As a writer and photographer I travel between my life in Toronto, my life in Antigua, and anywhere else my wanderings may take me ... writing my books and enjoying local arts and adventures along the way.

Dinner and The Toronto Youth Theatre

Dinner and The Toronto Youth Theatre
Despite the Weather
The weather tonight was cold and more than slightly miserable as we made our way down to the Toronto Youth Theatre to see Tobor the Robot.  We still hadn’t eaten when get got there, so after we secured our tickets we went to get a bite to eat nearby. We had plenty of time since we’d arrived a little early.
Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining
After stumbling cold and wet through doors of a couple restaurants but not finding anything the kids wanted to eat, we finally came to a Vietnamese restaurant a couple of doors down. The restaurant was warm and they served up big hot dishes of noodles and rice with deliciously cooked chicken and lots of fresh greens. Faces lit up. Suddenly the rain outside was more entertaining than cold. My daughter picked up a pair of chopsticks from the rack of them on the table and began to lay siege to the noodles.
The Buzz of Excitement from the Young Performers
When we got back to the theatre there was a buzz of excitement coming from the corridor leading to the wardrobe area. Excited preparations were being made last minute … voices were being warmed up through vocal exercises, and bits of nervous laughter bounced back and forth. Knowing that the performers were all high school aged I was deeply curious to watch them go through the process of preparing to be in top form when they went on stage in front of a large audience. Extracting the best out of oneself when it counts is a skill that many people go their entire lives and never master.
Jeremy Hutton, the director, was protective of his young charges “just a few pictures” he told me ” … they have to prepare”. I thanked him for allowing me to capture those moments. My daughter was standing beside me watching the performers with fascination. “Anisa come meet Jeremy” I said “he’s a real director”. The handsome young director flashed a megawatt smile. My daughter flushed and disappeared behind her dad. I chuckled then turned to introduce my son. Jeremy gave him a big handshake “Eric and I are already good friends”.
The kids I went to take our seats in the theatre. A stage hand used a flashlight to charge glow in the dark strips that were taped to the wall, floor and staircase railing so that the actors could find their way in the dark. Using the faint glow of those strips to detect the entrance and exit of actors in the darkness between scenes was an endless source of fascination for my kids. Finally the lights dimmed and after a brief introduction by the director the actors came on the stage.
The action started quickly with a musical number in the prologue. I could see that my daughter was enthralled with the girls on the floor level stage just feet in front of us. She clapped enthusiastically when they finished and I knew she was hooked.
The first scene that followed was immediately funny … the kids and I laughed along with a bunch of great lines. On one hand there was the robot Tobor (played by Thomas Goetz) and his goofy innocence vs the robot Rusty (played by Andrew Pimento) who’d been around the block a few times and was intent on making sure he didn’t forget to enjoy any vice on the next ride through. Then on the other hand there was the simple minded but loveable robot Axle (played by Brian Quintero). The robots ate (very literally) trash because it was the only thing available to them. But where Tobor turned his nose up to Axle it was a three star gourmet meal. Alex was only a half step ahead of the recycling heap.
Then Rusty and Axle leave the stage and the first solo musical number begins. I watch the kids faces and see that they’re impressed too … Rusty can SING! Soon the characters Sophie (played by Julia Dmytryshyn) and her mom (played by Victoria Quiroz) are introduced. The character of the mom was lively and never dull to watch … and I was completely enthralled with the character Sophie: her voice; her stage presence, and the empathy she evoked from the crowd.
The middle parts of the play saw some great performances along with some slightly rique references. My kids, aged six and eight, didn’t react to the joke inside the jokes as those more sophisticated references went well over their heads, but as with shows like the Simpson’s that also have two levels of humor … there was plenty left for them to laugh at.
The action rises to a climax with an evil plot by one of the robot who is intent to put an end to humans and then ends with a delightful twist. My kids clapped enthusiastically with the rest of the crowd. It was a good night.
On the way home I learned exactly how different our generations are when I asked the kids what they enjoyed and what they disliked about the play. They didn’t have any dislikes. But when it came to likes it was all about attitude, style, and humor. My son said he “liked the part about the toolbox … it was funny”. I suspected the toolbox was in reality a reference to some kind of brothel. I didn’t know whether to crack a joke or to begin planning for “that discussion” … I reserved comment. He also really liked the attitude and liveliness of the character Pixel’s singing. My daughter loved the costumes … namely “the evil woman that was trying to take over the world”, and “the girls who were singing”. “I like their look” she said. I on the other hand loved the characters Tobor and Sophie … despite their lack of “street cred”. Regardless of these differences between our generations there were some commonalities as well. After the experience of the play the weather no longer seemed miserable at all … in fact somehow it was no longer even unpleasant.

Despite the Weather

The weather tonight was cold and more than slightly miserable as we made our way down to the Toronto Youth Theatre to see Tobor the Robot.  We still hadn’t eaten when get got there, so after we secured our tickets we went to get a bite to eat nearby. We had plenty of time since we’d arrived a little early.

Once in from the cold and in the warmth of the restaurant around the delicious smelling food ... faces lit up.

Once in from the cold and in the warmth of the restaurant around the delicious smelling food ... faces lit up.

Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining

After stumbling cold and wet through the doors of a couple restaurants and not finding anything the kids wanted to eat, we finally came to a Thai restaurant a couple of doors down. The restaurant was warm and they served up big hot dishes of noodles and rice with deliciously cooked chicken and lots of fresh greens. Faces lit up. Suddenly the rain outside was more entertaining than cold.

