The 37th Rhubarb Festival

The 37th Rhubarb Festival is on at Buddies and Bad Times theatre for its second week. The annual festival features new works of art from Toronto theatre artists and musicians.

Buddies in Bad Times theatre has been a home for queer, feminist and alternative theatre makers in Toronto since 1979. They are committed to developing new works and giving a voice to under represented artists. “With our art, we simultaneously celebrate difference and question the mechanisms through which differences are constructed and maintained.”

Rhubarb is a ten day festival for new and  developing works. You pay $20 for a whole night of entertainment, including multiple short plays and late-night entertainment.

I went on opening night and saw three mini plays. The first, Dark Love from 54ology, was four women exploring how the power of love and love of power feed off each other- dangerously. It flipped the script when powerless characters came together and left the powerful alone onstage, reaching out after the others.

Buddies reigns supreme at turning traditional power, love and sex upside down- even the power of the fourth wall. In the second show, [elephant] collective reimagined a kitchen sink drama. Instead of their subtext going above the audience’s head, actors broke from their script to lift literal kitchen sinks above their heads and address the audience out of character. In a small theatre and an even smaller network of alternative theatre festival goers there were many familiar faces. Even before the opening night mixer we got a taste of the people this festival brings together.

Rhubarb allows artists young, old, new, seasoned and everything in between to share their unique voice. You can be sure that no expectations will be met – they will be exceeded, discombobulated, and possibly thrown back at you for reconsideration.

For this week, check out three awesome late-night programs.

On Thursday, the Kensington market cinema and performance lab Videofag is curating a performance of web comic and tumblr personality Wendy as she uses the internet to find and kill her ex-boyfriend, on the recommendation of her naturopath.

On Friday, join some of the brightest Toronto improvizers brought together by comedy powerhouse Bad Dog Theatre as they further explore the dark(ly hilarious) underbelly of realism.

For the closing weekend, see an homage to remember by Gavin Crawford (of This Hour Has 22 Minutes)as he walks the audience through the life and times of Buddies founder Sky Gilbert.

There’s plenty more to see, all guaranteed to start a conversation or shift in perspective. Check out the full schedule on the Buddies in Bad Time theatre website.



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