Monday, November 12, 2007

Toronto Back to Average

Today's outings were discovered by a visit to, torontolife, and livewithculture. Among the various events listed was a play and an exhibition which looked fairly interesting.

Antigone and the War on Terror

The play is called Antigone Insurgency. It is playing at the Walmer Center Theater, put on by the One Little Goat Theater Company. The story of Antigone, a play by Sophocles, is about Creon who becomes king and orders an insurrector's body to remain unburied as a warning to others. The dead guy's sister, Antigone, decides to bury her brother out of a higher ethic than the king's law. For this, there is a confrontation and an eventual tragedy. Antigone happens to be Creon's niece, as well as fiance to Creon's son.

The play is not only an early feminist work, it is also a challenge to the idea of a king's law superseding some unwritten higher moral ethic.

More importantly, and the point of this adaptation, is that it implies that there is no way to balance the strict draconian laws needed for the state's protection against the outside threat of terrorism. Sound familiar?

Canada may be an American ally, but Canadians pretty much loathe the American gung-ho attitude towards proscribing civil liberties, state secrecy, and the practice of exporting Democracy. Despite a middling attempt to give voice to the other side, the adaptation basically equates the war on terror with Creon's tragic despotism, equates terrorism with those who respond to it too forcefully, and blames the reactors to the instigators of the violence. All of which I pretty much expected. The play also asked the audience to start thinking about the type of response that Canada should give when terrorism finally hits Toronto.

The acting was excellent, but I was bored on a number of occasions. The play spends a lot of time not taking itself too seriously by talking about itself, thereby undercutting its potential power. It has too many long speeches which should have been cut in half. And it's just a tad offensive when it equates people who bring terror on innocents without provocation to those who react inappropriately.

It's a "modern" play which is kind of the equivalent of "modern" art, so we also got disembodied voices on tape recorders, references to modern music, the occasional curse word, and so on.

Rachel and I enjoyed it, but we were not overwhelmed.

Downtown Toronto, College Town

We next attempted to see what I thought was a gallery exhibit at a bookstore called She Said Boom!, but which turned out to be only a window installment. The installment is called Anything is Possible, which is a series of small paintings that look like the advertisements you used to see in the back of those comic books promising you the most ridiculous products or super strength - that kind of thing. It was a disappointment to find only a single window with a small amount of items instead of a room full, as you can see at the above link. The ad about the exhibit didn't make that clear at all. Now I know better.

It turned out to be an interesting used book and music store, however.

Rachel and fall colors

Anything is Possible window installation

Graffiti commemorating the death of the only victim of the great Toronto fire, who died while checking an explosive set to bring down a damaged building.

Graffiti close by commemorating something else, I suppose.


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