Lessons in Temperament


Secret Location
Ticket Price: $15 Save with a Pass
Thursday August 4th 8:00 PM - 9:15 PM
Friday August 5th 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Saturday August 6th 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Sunday August 7th 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Monday August 8th 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Wednesday August 10th 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Friday August 12th 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM
Sunday August 14th 8:00 PM - 9:30 PM

Latecomer Policy

Latecomers permitted anytime.


Every piano is unique in its imperfection — in its flawed relationship to the sonic world. It’s impossible to perfectly tune a piano, so the job of a piano tuner is to tame this imperfection into an even balance, an even spread of dissatisfaction. This balance is known as Equal Temperament: a game of constant compromise and a lesson in disappointment.

Every mind is unique in its imperfection. In Lessons In Temperament, James Smith tunes pianos in various public and private spaces throughout Toronto while exploring theories behind Equal Temperament as well as his three older brothers’ mental illnesses: obsessive compulsive disorder, autism, and schizophrenia. Smith attempts to grant balance to the instrument that has, throughout his life, kept him grounded and kept him company, while reflecting on the discord that runs through his family. Each performance takes place in a different venue, gathered around a different piano. Part autobiographical story-telling, part performance art, part tune-up, this site-specific show offers a unique theatrical experience, and a singular glimpse into the lives of those living with troubled, beautiful, distempered minds.

Because our venues are site specific, we want to give you our patrons as much prior knowledge as possible. For allergy purposes, the performances on August 10th, 12th, and 14th have dogs as well as one cat on the 10th. Please note that the pets will not be at the performances.

The August 14th performance will take place at 24 Melbourne Avenue.


TuneSmith Productions

Written and Performed by James Smith; Directed and Developed by Mitchell Cushman; Sound Design by James Smith; Production Design by Nick Blais; Stage Management by Kate Sandeson; Assistant Directed by Nevada Banks; Produced by Sarite Harris, James Smith, and Mitchell Cushman.

Curator's Note

"'This working-through of the resistances may in practice turn out to be an arduous task ….'
- Freud

It’s a lovely performance metaphor: the tuning of pianos, the tuning of our hearts and minds, our lives. It’s might be a Sisyphean task but: 'the struggle itself toward the heights is enough to fill one’s heart'. (Camus)" - Guillermo Verdecchia