Skip to content

Posts tagged ‘52 PICK-UP’

Our Favourite Picks of the Fringe 2014

We’ve made a list, we’ve checked it twice. Check out Our Favourite Picks of the Fringe 2014, in no particular order, to see what performances we’ve particularly dug so far, and think you might too for your last Fringy weekend. These were chosen based on general all-around enjoyment, intrigue, the desire to see the piece developed further, as well as notable execution.

These are also picks that aren’t entirely sold-out for the weekend. We have to give a special nod to: Pea Green Theatre Group’s Three Men in a Boat, The Howland Company’s 52 Pick-Up, Theatre Awakening’s Chasing Margaret Flatwood, Paper Plaid Productions’ Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl and Criminal Theatre’s True, all of which blew us away, as well. You can always try to line-up for these shows but also try to be bold and see a show you may have not heard much about.

Also, sad the Fringe is drawing to a close? Fear not! Fringe will not be totally over after Sunday. You can catch Three Men in a Boat, 52 Pick-Up and even some of our picks below at the Best of Fringe

Is there are performance that you think we’ve missed? Let us know via Facebook or Twitter and we’ll be sure to check it out for our own closing weekend line-up! Happy Final Weekend of Fringing, Friends!

An Ode to Dyads


An Ode to Dyads presented by Fishbowl Collective

Running only at 30 minutes, this is definitely a piece I would love to see developed into a longer show. I didn’t want it to end. Delightful, funny, moving, simple. An Ode to Dyads is something really special that you shouldn’t miss out on. – Hallie

Two beings. Doomed to forever repeat their existence in a strange and disquieting world where chairs are loyal companions, exalted French poets dictate emotion, and narrative is swallowed by metaphysical clowns. This is an original piece, conceived and presented at the 2014 Paprika Festival.

Where: Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace

When: Saturday July 12th at 5:45pm

All in the Timing


A series of short plays by David Ives create a wonderful and charming piece of comedy. Transitions are slick while the actors are present, committed and honest. The world of each play is completely unique. – Bailey

With a mix of the works of a comedic genius and some local improv talent, you’ll be be glad you took the time to come and see “All in the Timing.” With the “Words, Words, words” of David Ives creating “The Universal Language” of comedy originating in “The Philadelphia,” it’s a “Sure Thing” that you’ll discover the reason for “The Death of Trotsky.”

All in the Timing presented by Miller’s Son and From the Oven

By: David Ives

Director: Jonathan Dufour and Mikhael Melnikoff

Where: St Vlad’s Theatre

When: July 12 @ 3:30pm 

The Assassination of Robert Ford: Dirty Little Coward


The Assassination of Robert Ford: Dirty Little Coward is a fun trip through the Old West featuring great original music and charismatic performances. Meet outlaws, heroes and an infamous assassin in this cautionary tale about inflated infamy, and what seeking revenge really gets you in the end. – Madryn

Tell me about your anger.

Does it burn inside you, threatening to destroy everything you have?

Has it turned you cold, frozen you in place and made you unable to change?

Or did you just want to be entertained?

The Assassination of Robert Ford: the dirty little coward presented by Still Your Friend

Directed and Written by: Adam Bailey

Where: Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace

When: July 12 @ 11:00pm or catch it at The Toronto Centre for the Arts as part of Best of Fringe: 

Everything is Fine…


Witty. Relevant. A guaranteed laugh from start to finish. The cast takes sketch comedy to another level and then some. A definite must see. – Brittany

Everything is Fine… A show about convincing people your skin isn’t melting. Eight Second City Conservatory graduates come together under the guidance of Fringe favourite and CCA nominee Ken Hall (2-MAN NO-SHOW) for a truly immersive experience. Join this cast of humans on a twisted, hilarious and emotional ride, and remember, EVERYTHING IS FINE…

Everything is Fine, presented by Haggard Bitch Productions

Directed by: Ken Hall

Written by: Gillian Anderson, Gillian Bartolucci, Kristie Gunter, Ted Hambly, Steve Hobbs, Marshall Lorenzo, Nicky Nasrallah, Allana Reoch

Where: Tarragon Main


July 13 at 07:30 PM



jem rolls engages his audience in a way I have never seen. From start to finish his poetry mesmerizes. You can lose yourself in the tangle of words as jem rolls guides you through a wildly creative expression of his own mind. Funny and poignant, grotesque and beautiful. – Bailey

Farce-fetched poetic comedy. Where a London bus burns red with a blinding row between Compassion, Apathy & RoadRage. Do we humans get the best sex of all species?

“Highest calibre…Genius” Montreal Gazette *****.

“High performance master” Winnipeg Free Press *****.

You’re never alone with compassion.

jem rolls presented by big word performance poetry

By: jem rolls

Where: Tarragon Extraspace


July 12 at 01:45 PM

Licking Knives


Melanie Hyrmak invites her audience in with confidence, kindness and wry humour. The story is powerful and relevant. The text is fresh and complex. You’re left wanting more, and yet completely satisfied. – Bailey & Hallie

Exploring the themes of identity and self-determination, this a darkly funny story is told by a confident, confused, indignant young woman who decides to leave home in the spring of 1939. It is a journey that will take you across Europe from a stick in the Ukrainian mud to the City of Lights.

Licking Knives presented by Headstrong Collective 

By: Melanie Hyrmak

Where: Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace 


July 12 @ 2:45

July 13 @ 5:45

Love’s Labour’s Lost

Love's Labour's Lost - Photo by Jesse Griffiths and Kyle Purcell

Love’s Labour’s Lost – Photo by Jesse Griffiths and Kyle Purcell

Razor-sharp wit paired with clear intentions and strong direction makes for wickedly awesome Shakespeare. The cast of 16 embraced their roles and brought distinct, unique characters to life. Pure entertainment. – Bailey

Join your favourite Best of Fringe winning Shakespeare Company, Shakespeare BASH’d, as they tackle Shakespeare’s zany masterpiece of wit: Love’s Labour’s Lost. The King and his three gentlemen have sworn off women for three years of study, until the Princess and her three ladies come to the court… Will their vow be forsworn or will love overcome?

Love’s Labour’s Lost presented by Shakespeare Bash’d

Directed by: James Wallis

Where: Victory Café, 581 Markham St


July 12 at 07:00 PM

July 13 at 05:00 PM



Potosí is some of the best theatre I’ve seen. Gripping, raw, strong writing and even stronger acting. Special mention of Nicole Wilson as LeBlanc. She’s a bold risk taker, and it pays off every time. – Madryn 

A young emissary from a Canadian mining corporation is sent to a remote country to investigate reports of sexual violence at the mine. As civil war rages, she is taken hostage at gunpoint by a former miner. A psychological game of cat-and-mouse ensues in this darkly funny parable on colonialism, gender, and greed. Winner of the Fringe Best New Play Contest

Potosí presented by Good Old Neon

Written and directed by: Alexander Offord

Where: Tarragon Main

When: July 13 at 05:15 PM 

Punch Up _r1a6215

Kat Sandler has been getting a lot of attention over the past couple years and with this new one she’s really hit her stride. We were rolling in our seats with laughter, the characters and actors took themselves far from seriously (in a good way) and I’ve been quoting it for days. – Shaina

A lonely loser kidnaps his favourite comedian to win the heart of the saddest girl in the world. From Kat Sandler and Theatre Brouhaha, creators of sold-out hits Delicacy (NNNN, NOW Magazine), We Are The Bomb (NNNNN), and 2012 Patrons’ Pick and Best of Fringe show Help Yourself comes a dark comedy about the twisted lengths we’ll go to for a laugh.

Punch Up, presented by Theatre Brouhaha

Directed and Written by: Kat Sandler

Where: George Ignatieff Theatre

When: July 13 at 03:30 PM OR catch it at The Toronto Centre for the Arts as part of Best of Fringe:

Roller Derby Saved My Soul


This was one of the most enjoyable hours I’ve spent at the Fringe (and that includes Fringe Tent hours, friends). Believe the hype. Nancy Kenny is charming, charismatic and sharp. Loved it. – Hallie

Comics, fandom and the struggles of the introvert. In a world of tropes, one woman gets off the couch and unleashes the hero within. 

