Theatre Inamorata is a new theatre company comprised entirely of women dedicated to adapting classical scripts for the female voice. They wrapped up their debut performance Gray, this past September. Gray, ironically written by a man—Kristofer Van Soelen, is a female adaptation of the classic play, The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde. Being Irish and a feminist, I wanted to see the show. The funny thing is, I’ve never read or seen the original so, I was going in blind.
After seeing this adaptation, I looked up the actual show. I was able to appreciate the liberties that were taken and how they made this classical work, relevant.
Toronto is a great place to find art; theatre, dance, visual—whatever you like, we’re very experimental here. However, we’re also very Canadian, meaning; we have a certain apologist attitude when it comes to the work you see. For example, how many times have you been to a show you thought sucked and it got a standing ovation? We lie to save face; we put up with bad work just to be polite. I have seen some shows that had me weeping and others I have walked out of, which brings us to the best moment in Gray.
A female Dorian is watching her lover Sybil’s opening night of Romeo and Juliet. Sybil’s performance is so bad, Dorian’s friend Opal refuses to waste any more of her precious time or money and walks out. Now, you might be thinking, that’s totally ignorant and rude, it takes courage to get up on stage.
NOPE. Not good enough. Opal makes a very valid point. If you are charging people money to see you perform, it damn well better be worth watching. Just because you’ve done the hard job of getting onstage does not mean you’ve done your job. You’re job is to speak to me and keep me in that seat. Earn my money.
Yes, of course art is subjective but you can’t expect to get a participation medal if there’s no substance to your work. Art is about telling truth, whether it’s yours or not, we can always spot a liar. It was like finally, someone was addressing the elephant in the theatre, so to speak. You don’t get a standing ovation just because you got on stage, you have to work for it.
I still don’t know if I liked what I saw but, it has kept me thinking. I can always respect someone who makes me think. These are talented women who don’t appear to be afraid of pushing the envelope. I like that they brought up a very relevant topic when it comes to seeing art in Toronto and in general.