusree Roy's Brothel #9.

Adele Noronha and Laara Sadiq are extraordinary in Brothel #9.

It’s immersive. There are so many compelling textures in Touchstone Theatre’s production of Brothel #9 that, watching it, you feel like you’re somewhere else.

In Toronto playwright Anusree Roy’s script, a young woman named Rekha arrives in a rundown building in Kolkata, thinking that she is about to start work in a light bulb factory. But she soon finds out that her brother-in-law has sold her into prostitution. Jamuna, an older sex worker, informs Rekha that escape is impossible: Birbal, their pimp, has excellent contacts; he will track her down wherever she goes and his revenge will be violent. When a policeman named Salaudin arrives, Rekha thinks that he might help her, but Salaudin takes Rekha into a back room and rapes her. Apparently unmoved by Rekha’s cries, Jamuna makes fish curry in the main room and sings to herself. [Read more…]

Jordan Tannahill writes plays for and about queer youth

Jordan Tannahil, Age of Minority, Late Company, Touchstone Theatre

Playwright Jordan Tannahill pulls ideas out of the news—not his hair (excellent photo by Lacey Creighton)

When I interviewed young queer playwright Jordan Tannahill about Late Company, which Touchstone is presenting at the Firehall November 21 to 30, he also told me about Age of Minority, the trilogy of plays that earned him a GG nomination this year.

All three solo plays feature queer youth.

The Late Company preview will run in the Straight next week. As a kind of warm-up, I thought you might like to hear what Tannahill had to say about Age of Minority, which is the first TYA collection to be nominated for a Governor General’s Award in Drama:  [Read more…]