UJA Federation’s committee for Yiddish offers a Yiddish Theatre Workshop for would-be thespians or those who just like theatre, whether they speak much mamaloshen or not.
In this lively course led by actor David Gale, participants discuss and read a popular play in transliterated Yiddish, expanding their knowledge of Yiddish at the same time. The upcoming session focuses on The Wise Men of Chelm by Abraham Shulman. The session runs for 10 Thursdays, starting Oct. 3. $150. www.committeeforyiddish.com, 416-635-2883, ext. 5187.
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For Opera Buffs: Active Seniors, Boomers and Retirees presents Tuesday afternoon Opera Appreciation with dynamic opera educator Iain Scott, who will preview upcoming productions of both the Canadian Opera Company and Live in HD Broadcasts from the Metropolitan Opera Company. Enhance your knowledge of opera and view video excerpts of great opera companies, singers and performances. Sept. 24, La Boheme; Oct. 1, Peter Grimes; Oct. 8, Cosi Fan Tutti; Oct. 15, Don Quichotte. Miles Nadal JCC, $50 for the series or $14 drop-in as space permits.
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• Encore Entertainment is currently casting Social Security, a comedy by Andrew Bergman about two married art dealers who struggle with a visit from the wife’s sister, brother-in-law and “archetypal Jewish mother.” Scheduled for performance Nov. 1 to 10 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Also part of Encore’s upcoming season are productions of The Children’s Hour, a drama by Lillian Hellman, and Bingo, a musical about die-hard bingo players. www.encoreshows.com
• Teatron Toronto Jewish Theatre Company is preparing its first production of the new season – The Chosen, based on the popular novel by Chaim Potok and adapted for the stage by Aaron Posner. The story focuses on two boys from two different Jewish communities – “five blocks and a world apart.” Runs Nov. 13 to 24 at the Toronto Centre for the Arts. Also part of Teatron’s upcoming season are productions of Seven Days, a drama by Ron Rutberg, and Handle With Care, a comedy by Jason Odell Williams. www.teatrontheatre.com.
• The Stratford Festival’s recently opened production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, directed by Antoni Cimolino, transposes the Elizabethan-era play onto Fascist Italy in the 1930s. Said Cimolino, whose parents were children in Italy when the National Fascist Party introduced its anti-Semitic race laws in 1938: “[Those laws were] fuelled by the very same thinking that Shakespeare probes in The Merchant of Venice – attitudes towards ‘otherness’ that range from genteel disdain to racist loathing. And those same attitudes underlie so many of the terrible conflicts that bedevil our world today.” Scott Wentworth plays Shylock. Continues to Oct. 20. www.stratfordfestival.ca
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At the Galleries: WAR: Light Within/After the Darkness is an exhibition of large-scale installation works about the Holocaust by seven Canadian artists who are “either Jewish or half-Jewish and heard about disappearing relatives and the reality of the horrors of the war since we were very young,” writes curator Christian Bernard Singer.
Components include Mary McKenzie’s installation of a portion of a life-sized house abandoned in a hurry because its residents ran to hide in the forest or were forcibly removed. Using porcelain, Chari Cohen builds a section of forest that cloaked Jewish partisans and other resistance fighters, while Laura Donefer builds a mountain of 6,000 cast glass footprints, some taken from Holocaust survivors.
Other artists include Oded and Pamela Ravek, Tina Poplawski, Claire Weissman-Wilks and Hélène Brunet-Neumann. Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, 25 Caroline St. N., Waterloo, Ont. Opens Sept. 22, runs to Jan. 5, 2014. www. canadianclayandglass.ca
• The Royal Ontario Museum presents Brushing It in the Rough: Women, Art & Nineteenth-Century Canada, an intimate display of the pictorial responses of Anna Jameson, Susanna Moodie and Alice Killaly to their Canadian experiences. Opened Aug. 24, continues to Feb. 17, 2014, in the ROM’s Wilson Canadian Heritage Exhibition Room of the Sigmund Samuel Gallery. www.rom.on.ca
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Out of Town: I recently returned from Boston where I dropped in to the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. On display and of particular note was the show Audubon’s Birds, Audubon’s Words, featuring many exquisite canvases by the famous bird artist who lived 1785 to 1851. Slightly more current – but somehow equally historic – was the exhibit Hippie Chic, featuring all the paisley, beads and groovy psychedelic fashions of the hippie culture that bloomed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Talk about plumage and colouration! www.mfa.org