Plum Viewing

Maggie Fairs
3 min readMar 5, 2021

Welcome to the latest edition of Plum Viewing, my weekly roundup of arts and culture to view online.

Hello lovely readers! We made it to another Friday and dare I say it out loud, nearly the one year anniversary of whatever we are now calling this. Mr Fairs and I have decided to ‘celebrate’ the occasion by opening a long held bottle of wine because hey, if we can get through a full year of this without killing each other, it is cause for celebration indeed! (Lemonade out of lemons!)

So, with that, here are this week’s picks. Happy viewing!

This evening, the wonderful people at Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre are celebrating International Women’s Day by hosting a conversation with their Six Women Writing playwrights. This is an initiative launched to shine a spotlight on women playwrights, who have been underrepresented throughout our stages, regardless of the country. Soulpepper’s artistic director Weyni Mengesha will sit down with Trey Anthony, Sandra Caldwell, Falen Johnson, Kat Sandler, Erin Shields and Hannah Moscovitch (who I have personally fangirled and can share she was so gracious in her response, so my love has only grown!). They will discuss their inspirations, the challenges of the industry for female playwrights, and the value of working alongside each other. The event, which is available for free, starts at 8 pm ET and you can RSVP here.

Okay, let’s stay in Toronto because there really is a lot to enjoy. Tarragon Theatre is continuing its acoustic series with a new performance for us to enjoy as we stroll the city’s streets. The Shape of Girl was first performed at Tarragon in 2002 and has been produced more than 30 times and translated into eight languages. The play a retrospective account of Braidie, a girl who struggles to come to terms with bullying and violence that occurred in her past. Inspired by true events that took place in 1997, the play, which was commissioned by Vancouver’s Green Thumb Theatre, is as powerful today as it was then. It’s available until March 14 and you can purchase your ticket here.

This is a play that will no doubt be hard to watch but one we should watch. Typical tells the story of the last minutes of Christopher Alder’s life, a black man in police custody in April 1998 in Britain. The playwright, Ryan Calais Cameron, uses rap-like rhyming verse and traces the minutiae of our character’s final day. The result is 60 minutes filled with humour, life and of course, tragedy. A joint collaboration between London’s Soho Theatre and Nouveau Riche, it is streaming online until March 31. Tickets are 9.99 GBP (approx. $20 Cdn.) Amongst its many fans is the Guardian, who gave it 5 stars. You can read their review here and then purchase your ticket here. I will be!

Titled Dream, this is a complete re-imaging of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And, I really do mean a complete re-imaging. Here’s the set-up: Nick Cave (yep, that Nick Cave!) as a virtual forest, actors as avatars and fireflies controlled by us, the audience. It’s a 50-minute production that combines theatre, live music and groundbreaking technology and did I mention Nick Cave?! I am in!! It runs from March 12–20 and you can reserve your ticket here.

Did anyone watch the Golden Globes last Sunday? Well, let’s just say, it’s a chunk of our lives we will not get back. Alas…BUT, there was at least one silver lining. Chloé Zhao, the director of Nomadland (which if you haven’t seen, stop reading this and watch it now!) made history as the first Asian and only the second woman to win Best Director. She will discuss her remarkable career, inspirations, and influences as a writer, director, and producer as part of the Walker Arts Center’s Dialogue series. She’ll also talk about her experiential approach to emotionally intimate filmmaking as she reinvents American cinema genres, creating immersive worlds with her actors and environments. This is one for your diary. It’s happening on March 20, tickets are $12 (US) and can be reserved here

See you next week my lovely readers!

And, and ask: While we’re enjoying these wonderful performances, let’s remember that for the arts organizations producing this incredible content, this is their livelihood; not a hobby. If we can, now is our time to continue to support our incredible arts community!

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