Thursday, April 05, 2007


About a year ago, one of Canada's best actors, Tony Nardi, called and asked if I would come by and listen to him read a letter. "Can't you read it to me over the phone?" I said. He told me it was almost 90 minutes long, his reaction to a script he'd been asked to audition for. Gee, all the more reason to duck this. I get enough mail from people who don't like what I write to want to listen to a rant on a script I didn't know the first thing about.

But Tony's a friend, enormously talented, passionate and ethical to a fault, so I figured I'd humor him. He also knows the best Italian bakeries to go for great coffee and astonishing pastries.

What Tony read that afternoon took my breath away. It was not only some of the best writing I'd heard in a while but the clearest and most passionate indictment I've encountered of what's wrong with film, television and theatre in Canada.

If he had uttered his words in any other country that doesn't really like art, he'd simply be dead or disappeared by now.

Over the last year, Tony held workshops on this letter and a companion piece about theatre critics that were critiqued by friends, industry professionals and a few innocent bystanders who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. In the process, his original letters were honed, imbued with endless humor and polished theatrically. None who heard them remained unmoved or unchanged by their exposure to the work.

"Two Letters" began running in early March as two evenings of theatre that cannot be missed by anyone who cares even a little about this country's arts or the role of those who work in television, theatre and film. I guarantee the experience will make you infinitely better at what you do and quite possibly who you are.

This is passionate, dangerous stuff. "Truth told to Power" in a way no Canadian I know of has ever had the courage to do it before. This country and this industry can be changed for the better and Tony Nardi knows how that can be done.

Performance times and place as well as some snippets of reviews follow:

55 Mill Street
Pure Spirits Building (Distillery District)
Toronto, Ontario

Saturday, April 7, 2007 7:00PM Letter One
Sunday, April 8, 2007 4:00PM Letter Two

Tuesday, April 10, 2007 8:00PM Letter One
Wednesday, April 11, 2007 8:00PM Letter Two

Saturday, April 14, 2007 7:00PM Letter One
Sunday, April 15, 2007 4:00PM Letter Two

Tickets available at TOTIX or at the door:
$20 regular
$10 seniors, students, actra, equity & uda


"Nardi - one of the country's finest actors - is taking to the stage in an Émile Zola style J'accuse, a one-man show that constitutes an indictment of Canada's performing arts… At the heart is the claim that Canada's theatre is largely irrelevant -- populated by mediocre directors and a talented but cowed pool of actors who have become compliant pawns, afraid to challenge the system for fear of losing work.”

Michael Posner
The Globe and Mail
November 6, 2006

"Nardi uses dramatic acid to burn the rust off truth, and to blister complacency until it turns into awareness. He takes no prisoners. Nardi is married and has a young son, but he cashed in his RRSPs to stage Two Letters. Can he afford to do this again? He can't afford not to. Dare you go? I dare you to go."

Joe Fiorito
The Toronto Star
November 10, 2006

"...there is far more theatricality here than in many plays, because the actor knows exactly how to dramatize his material, and shows just how vital it is to feel for an idea, to live your life as if it depended on the expression of that idea... In England, Italy, Germany, et cetera, Two Letters would be front-page news."
March 16, 2007

"In Two Letters, Tony Nardi proves he's mad as hell and isn't going to take it any more.

NOW Magazine
March 8, 2007

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