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Archive for December, 2010|Monthly archive page

Coming Up in Jan 2011

In Theatre on December 31, 2010 at 10:51 pm

So, New Year!  Yippity whoop-dee-doo and all that razzamtazz.  Who knows whether this calender change will bring with it a sense of renewal, new hope, fulfilled dreams, or just the same old shit sandwich you regularly get for friday lunch at the plant.  The only real question that matters is this:  do we finally get some new god-damned theatre to see?  Because I’m bored off my tits.  And the answer is happily yes, so, here’s a glance at what’s coming up in the first month of the new year:

First off, the gang at CRUSH IMPROV have scored a sweet regular spot at the Elmdale tavern, which I can confirm is a great place to see comedy.  They play the first monday of every month starting with the 3rd this January.  Hope to see you all there!
Also wanna see some peeps at the NAC 4th stage on the 5th for the Company of Fools TWELFTH NIGHT CELEBRATION FUNDRAISER.  Promises to be a good time from fun-lovin fools, and a mere twenty bucks.  Get your ticket quick!

January 4th-22nd, the Ottawa Little Theatre debuts TRYING by Joanna Grass, so get on out for some community courtroom drama.

Over at the GCTC starting on the 25th and running into February comes STRAWBERRIES IN JANUARY.  Romantic comedy goodness to cure yer blahs, you cynical swine.

And the biggest news of the month is UNDERCURRENTS finally getting underway, running the last week of January and the first week of February in the GCTC studio.  Playing 4 times apiece this month will be BIFURCATE ME, HARD WAYS, and Fringe legend SHADOWS.  A serious do not miss lineup, kids.

 

…shit, is that all?  I must have missed SOMEthing.  Heads ups are always appreciated, folks.  In the meantime, happy new year and all that, and enjoy your evening.  Me and Winston are staying in to finish up the first season of LOST.  Pretty good…I think I’ve almost figured out which one is Gilligan (it’s either Charlie or Hurley, for sure).  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

 

2010 – Big Stoopid End of Year Post!

In Theatre on December 30, 2010 at 12:55 am

This has been a rough, dreary end-of-month, no fooling!  I had not realized just how much I had come to define myself by theatre, and this blog, in so short a time.  At least, not until I had NOTHING TO GOD-DAMNED WELL BLOG ABOUT. Seriously, someone needs to start running shows over Xmas holidays, just for me.  I’d appreciate that, everyone.  Although this HAS given me a chance to start watching LOST and UGLY BETTY, helping me fulfill the Norte-Americano dream of becoming a couch potato.

But, all good things must come to an end, and if you think this year was ‘good’, then that cliche now applies, because it’s over!  I for one had a good time, some GREAT times, a few absolutely horrible…so, a year.  Here are a few personal notabilities:

Holy  shit, I’ve started a blog! Following in the footsteps of one famousactressNancyKenny, I started up this here ridiculous amateur theatre chud, something that was originally only going to be a series of reviews/notes on Facebook about the Ottawa Fringe.  Instead, I’ ve given my sad little life some flicker of ongoing, contrived meaning.  Yay me!

Holy shit, I went on a roadtrip! To Toronto, specifically, to see and review the Summerworks festival thereabouts.  It was a grand, if highly ill time, I saw great shows, got noticed, and finally met Emily Pearlman and Nick DiGaetano.

Fucking Hell, I broke someone’s heart. It was the worst thing I’ve ever done.  No one should ever be allowed to do that.  Especially me.  Sorry, Jammy.  You deserved a lot better.

Holy shit, I’m volunteering for a theatre! The Great Canadian Theatre Company, to be precise, and I’m having a blast.  At this writing, I’ve served seven shifts (counting envelope-stuffing day), eagerly awaiting the next show.

Holy Shit, I took acting lessons! Over at the venerable Ottawa School of Speech and Drama, under the tutelage of theatrical Yoda Barry Karp.  Met some great people, had the most fun I’ve ever had in a classroom, and am counting the days until level two begins.

Holy shit, I have Nancy Kenny’s cat! The adorable Winston the cat, my roommate since October now, and here he will remain until our very own littlest hobo (Nancy Kenny) can finally settle down somewheres.  He took his Xmas travels like a champ, by the way.

So there’s the short version of 2010…how about the long version?  Thought you’d never ask…here for history’s sake is a complete list of all the shows I done took in during this calendar year:

6 Characters in Search of an Author
7 (x1) Samurai (2)
After Shock
Airport Security
Anatomy of a Broken Love Affair
the Andrews Brothers
Aomega
Archy and Mehitabel
Art DeXo
l’Ascenseur
As You Like It
Bash’D
Beer Tent: Reflux
Big Face
Billy Stutter: an Irish Play
Biographies of the Dead and Dying
Blackbird
Bliss
Blood. Claat
Breaking Down in America
Burlesque Unzipped
Cactus: the Seduction
Countries Shaped Like Stars
Dale Beaner and the Turtle Boy
a Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup
the Death of Tybalt
Deliver’d From Nowhere
‘Dentity Crisis
Divinity
the Duck Wife (2)
Edge
Educating Rita
Every Job I’ve Ever Had
a Fistful of Flowers
a Flea in her Ear
Grievous Angel
les Guerriers
Grouch on a Couch
Hamlet (solo)
Haunted Hillbilly
Heart-Strings
Heroes
I
the Innocents
Inspecting Carol
It’s A Wonderful Life
It’s Just a Stage
It’s Raining in Barcelona
Ixok
Jamaica Farewell
Kayak
Kilt
the Kreutzer Sonata
the Last Goddamned Performance Piece (2)
the List
Love in the Time of Harlequin
the Man Who Went to Work One Day and was Eaten by a Bear (reading)
Mechanicsville Monologues II
Me Happy
Men Telling Stories
a Midsummer Nights Dream
Miss Caledonia (2)
Mixing Boal: Kitchen of the Oppressed
Molotov Circus
Multinational gRape Corporations
My Narrator
Nativity
Not the Good Kind of Animal Attraction
the Peter ‘n Chris Show! (2)
Phone Whore
the Pig of Happiness
the Prisoner’s Dilemma
Purely Cabaret (2)
Redheaded Stepchild
Red Noses
Ride the Cyclone (2)
Romeo and Juliet (Salamander)
the Roof Top Guy
Sacred Sites in Suburbia
the Sad and Cautionary Tale of Smack-Headed Peter
the Saddest Girl in the World
St.Nicholas
Say Ginger Ale
Seeking
Shadows
Shakespeare’s Interactive Circus
Shed
Someone for Everyone: an Unromantic Comedy
the Sorting
Speakers
the Sputniks (2)
Sweet Little Nothings
Swimming in the Shallows
They All Do it
This is a Play
Time to Put my Socks On
TransCanada ‘69
the Turn of the Screw
Twelfth Night
Underneath it All
Vimy
the Visitor
We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay! (reading)
Who You Callin’ Sweetheart?
Word! Sound! Powah!
You Are Here

Hon.Mentions:

-My Summer Crush Improv
-Fringe Festival Secret Cabaret Show
-Taxi Stand Jam
-Wrecking Ball

Not too bad for a relative theatre newbie like my own self, if I do say.  although I admit I got off to a slow start (I’m SO fixing that next year, but more on that later).  And in no particular order, here now are a few of my fav’rit things from that list (note:  not ‘best’, just some of my personal picks.  I am by no means qualified to decide what is ‘best’ or not, and please never, ever trust anyone who says they are.  They are lying to you.)  With that in mind, here are some of my…

FAV’RIT ENSEMBLE SHOWS:

– Bash’d – A perfectly, insanely entertaining gay musical rap-opera from Chris Craddock and Nathan Cuckow.

– A Midsummer Night’s Dream – A Company of Fools show how it’s done in the great outdoors, with a brilliant cast and a hep, funny take on Shakespeare’s faerie fling.
– A Fistful of Flowers – the Baltimore annex Theatre crashes Emily Pearlman’s living room for the best theatre nite of the year, with their must-see DIY show about love and revenge in the mythical west.
Airport Security – Gruppo Rubato puts on a seriously underrated show at the GCTC studio about the perils of modern travelling.  Hilarious and dark all at once.
Vimy – I saw it five times, I’m NOT gonna put it on the list?  Thumpingly awesome WWI drama with a killer cast, that shattered some records for the GCTC and earned every penny.
I – David Hersh’s world premiere at the Gladstone was supercool and fresh, with an aspiring writer clashing with her idol and a cast of thousands (well, almost).
The Sad and Cautionary Tale of Smack-Headed Peter – an impressive, filthy, edgy modern fable about a new kind of messiah along the Thames.  Dirty, epic poetry.

Twelfth Night – The Ottawa Theatre School teams with some keen pros to deliver a funny, sexy telling of one of Zombie Bill’s funnier bits.

The Peter’n’Chris Show – Shit, that was funny.  DAMN.

FAV’RIT SOLO SHOWS:
Blood.Claat/Word! Sound! Powah! – Two from human dynamo Dbi young, I caught the first at GCTC and the second at Summerworks.  Powerful pieces of Jamaicana indeed, from a positively inspired performer.
Time to Put my Socks on – Alan Shain tells it like it is in his original show about one disabled man’s quest for love and sex, and other good things.
Hamlet (solo) – Raoul Bhaneja performs the entirety of Zombie Bill’s epic, alone, no sets, no effects, and it couldn’t be more mesmerizing.
The Sputniks – Elison Zasko made me cry.  All I’m saying.
7 (x1) Samurai – David Gaines gives a solo interpretation of SEVEN SAMURAI.  And it works.  Holy hell, I love theatre.
Redheaded Stepchild – from Summerworks, Johnnie Walker’s amazing show about an awkward, effete ginger teen, his flamboyant alter-ego, and clueless stepmom.
Aomega – There were, like, 7 people in attendance at this gorgeous drop of insanity from Daniel Nimmo at the Ottawa Fringe, about the trifold multidimensional consciousness Aomega.  I maintain that everyone else was scared.

FAV’RIT MUSICALS (besides BASH’D, cause I already mentioned it):

Ride the Cyclone – Atomic Vaudeville tears up Summerworks with a twisted and brilliant tale of a deceased coir singing their final songs.  I still heart poor, headless Jane Doe.
Haunted Hillbilly – A wonderful show from Sidemart Theatrical Grocery about fame, country music and vampires, featuring Greg Kramer (also in 12th night) as the villainous couturier Nudie.
Countries Shaped Like Stars – I saw it again at Summerworks this year, it counts!  I will never, ever get tired of this show.  Eager , tho, for their newest LIVE FROM THE BELLY OF A WHALE.  Go Mi Casa!
Nativity – My first proper show at the NAC in several decades was a delight, with everything from singing angels to singing coyotes, with many other singing things in between.
Grievous Angel – A simple, gorgeous stage show about the life of legendary country figure Gram Parsons, and his protoge Emmylou Harris.  Their ‘Cash on the Barrelhead’ was a grand moment.

