Producing Without A Net

by:  Lisa Timmel at 10/02/2012

Last spring, in a highly unusual artistic leap of faith, Peter DuBois made an offer to Gold Dust Orphans mastermind and Huntington Playwriting Fellow Ryan Landry: the Huntington would give Ryan a production slot to do whatever he wanted. With little time to waste, Ryan got to work, handing in an early draft of the new project about six weeks later. 

The resulting play (though the word "play" hardly seems to contain the exuberant clash of the ridiculous and the sublime happening on the page) is "M", a fantastically funny and astonishingly challenging deconstructed adaptation of the Fritz Lang movie of the same name.  Since this is a new play, we've scheduled a series of developmental readings and workshops where the artists working on the production read the play together and discuss what works, what doesn't, what should change, and what shouldn't. All last week, a cast and crew of twenty (including a puppeteer) spent their days in a workshop designed to help sketch out the free-wheeling, physical flow of the show.

It was a crazy week. 

Ryan's aesthetic trades in highly theatrical mash-ups of cultural touchstones. In his Gold Dust Orphans productions, the veddy, veddy highbrow meets the verrrry, verrrry low. For five days, Ryan, director Caitlin Lowans, the cast, and a whole phalanx of dramaturgs worked scenes, listened to read-throughs, incorporated rewrites, and talked, talked, talked. True to Ryan's idea that "the lowest form of comedy and the highest form of struggling with our existence can come together on stage," these discussions have teased out the deep existential panic that underlies the more farcical elements of the play. 

Best of all were the hours the actors were up on their feet, experimenting with style, timing, and physicality. Ryan's dramaturgy has deep roots in the high camp style of The Theatre of the Ridiculous, rather than the staid psychological realism of most new plays. This means that more than with most rehearsal processes, the actors have been finding the play with their bodies, transforming from one character to another via posture and voice. Landry likes to remind us that the world of the play " not an essay; it's music." 


