by Dave Ross, Associate Editor, The Charlebois Post - Toronto
It’s opening night!
It’s time. A great team of reviewers has been assembled, dozens of shows reviewed, and here we are—the launch of The Charlebois Post - Toronto.
Who am I? I joined CharPo in the fall of 2011, as a lowly contributor. My first show was The Golden Dragon at Tarragon, and I’ve been to dozens of shows since, both as a reviewer and a guest. Leaving Tarragon that night, I was nervous. How does one review a play? And more importantly, who am I to say anything about the craft? My theatre background is from a literary standpoint—I hold a Bachelor of Arts in English, have read more plays than I can count, but have only seen a few over the course of my life. I’ve never been a performer (unless you count my grade 2 debut as the eponymous lead in The Little White Rabbit Who Wanted Red Wings). Fast forward a few months, and I’m contributing to a dynamic blog with reviewers across the nation, attending Gala festival openings at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and covering the 33rd Annual Dora Awards. And now, I’m the Associate Editor of the Toronto edition of that same blog. What a journey!
One part of that journey that has stuck with me was the absolute variety of theatre that I have experienced in Toronto in such a relatively short period of time. I’ve seen smaller productions at Tarragon, The Factory, and Canadian Stage. I’ve been to blockbusters like War Horse and Bring It On. I’ve seen excellent plays, mediocre plays, and immersive theatre that made my flesh crawl. There is such a diverse cross section of theatre in this city. And just as there is diversity in performance, there is diversity in theatre reviewers as well.
Who am I? Not a reviewer, not an editor, but first and foremost, I am a theatregoer. While I’m sure my Canadian Drama professor wouldn’t agree, I’ve discovered that theatre isn’t meant to be read, it’s to be experienced. It is this experience, the visceral emotional connection, that gives me authority to react to that experience. No, I don’t hold an MFA in Fine Arts from a distinguished institution, but I have a heart and emotional centre, and when it comes down to it, that is all that is required of a theatre reviewer. Everything else is icing on the cake—it is the human connection that we write about.
Diversity is a fitting topic, giving that our launch coincides with the opening of Toronto Fringe. We are embarking on two weeks of an amazing variety of theatre, and our editorial team in Toronto and Montreal has assembled a great team of reviewers. Be sure to tune in to CharPo Toronto for the latest from the Fringe, good bad and ugly.
We may not be a big media outlet, but we’re here and we’re ready to offer fresh new takes on the Toronto theatre scene. We’re young, our backgrounds are varied, and we’re looking forward to sharing our theatre experiences with you.
The journey isn’t over, it’s just beginning.