 

FAV’RIT BOY ACTORS:
Simon Bradshawthe Man who went to Work one day and got Eaten by a Bear, Airport Security, Swimming in the Shallows – Maybe the best pokerface in Ottawa theatre, he’s got angry/funny down to a science.  Do NOT miss THIS IS A RECORDING at Undercurrents, folks.
Garret QuirkDeath of Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet, Mechanicsville Monologues II – His explosive Tybalt was the big reason I caught Salamander’s R&J, and his piece in MMII brought down the house.  Expect great things!
Jeff CulbertArchy and Mehitabel – Had to mention gentleman Jeff, and his hypnotic turn in A&M from the Fringe.  Elegant and masterful.
Alex McCooeyeMe Happy, Nativity – Two distinct, utterly wonderful comic performances have me very much hoping I get to see this cat in something else, and soon.
Richard GelinasA Midsummer Night’s Dream, Shakespeare’s Interactive Circus, Swimming in the Shallows – A serious actor with a very hysterical streak in him.  How to steal scenes while hiding behind a newspaper?  Talk to this guy.
Raoul BhanejaHamlet (solo) – Too impressive not to mention it again.  He did HAMLET, for god’s sake.
John KoensgenHeroes, Educating Rita, St.Nicholas, Blackbird – Volume alone would put the killer on this list, but BLACKBIRD nailed it.  Fucking wonderful.

John Doucet/Kevin LoringVimy – Pardon my singling any of the lads out, but Kevin and John’s work as not just their two leads, but each others central past figures, was a perfect joy to watch.  Even again and again. 🙂

FAV’RIT GIRL ACTORS:

Emmanuelle ZeesmanAndrews Brothers, Shakespeare’s Interactive Circus, I – What can you say about the Zees?  Whip-smart, funny, AND she can tap-dance.  ‘Nuff said.
Nancy KennyThe Last Goddamned Performance Piece, Shakespeare’s Interactive Circus, We won’t Pay! We won’t Pay! – Winston, did you put this one in here..?  Fine, fine.  She DID have me laughing out loud before the doors were even closed in TLGDPP, and pretty much at will after that in whatever she did.  Yeah, she makes the list.
Jenny DavidL’Ascenseur, You Are Here – A Visitorium fave, wee Jenny David is one of those ‘up’n’comers’ who’s impressed me twice in a row now, and I’m hoping she goes for the hat trick sometime soon.  One to watch, trust me.
Dbi YoungBlood.Claat, Word! Sound! Powah! – An unstoppable theatrical force.  You should bust down walls for the chance to see one of her shows, they are jolts of awesome straight to the heart.
Danielle SavoieDeath of Tybalt, Romeo and Juliet, Red Noses – A memorably hilarious turn as Rosalind in TYBALT, followed by a twistedly sinister ‘Raven’ in the great RED NOSES.   Supahcool.
Kate SmithAirport Security, Turn of the Screw, We won’t Pay! We won’t Pay! – Harried high-flying comic housewife or potentially unstable victorian-era nanny, Kate Smith pretty much does it all and makes it look easy.
Kelly RigoleThey All Do It, Mechanicsville Monologues II – Her bit of Commedia in THEY ALL DO IT was a joy to behold, and her burlesque numbers in MMMII weren’t too shabby, neither.  Have I mentioned about THIS IS A RECORDING yet?  It’s already selling out guys, for serious.
Catriona Leger Airport Security, Someone for Everyone – The funniest lady in O-town?  Could very well be.

 

There’s a lot more I could mention…fav’rit venues?  Carleton Tavern and Emily Pearlman’s living room, for  start.   Fav’rit directors?  While I’m still not too technically savvy on such things, I have to give the great Pat Gauthier a nod for his multiple and awesome shows.   Fav’rit Writers?  Howsabout good ole Donnie Laflamme?  Or David Hersh?  Fav’rit moments?  Too many to count.  Don’t no one be offended if you’re not on this silly list, it’s safe to say that if I saw your show, I thank you, and want to see more.  This is just a small (really!) bit of love from me to all of you theatre peeps.   Thanks for, y’know, changing my life and all.  And with that, here’s a brief look forward, with my very own NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS for 2011:

#1 – SEE MORE STUFF.  I’m going for a minimum 130 shows in the next year, not counting repeats.  Think I can do it?  I want to make a special effort to see more community theatre.

#2 – STOP BEING BORED. There’s no reason for it.  I’ve already been practicing my new modal operation format: INPUT//OUTPUT//DEATH.  Here’s hoping I do it right!

#3 – 211 IN 2011 – I’ve been off my movie watching game, and want to correct that.  So on top of those live shows, I want to see at least 211 new movies (or old ones with new commentary tracks) in the new year.  I’ll keep you updated.  But gotta nourish other senses, so…

#4 – READ MORE. – I’ve been WAY off my reading game, and that has to stop. And I especially want to start reading some plays, too.  Again, I’ll keep you updated (I know, you’re waiting on fucking pins and needles).

#5 – ANOTHER THEATRICAL ROADTRIP – Maybe SUMMERWORKS again, maybe someplace a little further…I’ve been eyeing the Victoria fringe for a while now.  Someone just tell me where Jayson MacDonald’s gonna be.

