Truth / Dare at Videofag in Toronto

This Fall Jordan Tannahill and his boyfriend William signed a one year lease on an old barbershop in Kensington Market. They spent three weeks in their long johns scrubbing walls and floors of hair, painting it, installing light fixtures and launching a storefront performance space which they call Videofag.

Jordan’s thoughts on the state of theatre in Toronto:

“I believe Toronto theatre has suffered from a deficit of truly indipendent, radical space over the past decade. While many young artists, including myself, have benefited greatly from development programs run by established theatres we are in danger of becoming an overly institutionalized generation of artists. There is a crisis of space in Toronto – a lack of affordable venues founded and operated by our young peers where year-round access to dialogue, experimentation, creation, and presentation is possible.”

Videofag hopes to create a new opportunity for Toronto artists to showcase their work while offering inspiration to those hungry for something fresh outside of the box. I visited the launch party in the early Fall and was pleased to be attend my first show, Truth or Dare this past weekend.

In 1991, a documentary entitled Truth or Dare redefined the concert film. Following the iconic Madonna on her 1990 ‘Blond Ambition’ concert tour, Truth or Dare offered us an intimate glimpse into the court of Madonna Louise Veronica Ciccone. Backstage footage shot in pristine black and white, juxtaposed with glittering colour footage of her stage show reveal both the woman, the legend and the motley crew she keeps.

Governor-General nominated playwright, actor and director Salvatore Antonio, and Gemini-nominated host and actor Adamo Ruggiero adapted the transcript of the documentary for an inspired stage reading, which included audience dance-breaks to the songs where concert footage appeared. A cast of notable Queers played the various roles with Antonio and Ruggiero sharing the role of the Material Girl.

Shortly after 8pm the tiny little space on Augusta was rammed. It was the final night of the show and there was a lot of buzz surrounding the success of its run. To begin, the cast encouraged everyone in the audience to form a prayer circle This interactive mix and mingling with actors and observers would set the stage for what is sure to be a hilarious Kensington camp classic.

The show was a bit of a mix between stand up comedy, queer “dance to Madonna in your bedroom with flask of whisky,” Christopher Guest style mockumentary and intimate house party. Actors sitting along the wall took on the role of the documentaries colourful cast while squatting audience members mouthed all of the words. Truth or Dare truly is a triumph of artistic collaboration which connects directly to the queerest of pop cultures heart beats. I so hope this piece gets shown on the festival circuit in 2013 it would most certainly be the most buzzed about sold out shows. I’d like to see Truth/Dare showcased annually at Videfag perhaps coinciding with the official launch of the documentary or as a celebration of Madge’s birthday. Truth/Dare is out of the box theatre at its finest incorporating a gripping and memorable dialogue with the essential Vogue dance break.

Featuring: Salvatore Antonio, Adamo Ruggerio, Damien Atkins, Andrew Bathory, Keith Cole, Brendan Healey, Chris Jacot, Sholem Krishtalka, and DJ Konstantine.

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