by Rina Nakazawa

Dorota Buczel, founder and director of Alchemy Center Makeup Art Studio and Boutique, is a professional body painter and visual artist. zeeBigBang spoke with her about her creative body painting projects.

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Body painting by Dorota Buczel

Buczel gets inspiration from everywhere including places, people, music, art and her surroundings. She explores her artistry, connection with the living canvas which is the model and leaving room for surprise. She uses a wide variety of motifs including animals, fallen leaves, butterflies, skeletons, ethnic styles and so on. Her creative process is “a client usually presents me with a concept and based on that I come up with the best idea to represent and promote them. I come up with whatever is needed to embellish the artwork to make a better statement.”   

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Body painting by Dorota Buczel

Buczel chooses her models based on the body painting that she wants them to represent. “I like to work with models who are patient and appreciate art. I rarely use fashion models. I prefer to use dancers, life drawing models or real people who have a passion and appreciation for art.”

She gives the models instructions how to prepare their skin for painting and how to best remove the body painting afterwards. Buczel tries to connect with the models as much as possible. What she pays attention to is “making them feel special and comfortable; giving them breaks as needed and reinforcing their performance.”

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Body painting by Dorota Buczel

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There is a district in Beijing seldom visited by tourists called the Shijingshan District. Within it hides a gem of international art called the Beijing International Sculpture Park. It is a multifunctional location that brings people from around the world to enjoy scenery that lends itself as the perfect stage for over 200 sculptures from over 40 countries. 

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Construction of the park began in 2002, and the 162 acres of park were open to the public by the end of 2003. The park has an east and west side. The east is full of humanistic style sculptures, while the West has a pastoral or abstract flavour.

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The combination of the natural landscape and manmade sculptures permeates the design of the park. “As you enter from the North gate there is a symmetry, and the sculptures follow a theme that help accent the natural elements in the park,” explains Aiguo Yofu, an art correspondent of ChinaDaily, and an avid fan of the park.

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by Rina Nakazawa

The Toronto Fringe Festival, part of the “Fringe movement” – a worldwide network of indie theatre festivals where anyone can put on any shows, will take place in Toronto from July 2 to 13.This year’s festival features 148 shows in 35 venues.

A cry for help from Dreams of Summer’s End and The Dying Picture Productions

zeeBigBang spoke with Tristan Rivé who is a director of the theatre company, The Dying Picture and an actor about his up-coming piece, Dreams of Summer’s End.

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Nisheeth Proshanti (left) Tristan Rivé (center) Karina Lynn (right)

Rivé said the play is inspired by Chris Brown’s admission of losing his virginity at the age of 8 to a 16 year old girl. What was fascinating about this was “that there were a lot of articles coming out particularly in feminist websites about how there are culturally raped boys that we are forgetting about. Statistics show that boys who are raped, or girls who are raped, at a younger age become much more violent and much more like those who raped them. We expanded on the idea of our relationships with our sexuality and how those relationships affect our lives and the people around us,” Rivé explained. 

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The Art Nouveau poster by Keegan Thomas Youngfor 

This piece deals with four people in two groups and the struggles with their sexuality. From family, to marriage, to children; sexuality is the force that dictates how they live their lives. One group of characters examines sexuality in sexual relationships that society deems “abnormal”. It explores how a boy’s experience of being raped drives him to rape a girl and explores their struggles. A second group of characters examines how sexuality in sexual relationships that society deems “normal” leads to the loss of the personal identity and purpose in life. Rivé based the name of the play on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night’s Dream drawing from its sense of fate and turmoil. 

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Daniel Cristofori (left) Karina Lynn (right)

Rivé has been working on bring this piece to life on the stage since last August. All shows at the Fringe are chosen at random by lottery and he won Toronto and Hamilton Fringe. “That is exciting because Toronto is the hardest and the best one to get into,” he said.

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by Peggy Geddes

The orchestra of The National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa, Canada is conducted by Pinchas Zukerman, considered one of the finest violinists in the world.