Roller Derby Saved My Soul presented by Broken Turtle Productions

Written & performed by: Nancy Kenny

Where: Tarragon Extra Space

When: July 12 at Noon

2014 Fringe Preview – 52 PICK-UP with The Howland Company

Interview by Bailey Green

I interviewed Paolo Santalucia, James Graham and Ruth Goodwin about The Howland Company’s inaugural show for the Toronto Fringe, 52 PICK-UP written by TJ Dawe and Rita Bozi. The show tells the story of a relationship, from coming together to falling apart. The Howland Company chose to have a rotating cast of four different couples (two male/female couples, one male/male and one female/female) who each perform two shows over the run.

Bailey: Tell me about the show in simplest terms, what is it about? What’s unique about it?

James: Well it’s about the whole duration of a relationship from beginning to end. The story is told in 52 scenes, some are three pages and some are ten seconds long. Each scene is written on a playing card. At the beginning of every show the actors throw the cards up into the air and then they play out the show in the order that they pick up the cards. If it was a standard production of this show, with two actors for the whole run, each show would still be unique because scenes would be highlighted in a different way with each different order. But The Howland Company is doing something a little different with this piece.

Courtney Ch'ng Lancaster & Ruth Goodwin

52 PICK-UP: Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster & Ruth Goodwin

Ruth: 52 PICK-UP is about falling in and out of love. The structure of it is unique (being in a different order every night) but the play stands out because of how relatable it is. Each scene is written like a conversation that any of us could have had with a significant other. TJ Dawe and Rita Bozi have really touched on the universal moments (good and bad) that many couples face. And for that reason, its random order makes so much sense. It’s almost like playing back your memories of a relationship. They come to you in moments or flashes – sometimes when you least expect them to and that’s kind of how 52 PICK-UP works.

Paolo: For co-director Courtney [Ch’ng Lancaster] and I, part of what we wanted to do with this piece is heighten the super-changeable aspect of each relationship. Each night would already be so different and so we thought why not push that further in a theatrical way? Each relationship in and of itself is different, so we thought let’s embrace that and cast multiple groups of people to highlight some different kinds of relationships. The scenes range from the first meeting to the first fight to the first time sleeping together. So what does that mean when it’s two men who just slept together for the first time, what does it mean when you’re actually watching a couple in real life act out a version of their relationship onstage together and what do these scenes mean for two women? It takes the play out of a context of “this is how men and women are in relationships.” It removes that aspect from the production and doesn’t allow the audience to make universal assumptions of how men and women behave. The play itself doesn’t actually go there, it remains open-ended while highlighting the reasons why people come together and fall apart. TJ and Rita, the playwrights of 52 PICK-UP, actually said that no one has done this to the play before and they were excited about that exploration.

Bailey: What has the experience of the rehearsal been like?

James: Well I just get to parachute in and have a blast every week or so and just try to keep my head above water. I think Paolo can speak more to that.

Paolo: It’s been really exciting and very scary for lots of reasons. Each person brings to the table their own set of experiences and absolute truths about relationships. Everyone in the company has a relationship to relationships. [For example] some people are talking about financing a home for the first time, or people are in the midst of moving in together or people are coming out of a relationship or beginning a new one. There’s a variety of experiences that people can speak to with this play.

Ruth: The process has been scary. Scary. And also… scary! There’s a lot to cover…and no order. It’s also been a lot of self-reflection on relationships in general. It’s kind of hard not to put yourself in your character’s shoes. We jump around in the story so much. Some scenes are so short that you really have to define what each moment means to you. Luckily we have really supportive directors who are patient with us.