There’s more, but they don’t really belong here, and this has been going on for WAY too long without me being drunk.  So hats off to all those amazing people who got their shit together, put it on a stage and made me say ‘wow’, because you rocked my world.  To my fellow theatre fans, keep on showing up, because that’s the only way it works.  And whoever you are, thanks for reading, drop a comment now and then, because as far as communication with the outside world goes, this is pretty much my big attempt right here.  Help the experiment along!

And, by the way, CRUSH IMPROV at the Elmdale on January 3rd, and COMPANY OF FOOLS Twelfth Night Fundraiser at NAC 4th stage on the 5th.  Be there, yah?  We’ll have a laugh.  From all of us here at the Visitorium, aka me and Winston the cat, peace, love and soul.  See you next year, your pal,

Kevin

Coming Up in 2011

In Theatre on December 23, 2010 at 2:45 am

God I’m bored.  This whole ‘Holiday Season’ may be all festive and spiritual and what not,  but there’s sweet fuck-all happening theatre-wise (unless I’m right clueless).  With NATIVITY wrapping tomorrow, there ain’t naught but LEGALLY BLONDE going on until the new year.  And since, thanks to Xmas, I can’t AFFORD a Broadway show, all I can do now is look forward to said changing of the calendar.  so here’s a quick list of the theatrical goings-on that, off the top of my head, I’m most looking forward to in 2011:

First off, in January CRUSH IMPROV settles in to a regular first-Monday-of-the-month slot at the Elmdale, with the gig getting started on the 3rd.  An always entertaining night out with some talented monkeys onstage, with the added bonus of pickled eggs within arm’s reach.

The supahcool UNDERCURRENTS festival premieres late January at the GCTC, with eight awesome Fringe-esque shows getting the spotlight over two weeks.  If you’re really good and reserve early, you might actually be able to see SHADOWS this time around.

Also in January, I’m told I’ll finally learn what super-secret project Fringe overlord Natalie Joy Quesnel wants me to assist with.  Given my skill set, it’s either digging latrines, or burning Denis Armstrong in effigy.  Either way, I’m game.  Plus, in January I’ll be starting up my 2nd entry-level acting class at the OSSD, with new instructor and everything!  Will be very, very good to be back.

A fun  sounding FESTIVAL OF ONE-ACT COMEDIES from the good kids at Sock’n’Buskin in February sounds like a good bet…the more festivals the merrier!

February also nets us the debut of Plosive Productions with THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST at the Gladstone, and the triumphant return of Evolution Theatre with their translation of LA PETITE SCRAPE (translated, it is now noted, into LITTLE MARTYRS, thanx Nancy K) at Arts Court.

March sees Third Wall back with ANTIGONE at the GCTC studio, with an absolutely killer-diller cast.  I’m also eager to see Tara Players and Ottawa Little Theatre team for OBSERVE THE SONS OF ULSTER MARCHING TOWARDS THE SOMME, as it sounds like a neat late companion piece for VIMY.

SAINT CARMEN OF THE MAIN should be an extremely good bet for squinky goodness coming up from the NAC.  And April will see smooth Tim Oberholzer in Algonquin college’s ZASTROZZI.

May will hit us with this years YOUTH INFRINGEMENT FESTIVAL, a good chance to see what stuff the kids got to strut…I had a ball at last year’s, and will for sure be back.

Getting into June, the legend Daniel MacIvor himself hits the GCTC with his THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS NEXT, and you know that’s gonna be a fan-fucking-tastic time.  Not to mention, of course, the OTTAWA FRINGE FESTIVAL gets underway, and we’ll see if my body can stand the strain of yet another Fringe-coma…especially considering June ALSO sees the MAGNETIC NORTH festival return to Ottawa!  I’d better start saving…who needs food?

On top of all this and much, much more, I’m still hoping to make another theatrical road trip this year…Summerworks again?  Or another Fringe?  We’ll see which way the wind blows, for sure, for sure…

That’s all I got for now.  Anyone got stuffs to add?  You know you do.  I’m out…apologies to those I didn’t mention by name, you know I love ya.  Now, back to being bored, watching LOST and wondering about whether or not I should try and bathe Winston before bringing him home to meet my folks.  He’s getting a little ripe…

Peace love and soul, y’all,

The Visitor

A Little Theatre Christmas

In Uncategorized on December 19, 2010 at 1:14 am

Holy cow, this review is late.  LATE!  As in, way too late.  As I start to write it, the final performance is just about to get underway, so if you’re planning on seeing it based on THIS review, keep studying at school so you can finally build that time machine you’ve always dreamed of.  Ha ha!  But seriously, I’m fucking useless sometimes.

Actually, this one is overdue in more ways than one, as this is the first Ottawa Little Theatre production I’ve ever gotten around to reviewing on this thing.  Not the first I’ve SEEN…that would be last year’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, that I took my big sister to. A good time, that, and I’m sorry I have not been back (besides a couple of Fringe shows hosted there, and the Eastern Ontario Drama Festival last month to boot) until now, aka two nights ago (sorry!) for their latest show, INSPECTING CAROL, by Daniel Sullivan (and the Seattle Repertory company).  A seasonal show, which I admit to some reticence about, but I’d put off the venerable OLT for too long to miss another outing.  So I hit the grand theatre, hosting Ottawa’s oldest running company (and there are some fabulous photographs gracing the inner walls, of productions from as far back as the 30’s) to get all Xmas’ed up, in what will likely be my last play of the Gregorian year.

