Michel Marc Bouchard's The Madonna Painter opened at Factory Theatre last week, and has been pleasing audiences and critics since. Set in a rural Quebec town in 1918, it's the story of a attractive young priest who hopes to ward off the Spanish flu epidemic by commissioning a painting of the virgin Mary for the parish church. The coincidence of the play opening amid the current H1N1 craze is just that -- the play was written in French in 2002 and premiered in Italian in 2003. However, in an interesting life imitating art moment, one of the actresses in the show told me on opening night that she was stricken with H1N1 during the course of rehearsals. She's since fully recovered. Catch it at Factory until February 13.
There's also a couple of one-nighters happening over the next week. Buddies' annual fundraiser auction Art Attack is happening tonight and it always loads of fun. This year it's hosted by the ever-delightful Keith Cole. And on Tuesday, Ecce Homo is presenting a one-night only engagement of its 2008 Summerworks Festival hit The Pastor Phelps Project at University of Toronto. It's likely the last chance you'll get to see it, and it's pay-what-you-can, so do try to make it, and arrive early to get tickets.
Speaking of selling out, Anusree Roy's Letters to My Grandma, playing in the Theatre Passe Muraille Backspace has already sold out the first week of its run. There aren't many tickets in the little backspace, and it has a limited run, so book early.
Next week also sees the opening of A Very Lupe X-Mas. Lupe (Melissa D'Agostino) has become a bit of a fixture of the indie theatre/clown scene in Toronto, and her shows are always a blast, so keep it on your radar.