Do YOU have a vision for what Ontario could become? Showcase YOUR abilities and ideas with the Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize!

U of T students! Do you have great opinions and ideas that would impact Canada’s future in a meaningful, significant way? The Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize is a platform for you to share your vision for Toronto, and be recognized for it!! The Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize wants you to identify the challenges that Ontario will face and the opportunities that will emerge over the next 50 years—and then share your plan of action for the province.

With just an 800-word essay or two-minute video, applicants are eligible to win $2,500 AND a meet and greet with Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor at a special reception on October 3. There are not a lot of platforms for students to have their voices heard on a governmental level, so we want to ensure that Canada’s emerging leaders and policy makers take advantage of the opportunity.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Visionaries Prize is organized into six different categories, outlined in the press release below. Short-listed candidates in each category will travel to a city in Ontario to present their idea in front of head judge Piya Chattopadhyay (host of CBC’s Out in the Open) and a guest judge.

In celebration of Ontario’s 150th anniversary, the prize offers innovative thinkers aged 18 and over a refreshingly easy chance to bring their vision for Ontario’s future to life.

 

For detailed information, please visit

LG Visionaries Prize

Downtown Toronto Tourism Spotlight: Ripley’s Aquarium!

Ripleys-Aquarium-BestofToronto-2013-022

I know that a lot of U of T students come from all over the world to study here, so it is natural to be curious about what places are cool to check out in Toronto. The city’s downtown core especially has some of the most amazing places to visit. I assure you that if you are interested in playing the tourist in your own city, the Ripley’s Aquarium is a great place to see.

If you are a fan of aquatic life you will definitely enjoy this one. There’s loads of different kinds of fish, seahorses, jellyfish, lobsters, and much- much!-more. It’s an underwater adventure that would be fun to experience will both family and friends!

Students even get discounts on certain tickets, which will help save you money (we students need all the help we can get!) The lines during holiday seasons are pretty long, so I would suggest you plan ahead and buy your tickets online to skip the line.

You can view the entire aquarium walking at a comfortable pace in around one to two hours. It is definitely on the smaller side as aquariums go, but it is beautiful nonetheless. I would highlight recommend it.

Happy exploring!

Musical Review of The Wedding Singer at Hart House

The Wedding Singer is a musical adapatation of the 1998 movie of the same name. Because most of you have seen it, and are familiar with the plot (even if you’re not, it’s a predictable rom-com) I’ve decided to skip to the good stuff. This is a review of Hart House’s ongoing production of The Wedding Singer, set to the music of the main theme/opening number of the show. Enjoy!

I saw this play 3 hours ago
I’m still humming some of the songs
‘Decided to write a review
Of what went right and what went wrong.
Now indulge me a moment, if you please;
I have a lot to say about this show,
and the actors I thought were good
and bad.
Here it goes:

Isaac has that “X-Factor” –
an accessible actor.
But his pitch control could
use improvement.

Ashley Gibson wasn’t bad,
and her singing really had
a lovely quality
that makes us all love her.

Cortina was a great, strong crooner
even when her mic went berserk.
But she couldn’t bring the humour
to her lines – they needed some work.

Horsman was a delightful dancer,
and her songs really brought
us to the moment.
Cattel was a rapping grandma –
what can I comment?

The ensemble was quite strong,
even in the weaker songs,
and their dancing was all
memorable.
This show is just lots of fun
(‘cept for those who’ve seen it once).
I would recommend
you see it sometime soon.

(L to R) Ashley Gibson as Julia and Isaac Bell as Robbie. Photo credit to Scott Gorman.

 

Note 1: Yes, it’s not perfect. Considering the constraints – a review deadline and an imposed rhyme scheme and working in people’s names and accurate descriptions of their performances – it’s really not that bad. Seriously, if you’re looking for someone to write the opening for the next Tonys…

Note 2: Apologies to Mr Bell, who is treated with undue familiarity for the purpose of meter.

Note 3: There is some precedent for the moment/comment rhyme, imperfect though it may be. See Shakespeare’s Sonnet XV. I take full responsibility for the mangled syntax.

 

 

Win Free Tickets to See Evil Dead – The Musical!

When I introduce a show or event to you, my dear readers, I often begin with some sort of context, like a comment about the writer or my expectations for the show. I don’t need to do that in this case, though, because all I need to tell you is that Evil Dead – The Musical is a musical with a splatter zone. A zone, where you can get splattered.

Yeah. Do I actually need to say anything else about it? If so, I could tell you that it is a musical based on the Evil Dead movie franchise, and that it won the Audience Choice Dora Award in 2007. I could refer you to the praise that Toronto critics have sung of it, or even link you to a video of one of the numbers. But I don’t need to do that, because you already know that Evil Dead – The Musical is a musical with a splatter zone. And frankly, if that doesn’t make you want to see it already, I don’t what possibly could. (Descriptions of a clever plot and an awesome score might be helpful for some people, but did you see the bit about THE $&%#ING SPLATTER ZONE?!)

We at blogUT are all about the altruism, which is we why we are giving away two free tickets to the show. All you have to do is comment or tweet a micro-review of the best musical you’ve ever seen. We won’t give you a word limit, but we’ll say that brevity gets extra points. The best – cleverest and most informative – micro-review wins a pair of tickets to see Evil Dead – The Musical.