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Conductor Pinchas Zukerman is one of the finest violinists in the world, photo Kenn Taylor

“The orchestra is very active heading their concert series and performing whenever the NAC hosts Broadway musicals or visiting dance companies,” said Rosemary Thompson, of NAC Public Affairs. “The music department also operates an elite education academy open each summer to 100 selected young musicians from around the world and mentored by the NAC musicians. We spot great talent and invite them to the summer boot camp. We’ve become a hub for young musicians.”

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Summer Music Institute participants in performance

More recently the NAC has sent its orchestra abroad to China and next year it will go to the United Kingdom. Thompson said, “When we go we don’t just play Beethoven. We play John Estacio, Malcolm Forsyth, Alexina Louie - all Canadian so International audiences are hearing really great Canadian music. When we go we don’t just perform - we teach - all through the music schools and conservatories and universities.”

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Pinchas Zukerman conducting the National Arts Centre Orchestra, photo  Dwayne Brown

Every year The National Arts Centre hosts 1,200 shows with 60 musicians and a budget of $70 million. It is the largest Performing Arts Centre and Education Institute in Canada. zeebigbang  interviewed Thompson, to learn more about this vibrant Canadian treasure.

The NAC has dedicated funds to invest in artistic creation across Canada and is open to partner with artists. Here’s how it works according to Thompson. “For instance a small theatre company may have an idea for a new play or even a play that has started that has had some success. NAC might invest in that play so that it has a longer life. Using another example she explained, “If you are a composer you might be selected as one of the NAC commissioned composers. Right now we have three of them. They are writing music not just for our orchestra but what gets written gets shared with everybody [orchestra]. We do the same thing in theatre - both English and French theatre - and the same thing in dance for say a choreographer to set up on tour at the Toronto Harbourfront Centre, or Montreal or whatever you are working on. We are seen as kind of a catalyst to help propel Canadian artists. “

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Scene from “Les Justes,” presented by NAC French Theatre, photo by Brigitte Enguérand

Every two years NAC shines a spotlight on artists across the country through Scene Festivals. A different region is selected each time. “The last one was the North and we had in excess of 300 artists that came from the three territories.” Thompson explains that the festivals embrace all art forms and emerging and established artists.   

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Aboriginal singer-songwriter and Northern Scene performer Leela Gilday

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by Rina Nakazawa

Argentine Boys for Sale is a 500 page graphic account of the lives of five young men by Nigel Nolan, a Canadian and Buenos Aires based artist. The digital compilation of  photographs and oil, watercolour and acrylic paintings is set to a stirring 20-minute soundtrack by Xiu Xiu, a Los Angeles based band. 

Argentine Boys for Saleは、カナダ出身でブエノスアイレスを拠点に活動しているアーティスト、ナイジェル・ノーラン氏による5人の青年の生活記録をまとめた500ページに及ぶグラフィックアカウントである。写真と油、水彩、アクリル絵具によって描かれた絵たちは、ロサンゼルスを拠点に活動しているバンド、Xiu Xiuによって手がけられた不安を呼び起こすような20分間のサウンドトラックと共にデジタル編集されている。

Argentine Boys for Sale: a Nigel Nolan project with music by Xiu Xiu

Through text, music, photography and painting, the digital book offers intimate portraits of five young men, DANIEL, FeD, JOEL, OMAR and SEB. An exhibition of some parts of the book, including photographs and some wall-size and framed paintings, is being held at Nuit Rose in Toronto on June 21.

