The Convent of Pleasure - April 23
We open a new show in just under three weeks, at the venerable Hart House Theatre on the campus of the University of Toronto. It's a collection of repertoire one would only associate with Toronto Masque Theatre. Not that other companies wouldn't perform this repertoire, but the particular combination - and the way in which it is being combined - is quintessentially TMT. The three major works are:
"Il ballo delle ingrate" by Claudio Monteverdi, from his monumental 8th book of madrigals
"Noi siam tre donzellette semplicete", a secular cantata for three sopranos by Luigi Rossi
"The Convent of Pleasure", a play by the 17th century English playwright Margaret Cavendish
All three deal with the subject of men, from a woman's point of view. In Monteverdi's "ballo", Venus and Cupid travel to the Underworld to complain to Pluto that Cupid's arrows are no longer working on the women of Mantua. In Rossi's comical cantata, three girls return home from a party and recount the mindless silliness of the men who engaged them. And Cavendish's play tells the story of the beautiful and wealthy Lady Happy, who eschews the company of men and sets up a utopian convent in honour of beauty of art.
Singers, dancers, actors and instrumentalists will combine to weave these three stories together in an entertaining and edifying way. We're happy to have several artists - including sopranos Virginia Hatfield and Dawn Bailey and baritone Benjamin Covey - making their debuts with TMT in the Convent of Pleasure. Marie-Nathalie Lacoursiere is bringing three members of her dance company, Les Jardins Choregraphiques, from Montreal. Harpsichordist Noam Krieger joins us again from Holland and Derek Boyes directs a group of young actors.
At this point in the journey, we have many questions to answer and much work to do. It's a process I love dearly and value highly....a process of discovery and intense creativity. We don't have alot of time, but it's always enough to generate excitement and prepare for the joy of performance.
I look forward to delving into this world and rehearsing a show - as we have done dozens of times over the past eight years - that becomes a unique and satisfying artistic experience for all involved: performers and audience alike.
I will be "blogging" as much as I can over the next two and a half weeks, letting you in behind the scenes and describing the wonderful creative process of the artists of TMT.