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Artists to Watch

BY JON KAPLAN

 

AUGUST 3, 2006

 

12:00 AM

 

 

 

Rating: NNNNN

CARA RICKETTS

 

Who : Performer in  Hip-Hop (Who Stole The Soul?) , in which a black father-to-be tries to satisfy an oppressive emptiness. 

Buzz : Ricketts has done some remarkable work over the past year, in works both contemporary (The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot) and classical (A Midsummer Night's Dream). For SummerWorks she's reunited with Hip-Hop author  Joseph Pierre , with whom she created sizzling theatre in Born Ready/Pusha Man. Will lightning strike again? 

THE ENSEMBLE

Who : A troupe of young actors reimagine Shakespeare's As You Like It for the 21st century and call it  You Like It . 

Buzz : General lust, queer urges, tingling sexual desires and all manner of erotic play inspire this look at a classic whose four heterosexual couples were originally played by men. The company, made up of National Theatre School performers, is the right age to tackle something exploring nascent sexuality. 

ELIZABETH SAUNDERS

Who : Actor in  4.48 Psychosis , a play told from the viewpoint of a woman with severe bipolar disorder. 

Buzz : Saunders brings instinctive emotional power to her roles, something she'll put to good use in a piece by British writer  Sarah Kane , who committed suicide shortly after writing it. But can Saunders move an audience with this look at suicidal depression and still leave them able to watch the next SummerWorks show? 

 

AARON WILLIS

Who : Actor in  The Russian Play , in which a flower girl falls for a gravedigger in Stalinist Russia

Buzz : Willis comes fresh from co-directing AutoShow, one of the Fringe's best, in which he played the hustler of a sleek line of cars. Now he's traipsing around in a frozen Russian winter. Let's see if he can help kindle the romantic warmth in  Hannah Moscovitch 's script, a hit in shorter form at this year's Rhubarb! fest. 

 

GINA WILKINSON

Who : Actor in  Go Forth And Multiply and author/co-director of  Whistle Me Home , about a neatnik who plans his own funeral

Buzz : A powerful writer (My Mother's Feet), performer (The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia?) and director (Fish Shack), Wilkinson puts her triple-threat skills to use in SummerWorks. She's never before done all three in one festival, but she has the theatrical energy to keep all the balls in the air. 

 

THE ENSEMBLE

Who : Creators/performers of  don't wake me , in which a man blinded in a vicious attack finds healing with a mysterious trumpet player. 

Buzz : The latest by the inventive  UnSpun Theatre (Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump and Minotaur), don't wake me emerges from the company's style of collective creation and clever staging. 

SOHEIL PARSA

Who : Director of  Interrogation , in which two young people must account for their role in a violent ideological revolution. 

Buzz : Artistic director of Modern Times Stage Company, Parsa had a hit with his last SummerWorks piece, the shimmering Stories From The Rains Of Love And Death. Here he translates and helms a new show about the futility of violence, a story that could be inspired by today's headlines.

 

MARY FRANCIS MOORE

Who : Director of  You Fancy Yourself , about a girl's school years in postwar Edinburgh, and performer in Letters To Kathleen , in which Irish sibs have a tense reunion. 

Buzz : A "bittergirl" who's proven her skill at writing and performing sometimes uncomfortable comedy, Moore returns to her Celtic roots with these shows. She's sure to bring an edge to works filled with dark laughs and tentative emotional ties that smother while they bind. 

jonkap@nowtoronto.com

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