文章、音楽、写真、絵画を通して、そのデジタルブックは5人の青年、ダニエル、フェッド、ジョエル、オマー、セブのプライベートな人物像を伝えている。また、デジタルブックから抜粋された数枚の写真、壁画、絵画などが6月21日にトロントで開催される現代アートイベント、Nuit Roseで展示される予定である。

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“SEB spent the night,” private residence, Buenos Aires, 2010

zeeBigBang spoke with Nolan about his inspiration for the project. “The inspiration is DANIEL, FeD, JOEL, OMAR and SEB. Their lives and humanizing their images - making you think about the lives they live, not just looking at their images,” Nolan said. “There are a lot of emotional challenges in this project - like knowing their [boys] personal tragedies. But the biggest challenge is crossing borders.”

zeeBigBangはこのプロジェクトに対するインスピレーションについてノーラン氏にお話しを伺った。「インスピレーションはダニエル、フェッド、ジョエル、オマー、そしてセブです。彼らの生活であり、そして彼らのイメージを人間化すること―ただ彼らのイメージに目を向けるのではなく、あなたに彼らが日々送っている生活について考えさせることです。」とノーラン氏は語った。「このプロジェクトには、彼らに(青年たち)訪れる個人的な悲劇を共有することのように、数多くの感情的な困難がありました。ですが、一番の困難は国境を超えることです。」

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"Amuse-Bouche", LE Gallery, Toronto, 2009

This project started as Nolan’s personal blog while living in Buenos Aires, Argentina with DANIEL, FeD, JOEL, OMAR and SEB. He shared his home with the five men and posted articles with intimate images, paintings and photographs of the men and their lives on his blog for almost three years. Parts of the blog are included in the digital book available worldwide for people to purchase and download. Nolan gave Xiu Xiu creative freedom with the soundtrack.

このプロジェクトは、ノーラン氏がアルゼンチンのブエノスアイレスでダニエル、フェッド、ジョエル、オマー、セブと一緒に生活しながら綴っていた個人的なブログが始まりだった。ノーラン氏はこの5人の青年と自宅で共同生活をし、彼らと彼らの生活を捉えたプライベートな写真や肖像画と共に約3年間ブログに記事を投稿していた。そのブログの一部がデジタルブックに収録されており、世界中で人々が購入しダウンロードすることが可能である。ノーラン氏はサウンドトラックに関してはXiu Xiuに自由に制作を任せた。

Nolan’s works blur the boundaries between reality and art. He has held solo exhibitions for Argentine Boys for Sale in Buenos Aires, New York and Toronto. Of his work he says, “The frame isolates the paintings. The paintings on the walls were in my home in Buenos Aires. We lived in those rooms so it became an interaction with our daily lives. In the exhibitions, the framed works are either portraits or photographs and they give reality and history to the wall paintings. It was a lot of documenting their lives and taking that documentation and being inspired to paint other things. But it was all coming through our experience together,” Nolan said.

ノーラン氏の作品は現実とアートの間の境目が曖昧である。彼はこれまでにブエノスアイレス、ニューヨーク、そしてトロントでArgentine Boys for Saleの個展を開いている。「額縁は絵を分離します。壁に描かれた絵たちはブエノスアイレスにある僕の家にあります。僕たちはそれらの部屋で暮らしているので、それらの壁画は僕たちの日常生活と影響し合っています。展示会では、額縁に入れられた作品たちは肖像画かあるいは写真で、それらは壁画に現実性と歴史を与える役割を果たしています。それらは彼らの生活の数多くを記録しており、またその他のものを描くためのインスピレーションになります。しかしそれらは全て僕たちの経験を通して一緒にやってきます。」とノーラン氏は語った。

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“A pew for OMAR,” La Mama Galleria, New York City, 2012

When clients purchase the paintings, photographs or the digital book of the boys, 10 to 50 percent of the profit is shared between the boys. The buyers are also told how they spent the customers’ money in their personal lives. Nolan also shared client e-mails as part of the project. Nolan’s vision was “to break the fourth wall to allow the audience to enter and become part of the project. That was my objective.”

