visitorium

March 8th, 2017

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2017 at 3:22 pm

This old Visitorium has been a little patchwork/schizoid these last few months. Am i reviewing still? Am I just promoting theatre…or my own work? Why is it still here?

Honestly, every time I try and come up with answers to these questions, I just get tired in my brain. So instead of thinking, I’m just gonna write, which is way easier and probably more productive. Let’s just try it shall we?

And what a day to start writing…international Women’s Day! Where to even begin? I suppose where my instincts usually tell me to start…with comic books.

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Fun Fact: If you’ve ever lamented that there is no ‘International Men’s Day’; congratulations! You’re part of the problem.

 

I don’t buy as many comix as I did in my heyday, but feel free to check out FAITH from Valiant comics, written by Jody Hauser and featuring maybe the only plus-sized female superhero headliner, well, ever. Revived from her original incarnation at Valiant in the 90’s, the new Valiant has left the litany of fat-jokes that dogged this character behind and instead embraced her unfaltering optimism, loyalty and flat-out heroism. It’s an unapologetically positive book that deserves much of the accolades its receiving. And check Faith out in the team book HARBINGER RENEGADE as well, because its awesome too.

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And of course there’s LUMBERJANES, an epically amazing fantasy-tinged ongoing from Noelle Stevenson about the adventures of an all-girl scout-style troop at a summer camp. With delightfully cartoony art and instantly engaging and diverse characters, this is one for all ages and all hearts. I’ve been collecting the trades, and you should too. Might I suggest, for my Ottawa readers, picking a few of them up at Comet comix at 1167 Bank Street in Old Ottawa South? Owned and run by the fantastic Heather, and she won’t steer ya wrong!

I could go on and on…DOCTOR MIRAGE, SAGA, BITCH PLANET, MS MARVEL…there’s good stuff out there. But I DO have theatre to get to. And I love me some rambling about theatre. I mean, this blog was primarily founded on my unabashed love for the one-woman show. And having already caught one of the best of these, Margo MacDonald’s THE ELEPHANT GIRLS this year, my theatrical ladybar is set nice and high for 2017.

Elephant Girls cred AA

So what’s coming up? Well, tonight I have the honour of catching INFINITY at the NAC Studio, written by Ottawa’s own wunderkind playwright Hannah Moscovitch (or @moscotweets as her close personal friends like me know her on the Twitter). She’ll be back in the newly announced GCTC 2017/18 season. I’ll dig into many of the new season announcements in another post, but happy to report there seems to be plenty of female representation across the board, at least at first glance.

For my own part, I’ve been blessed to have some simply astonishing and talented ladies helping to prop me and Strange Visitations up during our 3-year existence. Like repeat director Jodi Morden, soon to be seen back at the Ottawa fringe with the fierce Hannah Gibson Fraser in a new project from Pretty Ugly Productions. Or my clown pal Madeleine Hall, also returning to Fringe with a solo project that will quite simply knock your likely mismatched socks off. Also multitalented Rebecca Laviolette and the unstoppable Erin MacDonald, both of whom I would have been lost without.

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True Theatre Luv.

And I have so many more women in Theatre who I look up to, admire, and continue to be inspired by…Nancy Kenny, Alix Sideris, Michelle leBlanc, Kristina Watt, Martha Ross, Alexis Scott, Gemma Wilcox, Rachel Eugster, Laura Hall, Brooke Cameron, Morro and Jasp, Kirsten Rasmussen, Mind of a Snail, Ingrid Hansen, Jan Irwin, Megan Carty, Catriona Leger, Mary Ellis, Kate Smith, Bronwyn Steinberg, Lisa Zanyk…I could (and probably should) go on. Instead, I’ll just make a special shoutout to my old classmate and theatrical force of nature Kathryn Paige Reeves. The Mouse has a brand new play of her own creation about to take to the stage this April, and I could not be prouder. Don’t think I’m not considering a road trip, Kathryn!

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SO. EFFING. PROUD.

