Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Toronto & Tarragon


Earlier this year, the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC awarded the Rorschach Artistic Directors a grant to travel to Canada to meet Canadian Theatre artists and to see their work. In the icy predawn hours of Wednesday we embarked on our adventure...
Arriving in Toronto a few hours late thanks to weather delays and deicing, our first stop was the Tarragon Theatre. Founded in 1970, its focus is on developing and producing primarily new Canadian plays. The Tarragon's Literary Manager Andrea gave us a tour of their space and then sat down to tell us a little more about the Company's work.

The theatre itself is a fantastic little space tucked away on a side street a few blocks from the subway. As Randy put it, it's like Snoopy's house, it seems much bigger on the inside than it does from the outside. It houses the company's two theatre space (named "Mainspace" and "Extra
 Space"). Despite have two stages, multiple rehearsal spaces, office space and a costume shop, it still felt intimate and very cosy. It reminded me a lot of Woolly's home at 14th & Church and it was interesting to see a company of that size in a venue like that.

Andrea told us a great deal about the company play and playwright development programs. Their work seems nothing short of prolific with programs that touch on every point of a play's development. After our meeting with her, we had the pleasure of seeing EAST OF BERLIN in the 
Extra Space. It was a remarkably tight, beautifully designed 3-character play about the son of a Nazi soldier. All in all it was an excellent beginning to our theatre experience in Toronto.

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