Now the OLT, while being arguably Ottawa’s premier amateur theatre company, has a bit of a stuffy reputation…like, old-fashioned.  And hey, when they make you stand for the national anthem before the play, I suppose they ARE a little old-fashioned.  But ain’t nothin’ wrong with a little tradition in one’s theatre.  And CAROL is quite happily non-traditional enough for me, thanks very much. Dan and co.’s script is funny and fast, centering on an ongoing theatre nightmare…money.  “Of COURSE we’re broke,” quips one of the actors onstage, “…we’re an arts organization!”  If only it were a joke.

Centering on a run-down community theatre group’s annual production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, which seems to be declining in quality every year as profits drop and creative dreams wither on the vine.  Bad financial news prompts a crisis only four days from opening night, with troubles already abounding…new actor Walter (a black man, director Zorah’s desperate attempt to be ‘multicultural’) hasn’t even read his lines, leading man Larry threatens to slip into Spanish at any moment, and their Tiny Tim is not only too tall, but barely interested in being there.    Enter Wayne Wellacre, a terrible aspiring actor who is mistaken for a National Endowment for the Arts inspector, come to decide if they get a life-saving grant, and we’re all set up for some goodly shenanigans.

The OLT gang does a solid job (fun set!) with this Christmas farce…once the scene is set, with some buildup that glides quickly by, the final act is a killer hoot.  Shoutouts to Louis Lemire as Larry (whose play INSPERABLE I totally missed at Arts Court this summer…my bad, man!), the inept Scrooge haunted by Hippie dreams and a vengeful ex-wife, and Jenny Sheffield as struggling stage manager MJ, desperately trying to get a moment’s rehearsal time in.  And J.Taylor Morris’ Wayne is hilarious, especially his Richard III audition piece.  It really was a hilite of my theatre year.  Kudos.  A great job all round, I laughed my bony arse off, and even saw my fellow OSSD student Justin there!  Yo, dude, re-up!  Peer Pressure!!!

Guess that’s about it…I’ll make sure and be back for OLT’s next, TRYING, in early January (even tho, is it just me?  Or is there something wonky about the acoustics in that theatre?  Mebbe it’s just me…), and sometimes in the next little while I’ll get my end-of-year piece done…I’ve dawdled enough now, I might as well go with YOUR year…I’ll be able to sneak a couple extra shows into my list that way, at least.  So even tho I’m sure I’m forgetting something (as always), I’ll bid you all peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Janet From Another Planet

In Just me doing stuff on December 15, 2010 at 2:12 am

JANET from another PLANET

from the Visitor

She was from Another Planet, Janet was, not of this Earth at all even though you wouldn’t know it to look at her.  You see, by a remarkable coincidence Janet looked (on the outside at least) just like one of us Humans, specifically one of us Caucasian North American city-dwelling types, and a cute one at that.  So as far as appearance was concerned, Janet had her bases covered and displayed no outward affectations of otherworldliness.  No shiny green skin, no webbed fingers or toes, no squiggly antennae (handy though they would have been for the occasional telepathic prank), not even so much as a prehensile tail or third eye.  Nope, our pal Janet had no trouble blending in visually with the unknowing people of Earth, thank you very much.  Why, if she played her cards right, sometimes she could even pass for a grown-up (Janet was only 3 Earth years old, although she was almost ninety in the wacky timeframe of her native dimension).
Passing for normal, however, was another story.  Normal was NOT Janet’s strong suit.
She tried, our Janet did, Oh how she tried.  But every time something, some elusive and essential element of what the Humans called normalcy kept on slipping through her dainty fingers.  It actually seemed that the harder she tried to fit in, the further away from her goal she got.
She first tried being kind to children and animals, like all the friendly folk she saw on the television who were so adored by the masses.  This effort was hopelessly short-lived after Janet quickly discovered that she couldn’t STAND the little bastards.  Always yipping or shouting or scratching or pooping, who could honestly blame poor Janet for losing her cool and giving the wee scamps a well deserved kick every now and then?  As a result, Janet was quickly labelled as ‘cruel to children and animals’, and thus not at all normal, even if she herself didn’t see as how she had possibly done anything wrong.
“Dammit”, said Janet from Another Planet, “how can I fit in?!?”

Next, Janet tried her hand (alien hand though it was) at sports.  But this too was much trickier than she first imagined, Janet soon discovered.
Basketball was right out, since Janet was woefully undertall for a human.  Although quite respectably high on her home planet, try telling THAT to the NBA.
She tried out for baseball, which appealed to her very much indeed, until she realized to her utter disappointment that the bat was used only for whacking baseballs, not other people.
Hockey and Boxing filled Janet with thrills, for they were exuberantly violent and fraught with the infliction of injury.  Janet, sadly, was so slight of frame that she would certainly be relegated to the position of inflictee (not her position of choice), so these too were reluctantly nixed.
Finally the answer came to Janet, and the answer was bowling!  An easy enough sport she knew, for she had seen how woefully unathletic were it’s champions from the television.  And if they bowled on the television, Janet reasoned, then surely it is a well-respected art!  Yes, thought Janet from Another Planet, a bowler I shall be, and so well-loved, you’ll see!
Sadly, Janet’s bowling career (and along with it, her simple hopes and dreams) were cut cruelly short, when during her very first semiprofessional match, Janet was unilaterally banned from Bowling (five AND ten pin) for life.  And all because of a silly cultural misunderstanding.  How was Janet to know that on this backwards planet, cheating was against the rules?
“Blast it all” came Janet’s interplanetary call, “will I never be a part of the crowd??”

