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Posts tagged ‘Swordplay A Play of Swords’

In Conversation with Sex T-Rex – Presenting their Double Bill at the Storefront until March 27

by Bailey Green

I had the pleasure of speaking with Sex T-Rex performers Seann Murray, Kaitlin Morrow, Conor Bradbury and director Alec Toller about their double bill, on now at the Storefront Theatre (Danny Pagett and Julian Frid were unable to stay for the interview but are also performing.)

It began with a quote from the movie Predator, “this stuff [chewing tobacco] will make you a goddamn sexual tyrannosaurus.” And then one night, before an improv set, the announcer shortened the improv troupe’s name from Sexual Tyrannosaurus to Sex T-Rex, and it stuck. Performer Conor Bradbury laughs at the memory, “Hey, when someone’s right they’re right! There’s no need to be precious about your comedy.”

The group came together during their time at George Brown back in 2007-2008. Many elements of theatre school didn’t resonate with the actors but when they got together in stage combat class, then things really came alive. “It’s a triumvirate of violence really,” director Alec Toller jokes about the history of Sex T-Rex shows. “All of our action shows are centred around violence,” performer and producer Kaitlin Morrow adds. “Callaghan! was a lot of punching, Watch Out Wildkat is shooting and then Swordplay, which was loosely inspired by Princess Bride, has to do with, well, swords!”

Photo Credit: Cindy Lopez

Photo Credit: Cindy Lopez

This double bill features Watch Out Wildkat! and Swordplay: a play of swords. “Even though we have done Wildkat in 4 cities and Swordplay in 2, we’re still riffing, especially in rehearsals,” Morrow says. “You can always feel when it happens,” Bradbury adds. “There’s this unspoken ‘keep it’ feeling when someone makes a good joke.” Toller says that the group strives for clarity above all else, “We do so much mime, and fake action movie stuff that we’re always fighting to be so precise.”

Toller directs the group’s scripted shows (they also do improv shows) which are written plays with a sketch origin. “It’s very collaborative,” Toller says. “It functions more like a collective, so basically I’m the person not on stage… where I belong… but my job is to manage what everyone wants to get out of it. This show is a remount, so we’re trying to improve as we go, punch things up, and that can be challenging because we have an existing structure but we don’t have an audience.”

Photo Credit: John Gundy

Photo Credit: John Gundy

Writer, producer and performer Seann Murray speaks to the group dynamic saying, “It’s very rare that we have camp A and camp B disagreements. Instead, we usually have eight ideas with each person having three and a half small ideas each.” Bradbury adds, “It’s almost like we’ll have one person who is camp A and one who is camp B, and everyone else just isn’t helping. But it always works out for the best. To have a bit of argument in the room means people care about the product.” Morrow adds, deadpanned, “So we just punch each other in the face until someone gives in.”

Photo Credit: John Gundy

Photo Credit: John Gundy

Murray writes the scripts for the group and describes the process:

“The first step is we identify the genre we want to work in. Then we watch movies and chat about the tropes we want to hit, what we want to see [in the show] from the genre. So it’s not just regurgitation, we want to honour the genre. Once we’ve consumed a bunch of media and batted ideas around, I write the script and we workshop it throughout the process. We often wind up with a small chunk of the script left, we stay true to the character and story more or less, but as Alec [Toller] said, there’s lots of really funny improvisers on the team so we’ll take a scene, work through it and put it back into the script.”

The group considers audience feedback invaluable. They often take their shows to Montreal Fringe before performing at Toronto Fringe. Montreal Fringe offers them the opportunity to try out new material and improve their work. “We change something after basically every show, we find something else we’ve never done before,” Bradbury says.

Photo Credit: Sharon Murray

Photo Credit: Sharon Murray

Morrow, the only female performer of the troupe, tells me how that for years she dealt with crippling nightmares centred around improv. Subconsciously, she wanted to get up and perform but she was terrified. Now, with 19 shows under her belt, she has realized that a bad set isn’t the end of the world and that the joy she feels from performing far outweighs the fear. “The first time I went up to improvise was for Shane Adamczak’s secret show Captain Spaceship in Montreal Fringe,” Morrow remembers. “He just assumed I was in the show because I was a part of Sex T-Rex, and when I tried to back out, he told me I couldn’t because there were no other women in the show. So I didn’t sleep for about a week, and then somehow I was backstage and then I was onstage and I did it. The relief was amazing, and you know, it wasn’t even bad!”

Watch Out Wildkat! & Swordplay: A Play of Swords

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Presented by Sex T-Rex
When: March 11th -­ March 27th, Wed­-Sun
Watch Out Wildkat! @ 7:30 PM & Swordplay @ 9:00 PM
Sundays @ 2:00 PM
Where: The Storefront Theatre, 955 Bloor Street West
Tickets: $20 for single show, $30 for both shows
Available at http://thestorefronttheatre.com/events/swordplaywatchout-wildcat/
Connect: sextrexcomedy.com

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Our 2015 Fringe Favourites

by Hallie Seline, Bailey Green, Brittany Kay, Madryn McCabe

As another incredible Toronto Fringe Festival draws to a close, we wanted to share some of the In the Greenroom gals’ favourite shows, should it inspire your final Fringe days. It has been a pleasure immersing ourselves in the Fringe spirit – racing from venue to venue, meeting new friends in the Fringe Alley or in various Fringe lines and discovering incredible artists as well as watching those we already knew share what they love with another year of Fringe-goers. Here are some of our Fringe Favourites, in no particular order.

What would make your list? Share your picks with us on Twitter @intheGreenRoom_ Facebook @In the Greenroom or on Instagram @inthegreenroom. #GetYourFringeOn!

Morro and Jasp Do Puberty

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Simply delightful! These clown sisters are such open, super smart performers, who embrace the chaos of growing up in weird and wonderful ways with a playful spirit that invites the audience to come along for the ride. These gals are truly great at what they do and had us smiling from ear to ear ever since.

Shows: Patron’s Pick show – Sunday July 12 at 9:15

Tickets here.

In Case We Disappear

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We’ve been likening the captivating Vanessa Smyth’s performance to a wonderful glass of wine since seeing her intimate piece of storytelling, song and spoken word poetry. It’s really something to watch. Smyth is so open and welcoming, confident and charming as she shares this unique performance with her audience. We loved it!

Sadly there are no longer any more performances but keep up to date with Vanessa’s next projects here: vanessasmythe.com Twitter: @vsmythe

SwordPlay: A Play of Swords

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Amazing physical comedy and sharp performances including some improv, beard-nuzzles, and a killer GOT Little Finger impression. Anyone who’s played those old-school video games will get a real kick out of this but definitely worth checking out even if you aren’t a huge video-game fan. Really inventive work. We had a super enjoyable time.

Shows: July 11 at 04:00 PM

Tickets here.

sextrexcomedy.com
@sextrex

Summerland

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This is a Fringe show of epic proportions, Fringe-wise. With a cast of 100 teens INCLUDING a rotating cast of main characters, the sheer scale of this mystical musical is something to see. Watching that many young performers sing and dance their hearts out on stage together is a true joy to experience. Filled with stunning music by the talented Anika Johnson, Barbara Johnston and Suzy Wilde, we hope this continues to develop and finds life in the main stages! Hello, Mirvish! Hello, Broadway!

Shows:

July 11 at 07:30 PM
July 12 at 02:00 PM

Tickets here.

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project

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Sam Mullins knows how to draw his audience in, connecting with every seat in the house. The writing was sharp, charming and honest. Mullins’ stories transport you to other places and times, and then leave you to reflect on your own quirks, fears, joys and heartbreaks.

Show: July 11 at 11:30 PM
Tickets here.

Hamlet… A Puppet Epic!

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Hamlet…A Puppet Epic! has laugh-out-loud humour for all ages, the Bard and awesome puppets. You’ve never seen Hamlet like this. The ensemble cast performs with an infectious energy. It’s no small feat to fill a theatre with families and then keep them all spellbound for an hour. It doesn’t talk down to the kids at all, and there are plenty of jokes for the adults. We also get the best explanation for Polonius’ decision to hid behind a curtain that we’ve ever heard. True theatre magic from Shakey-Shake and Friends.

Shows:
July 12 at 11:00 AM

Patrons Pick: July 12 at 6:00 PM

Tickets here.

One Good Marriage

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Becky Shrimpton and Matthew Gin’s performances are thoughtful and witty. They have the best chemistry of a staged married couple we’ve seen in a long time. The dialogue is quick and navigates the comedy and tragedy deftly. Definitely worth seeing.

Shows:
July 11 at 07:30 PM 
July 12 at 02:00 PM 
July 12 at 07:30 PM 
Tickets here.

Peter ‘n’ Chris Present: Here Lies Chris

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Vancouver based sketch duo, Peter n’ Chris had us laughing from beginning to end. Their use of physical comedy, repetition and sketch characters made their storytelling enjoyable and engaging. Constant Fringe Favourites!

Show:
July 11 at 07:30 PM
Tickets here.

A Man Walks into a Bar

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A Man Walks into a Bar was a meta-theatrical experience that allowed audiences to gain insight on what many waitresses and women at any given job can go through. Rachel Blair’s writing was witty and hilarious, and became extremely thought provoking about male/female interaction. Definitely worthy of Best of Fringe.

Show: July 13 at 9:15 PM
Ticketshere.

The Philanderess

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Playwright and actress, Sophia Fabiilli, challenged the notion of femininity and power in epic ways. Every player in this farcical marathon of a comedy was incredible! Fabiilli is one fierce Fringe femme.

Shows:
July 12 at 04:00 PM
Patrons Pick: July 12 at 9:45 PM
Advanced tickets are sold out but there may be tickets at the door one hour before.

The Merry Wives of Windsor

Merry Wives of Windsor - Suzette McCanny, Sean Sullivan, Julia Nish-Lapidus - photo by Madison Golshani, Daniel Pascale

Bash’d does it again! The ladies call the shots in this silly Shakespeare play and we loved it. A special shout-out goes to Suzette McCanny and Julia Nish-Lapidus who we loved watching delight in their plotting and trickery, and also to the incredible AJ Richardson, whose mastery of text and comedy set up a Ford that added to our sheer joy of watching him and Falstaff be made the fool-of. Great ensemble, appropriately silly Shakespeare play, and perfect setting for Fringe-viewing with beer in hand.

Shows:
July 11 at 07:00 PM
July 12 at 05:00 PM
Tickets here.

Bout

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The fights are intense, and the relationship between Jackie and her coach is fantastic. The dialogue between them is fast and holds nothing back. The perfect one, two, punch for a Fringe knock-out.

Shows:
July 11 at 10:00 PM
July 12 at 10:00 PM
Tickets: here

The Dinner Table

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“Stories open us up to each other”. A truly special and intimate experience, delicious home-cooked meal that was tailored to the guest and a slew of incredible storytellers from the Toronto theatre community. If theatre, for you, is about connection and a sharing of stories, The Dinner Table is for you.

Shows:
July 11 at 09:00 PM  sold out
July 12 at 06:30 PM  sold out
Both of the final performances are sold out but there is always a chance at snagging a single ticket at the door.

Get Your 2015 Fringe On: What We’re Excited For & Some Friendly Fringe-ing Advice

It’s that time of year again… Happy Opening to the 2015 Toronto Fringe! There are so many shows, so many artists, so many activities, so much of everything… how do you even start? We’ve compiled a list of some shows that we’re excited to check out as we kick off our Fringe-ing for the next two weeks, as well as a few events that have caught our eye. We also have a bit of friendly Fringe-ing advice on how to get the most out of your Fringe Fest experience.

As always, this is just a starting off point. Our number one advice is to try something new that might not have made its way on to all of these lists. Also, #ConnectWithUs via Facebook, Twitter & Instagram to let us know what else we should check out!