And hey, it would be quite silly to write up a Women’s Day post without mentioning, nay worshipping, the brilliant, sexy, silly and passionate woman who has allowed me to be a part of her life, my sweetie Caitlin. You make me stronger, you help me grow, and even if I am the Giraffey in our relationship, I promise I’m always looking up to you. Thanks for never giving up on me.

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Schmoop.

What else? I should mention the incredible book I’m reading right now, found at the library while hunting for the autbiography of Harpo Marx (which I DID find, don’t worry). It’s called I AWAIT THE DEVIL’S COMING by turn of the century flapper-to-be Mary MacLane, and it’s a series of fiery, brilliantly nonconformist diary entries she wrote in Butte, Montana in 1902 at the age of 19. Full of incredible language and razor wit, it’s a thing of terrible dark beauty and I kind of NEED some local young actress to pick it up and adapt it into a 1-woman show. Monica Bradford-Lea, off the top of my head? I’ll help you!

This is an important day, and ever-more important this year with the pussy-grabbing grand wizard down south doing his worst every day (and that’s pretty worst). Keep being positive. Read something a woman wrote, see a play with women, watch a movie directed by a woman, collect a comic starring a woman…and then keep doing that. Because, of course, one day is approximately 364 too few. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

PS special shoutout to the bestest ladies of the all, my amazing niecelets Brynn and Clara. Rule the World, gals!!

I don’t know what the birds signify!

In GCTC, Theatre on February 25, 2017 at 6:38 pm

I’ve been in a bit of a theatre funk, post-Undercurrents. Is that okay? It seems a bit selfish, frankly, but being able to share the festival stage with the kinds of big shots and talented magillas that we did was pretty amazing, and the post-show ennui is a force to contend with (note: I know totally forgot to do a blogpost about my show, Faster than the Speed of Dating, being part of the 2017 Undercurrents Festival, so if the above confuses you, don’t worry, I just suck at marketing!). But funk or no funk, Theatre stops for nothing, especially not whiny suckybabies like me. And hey, is that my 1st GCTC opening night show in almost 2 years I see before me? Well hot damn, so it is. Right, funk over, let’s get to the show!

The show, 5th up in the 16/17 season and a bit of a milestone in even GCTC’s long history, is LES PASSANTS from the mighty Theatre la Catapulte. And yes, as that company name implies, this is indeed a French language production (no catapults though, here’s hoping for next time), first ever at the Irving Greenberg Theatre. Seems a little silly to think about it, but there you go…and if this is the beginning of a GCTC francotheatrical tradition, then it’s off to a terrific start. As was easily predicted from the involvement of Catapulte, Luc Moquin’s PASSANTS is a terrific show.

Featuring a cast consisting of Melanie Beauchamp, Benjamin Gaillard, Andree Rainville and Yves Turbide, and directed by Jean Stephane Roy (also the AD of Catapulte), Les Passants is made up of a series of vignettes and scenes each shining its own light…be it satirical, slapstick, serious, ironic, or all of the above…on human interconnectedness (or lack thereof, aka solitude). A somber opening featuring a ride on the river Styx (or something similar from Dante’s Inferno) and a lone man trying to remember his way and his why, quickly give way to lighter fare including the recurring romantic misadventures of the Waldo-esque Bernard and the series of women he tends to drive away with overzealous ardor. Or a mismatched long-term couple venting their mutual frustrations via interpretive dance. Or a fantasy vs.reality look at knocking on a strangers door in search of romance.

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There’s a lot covered in PASSANTS’ 100 minute runtime, and if you don’t find something that relates to your experience, you might want to leave your house more. Not that homebodies aren’t covered well too, like the middle aged gent who realizes that, despite his best efforts, he just doesn’t (gasp!) like reading as much as he used to. The quartet cast slides effortlessly (probably not, of course, but they make it look as easy as falling off a log) between multiple roles and styles, be it deadpan serious or over-the-top goofy, assisted by a terrific overall production. Brian Smith’s set is all-encompassing and out of the way at the same time, and the lighting from designer Chantal Labonte is nothing short of astounding. The great Vanessa Imeson impresses as always with a dizzying array of costumes that seem to never run dry. And big thanks to Lisa L’Heureux, whose English translation of the script runs constantly over the stage, making this French production as inclusive as anyone could hope. No excuses, Anglos!