Ruth Goodwin & Alex Crowther

52 PICK-UP: Ruth Goodwin & Alex Crowther

James: One of the great things about this project is that the actors can all jump into these scenes and this world very easily. We can identify very clearly with this subject matter. On some level that is one of the reasons the Howland Company was formed, for a group of young actors to find plays and projects that spoke to experiences that as artists in our mid-to-late twenties we can step in and offer something (without always having to tear our hair out.)

Paolo: Yet at the same time it is incredibly challenging. The only thing Courtney and I can attribute it to is studying for an exam. On the day you know there’s a task you’re going to have to complete and the variables on that task are going to be something you can prep for. You’re going to know what the questions might be about just as you’re going to know what the scenes are. But the way they’re presented to you and what your emotional response will be in the moment? There’s no way to prep for that. All we can do is help the actors and in turn help ourselves.

Some scenes have one line in them and they’re only spoken by one character. But that doesn’t mean the inner life for the other character is any less intense. For example there’s one scene where the woman calls the man, he picks up the phone and she hangs up. With each couple we’ve explored what that scene means at different moments in the show. We spent a lot of time on text work. Each couple created a timeline for themselves so they had a linear progression of this play for themselves. Each group is different, some scenes that people have at the beginning of the relationships others have at the end. What James and I have as our storyline, and what it’s based on for two men, is completely different than what for example Ruth and Alex are finding as a man and a woman coming together. A man and a woman have had many relationships of this kind and this is just one along the way that really sticks out for them whereas for us [James and I], and with Courtney and Kristen, we’re exploring that it’s the first time for one of the lovers that they have been in a same sex partnership. The text lends itself to that. Rehearsal has been really like four different plays.

James: It makes the run an experience. One of the things we discussed is how are people going to review this play, because of the way that it is structured? It didn’t bother us because one of the challenges is that we’re offering a whole experience, as opposed to each individual show or couple being self-contained. The experience of the whole seven shows is the experience of 52 PICK-UP. Whether you see one, two or all four couples if you’re a Fringe all-star, you will get your own experience of the show. That’s where our focus is and we hope, for those that do come more than once, to hear about their experiences!


Full cast of 52 PICK-UP featured in their YouTube campaign. Click here to watch.

Bailey: Tell me about The Howland Company, how you came together and for what purpose?

Ruth: James and I met in high school doing awkward tween theatre. When we both moved back to the city after school we decided to start something that we both wanted to be a part of. That’s how The Howland Company’s Reading Group got started. Then James brought Paolo in—who he met doing slightly more sophisticated tween theatre—and we each approached actors in the city that we wanted to work with to invite them to join us.

James: We began to recruit people and each of us went off and looked for people of a similar mind, people who wanted a chance to work, work together, a chance to make theatre about our generation, which spoke to us more, and hopefully contribute to a new generation of Canadian stories. And what does that mean? Not that we’ve figured it out, by any means, but to join the conversation. Most of all we wanted people who were willing to be patient. We wanted to create something with long-term aspirations. The idea was that we would take our time to build an ensemble and establish a relationship with the community. We wanted to start a dialogue between the next generation of theatre companies and hosting the play reading series every two weeks was part of that. We had no idea what we were going to do for our first show and then this show just fell into our laps. That patience has really paid off.

Paolo: How do we as a group of young actors take these artistic tools and keep working without always saying what’s the next production? What’s the next thing? It’s not about the production, it’s about how do you contribute to the community and use your artistic voice to further the conversation. 52 PICK-UP is absolutely about hopes and fears for the future.

James: What happens from here remains to be seen. On the simplest level, we’re a group of young actors who wanted to make work together, to find a community where we could practice our craft, take risks and contribute our voice.


Presented by The Howland Company as part of The Toronto Fringe


52 PICK-UP: Cameron Laurie & Hallie Seline

Directed by Courtney Ch’ng Lancaster & Paolo Santalucia

Where? Tarragon Extra Space

When? July 3rd-13th, 2014

Tickets: Can be purchased via or by calling 416-966-1062


Follow The Howland Company:

#52PickUpHC @TheHowlandCo
Youtube: The Howland Company


Follow In the Greenroom writer Bailey Green: