By Melissa Farmer
So let’s get a few things straight. This will be a very personal and biased response to Spent. There will be no money puns, none at all, to be found in the next150 words. If I don’t know you, if you know nothing about “that Lehman guy”, if you hate everything all the time, I still think you should go and see this show. Here’s why:
Spent is relatable and smart. Set within the framework of a BBC news broadcast, we meet not only a pair of Bay street traders who have lost their jobs, but also the media who are reporting on the catalytic economic collapse. As the two downtrodden buffoons leap from a building in an effort to make it all go away, we are right there with them (and, we have been here before) pre-fall, mid-plummet, post-collapse. We giggle at a twitching Richard Fuld, the former CEO of Lehman Brothers who has managed to keep his pockets full; we giddily abhor the greedy devils and their maniacal gluttonous Hell and we recognize that guy we’ve all seen on the news who just wants to know how he’s going to afford his next burger. In its swift seventy minutes, we meet a bunch of absurd characters (all skilfully played by Ravi Jain and Adam Paolozza) who offer different ways in to the bigger question: to a collective who can put a price on everything, how much is an individual worth? It’s inventive, energetic, clever, fun theatre.
My cheeks hurt from smiling for seventy minutes straight. From Jain’s entrance with a “Hire Me” sign and a shaky, hopeful smile, I was sold. As Bay street traders, these two out-of-luck sad sacks are just trying to make tomorrow better than today. As the sundry other characters they play, Ravi and Adam emerge as masters of their craft. Their rapid-fire precision is incredible. On this stage, they are having fun and they are working really really hard. They are sweaty and spitty and you will still want to shake their hand, pat them on the back and give them a spitty, sweaty hug. It’s such a gift to be able to watch someone do something that he’s really really good at doing. It’s something I want to do more often.
Go see Spent. It has a short run, so hurry. Theatre like this is a rare commodity.
SPENT is on now until at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts (50 Tank House Lane). For tickets call:
416-866-8666 or click here.
The Luminato Festival kick-off is on June 10 and a common comment I’ve heard from those who don’t frequent the arts world, is: “What the hell is Luminato.”
The Luminato Festival takes over the Toronto streets for 10 days of fabulous creativity, featuring all artistic disciplines (theatre, dance, art, music, lit, visual art, etc.) and invites anyone and everyone to attend. It boasts a huge roster of events, including heaps of FREE events and it’s all VERY well organized on their website: luminato.com. Their website is ridiculously user-friendly.
And before you say it, Luminato is not just for arts enthusiasts; you don’t have to be well-versed on long-dead classical music composers or the most recent post-whatever movement in sculpture. You can go and witness cool circus performers, outdoor jam sessions, film screenings and fashion shows; there is so much going on you can’t possibly see it all. So how does one unfamiliar to the Luminato scene navigate it? I’ll tell you.
DO visit luminato.com ASAP. From there, scroll through the ‘All Events’ page and find pieces that interest you OR: pick a date(s) that you’re available and pick events happening that day OR: choose an area of the city and concentrate your efforts on a few city blocks so transport is simple. Who knows what you might see on your route? If you’re die-hard on a particular event, buy the tickets in advance; the festival is popular and you don’t want to be disappointed!
DON'T overbook yourself. I’ve done that and the last few events didn’t get my full attention because I was pooped and some of the others weren’t fully enjoyed as I was stressed about getting to the next venue. (This is a very" me" thing to do and I don’t recommend it.)
Any free events are clearly labelled on the website with a green icon that says FREE!
There are loads of family-friendly events too so bring the wee ones and they’ll love it. The band "They Might Be Giants" is playing a free event and they’re guaranteed to be hilarious, silly and educational. For reals.
Theatrical highlights: Necessary Angel’s "Andromache" and "Tout Comme Elle (Just Like Her)", "One Thousand and One Nights", "Taj", the National Ballet's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland", etc.
Luminato is a unique extravaganza in the city of Toronto and its well worth taking advantage of.
So do it!
And, as always, if you've got any questions about it, please feel free to contact me! I'm more than happy to help.