Tag Archives: review

Review of “The Heidi Chronicles” from Hye’s Musiings

From the website Hye’s Musings, a review by Heidy M. :

The AluToronto Arts & Culturemnae Theatre Company opened its 102nd season with Wendy Wasserstein‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning The Heidi Chronicles. Over a span of 20 years, the titular character Heidi and her friends seek to achieve political, professional and personal fulfillment in a rapidly-changing world.

The Heidi Chronicles captures the experiences and anxieties of the baby boom generation, spanning through the 1960s to the 1980s. During this time, Heidi’s life plays out as pictures help depict historical and political events, from Eugene McCarthy’s presidential campaign to John Lennon’s assassination to the fall of the Berlin Wall.

As we see Heidi’s (Breanna Dillon) life evolve through high school dances, political awakenings, and finally becoming an Art History Professor, advocating for women in the arts. Alongside her, we get to know her high school besties, Susan (Joyce Chan-Baretta) and Peter (Eitan Shalmon). They are Heidi’s constants, for better or worse as she tries to figure out how to navigate a world in which people are often telling her what to think, how to act, or worse yet, not letting her speak her mind.

Toronto Arts & Culture
Eitan Shalmon, Brenna Dillon

Some of the interactions between Heidi and Peter are some of my favourite moments of the play. Peter is the one person who can relate to Heidi’s inner struggles, as being a gay man during those times was very difficult. This is one of the most honest parts of the play.

There are other scenes which also stand out, like when Heidi is out with Susan and some of her friends from a feminist group. A good reminder of how women are stronger together.

Also worth mentioning here is ​​Joan Jamieson‘s costume design and Elaine Freedman’s projection Design work. We see photographs of pivotal moments in time projected onto the stage. Through the cast’s wardrobe, we see Heidi and friends grow up over the decades. These may be overlooked by some, yet these are also essential to enhance a play.

For the record, there are aspects of the play that can be irritating to watch as it seems like not much has changed for women and LGBTQ+ people in our society. Nonetheless, there are redeeming reasons for remounting this play. It reminds us of the fact times have changed, but also reminds us of the work we have yet to do to reach equality and rid ourselves from sexism, homophobia, racism and so much more.

The Heidi Chronicles continues at Alumnae Theatre until October 5, 2019. There is a Talk Back with cast members after this Sunday’s Matinee performance. For more information and to get your advance tickets, visit alumnaetheatre.com.

Toronto Arts & Culture

Photos: Bruce Peters

Poster Design: Suzanne Courtney, Ticking Time Bomb Productions

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Filed under 2019/20 Season, The Heidi Chronicles

Mooney on Theatre review of “Top Girls”

Top Girls takes us into the world of six women from different countries, time periods, and positions in society, and we learn about their struggles, accomplishments and values. Their stories are vivid and have many parallels with today’s challenges… a timely important work that brings women’s voices to the forefront.” – Catherine Jan, Mooney on Theatre

Read the full review: https://www.mooneyontheatre.com/2019/01/20/review-top-girls-alumnae-theatre/?fbclid=IwAR2gh_JlEemNWQ4qyu9ZcA-aPljX80DuEVg-kxpG-O7juHJWEx922D6KjQA#more-49417

Top Girls Alumnae Theatre Toronto

Clockwise from L-R: Jordi O’Dael  (as Gret) , Jennifer Fahy (as Griselda), Charlotte Ferrarei (as Pope Joan), Alison Dowling (as Marlene), Lisa Lenihan (as Isabella Bird), and Tea Nguyen(as Lady Nijo).

Photo: Bruce Peters

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Filed under 2018/19 Season

New Ideas Festival: Heart beats, blue feels & the big sleep in trippy, darkly funny Week Three program

Review of New Ideas Festival 2017 – Week Three.
Main program (4 short plays) runs to Sunday, March 26, with a one-time staged reading of Catherine Frid‘s Thistlepatch on Saturday at noon.

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Alumnae Theatre Company continues its 2017 edition of the New Ideas Festival (NIF) with a trippy, darkly funny Week Three program, the final week of the fest. The annual festival includes three weeks of short new plays and full-length readings, including four plays and one reading each week, running in the Studio space.

Beat by Dale Sheldrake, directed by Josh Downing. Alone and injured following a near fatal car crash, Evelyn 1 (Jackie Mahoney) is beside herself, as she listens to her heart/inner voice (Evelyn 2: Laurel Schell). Taking stock of her life as she waits for help to arrive, she’s forced to face her inner demons and addictions. Darkly funny, sharp and theatrical; with some lovely spoken word dialogue and strong performances from Mahoney and Schell.

The Ballad of Sadie Wong by Andrew Lee, directed by Cassidy Sadler. Film noir detective story meets modern-day romance when day-dreamy…

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Filed under 2016/17 season, New Ideas Festival 2017

Passion, perception & revolution in New Ideas thoughtful Week 2 program

Review of New Ideas Festival’s Week Two lineup. Playing to Sun March 20.
A different lineup runs March 23-27 for Week Three!

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NIF 2016Alumnae Theatre continues its 2016 programming for its annual New Ideas Festival (NIF) of short new works with an engaging Week 2 program in the Studio space this week. Here’s what’s happening this week:

Housekeeping (by Jean Koppen, directed by Anne MacMillan). Three cleaners find something unexpected in a wealthy client’s home and their everyday routine is thrown into disarray as they debate the moral and ethical implications of their discover and what to do about it. At times darkly funny, the play highlights the stark realities of class, precarious work and distrust of a justice system that treats the rich differently from the rest of society. Really nice work from the cast: Morna Wales is tough, but fair and circumspect as Arlene, the veteran on the team; Aleksandra Maslennikova’s Jo is sharp, wary and cunningly resourceful; and Behiwot Degefu does a great job with the wide-eyed, irreverent and strong-willed…

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Filed under 2015/16 season, New Ideas Festival

Alternate realities, masks, mysteries & secrets in NIF Week One program

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nif 2015Alumnae Theatre Company kicked off its 27th annual New Ideas Festival (NIF) – three weeks of short new plays – last night, with four engaging, intriguing and enjoyable plays about connections:

Inheritance (by Tabitha Keast, directed by Matthew Hines). Two sniping siblings preparing a surprise 25th wedding anniversary party for their parents get a surprise of their own as family secrets are revealed – the kind that rewrite family history. Nice work from the ensemble in balancing the comedy with the family drama in this piece: Nicole Belfer as the upbeat, spontaneous sister; Kenny Hayes as the uptight, control freak brother; Lavetta Griffin as their direct, assertive mother; and Kalman P. Nagy as their gentle, discrete father. Nothing brings out how people really feel than an unexpected and startling revelation.

The Indigo Forest (by Bridget Erin, who came in all the way from Louisiana to see the opening, directed by…

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Filed under 2014/15 Season, New Ideas Festival 2015

A darkly funny & eerie look into the mind of Lizzie Borden in Blood Relations

Blood Relations : Part drama, part mystery, all compelling. “Did you, Lizzie? Lizzie, did you?”

life with more cowbell

Blood RelationsSo, first, a confession: I’d never read or seen Sharon Pollack’s Blood Relations. Not until last night, that is, at Alumnae Theatre Company’s opening night, directed by Barbara Larose, assisted by Ellen Green.

We are in the Borden home in Fall River, Massachusetts, 10 years after Lizzie Borden’s acquittal of the brutal double murder of her stepmother and father. Ragtime music fills the theatre and, in the dim pre-show lighting onstage, you can make out the main floor of the home: dining room and parlour, separated by a dark wood finish staircase. Down stage right is a pigeon coop; down left is a garden with a stone bench.

The ever present question: “Did you, Lizzie? Lizzie, did you?” sets the scene for a memory game of storytelling, played by Lizzie (Marisa King) and her friend/lover The Actress (Andrea Brown), taking the audience back in time to the circumstances leading…

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Filed under 2014/15 Season, Blood Relations

Rave reviews for “Rabbit Hole”

Audiences have been extremely complimentary about Alumnae Theatre Company’s currently-running production, David Lindsay-Abaire’s Rabbit Hole.   Check out the event on Facebook!

Howie (Cameron Johnston) gets a little frisky with Becca (Paula Schultz) in "Rabbit Hole".  Photo: Dahlia Katz

Howie (Cameron Johnston) gets a little frisky with Becca (Paula Schultz) in “Rabbit Hole”. Photo: Dahlia Katz

Now the critics are weighing in – MyEntertainmentWorld: http://www.myentertainmentworld.ca/2014/04/dont-miss-alumnaes-rabbit-hole/

LifeWithMoreCowbell:  http://lifewithmorecowbell.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/climbing-out-with-humour-rage-alumnae-theatres-rabbit-hole/

There are 4 more performances; Wed – Sat of this week.  8pm each night.  Wednesday tickets are 2-for-1; $20 on the other nights.  Purchase tickets online at www.alumnaetheatre.com OR reserve seats by e-mailing reservations@alumnaetheatre.com and pay cash at Box Office.

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Filed under 2013/14 Season, Rabbit Hole