顧客が青年たちの絵画や写真、デジタルブックを購入すると、その利益の内の10から50パーセントが彼らの分け前となる。購入者には彼らがどのようにそのお金をプライベートな生活の中で使ったか伝えられる。ノーラン氏はまた、顧客とのE-メールのやり取りをプロジェクトの一部として公開した。ノーラン氏のビジョンは、「観衆が入って来てこのプロジェクトの一部になることを可能にするため第4の壁を壊すこと。それが僕の目的です。」

Nolan explained, “When the audience would buy something, they became participants in the project. The list of what they [the boys] bought was sent to the buyers and that changed the way they [buyers] would see their paintings. They would think, ‘Oh with this painting JOEL bought food and paid his rent.’ So it became more of a history of the subject, not just a painting.” In this way, Nolan said, “it was kind of like they were for sale.”

ノーラン氏は、「観衆が何かを購入するとき、彼らはこのプロジェクトの参加者となります。青年たちが買ったもののリストは購入者に送られ、それが購入者が彼らの絵画を見る上での見方を変えます。彼らはおそらく『おお!この絵画(から得た利益)でジョエルは食べ物を買って家賃を払ったのか。』と思うでしょう。なので、その絵画はただの絵画ではなく、むしろそのモデルの歴史の1つになるのです。」と説明した。こうした点で、「それは彼ら自身がある種の売り物であるということを意味しています。」とノーラン氏は語った。

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"JOEL: tux"

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by Rina Nakazawa

Nuit Rose is a queer focused contemporary art event in celebration of World Pride 2014 which takes place in Toronto on June 21. The event showcases about 38 local and international artists in a wide range of genres including Joe Bruni,Pearl Van GeestHumboldt Magnussen and Nigel Nolan. Art installations, artist exhibitions, art marketplace, performance, theatre, music, film, video, digital art and audience participation are part of the celebration.

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Photo by Michael Venus from Cotton Dietrich

zeeBigBang spoke to Nuit Rose founder, Francisco Alvarez. “The pride parade celebration is 10 days and typically everything happens in last three days. I wanted to do something in the first weekend that would help launch this period of pride in the city and also that was not only in the Church-Wellesley neighborhood but in another part of the city.” Nuit Rose will happen simultaneously in two areas: Queen Street West and Church-Wellesley Village in the city with a free ArtBus to connect them.

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 Photo by Joe Bruni from Cocoons

Alvarez has been working on this project full time for almost 9 months. “I invited some friends who are artists, curators and art producers and we formed a collective where there is no hierarchy,” Alvarez explained.

They sent out a call to artists for submissions through their networks and membership organizations. They received 55 submissions. After forming the jury of artists, they ranked all of the submissions and the top of 12 artists were selected to be part of Nuit Rose. Alvarez said to those who didn’t make it, “If you can produce your own event, we will promote it.” As a result, they are helping independent artists place and promote their works at Nuit Rose.
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 Photo by Michael Venus from Icons an Demi-Gods

For those who like to participate, Nuit Rose is planning a “Light Parade” to be held at night on Queen Street West. “We are going to ask everybody who participates to wear a costume or carry a prop that emits light. Anyone can participate,” said Alvarez. 

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by Rina Nakazawa

The best artists in the world and in Canada gather and celebrate creativity at the Luminato Festival held in Toronto from June 6 to 15. zeeBigBang spoke with Derrick Ryan Claude Mitchell who is a director of the live performance company, Saint Genet about his latest piece Paradisiacal Rites.

A short selection of shots from director Derrick Ryan Claude Mitchell’s presentation of Christopher Burden’s SHOOT, Nearly Nearly Invisible and Paradisiacal Rites

This piece explores the frantic final moment of The Peoples Temple in Jonestown, Guyana, Charles Manson murder trials and American hysteria that surrounded his trials and intersected with the American cultural zeitgeist. It is also inspired by the Oscars. He took this piece’s name from Funeral Rites written by Jean Genet and Samuel Beckett's journals.

