Cast of MIDDEN in rehearsal
Dating the son of an Irish couple has allowed this hardcore mangiacake a peek into the Toronto Irish Community and in all they do to promote Irish culture within the city (beyond all the pubs).
One of the best examples of this is the Toronto Irish Players. For 38 years the Players have produced two shows a year (the same number as some professional theatre companies in the city) presenting works by classic and modern Irish playwrights, and organized by the large and seemingly tight-knit Toronto-based Irish folk.
Their latest play (on now!) is MIDDEN, a play by the rare female Irish playwright and, even more rare, features a cast entirely of women. Think "Long Day's Journey Into Night" but 2 hours shorter and with the testosterone-fueled edge removed. That's not to say there isn't plenty of drama in MIDDEN, but just less surlyness. When the successful eldest daughter returns home to Derry (Northern Ireland) from America, her appearance sparks old tensions within her family, and also creates new ones since she's unbelieveabley self-absorbed. While the pacing needs work and some intentions need to be clarified, the success of the show lies mostly with two Toronto Irish Players stalwarts - Barbara Taylor (founding member and President of the Players) and Cliona Kenny. Committed and interesting to watch, I saw these two women in a Players show years ago ("Beauty Queen of Leenane") and I'm happy to report that they've still got it, and I'm sure will for years to come.
38 years is a long time to keep anything going, and I am thoroughly impressed that this dedicated team of volunteers work continuously to bring Irish theatre to a wider audience. I love that the Players are still such an integral part of the Toronto Irish Community, and I looooooove that these thespians just won't quit.
MIDDEN is on until March 9 at the Alumnae Theatre (70 Berkeley St.). For tickets call: 416-440-2888 or click here.