LES PASSANTS marks an exciting milestone in local theatre, and hopefully not a one of a mind event. I’ve long touted the wonders of French Theatre and the dazzlingly different sensibilities they bring to the theatrical table, and this show is as solid a proof of that as any. Check it out while you can at the Great Canadian Theatre Company, then check out something else! Ottawa U is presenting LE CHANT DU DIRE-DIRE next week at Academic Hall, and I’m calling that a good next step. Heck, I’ll be there. Allons-Y au theatre! Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

PS now, back to our regularly scheduled funk:

Coming Up in February 2017

In Undercurrents on February 3, 2017 at 10:54 am

Sorry I’m late! Already 3 days into the month…that’s, like, half of February! Let’s get it started already!

COLONY OF UNREQUITED DREAMS at the NAC Theatre, until the Feb 11th. So many dreams they formed their own colony!

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEPEOPLE from Eddie May Mysteries, at the Velvet Room downtown every Saturday night. Superheroes and dinner, what more do ya need?

A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM from Taboo Productions, at Academic Hall until the 4th. An LGBTQ retelling of the Bard’s most fantastical outing. So get out there!

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AT HOME AT THE ZOO at the Carleton Tavern, from Chamber Theatre, from the 1st to the 11th. Albee’s Zoo story with its prequel Homelife get the Chamber treatment at Ottawa’s coolest theatre…order a quart and some wings and strap yourselves in!

SCHOOLHOUSE from Kanata Theatre, at the Ron Maslin Playhouse from the 7th to 18th. Will this Schoolhouse rock? Only one way to find out..!

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CRIMES OF THE HEART from Three Sisters, at the Gladstone the 8th to 18th. A gritty drama about the grizzled, veteran cops who tackle to toughest crimes of all…Heart Crimes! Probably.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at the Ottawa Little Theatre, from the 15th to March 4th. Get a Little Harper Lee in yer February, people!

PHANTOM OF THE OPRY from Brett Kelly Entertainment, at the Gladstone Theatre from the 22nd to 25th.

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SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET from Suzart after Dark, at Centrepointe Theatre the 23rd to 25th. The brutal killer with the silly name is back!

UNDERCURRENTS at Arts Court, the 8th to 18th. Hosted by the Ottawa Fringe Festival, the mighty undercurrents festival is back with another sweet, sweet lineup (and also me). Check it out, and plan your month accordingly:

 

THE ELEPHANT GIRLS from Parry Riposte

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TOMORROW’S CHILD from Ghost River Theatre

UN-COUNTRIED from Theatre 4.669

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BROTHERHOOD: THE HIP-HOPERA from b current and Sebastien Heinz.

BURNT from Norah Paton

VOVK from Lana Kouchnir

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FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING from Strange Visitations (that’s ME! And Jodi Morden and Madeleine Hall, too) Pay What you Can, PLEASE COME SEE OUR FUNNY LITTLE SHOW!!

– …plus the INDIGENOUS WALKS walking tours (bundle up!), New Play Tuesday, panel discussions, talkbacks, opening and closing night parties, and all the fun you can handle. Go go go!  Check out the full schedule HERE.

– THEATRE FRANCAIS

FUCKING CARL from Theatre du Trillium, at La Nouvelle Scene the 4th and 5th. Sold-out Fringe hit is back for a limited engagement!

LES PASSANTS from Theatre la Catapulte, at the GCTC from the 23rd to March 12th. A french show at the GCTC? Allons-Y!

– IMPROV AND OTHER STUFF

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CRUSH IMPROV continues their ‘Bout Time tournament thru February, at Mother McGintey’s. Check the calendar HERE!

GRIMPROV, you lads still good for some funny the 1st and last Wednesday of the month at the Cock’n’Lion? Here’s assuming!

THE IMPROV EMBASSY has their usual full roster of events, and their own calendar to boot. Check it out!

More to come!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R