And so it went, on and on.  No matter which endeavour Janet attempted, it seemed fate was bound and determined to thwart her.  She tried singing, but her galaxy-hopping vocal chords could barely carry a note as far as the corner store.  Her meagre foray into driving resulted in one fatality, multiple minor injuries and a major lawsuit still pending.  Her stab at politics seemed somewhat more promising at first, but in the end her platform of ‘Death To All’ appealed only to what she perceived as a shockingly small percentage of registered voters.  Acting proved as elusive to Janet as the runty-tailed Electric FrogWeasel from Another Planet (Janet’s Planet, in fact).  The ballet?  No way!  Why, even her 1-900 phone sex venture failed to impress, or even arouse.

Janet was forlorn.  Depressed, disspirited, dejected, down in the dumps.  You name it, our Janet felt lower than it.  As she sat late one night, pondering her innumerable failures, sinking listlessly into her thrift store beanbag chair, halfheartedly scanning infomercials and sinking into the kind of deep blue funk that only persons from other planets could ever wallow in, Janet from Another Planet just gave up hope.

And that was when the telephone rang.

With trepidation borne of being one bummed-out babe, Janet let her little telephone ring and ring, until finally she could stand it no more.  Janet took the receiver in her hand (which like the rest of her, was from Another Planet…but hopefully you’ve got that down by this point), and held it up to her ear.
“Yes?”  Janet asked, wondering if this were yet another rejection, just one more miserable link in the endless chain of her emotional downfall.  Or maybe one of those telemarketer guys.  But it was neither, not by a long shot.  In fact, just between you and me, fellow Jan-Fan, our galaxy hopping sweetheart’s luck is about to change, oh yes.

“Hello there Janet” came the voice over the telephone line, “I’m Chrissy, your psychic chatline friend!  And Janet, I think I can help you with your problem.”
She definitely wasn’t expecting that, thought Janet from Another Planet.  And she told the lady on the phone (that’s Chrissy, in case you’d forgotten) as much, not to mention inquiring as to how this stranger could even know about Janet, her problems, and her unlisted phone number.  But Chrissy, she just laughed a friendly laugh.
“Oh, Janet”  Chrissy chuckled, smiling so hard that Janet could practically feel it over the phone, “I’m PSYCHIC!  And I felt your pain, Janet.  I know you’re from Another Planet, and that you long to fit in with the people around you.  And I know that you feel you’ve failed, as if you don’t belong at all.”
Now, upon hearing this news, Janet’s little alien eyes went wide with a sudden swell of hope.  “That’s right” she cried, “…that’s all exactly right!!  Oh please Chrissy, my psychic friend, can’t you help me?  Can’t you tell me how I can ever fit in among my new Planet-People?   Can’t you help me to be just like them?”
And in response to this heartfelt plea from Another Planet, Chrissy (still smiling) didn’t miss a psychic beat.  “But Janet, don’t you see?  You DO fit in, you DO!  You’re a sad, angry, alienated loner with a tendency towards violence and a feeling of disconnection from the Human race.  Well, girlfriend, let me tell you, there’s more of you than you think.  Hundreds, thousands, millions even.  Why Janet, by wallowing in your failure and misery as you have, you’ve become more like the people around you than ever!  I wouldn’t even have a job if not for people just like you.  You belong, Janet, oh yes.  Believe it in your interplanetary heart.
“You’re one of us, Janet from Another Planet.”

Janet thanked her psychic friend, gushing all sorts of praise upon her before she could contain herself no longer, and she hung up the phone and bolted from her home and out into the streets.
And then Janet shouted “It’s too good to be true!
“I’m a fuckup, and a loser,
And I’m just
like
YOU!”

THE END (but not for Janet)

*Note: This is a story that I wrote a lifetime ago, inspired by a gal I used to work with.  A friend of mine recently inquired to me about the whereabouts of this bit of fluff, and when I looked it up, I enjoyed it again so much I decided to inflict it on you lot.  This, I should point out, has exactly NOTHING to do with local Ottawa Theatre, so don’t worry if you’re confused.  Peace, love and soul.

Evolution of a Birthday party

In Evolution Theatre, Theatre on December 15, 2010 at 1:07 am

I’m a little behind on my planned end-of-year post…no, I don’t mean early, neither.  In the Visitorian calendar, we’re already a couple days into the new year.  But I have a good excuse!  Seems there were a few birthdays getting in the way, and social butterfly that you know I am, I could hardly turn a blind eye.

Especially when, y’know, one of the birthdays was mine.

So there I was, ready to party hard and celebrate my XXth birthday (censored for reasons of national security), when I gt word that the good folks at EVOLUTION THEATRE are having their own anniversary shindig on the same day!  Well, folks, what could I do but send out humble apologies to the hundreds already flocking toward the Visitorium to pay homage, bravely foregoing my own soiree to do my part and perk up the spirits of local theatre!  It was the least I could do, and not only because I’m totally lying about anybody giving a rat’s ass about MY birthday.  But mostly, yeah.  So off to Evolution I went!
It was a day filled with good portents, I found…I ended up having breakfast at Ada’s right next to my acting Boss Barry Karp, then later on ran into my hypercool chum Emma (occasional drinkslinger at the GCTC among other endeavours) at the rideau centre.  Cheered, I whiled away the time at the Dominion Tavern, drinking Redcap and reading through a stack of 25 cent back issue comix from the silver snail (and some of them were truly epic…more in another post).  then the hour approached, and I legged it through the cold and snow to Arts Court Theatre, where the Evolution gang was…still setting up.  Seems my timetelling skills need some brushing up.