Evil Dead - The Musical is "Bloody hilarious!" - Toronto Star

 Evil Dead – The Musical

begins October 24 at the Randolph Theatre (20 minute walk from campus)

 

The (UofT) Student’s Guide to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival

In a Nutshell

The Stratford Shakespeare Festival is an annual theatre festival in Stratford, Ontario. Although it is primarily dedicated to the works of William Shakespeare, the Festival also produces musicals, contemporary classics, and new plays. The Stratford Festival has an international reputation for the high quality of its productions. Each show, from the largest musical to the smallest comedy, is the result of the talent and work of dozens of accomplished, gifted artists and producers. The Festival runs annually from April through October, and is the highlight of the summer theatre in Southern Ontario.

Choosing a Show

The Festival programme includes 12 different and diverse plays, but unfortunately, I’ve only had the chance to see 2. That hasn’t stopped me from making this handy-dandy guide as to which of those 2 shows – Tommy and Waiting for Godot is right for you.

I like plays to be…
  • Loud
  • Raucous
  • Exciting
  • Subtle
  • Clever
  • Thought-provoking
I want to talk about the play with…
  • Parents (& other nostalgic folks)
  • Music geeks
  • Professors and classmates
  • Theatre geeks
I go to the theatre to be… Entertained Educated
My ideal souvenir is… A soundtrack A mug with a witty message
I prefer… High-brow pop culture Accessible high culture

I want to see…

Tommy

Waiting for Godot

Or both!

Of course, you could also go with any of the other ten.

Buying Tickets

As you may have noticed, we at blogUT are really all about the green. That doesn’t end when it comes to theatre tickets – we’ve got the goods on getting the best (and most dramatic) bang for your buck. Play On tickets go for an even $25, but are available only for select performances and not always in advance. Don’t worry – there are plenty of Play On shows left before the festival ends. And if even that’s too much, Play On tickets are available for only $20 when you’re seeing Othello. All you need to do is prove that you are 16-29 years old with photo ID.

Getting There

Road trips and voyages out of town are often seen by students as too costly to be worth it, but the Stratford Festival has that covered. Tickets are only $10 each way on the Stratford Direct, and the bus drops you off at any of the four Festival theatres (pick-up is at Front and Simcoe at 10:00AM and 3:30PM). The buses are comfortable and roomy, and have wi-fi, a bathroom, and undercarriage storage for large bags. An added bonus: riding back into the city in a bus full of people to talk to about your experiences at the Festival. My perfect day at Stratford ended yesterday with a lovely conversation with some other festival-goers, who were sitting behind me. We traded reviews and recommendations for almost an hour.

Other Things to Do in Stratford

Only 30,000 or so people call Stratford, Ontario home, but there’s still plenty to do there. In addition to myriad book and antique stores, the best shopping prospects are the warm, inviting candy and chocolate shops that line the town’s quaint streets. A terrific place to sit down for a hot or cold drink after or before a show is Balzac’s coffee, a small chain with a few locations in Toronto as well. I had dinner at Boomers Gourmet Fries, a small burger shop with a big menu and fantastic prices. And, obviously, delicious gourmet fries. For dessert, you can head next door to Scooper’s Ice Cream, which also serves shakes and frozen yogurt at excellent prices. If you’re more of the picnicker type, I recommend staking out a bench by the water on Lakeside Drive and watching the swans and ducks go by.

 

Louis Goes to Stratford: Waiting for Godot

Like so many others with an interest in the theatre, I’m no stranger to Waiting for Godot. The now legendary play, which took the world by storm in the 1950s, deals with the hollowness of a life spent waiting for meaning and redemption. I’ve read Godot both for pleasure and for study, in high school and in university. I’ve seen amateur productions and professional ones; interpretations that adhered strictly to the original text and others that veered sharply towards the avant-garde. But none has compared to what I saw tonight.

The Stratford Festival’s production of Waiting for Godot is staged in the Festival’s lesser-known Tom Patterson theatre, a relatively small space adjacent to a community centre. The theatre’s most interesting feature is not its size but its structure: the seats are located in shallow rows along three sides of the stage, putting audience members closer to the action and giving each of them a different angle from which to view the play. This was perfectly suited to Jennifer Tarver’s direction of Godot. She made brilliant use of the show’s slapstick comedy and the stage’s layout to maximize the visual, physical element of the play and, with it, she truly brought out the piece’s humour. The audience often laughed out loud at the jokes and gags, although they were soon abruptly hushed by the show’s darker elements, which were captured with intensity by all members of the cast. This balance ideally represents why Samuel Beckett chose to label his masterpiece a “tragicomedy”.

It is impossible to summarize Waiting for Godot in terms of plot – all two hours and thirty minutes consist of men waiting, alone except for the occasional interaction with a passing traveller, for a mysterious man named Godot. Vladimir and Estragon are certain that Godot will arive soon, and with him, redemption from their meaningless, painful lives. But by the evening’s end, Godot is nowhere to be seen, and Vladimir and Estragon must prepare for another day of waiting.

Some plays deal with personal, emotional issues that their playwrights have experienced but other people have not. Some playwrights try to tackle broader societal problems, but in doing so become products of their generation and nothing but relics for the future. Waiting for Godot, which is personal and cultural, and also philosophical and psychological, is extraordinary because the themes it addresses are universal; international and timeless. There will never be a generation of people who don’t ask the questions that Beckett asks, and I hope, never a generation that isn’t stunned by the horror and humour of Beckett’s attempts to answer them.

from the Stratford Festival website:

Waiting for Godot

by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Jennifer Tarver

Tom Patterson Theatre
to September 26
Approximate running time: 2 hrs 40 min, including one interval