SummerWorks ’17: Philip’s Top 5

3 August 2017 / by Philip Zave Wiseman
Featured Image for SummerWorks '17: Philip's Top 5 courtesy of Dahlia Katz  | CJRU

We are approaching the second half of summer, which means it is time for SummerWorks, Canada’s largest curated performance festival of theatre, dance, music, live art and interdisciplinary forms. This year’s 11-day Festival features 52 unique projects, as well a series of artist workshops, a collection of new performance experiments in the SummerWorks Lab, and nightly parties. The festival runs from August 3rd to 13th at venues all across the downtown core of Toronto.

The festival kicks off with an Opening Night Party on Thursday August 3rd at 10pm at the Factory Theatre Courtyard.


Professional Ethnic

We live in the age of dialogue. The Internet allows us to have a two-way communication with creators, thinkers, writers, bloggers and celebrities. This is probably why I like when discussion accompanies modern artistic endeavours. Bobby Del Rio must feel the same way as he has included a 30 minute long table discussion that will take place after every performance of his show, Professionally Ethnic. Del Rio is an exciting Canadian artist who has accomplished many things: he is the Founder/President of INCLUDE – Canada’s largest multicultural network in theatre/film/television. He has also been the Canadian Feature Film Programmer at ReelWorld Film Festival since 2010. Professionally Ethnic follows an actor who is offered a chance at stardom if he is willing to play up a stereotype he does not identify with. The show is a comedic political satire about the awkward way multiculturalism is implemented in Canadian theatre. The show will take place at The Theatre Centre’s Incubator stage.

The first performance will be at 9pm on Saturday August 5th. 


Reality Theatre

I often spend hours introspectively wondering about the nature of being human, especially in relation to our ever increasing and expanding digital technologies. Julia Lederer must have similar thought processes as her play Reality Theatre explores anxieties about change, the acceleration of technology, and maintaining human relationships in a world quickly becoming less human. It is presented as a fast moving collection of short, interwoven plays, which sounds to me like an exhilarating theatrical experience. The other thing that draws me to the show is their promotional photo that features a smirking woman dressed as a spoon from Beauty and the Beast. HILARIOUS. The show has been put together by a large group of creative collaborators and is sure to be a thoughtful and magical experience.

It takes place at the Factory Theatre Mainspace. The first performance will be Thursday August 3rd at 8:30pm.


The First Time I Saw the Sea

Very few things in the creative world excite me more than seeing a bunch of artists from different countries coming together to tell a story. The team behind The First time I Saw the Sea do just this by featuring an ensemble from France, Norway, and Canada. The show follows two characters: Oscar and Kate who just moved to a new town. Everything is perfect. Until the roof starts to leak. A flood is coming, and Oscar hates water. The First Time I Saw the Sea is an interrogation into what we remember, and how we can remember something that never happened. This workshop presentation is part of the SummerWorks Lab – a place for exploration, experimentation, and process, allowing us to support work in early stages and create connections between audiences and artists.

It will take place at the Factory Theatre Studio. The first performance will be on Thursday August 10th at 2pm.


The Invisible City

Daniele Bartolini founder of DopoLavoro Teatrale is one of Toronto’s pioneers of Audience Specific Theatre. The style of theatre his company focuses on is fully interactive, urban-immersive creations designed to give a single audience member an active role inside a dramatic structure. Daniele’s latest production, The Invisible City, follows up on this concept in an incredibly exciting way. As an audience member you will be starting your immersion in this show’s universe from your own home, entering into a parallel world for 24 hours. The show takes place over the course of two episodes: 

Episode 1: You receive a mysterious call at night time. It will connect you to four strangers who you may never meet again. Guided by an enigmatic voice, you are invited to speak about your dreams and reveal your personal life story.

Episode 2: The night after you will enter the invisible city and be transported through a collective dream in which you play the role of the main character.

The first performance is Thursday August 3rd at 9:30pm and the location will be revealed after booking your ticket. Daniele has been known to sell out his performances at SummerWorks, so I would book my tickets for this piece ASAP. 


Explosions for the 21st Century

Christopher Ross-Ewart is a recent MFA graduate in sound design at Yale School of Drama where he focused specifically on sound design and composition. His first independent creation post-graduation is Explosions for the 21 st Century Artist, which promises to be captivating. With field recordings, audio effects, and a well timed air horn, Explosions for the 21st Century uses sound design to explore contemporary culture. The result is part lecture, part stand up, and part existential crisis. Written and performed by Chris Ross-Ewart, the show is an erratic, real time, exploration of why we make sound and how we listen.

The show will take place at the Theatre Centre’s Incubator stage. The first performance will be on Friday August 4th at 8pm.