So complicated...!

Back to the Dominion!  More Comix!  Now time to go back for reals!  The madcap life of a theatre blogger never ends, and soon enough I was back in AC proper, and this time I wasn’t the only one.  Plenty of local bigshots and superstars were out for the gala festivities…spotted Brad Long, Andy Massingham  and Alix Sideris, apparently on a night off from the fantabulous TWELFTH NIGHT (seen it yet?  Come ON!).  Miss Emily Pearlman was there, and thru her I finally got to meet Kate Smith, after much geeky gushing over her acting chops here in the chud (AIRPORT SECURITY and TURN OF THE SCREW, represent!).  Chatted with them, and tweedy old Snowdon, and mister Al Connors, and I was feelin’ pretty fine by now (did I mention they had a bar here too?).  The crowd was good’n’merry when the core of Evolution Theatre got things underway.

Evo’s heart and soul consist of Chris and Linda Bedford, and the lovely FamousActressNancyKenny, who formed the company five years ago with their first show, Dario Fo’s WE WON’T PAY!  WE WON’T PAY! Tonite we were to be treated to a staged reading of that very play, starring not only original cast member Nancy K, but Chris Bedford, David Scott, Zach Counsil, and my old friend Kate Smith (it had been a few minutes by this time since I met her, I can call her that now, right?)!  I nabbed a front row seat in the AC studio, and the gang got to work.  The show, even if it WAS ‘just’ a  reading, was a big hit with everyone…Nancy and Kate had most of us in stitches with some swift comic goodness.  Counsil and Bedford were equally stellar as deadpan straight men in Fo’s subversive script, with multiple funnybone assaults by David Scott in a performance that will make you believe a man can give birth.  I wish I could’a seen this one back in the day as a full-on production..!  As it stands, my only real Evolution gigs thus far have been THIS IS A PLAY  (More Nancy Kenny) at the ’08 fringe, and last year’s ARABIAN NIGHT (yet more Kate Smith!).  However, as befits a proper party, some good news awaited.

After the show and the cutting of Linda Bedford’s delicious cake, the gang made their ultra-special announcements:  Namely, that the company had been picked as one of three new resident companies right there at Arts Court, guaranteeing them 2 new shows a year for at least two years (as I understood it, correct me someone if I’m remembering wrong), and guaranteeing Ottawa more shit-cool new theatre for approximately the same length of time (no coincidence).

I thought this good news indeed, as did one and all, and the party broke up into…well, a party at that point.  I kept right on drinking, because the cash bar benefitted the company, and I like to do my part.

Pictured: Support for the Arts.

Finally managed to corner Nancy K, and show here some new snaps of Winston the Cat, including one of him enjoying his spankin’ new cat carrier Xmas present, since it looks like he’ll be coming to my folks’ place in Kemptville with me for the holidays.  I smell a sitcom..!

Reassured that Winston was still safely in charge of things, Nancy continued to do her Evolution thing with Chris and Linda, and I eventually made my weary way home, for work awaited the next day.  Also awaiting, it turned out, was more dessert…the next day at work my chum Emma stopped by, and it turns out she works in a bakery as well ass the GCTC, and she brought me  a gorgeous little birthday cake.  It had my name on it and everything!

So Evolution Theatre, I think, had a happy birthday, and a heartfelt YAY! for them…they deserve it.  Myself?  Well, I saw a good show, met cool people, talked, read comix, got hugs from one pretty girl and cake from another.  Yeah.  I’m calling it a win for me too.  Whether I deserve it or not I’ll leave to wiser minds than mine. In the meantime, I’ve got a year-end roundup to brainstorm, days off to fill with something other than horror and despair, and a couple more issues of MARS PATROL: TOTAL WAR to get through.  So peace, love and soul to you all,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Gladstone Radio, on the air

In Theatre on December 10, 2010 at 6:46 am

I was having the mean reds pretty bad the last day or so…you know, feeling crumby and cooped up and alone, and would it KILL you people to comment once in a while?  *ahem*  Anyways, I’ve been feeling pretty useless.  So really, there wasn’t much better timing for the Gladstone’s stage-radio production of IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE to come along.

I bundled up in my newly-purchased gloves (I seem to lose one half of a pair every year) and kicked through the winter chill to the Gladstone Theatre  (not dead yet!), to check out Tony Palermo’s adaptation of the Frank Capra Xmas classic.  Hit the foyer in good time (another front trow seat for me, huzzah!), and was greeted with a smile and a Corona from that now-familiar bargal whose name I still haven’t managed to acquire, and who I still can only mentally refer to as ‘intimidatingly cute bartender’.  She tells me I look like Les Claypool from PRIMUS.  They’re a good band…I promise to investigate further.  At least it’s a good excuse to insert this kickin’ Primus radio jam (appropriate!) of TO DEFY THE LAWS OF TRADITION:

But back to Capra!  I scooted into my seat, already feeling better about things (two quick coronas will do that for you), and immediately entertained by the onstage dancing going on, getting everyone in a good’n’festive mood.  I dug it, and soon enough the show proper got underway.  As promised, the show was set up as a radio play, with mikes set up for the actors, a trio of singers providing musical accompaniment, and the talented Karen Benoit as onstage sound effects guru behind the scenes.   A solid and talented cast got things underway, led by David Holton as George Bailey, evoking much of Jimmy Stewart’s homespun charm but never devolving into an impression.  By his side was Director Teri Loretto-Valentik as Mary, alternating at will between folksy charm and quite merry overacting.

