Tuesday 16 April 2024

"A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay about the Death of Walt Disney", Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Distillery District, Toronto, ON

This evening Gord and I saw A Public Reading of an Unproduced Screenplay about the Death of Walt Disney at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts by Outside the March in the Distillery District.

See Walt. See Walt run. See Walt run a multinational media conglomerate, remaking the world in his image. See Walt contemplate that image. See Walt contemplate cryogenics. See Disney on ice. See Walt’s family. Hear Walt’s screenplay. See Walt’s family hear Walt’s screenplay. See Walt melt.

Outside the March ‘reanimates the Head of Disney’ with this Toronto Premiere by Obie Award-winning playwright Lucas Hnath (Dana H., A Doll’s House Part 2), one of the funniest and most formally daring playwrights of our moment. Starring Canadian theatre great Diego Matamoros as the man, the mouse, the legend—alongside the powerhouse cast of Katherine Cullen, Tony Ofori and Anand Rajaram, in a production directed by Mitchell Cushman and presented by Soulpepper Theatre.

Despite its title, this is neither a reading nor a screenplay; or rather, it’s both, in a brilliant 90-minute stage play. Hnath’s script is an intricately orchestrated merry-go-round of percussive language like a “hypercaffeinated David Mamet” (The New York Times).

“Death of Walt Disney” toys with far-fetched concepts like: what if a powerful billionaire pursued his own immortality at the expense of the world around him? What if Elon Musk could doodle? And what if a melting world is no place to keep a frozen head from thawing?

We’ve seen readings before and this was a play within a reading … and it worked. It was serious and funny and the actors did an excellent job, especially the two playing brothers, Walt and Roy. It was a good use of the stage as it was in the middle of the audience and rotated in a circle. It officially opens tomorrow evening.

No comments: