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Thornhill playwright wins Canadian Jewish Playwriting competition

Tags: Arts

Young Thornhill playwright wins Canadian Jewish Playwriting competition

Toronto playwright Daniel Karasik has been named winner of the 2011 Canadian Jewish Playwriting Competition for his play Haunted.

Karasik, right, a 25-year-old native of Thornhill who had his first play produced when he was only 16, won out over 19 other submissions from five provinces. Karasik receives a $1,000 prize and his play receives a “Between Stages” public reading at the Miles Nadal JCC on Tuesday, April 10, 8 p.m.

The reading is to be directed by Alisa Palmer and will feature Sascha Cole, Sarah English and Jordan Pettle. The competition is hosted by the Miles Nadal JCC.

Haunted is about a university professor who loses her husband and afterwards becomes romantically involved with her synagogue’s young rabbi. Meanwhile, her daughter begins to see her father’s ghost. The play, according to a JCC press release, “is about family, desire and spiritual hunger.”

Karasik is clearly a rising new talent. His 2010 play The Innocents, which premiered at the Summerworks Theatre Festival, was a mixture of legal thriller and dark comedy.

In Full Light, an earlier piece that he produced for Summerworks, was based on his experience working at a cultural centre in Ghana. It won a prize for outstanding new play, was published in an anthology, and has been translated and performed in Germany. Karasik has also had plays produced in the Rhubarb and Paprika theatre festivals.

Remarkably, Karasik was also named last week as one of 10 finalists for the CBC’s short story prize, for a story called Mine. More than 3,750 stories were submitted for consideration. (www.cbc.ca/canadawrites)

The deadline for submissions to the 2012 Playwriting Competition is Tuesday, July 3. 416-924-6211, ext. 606, esthera@mnjcc.org 

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Filmmaker to Attend Screenings: The Toronto Jewish Film Society presents Divan, a 2003 American-Hungarian-Ukrainian coproduction by New York director Pearl Gluck, who will be present for the screenings. A bittersweet documentary, the film chronicles Gluck’s search for a sofa once owned by her great-great-grandfather in Hungary, a quest that unearths more than she bargained for and tackles the big questions of faith, morality and the meaning of family.

Miles Nadal JCC, Al Green Theatre, Sunday, March 25, 4 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Individual seats on sale 15 minutes before each screening. $15, $10. 416-924-6211, ext. 606, esthera@mnjcc.org

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Music Notes

• Judith and Tamar Cohen make a presentation on Sephardic Music, for the Canadian Institute of Mediterranean Studies, St. Michael’s College, 100 St. Joseph St., Carr Hall. Admission free. Thursday, March 15, 7 p.m.

• Musician and music historian Jordan Klapman presents “The Jewish Black Music Connection: From Louis Armstrong and Beyond,” a program focusing on the fascination that Jews and black artists had for each other’s music, and how each influenced the other: Louis Armstrong’s early scat recording Heebie Jeebies was said to have been inspired by Jewish prayers. Miles Nadal JCC, Active Seniors; $3 includes refreshments. Thursday, March 22, 1:30 p.m. 416-924-6211, ext. 155.

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Arts in Brief

• The theatre company Shakespeare in Action, the Miles Nadal JCC and the Al Green Theatre present The Diary of Anne Frank, the stage drama based on Frank’s diary written while hiding from the Nazis with her family in a secret annex in wartime Amsterdam. Al Green Theatre, Thursday, March 15 to Saturday March 24.  416-703-4881, ext. 0, www.algreentheatre.ca

• Author-critic Kevin Courrier presents the latest in his series of talks with film clips on American movies. The topic is “The G.W. Bush Era.” Films include We Were Soldiers, Tears of the Sun, Team America: World Police and more. Miles Nadal JCC, Monday, March 19, 7 to 9 p.m. $12 drop-in at the door; students $6. 416-924-6211, ext. 606, film@mnjcc.org

• Footnote, the Academy Award-nominated film by Israeli writer-director Joseph Cedar, opens March 23 in theatres in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. The film uses wry humour and a key plot twist to tell the story of a father-son rivalry. When he was six, the New York-born Cedar immigrated with his family to Israel, where he studied philosophy and theatre history. He is also an NYU film school graduate.

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At the Galleries

• Icons of Loss: The Art of Samuel Bak, a series of paintings exploring, among other subjects, a famous 1943 photograph taken during the liquidation of the Warsaw Ghetto. The exhibition, presented by the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto, is at the Columbus Centre’s Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery, 901 Lawrence Ave. W., until April 30.

• Israeli artist David Moss presents “Roth and Moss: Old Forms, New Expressions, Ketubah & Haggadah,” a talk about his acclaimed ketubot and Haggadah, with reference to the visual legacy of the Cecil Roth Collection housed at the Beth Tzedec Reuben & Helene Dennis Museum. Introduced by Rabbi Adam Cutler. Free. Beth Tzedec Museum, Monday, March 26, 7:30 p.m. RSVP to Avital, 416-781-3511.

• Silk Stones, works by Toronto artist Rochelle Rubinstein, are on view at Yeshiva University Museum, The Center for Jewish History, 15 W. 16th St., New York, until May 6. www.yumuseum.org


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