My daughter picked up a pair of chopsticks from the rack of them on the table and began to lay siege to the noodles.

My daughter with a two handed approach to the use of chopsticks.

My daughter with a two handed approach to the use of chopsticks.

A Buzz of Excitement from the Young Performers Fills the Backstage

When we got back to the theatre there was a buzz of excitement coming from the corridor leading to the wardrobe area. Excited preparations were being made last minute … voices were being warmed up through vocal exercises, and bits of nervous laughter bounced back and forth. Knowing that the performers were all high school aged I was deeply curious to watch them go through the process of preparing to be in top form before going on stage in front of a large audience. Extracting the best out of oneself when it counts is a skill that many people go their entire lives without ever mastering.

Meeting the Charismatic Director

Jeremy Hutton, the director, was protective of his young charges “just a few pictures” he told me ” … they have to prepare”. I was glad to capture even a few of those moments.

Backstage with Annie Tran (played by Mina Khosravi) and Boort (played by Kathryn Burns).

Backstage with Boort (to the right: played by Kathryn Burns).

Backstage with Frequencia (played by Michaela Milgrom) and the mom (played by Victoria Quiroz).

Backstage with Frequencia (to the left: played by Michaela Milgrom) and the mom (to the right: played by Victoria Quiroz).

My daughter was standing beside me watching the performers with fascination. “Come meet Jeremy” I said. “He’s a real director”. The handsome young director flashed a megawatt smile. My daughter flushed and disappeared behind her dad. I chuckled then turned to introduce my son. Jeremy gave him a big handshake “He and I are already good friends”.

Jeremy Hutton the charismatic director.

Jeremy Hutton the charismatic director.

Tobor the Robot Takes the Stage

The kids I went to take our seats in the theatre. A stage hand used a flashlight to charge some glow in the dark strips that were taped to the wall, floor and staircase railing so that the actors could find their marks on the stage in the darkened theatre. Using the faint glow of those strips to detect the entrance and exit of actors in the darkness between scenes became an endless source of fascination for my kids throughout the entire evening. But their attention shifted when the lights dimmed and after a brief introduction by the director the actors came on the stage.

The action started quickly with the musical number of the prologue. I could see that my daughter was enthralled with the girls on the floor level stage just feet in front of us. She clapped enthusiastically when they finished and I knew she was hooked.

The Laughs Came Quickly

The first scene that followed was immediately funny … the kids and I laughed along with a bunch of great lines. On one hand there was the robot Tobor (played by Thomas Goetz) and his goofy innocence vs the robot Rusty (played by Andrew Pimento) who’d been around the block a few times and was intent on making sure he didn’t forget to enjoy any vice on the next ride through. Then on the other hand there was the simple minded but loveable robot Axle (played by Brian Quintero) who was only a half step ahead of the recycling heap. All the robots ate (very literally) trash because it was the only thing available to them. But where Tobor turned his nose up to Axle it was a three star gourmet meal. Used baby diapers … mmm!

Soon Rusty and Axle leave the stage and the first solo musical number begins. I watch my kids faces and see that they’re impressed too … Tobor can SING! Shortly afterwards the characters Sophie (played by Julia Dmytryshyn) and her mom (played by Victoria Quiroz) are introduced. The character of the mom was lively and never dull to watch … and I was completely enthralled with the character Sophie: her voice; her stage presence, and the empathy she evoked from the crowd.

Humour at Two Levels

The middle parts of the play saw some great performances from rest of the cast along with some slightly risque references that entertained the adults and older kids in the theatre. My kids, aged six and eight, didn’t react to the joke inside the jokes … those more sophisticated references went well over their heads, but as with shows like the Simpson’s that also have two levels of humor … there was plenty left for them to laugh at.

The action rose to a climax with an evil plot by one of the robots who was intent to put an end to humans. Then the play ends with a delightful twist. My kids clapped enthusiastically with the rest of the crowd.

Giving Credit ... the entire cast saluting the director and crew.

Giving credit ... the entire cast saluting the director and crew.

It Was Like We Saw Different Plays

On the way home I learned exactly how different our generations are when I asked the kids what they enjoyed and what they disliked about the play. They didn’t have any dislikes. But when it came to what especially caught their attention it was all about attitude, style, and humor. My son said he “liked the part about the toolbox … it was funny”. I suspected the toolbox was in reality a reference to some kind of brothel. I didn’t know whether to crack a joke or to begin planning for “that discussion” … and in the end merely reserved comment. He also really liked the attitude and liveliness of the character Pixel’s singing. My daughter loved both attitudes and the costumes … namely “the evil woman that was trying to take over the world”, and “the girls who were singing”. “I like their look” she said. I on the other hand loved the characters Tobor and Sophie. As mentioned before I was enthralled with their performances … despite the characters lack of “street cred”. Regardless of these generational differences between me and my kids there were some commonalities as well. After the experience of the play the weather no longer seemed miserable at all … in fact somehow on the way back to the car it was no longer even unpleasant. It was a good night.

Performances

“Tobor the Robot” is showing for the following performances:

Wednesday Octobor 21st at 7:30pm

Thursday Octobor 22nd at 7:30pm

Friday Octobor 23rd at 7:30pm

Saturday Octobor 24th at 2:00pm

Saturday Octobor 24th at 7:30pm

Friday Octobor 30th at 7:30pm

Saturday Octobor 31st at 2:00pm

For more information see the website of the Toronto Youth Theater: http://www.torontoyouththeatre.org/tickets.html

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