Killer clones and spiritual inquiry in art

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A God in Need of Help at Tarragon Theatre and Space Network/BBC America’s Orphan Black. Bizarre to compare a meditative play about religion in 17th century Europe with an episodic TV drama about a murderous clone conspiracy, but compare I do, because my life this week included both.

I admit I had a better time with Orphan Black, a sci-fi thriller about a woman who discovers she’s a clone and has to figure out what to do about it. This bugs the thinker in me, because while Orphan is very good at what it does and features a jaw-dropping central performance from chameleon-from-Regina Tatiana Maslany, it has an anti-intellectual streak you don’t have to be Susan Sontag to spot. Continue reading

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M. MCCONAUGHEY’S MUSTACHE AND THE NATURE OF EVIL

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True-DetectivcbbI did a stupid, fun thing a couple of nights ago and stayed up till 5 AM to watch the end (after the, um, late-beginning and middle) of True Detective on HBO. This was stupid in part because it turns out I have a low tolerance for depictions of ritualistic child sacrifice and, alone in my apartment, got pretty freaked out and upset. Fun because I was hooked.

But also dissatisfied. I’ve tried to piece together why.

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Something kinda like a manifesto

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Luther-posting-95-theses-560x366I was being a jerk and complaining to friends about the lack of a meaningful, sophisticated critical culture in Canadian theatre when, pretty much overnight, one appeared and smacked me in the face. Excited to see Conte d’Amour at World Stage and maybe post my own social media blurb about why it fucked me up or rocked my world or made me mad.

But here’s my question: why does it take an import from Europe to get the Toronto theatre community talking like this about what our work means, to make us demand that our art respond to our time in forceful ways?

Why can’t we call bullshit more often, not only at the bar but also in public, when our theatre doesn’t ask smart enough, urgent enough questions or do so in complex enough terms?

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