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One scene form Paradisiacal Rites. Photo by Dan Hawkins

His dramaturgy is very alternative. The piece transforms elements of ballet, symphony, opera, installation, and body-based performance art into holistic, hypnotic and visceral performances. He said this dramaturgy came through extended periods of collaborative dialogue. “I am always thinking about how every element must affect another element of the show,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said he is interested in exploring the capacity of narratives. “Narrative is actually a very elastic term. There are always visual narratives and sonic and musical narratives. There are often dense and hidden threads. In our piece, there are narratives that are attached to achieving static states and challenge you to investigate your own humanity without telling you what you think.”

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Scene focused on Derrick Ryan Claude Mitchell.  Photo by Dan Hawkins

Mitchell has been working on this performance project since 2011. Paradisiacal Rites has been germinating from his previous piece, Transport of Delirium which consisted of 4 different pieces and was performed in an abandoned building. They spend 6 hours rehearsing every day. “We are tight all of the time. Even if we are done with rehearsal, we go to have drinks and do drugs together and it’s also the performance’s rehearsal,” Mitchell said.

The performance is extraordinarily beautiful, sublime, ecstatic and mystic - but also painful, cruel and insane. Mitchell uses unusual stimulus for the casts such as sleep deprivation and booze. He explained those stimuli are utilized in a ritualized way that is recognizable to an audience. “We are creating something that exists in real time and we are also placing it in a dramatic context so we have two narratives operating simultaneously: ‘Like oh my god! I know this performer hasn’t slept for 3 days and I know how that will feel, but this moment is even more beautiful without having to say any words.’ What we are trying to do is to attach people to the process of creation as well as the reality of what they are seeing in that time.”

A film by Derrick Ryan Claude Mitchell and Wes Hurley

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by Rina Nakazawa

Over 300 cartoonists from more than 15 countries participated in this year’s annual Toronto Comic Arts Festival  and more than 100 comics debuted at the festival.

Toronto Comic Arts Festival Pencil it In by Patryk Borkowski 

Peter Birkemoe, co-founder of Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) says that Toronto is a really good city to have a celebration of comics and their creators. What makes TCAF different is that, “we wanted something that is really more about the works and the artists and not so much about the super heroes.”

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Exclusive print by est em 

zeeBigBang went to check out this year’s TCAF which was held in early May. It was packed. There was a full exhibition, vendor fair, gallery shows, panel discussions, signings and 25 featured guests including famous cartoonists from all over the world such as Moyoco AnnoIsabelle Arsenault and Kate Beaton.

The percentage of people who know comics is growing all the time. From the first festival which drew almost 700 people, TCAF now draws tens of thousands of people from all over the world. This year, in addition to being hosted at the Toronto Reference Library, other venues such as the Marriott HotelThe Pilot and the Japan Foundation opened their doors to the festival.

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TCAF 2014 Posters by Isabelle Arsenault (left) and Michael DeForge (right)

" We have a festival that is very diverse in terms of the types of cartoons. It is very much like the comic store. We try to have comics for almost every kind of person," Bikemoe said. 

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by Rina Nakazawa 

Love Hotel is the place to escape to from real life, have intimacy and liberate individual desires. In Japan, 2.8 million Japanese people visit Love Hotels each day.

ラブホテルとは、日常から逃避し、情事に酔いしれ、個人の欲望を解放する場所である。日本では、毎日280万人もの人々がラブホテルを訪れている。

zeeBigBang spoke with Hikaru Toda co-director of the documentary film, Love Hotel. The documentary includes many intimate scenes and deep emotional conversations between characters who appear very natural and relaxed. “We just asked them to do what they normally do and ignore us as much as they can. We never knew when a scene would end,” said Toda.

zeeBigBangは今回、ドキュメンタリー映画、Love Hotelの共同監督である戸田ひかるさんに話を聞いた。この作品は登場人物たちによる数多くの性的シーンや普段心に秘められている感情的な会話を含んでいるが、彼らはとても自然体でリラックスしているように思えた。「私たちはただ彼らに普段していることをして下さい、そしてできる限り私たちのことは無視して下さいと頼んだんです。私たちもいつそのシーンが終わるのか分からなかったです。」と戸田さんは語った。

“We wanted to get a glimpse of intimate Japan. The Love Hotel is a very unique Japanese phenomenon with a very long history and no-one really made a film about it. Few places in the world have the same institutions. I was interested in why such a place is needed, why it is so popular and why it exists in so many numbers. I think through understanding why people go there and what they are doing there, we are able to understand our society.”

