The Most Popular Intermission Articles of 2019

We worked with so many talented contributors this year. We offer sincere thanks to our writers and readers for continuing to support theatre in Toronto, and beyond. Below are the ten most-read Intermission articles of 2019. 

The 10 Most Popular Articles of 2019

1. Steffi DiDomenicantonio, “The Greatest Showmance”

Photo by Heidi Ulrichsen.

““Showmance” is not a real word; it was invented by people in the acting industry. For those of you not familiar with the term, this is how DiDomenicantonio’s dictionary defines the word: two co-stars are working together in a show and are playing love interests. Time passes and the onstage feelings get confused for real-life feelings. An ex-boyfriend of mine once affectionately called this phenomenon “the Bleed.” Onstage feelings slowly start bleeding into real life. You think you’ve found something special because you share a theatrical experience every night. Adrenaline is running high and sparks are flying, but all too often the relationship falls apart in the real world without the glue of the show to hold you together.”

2. Robert Cushman, “Spotlight: Mike Ross”

Photo by Dahlia Katz

“It’s a fairly safe assumption that, in the long stage history of As You Like It, Ross is the only actor ever to have doubled as Oliver and Amiens. But it suits; he’s both actor and musician, and excellent at both. The music though, came first, chronologically, and it’s continued to be his personal priority. For the last five years, he’s been Soulpepper’s Slaight Family Director of Music, a position created especially for him; and the company is about to open its first full-scale original musical: Rose, based on a story by Gertrude Stein, with Ross as its composer, musical director, co-librettist and prime mover.”

3. Graham Isador, “What I Wish I’d Known: Michael Healey”

Michael Healey by Graham Isador

“In theatre school I believed I’d be playing Hamlet at Stratford by twenty-four. This was in spite of the fact that I had no real love for the works of Shakespeare. I had a bit of talent, enormous self regard and no focus. If I could talk to myself from then, I would have said to go see more things, go see all kinds of art, and hurry up and figure out what kind of artist you want to be. I wasted a lot of time with very unfocussed ambition. I also had to wait before I could write. Due in part to messy mental health, but also to just youthful antsiness, I was in my thirties before I could sit still long enough to write something.”

4. Amy Rutherford, “Kindness From Strangers”

Amy Rutherford in A Streetcar Named Desire. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

“As I begin to unpack my preconceptions, I find myself wondering how progressive-minded audiences will read Blanche. Will a contemporary audience sympathize with this flawed female character, one that doesn’t necessarily reflect the values of our time? Does it matter if they do? What is expected of female characters today?”

5. Luke Reece, “You’re Not Helpless, You’re Comfortable”

Kaleb Alexander, Alex McCooeye, and Mazin Elsadig in Pass Over. Photo by Cesar Ghisilieri.

“What Artistic Directors program is a choice, and that choice speaks to their personal values and priorities. If they value comfort, and they’re white, then odds are their comfortable season doesn’t have any Black pieces. Or, on the rare occasion that they do, it tends to be a piece that feeds into their self-imposed sense of putative helplessness. It’s one where they are not presently implicated in the piece (like slave plays, set in a bygone era of antique racism) or it’s tame and allows the audience to escape unscathed.”

6. Akosua Amo-Adem, “See Me”

The cast of School Girls: Tatyana Mitchell, Allison Edwards-Crewe, Emerjade Simms, Akosua Amo-Adem (author), Natasha Mumba, Bria McLaughlin, Rachel Mutombo, Melissa Eve Langdon / Photo by Cesar Ghisilieri

“Some of you outside the black community may not understand what I mean by the distinction of dark-skinned, or think that “black is black” and that it’s all the same, but those of us who are in the community know differently (whether we choose to acknowledge it or not). Black is not just black. We are not all the same. From back in the day until now, depending on how dark or how light a person is on the colour scale, their journey in this world will be very different.”

7. Carly Maga, “Spotlight: Erin Shields”

“Even for a seasoned playwright like Shields, whose last premiere was at the Stratford Festival—an acclaimed adaptation of John Milton’s epic poem of heaven and hell Paradise Lost—there’s an undeniable childlike excitement that comes through when she talks about putting on shows with her friends. It’s as if she knows, through some kind of trick, she’s managed to turn playing make believe with her friends into a paying job and is amazed no one has caught on to her scheme yet.”

8. Christine H. Tran, “The Focus is on Phoebe: Bringing NT Live’s Fleabag to the Big Screen” 

Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Fleabag. Photo by Jason Hetherington.

“While the success of Fleabag across the pond is indebted to TV magic, this show marks a return to true form. Fleabag originally began as a tragicomic one-woman play, written and performed by Waller-Bridge at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The show earned Waller-Bridge a Fringe First Award and—eventually—internationally acclaim.”

9. Robert Cushman, “Spotlight: Daniel Brooks”

My own first experience of Brooks in the theatre had him in a multiplicity of roles that presented as one. The show was The Noam Chomsky Lectures which he devised and performed with Guillermo Verdecchia in 1991. It lives in my memory for its pungency, and for the more specialized reason that it’s the only time I’ve ever been addressed by name from the stage during a performance. I had written in the Globe and Mail that I wondered, at a time when short theatre evenings were in vogue, if I would ever again see a play with an intermission. This play had one, and when it arrived Brooks sang out, as he and his collaborator departed for their dressing-rooms: “Yes, Mr. Cushman, this is an intermission.””

10. Carly Maga, “Spotlight: Hailey Gillis”

For Gillis, the invitation that occurs between the show and the audience in Ghost Quartet exists in the music, which she grew up practicing as a kid in Grimsby, Ontario in a family with roots in Prince Edward Island and the east coast traditions of folk songs, kitchen parties and ceilidhs. Her interest in music and musical theatre was nurtured in small shows in Hamilton as a child, eventually landing her in the top six on season two of the CBC reality competition show Triple Sensation when she was only 16 years old.”

 


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