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  5. I strongly believe that the Yonge corridor needs a subway and not an LRT system like some suggest on this site. Though LRT maybe more feasible in terms of cost it doesn’t address that type of commuting pattern that exist in that area. LRTs are meant for local trips and a majority of the people coming in from York Region will be using system for long haul trips. Also keep in mind the VIVA already plans several LRT/BRT projects for the Yonge/Highway 7 corridor beyond where the new subway line will be, so I don’t think local transit be so much of an issue in York Region anyways. My only issue is the phasing of this project in relation to the DRL and the Go Express Rail. I would hope Metrolinx prioritizes the DRL first followed by the Yonge Subway extension and then the GO Express Line.On a side note is it me or has anyone noticed that with all the transit announcements we’ve been hearing about over the last 3 yrs (starting with the Spadina subway extension back in 2006) not one of these projects has started construction. I’m sorry but i don’t consider a couple of engineer marks on Sheppard Ave E progress, or better yet a sewage pipe replacement that would probably need replacement anyways before it burst in the winter “subway construction”.Politicians say most of these project will completed by 2020 … I highly doubt it. I’ll be surprised if even half of these transit initiatives are completed.Steve: The Spadina line is under construction. Utilities relocation is always part of any subway project, and you can’t dig the tunnel until you get everything else out of the way. The tunnel boring machines have been ordered. Stations on the line are in the design stage (there was a big debate at the TTC about Steeles West on October 29 about which I will report in a separate post). Opening date is 2016.The big work that has to be done on Sheppard East is the grade separation at Agincourt. That is needed whether or not there is an LRT line, but the local businesses are in a snit and tar the LRT line with what is really a GO issue. Service is planned to begin in 2013.The EAs are still in progress for Finch and Eglinton, and the latter has several major design issues that will come back for public review later this fall. Finch service is planned to begin in 2015. Eglinton will probably open in stages, given its length, from 2016 through 2019.The SRT project is almost but not quite officially now an LRT project, and that triggers a redesign. The TTC wasted some time by focussing on an RT-centric design and public presentation, but they are now in the final stages of settling the details of the LRT project with Metrolinx (according to TTC’s Gary Webster at teh October 29 meeting). The SRT is planned to re-open after reconstruction and extension in 2016.Other major projects include the work on various rail corridors (some now underway) and a major reconfiguration of Union Station that will begin in 2010, with a target completion of late 2014. This will provide over double the existing passenger handling capacity for both the subway and railway (GO) stations. miles credit cards travel daily cialis for sale
  6. “Finally, on a side note, I think Metrolinx needs to determine which proposed rapid transit routes will suit which need. If you look at the current map, they show express/commuter rail > subway > LRT/BRT. This is great for determining capacity, but there are many proposed LRT/BRTs in the region that will exceed the speeds of rail projects. I think they should draw up a map of travel design. Local rapid transit (999m and under – Bloor-Danforth subway, Transit City), intermediate rapid transit (1000m to 1999m – Spadina subway, Yonge subway through midtown), and regional rapid transit (more than 2km – GO express rail, Yonge subway through North Toronto). This way we can see which lines will meet which proposed purpose, and can plan their future commutes and developments based upon those plans.”Kevin saysSee the problem with metrolinx is that when they came out with there RTP it was just a bunch of pretty lines on a map of the GTA. It didn’t address what kind of technology would be used for each line and why. That’s how we got into that whole debate regarding Eglinton (LRT VS ICTS). “what a waste of time”. On the other hand one shouldn’t put all the blame on metrolinx, for example. When Toronto launched Transit City the plan was also very vague. All we knew was that all the pretty lines they drew up would have some sort of LRT functionality. Two years later the TTC is finding themselves in hole because they realized that at least two of their lines maybe forced underground even though ridership doesn’t warrants it with the exception of Don Mills. Lastly I will like to address that like Metrolinx the TTC also failed to study each line in relation to the entire system because if they did they would have figured out that adding an Eglinton and Finch LRT to the system would have probably put the Yonge subway over capacity regardless if the Richmond hill subway was built.Steve: The only underground section added to Transit City officially at this point is the one on Sheppard from Don Mills to Consumers. Eglinton was always going to be underground in the central section. The south end of Don Mills will have to go underground, but if it does, it should do so as subway, not LRT for reasons already discussed here at length.Transit City was designed as a network, and the expectation was that it would do far more to serve trips that were not core-oriented than adding to subway demand. Metrolinx forecast much higher demands on the TC lines than the TTC did, and this was used to “justify” the so-called need for ICTS on Eglinton. In fact, Metrolinx has all but renounced their demand estimates certainly with respect to the Georgetown and Richmond Hill corridors in recent documents. Their model grossly overstated demand on the transit networks. car insurance quotes accutane online order online colleges virginia
  7. I would like to take this opportunity to extend a big FU to all the businesses that worked to kill the Thornhill/Newtonbrook busway. If it weren’t for them, this busway would be completed by now providing much needed expanded transport capacity and speed between Toronto and the northern suburbs. Instead this is one of the most congested corridors in the Greater Toronto Area, and is only getting worse. The propaganda that the Yonge Subway Now group was pushing claimed the subway construction would take only 5 years, this is not including the EA and dealing with operational issues. The absolute earliest this thing will be done is 2020, and this is assuming we get started on the EA and other concerns next year. Odds are it won’t be done until at least 2030, and this is assuming that construction isn’t suspended until a DLR is complete (in which case, 2050 is a more optimistic estimate, a far cry from the 5 years claimed…).As for capacity at Bloor-Yonge, I predict it won’t be a concern. Most people who commute to this area already take transit at some point, whether they take the bus, GO train, or drive to the subway. I don’t believe there is going to be a mass exodus of new riders who used to drive all the way downtown and will now take the subway. Also, the Places to Grow plan will see new growth at Yonge and 7, Sheppard, and Eglinton which will divert even more trips from Bloor-Yonge station.Finally, on a side note, I think Metrolinx needs to determine which proposed rapid transit routes will suit which need. If you look at the current map, they show express/commuter rail > subway > LRT/BRT. This is great for determining capacity, but there are many proposed LRT/BRTs in the region that will exceed the speeds of rail projects. I think they should draw up a map of travel design. Local rapid transit (999m and under – Bloor-Danforth subway, Transit City), intermediate rapid transit (1000m to 1999m – Spadina subway, Yonge subway through midtown), and regional rapid transit (more than 2km – GO express rail, Yonge subway through North Toronto). This way we can see which lines will meet which proposed purpose, and can plan their future commutes and developments based upon those plans. cash back best credit card credit card rewards
  8. I like the part where they say LRT was not looked at bcuease it forced two mode changes, one at Finch and another at the Richmond Hill Centre. I quess that it did not occur to them that they could run the LRT farther up Yonge and a good distance east and west out the old highway 7 corridor for $3 BILLION. (I wonder if the right of way to Sutton is still available?) York has made its mind up that it wants two subways, mainly at Toronto's expense and that LRT is beneath their prestigious region. I hope that York or the Province is going to fork over the cash for this extension.Steve: Yes, this is a continuation of the same BS the TTC used to claim that LRT was inappropriate bcuease it had been studied and rejected almost two decades ago. The fact that the context was completely different a loop subway line which obviously could only use subway technology didn't bother them one bit.I have heard, and am trying to confirm, that Metrolinx has now moved the Richmond Hill subway off of its top 15 list and out to the 25-year plan. More when I know definitely.Updated October 30 at 10:00 am: Metrolinx has confirmed that they have not changed the priority of the subway extension, and any such decision would occur only after the detailed study of options for this corridor to take place over the next year.
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Lisa Timmel,  Bevin O'Gara, and Charles Haugland share their thoughts on New Plays, Dramatury, and their experience sharing nightly conversations with the audiences that come to see our shows. Get the inside scoop of new scripts and play development!


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