The Crowd Pleasers

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Tried and true. These artists bring their A-game every time and we’re thrilled to have them back at the Fringe. Do. Not. Miss!:

Morro and Jasp Do Puberty, presented by Up your Nose and In your Toes (U.N.I.T) Productions – Tarragon Theatre Mainspace

Gavin Crawford: “Friend” “Like” #ME, presented by IdleMind Productions – Annex Theatre

Swordplay: A Play of Swords, presented by Sex T-Rex – Al Green Theatre

High Tea, presented by James & Jamesy – Randolph Theatre

Peter N’ Chris Present: Here Lies Chris, presented by Peter n’ Chris – Randolph Theatre

Caws & Effect, presented by Mind of a Snail Puppet Co. – Factory Theatre Mainspace 

The Musicals

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Is this the year of the new musical? Has the Fringe always been like this? Most likely. But whatever it may be, we’re super #intoit and these are the shows we are hoping to fill our hearts with song: 

Summerland, presented by Wexford Performing Arts – Harbord Collegiate Institute

Adventures of a Redheaded Coffeeshop Girl, presented by Rebecca Perry Productions – Annex Theatre

People Suck, presented by Nutmeg Creations – Randolph Theatre

Rounding The Bend, presented by Out of the Blue Theatre Company – Robert Gill Theatre

I’m Right Here – A Song Cycle, presented by Victor Theatre Productions – Tarragon Mainspace

Deadmouse: The Musical, presented by Malach Productions – Al Green Theatre

The Classics

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The Bard in a bar, twists on a classic or re-told with some sass by our favourite Shakespearean puppets, these are the “classics” we’re most excited for:

The Philanderess, presented by Truth ‘n’ Lies Theatre (inspired by G.B. Shaw’s The Philanderer“) – Annex Theatre 

The Merry Wives of Windsor, presented by Shakespeare BASH’d – The Victory Cafe 

Hamlet… A Puppet Epic! presented by Shakey-Shake and Friends – FringeKids! Club – George Ignatieff Theatre

Twelfe Night, or What You Will, presented by Ale House Theatre – St. Vladimir Theatre

The Storytellers

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A refreshing way to mix up your Fringe schedule. Get personal. Go back to the basics. Connect to the storytellers. These folks have caught our eye and are sure to ignite your imagination. They’ll make you laugh. They’ll make you cry. They’ll make you groove. They’ll make you dinner? They’ll get you right in the feels: 

In Case We Disappear, presented by Hopscotch on the Rocks – Tarragon Extraspace

The Untitled Sam Mullins Project, presented by Sam S. Mullins – Factory Theatre Mainspace

Graham Clark Reads The Phonebook, presented by Laugh Gallery – Factory Theatre Studio

Starry Notions, presented by Nefarious Projects – Annex Theatre

The Dinner Table, presented by Fail Better Theatre – 918 Bathurst St. (Downstairs Kitchen)

The Events:

Tent Talks – Take your theatre-going experience to a whole new level. Delve deeper in to different topics surrounding the theatre ecology of Toronto and connect with local artists and experts to continue the discussion.

Get Crafty – We are a BIG FAN of buttons and this year you can make your own! We’ll trade you for one of ours if you can find us in the tents! Or if cross stitching is more your game, that’s going on too! Find out more at The Fringe Club.

Photo Booth – “Fringe Portrait Studio” is a new addition to the Fringe alley from Art is Hard, creators of the SMASH hit FLIP THE TABLE. “A participatory live art experience”. We’re game to check it out!

Visual Fringe – Local artists gather and rotate every day in the Fringe alley. See some incredible artwork and met artisans that you can be-friend and support all year round. #buylocal #supportlocalartists

Our advice:

Take care of yourselves! Drink water, wear your sunscreen and get your rest. It’s a marathon, friends. Hard-core Fringe-ing can wear you down. Winner lasts the full two weeks!

Go in with an open mind and an open heart! Get in the spirit of the Fringe and go see something on whim. There is so much out there, why not try something new? It may surprise you.

Be bold and say hello! Stuck in the Fringe tents in between shows? Why not approach a fellow Fringe-er and make a new friend! Talk about what you’ve seen. Talk about the work. Talk about the theatre you go to all-year-round. Get off those cell phones and connect!

Now go out there and GET YOUR FRINGE ON! Happy Fringe-ing, friends. We’ll see you in the tent!