Well my friends, here we are again at the end of a year that was exorbitantly fascinating, rewarding and filled with so many blessings for me and The Way I See It. I am so fortunate and both humbled and so touched by all the support that you all have shown me and to the Canadian theatre over the past twelve months. I am looking so forward to making 2011 a Very TWISI New Year filled with all sorts of new and exciting ventures for me with the website and I am so very excited to have you along for the ride!
In the meantime, here are some gold stars for some theatre companies and individuals who I feel made extraordinary contributions to Canadian theatre, and certainly to my theatre going experiences, in 2010.
1. GOLD STAR to Seana McKenna for The Year of Magical Thinking at Tarragon Theatre where she gave one of the most heartrending performances I have ever experienced from someone who seemed to evoke heartbreak as though it were the most effortless thing to do in the entire world. Talk about magical!
2. GOLD STAR to Pat Thornton for doing 24 hours of Stand Up Comedy and to ALL his writers, especially those who stayed for the duration of the mayhem and to Mark Andrada who was in the booth (and on the live chat) all day. Together they raised over $10,000 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation. WTG, Comedy Bar.
3. GOLD STAR to Michelle Monteith in Blasted at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre for giving a haunting and disturbing portrayal of a naive girl in a dystopian world. Special shout out to Brendan Healy for his bravery in producing this powerful show and to the entire cast for their outstanding performances.
4. GOLD STAR to Jane Spidell. Whether giving a powerhouse performance in Sharon Pollock’s Doc (Soulpepper Theatre) or being equally explosive in Volcano Theatre’s The Africa Trilogy, Spidell is someone that I hope to see onstage far more in 2011.
5. GOLD STAR to the cast of Ottawa’s MiCasa Theatre, Nicolas di Gaetano and Emily Pearlman, for Countries Shaped Like Stars, which I saw at the Summerworks Festival and was one of the most delightful and imaginative stories I have seen performed onstage.
6. GOLD STAR to Ted Dykstra for The Kreutzer Sonata, which I saw at the Summerworks Festival, who transformed himself entirely for his role of narrator and tragic hero as he launched his audience into the midst of a harrowing Tolstoy’s story of spiralling jealousy and paranoia, almost without leaving his chair.
7. GOLD STAR to Daniel Karasik for writing The Innocents, which I saw at the Summerworks Festival, which was the new Canadian play that I am most excited about that I saw during the Summer Festivals in Toronto. Karasik is an incredibly gifted writer and I look forward to seeing more from him in 2011! Shout outs to his awesome cast, especially Noah Reid who was brilliant in this play.
8. GOLD STAR to the entire cast and artistic team of Jitters at Soulpepper, which I think was my favourite 2010 production. Ted Dykstra’s flawless direction, a dynamite cast with particular star turns from Mike Ross and Oliver Dennis being hysterical and David French’s brilliant play made this a paragon of theatre in this country. Bravo!
9. GOLD STAR to the cast of Dance Animal from Montreal, who I saw at the Toronto Fringe Festival. They are the world’s first comedy dance tribe. Need I say more? They are a jungle full of joy!
10. GOLD STAR to Chris Craddock for Public Speaking, a tightly woven and captivating story that I saw at The Toronto Fringe Festival, told through his incredible storytelling prowess. I especially fell in love with his giant character, who seemed to walk right out of a 1980s cartoon. If you have any opportunity to see Craddock perform in 2011, seize your chance!
11. GOLD STAR to Sharron Matthews who dominated the world this year. She stands as an inspiration and a ray of light for this entire community, proving that with a lot of hard work, constant dedication and the support and love of friends and fans as well as heap loads of formidable talent, anything is possible and dreams and goals really can come true. Thanks Sharron. You are a star!
12. GOLD STAR to Erin Shields, Alan Dilworth and Tara Rosling for If We Were Birds at Tarragon Theatre, which was the most riveting Canadian play that I saw this year. Yes, wow. Powerful, Incredible, Horrific and Beautiful all at the same time. Shout outs to the entire cast for being breathtaking.