「私たちは内に秘められた日本の本質を捉えたかったんです。ラブホテルは非常に長い歴史を持つとても独特な日本の現象で、誰もそれに関して映画を作ったことがなかったんです。そして同じような慣習を持つ場所は世界にほとんどありません。私はなぜそのような場所が必要とされていて、なぜそんなにも人気があって、なぜそれほどまで数多く存在するのか興味があったんです。どうして人々はそこに行くのか、そしてそこで何をするのかを理解することで、私たちの社会について理解できるのではないかと思ったんです。」

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A couple being intimate in the Angelo Love Hotel

アンジェロラブホテルで情事を楽しむカップル

Hikaru Toda and Phil Cox explore Japanese society through this intimate perspective. The film focuses on the Angelo Love Hotel in Osaka and captures a wide variety of people who frequent Love Hotels from married couples, gay lawyers who are a couple, a dominatrix and pensioners. The film also examines the lives of people running and working in the Angelo Love Hotel. The documentary delves into how Love Hotels are being forced to change because of tighter regulations.

戸田ひかるさんとフィル・コックスさんはこうした本質的な観点を通して日本社会を描写している。この映画は大阪にあるラブホテル(主にアンジェロラブホテル)に焦点を当て、夫婦、弁護士のゲイカップル、SM女王、年金生活者といったラブホテルに頻繁に通う幅広い層の人々を捉えている。またこの映画はアンジェロラブホテルを運営している人々、そしてそこで働いている人々の生活も写している。さらに、行政の規制が厳しくなったことで今、どのようにラブホテルが変化を強いられているのかも追跡している。

Toda said it was their job to help participants be as natural as possible in front of the camera. “We talked to them a lot beforehand to get to know them by having coffee with them and just talking about life. This was the key. You want them to trust you. You give them as much as they give you as well. You have to open yourself as well.”

戸田さんは、カメラの前で出演者ができる限り自然体でいられるように手助けすることが自分たちの仕事であると語った。「私たちは彼らについて知るために、コーヒーを一緒に飲んで人生について話したりと事前に沢山の会話をしました。そしてそれが鍵だったんです。もし相手に信用してもらいたかったら、相手がくれるのと同じだけ自分もあげることが大事です。自分も同じように自分自身をさらけ出さなくてはいけません。」

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By Mariya Guzova

The 2014 Stratford Festival is celebrating the 450th anniversary of the birth of Shakespeare all season long with their selection of plays and performances surrounding the theme of madness.

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Alice Through The Looking Glass directed by Jillian Keiley, returns 20 years after its Stratford Premiere to the Avon Theatre on May 31.

The Festival began in 1953 as a six-week celebration of all things Shakespeare. This year the Stratford Festival is showcasing 12 plays in four theatres in the quaint, Southwestern Ontario city of Stratford. Everything from Broadway musicals, Shakespearean classics, and modern plays can be found on stage.

“This year’s theme explores the idea of madness. This includes the limits of the mind, but also mad passion like being madly in love,” explains Ann Swerdfager, publicity director at the Stratford Festival. “It’s a really strong subject for theatre, and even more so for discussion and to provoke thought.”

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Crazy For You, the new Gershwin musical directed by Donna Feore, opens May 27.  

Visitors get the chance to discuss these thought provoking performances at over 200 forum events that host question and answer sessions, speakers, musicians, and insights into the plays and their themes. “It’s a really great opportunity to have your mind stimulated,” says Swerdfager. “The conversation will extend your theatre experience beyond the stage.”

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