13. GOLD STAR for Little Bulb Theatre from England for Crocosmia, which I saw at Theatre Passe Muraille, for bringing a beautiful story of love, loss, imagination and the splendour and joy of childhood to a Canadian Stage. Shout out to the entire cast and their director for their brilliance, and especially to Clare Beresford, whose performance as Freya is award worthy.
14. GOLD STAR to Stewart Legere, Katie Swift and Ann-Marie Kerr for A Rescue Demonstration, which I saw at the Plutonium Playhouse in Halifax, a show that gave me so much assurance that the development of high calibre indigenous Haligonian theatre is well in the works. Special shout out also to everyone involved in the development of the Plutonium Playhouse for all their work in tendering the budding playwrights who live in Nova Scotia.
15. GOLD STAR for Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks for This is What Happens Next (Canadian Stage Berkeley), for reuniting and reminding Toronto audiences just why they are a dream team of Canadian theatre legend.
16. GOLD STAR for Holly Lewis for Theatrefront’s The Mill: Part Three: The Woods and her stunning, beautiful and heartbreaking portrayal of Lyca.
17. GOLD STAR for Diego Matamoros for his performance in The Aleph as part of the Soulpepper Lab Series. It’s coming back in 2011 and you should get your tickets now because he is a most captivating and enchanting storyteller.
18. GOLD STAR for Caroline Gillis in Daniel MacIvor’s Communion at Tarragon Theatre. Gillis is always the perfect mixture of hilarious and heart wrenching and her performance in this play was my favourite thus far!
19. GOLD STAR to the entire cast of Cloud 9, which played at the Panasonic Theatre. Huge Gold Star to Mirvish for producing such a fascinating and intellectually stimulating piece of contemporary theatre filled with a cast of Canadian theatre stars. Thank you for that. GOLD STAR to Alisa Palmer for her superb direction and special shout outs to Evan Buliung, Megan Follows and Ann-Marie Macdonald, who I would have given all Dora Awards.
20. GOLD STAR to Acting UpStage Theatre Company for their beautiful production of Light in the Piazza. Shout outs to Jeff Lillico, Juan Chioran, Patty Jamieson and Tracy Michailidis for their amazing performances.
21. GOLD STAR to Eric Peterson for Billy Bishop Goes to War at Soulpepper. Obviously.
22. GOLD STAR to Maja Ardal for giving us the gift of Elsa in both You Fancy Yourself and The Cure for Everything at Theatre Passe Muraille. I love Elsa and Ardal is magical to watch.
23. GOLD STAR to Joseph Ziegler and Nancy Palk for their incredible performances in Death of a Salesman at Soulpepper. Incredible.
24. GOLD STAR to Louise Pitre for showing off how hilarious she is in A Year With Frog and Toad at Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People, the best play for children that I saw all year. Special Shout out to Allen MacInnis for his class and heart.
25. GOLD STAR to Meghan Hoople for her performance as Buskin’ Beaver in the Ross Petty Pantomime Beauty and the Beast. She needs to be seen to be believed.
26. GOLD STAR to Christian Capozzoli, perhaps the best improviser I have ever seen, who came to Toronto from New York to share his genius with us! GOLD STARS also to Kayla Lorette, Sean Tabares and Jess Grant for being especially hilarious all year through too.
27. GOLD STAR to the entire cast of MOJO (Ezra’s Atlantic Co-op)- not only are these guys performing independent, grass roots theatre that is dynamic, powerful and invigorating, but this play was a powerhouse of intensity and suspense.
28. GOLD STAR to Matthew Jocelyn and The Canadian Stage Company for bringing us not only Robert LePage’s The Andersen Project, but also The Electric Company’s Studies in Motion. It’s incredible to see the new waves of theatrical expression at a theatre as large and with such a wide audience as the Bluma. Thanks for bringing us the best of world and Canadian theatre.
That is the way I saw it this year; I hope that 2011 shines brightly on you all. HAPPY NEW YEAR!