Many recent Gladstone regulars were in the show…Kel Parsons (who manages the spectacular feat of being credited as both ‘superintendant of angels’ AND ‘Jimmy the parrot’), Chris Ralph, smooth Tim Oberholzer, Michelle leBlanc, all killers on the stage.  Jerome Bourgault, another regular, makes much merry as the wicked Mister Potter and several supporting characters.  It IS difficult, making a live radio play visually exciting, something I was concerned about going in…but while there were a few moments where I thought they could amp it up a bit, for the most I was thoroughly tickled (and from the lengthy applause at the end, I was not alone).  Cheesy and Capra-corny as it may be, IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE is, before anything else, a goddamn great script, and it shines through here, carried by the wonderful performances throughout.  I was unabashedly misty during the bulk of act II.  Fuck you, you’d cry too.

But it’s not over yet!  Remember this is opening night, and you know what that means…FREE FOOD!  Of course, we all know the Gladstone is (theoretically) in some distress, so for tonite free food meant hot dogs and crudites.   But fuck it, free food is free food!  And two hot dogs later, my body was actively rebelling against me, but it was worth it.  As I lingered, I finally got to meet my fellow blogger Tim Oberholzer in the flesh (after seeing him onstage in 3 consecutive Gladstone shows), and he’s a merry gent indeed.  We’re TOTALLY gonna be Undercurrents BFF’s.  Also got to chat with actor/director Teri, mostly some bashing of the Ottawa Sun and gushing over Winston the Cat, and some plotting about Nancy Kenny’s upcoming  Evolution Theatre Birthday Bash (incidentally, MY birthday is the same day, the 13th?  But I’m probably gonna be at the Carleton Tavern on Sunday the 12th after 6pm, drinking and reading comix, and if you love me you’ll be there too.  Just saying.)

So there’s that.  And that was a good nite out, a good, fun show, and…hey, whattaya know?  One Google image search later, it turns out ICB was right…I DO look like Les Claypool!

You have to admit, the resemblance is uncanny.

Peace, love and soul, y’all,

The Visitor (and Winston)

A Coyote’s Christmas

In Theatre on December 9, 2010 at 5:16 am

…hey, did anyone else think that VIMY review of mine was kinda lame?  Like it was a REAL review or something, and just not a helluva lotta fun?  I don’t know.  I’m feeling self-conscious about it.  Just in case, here’s my micro-mini-backup-review of VIMY:
Vimy was FUCKING AWESOME.

Okay, moving on.  Today was a day off, which if you’re me, is kinda horrible because I just have nothing going on, I mean NOTHING.  Days off just serve to remind me what a tedious, crushing, lonely grind of despair life is, and I end up just sitting there dreading work for two days until it’s time for THAT drudgery to start up again, oh GOD…

Yeah, time for some theatre.  Every now and then I learn.  And while I was downtown this afternoon, I stopped by the NAC and picked up a ticket for tonite’s preview performance of NATIVITY.  Now, it’s been a helluva long time since I’ve seen a show at the NAC…I think it was back when I was about 10, and my parents dragged me to see A CHORUS LINE for reasons escaping fathoming.  So I was stoked to set foot in the grand old gal again, this time with all my wits about me.  I showed up about 45 minutes early, what I THOUGHT was good time for tonite’s general admission entry.  I think I was about 120th in line.  Welcome to the National Arts Center, yokel.

But not to fear, that theatre be extra large, and not only did I get in, your dear Visitor managed to snag front fuckin’ row, hellz yeah!  NAC kingpin Peter Hinton gave a quick shoutout before the show, and then it was game on.  And what a grand game it was.

NATIVITY is, it turns out, a weird show to try and describe.  Try and imagine Benny Hill guest directing a Christmas episode of THE MUPPET SHOW and you’ll be on the right track.  It starts off straightaway trashing the 4th wall, and never lets up from there.  Peter Anderson’s play, as directed by one Leah Cherniak, is a full frontal assault on the audience, who are not only acknowledged in this production, but talked to, insulted, threatened, and occasionally mistaken for food.  There’s singing and dancing galore, backed up by a chorus of angels.  A few timely, in-jokey references, slapstick chase scenes, and enough bad puns to make Frank Gorshin green with envy.

Admittedly, not as difficult as it sounds.

It’s not ALL fun and games…even as talented a cast as this would be hard pressed to make the whole ‘kill all the babies’ part of the story funny, but it all balances out quite nicely.  Grand performances abound, even with the unique script spoken entirely in rhyming verse.  Marcel Jeannin does delightful double duty as a dimwitted thief and soldier, Ron Kennel’s donkey is a hysterical treat, and Karen Robinson positively radiates presence in her own dual roles.  I was personally giddy to see Alex McCooeye, co-star of my Summerworks fav’rit ME HAPPY, doing some awesome scene-stealing as Slobberjaw the coyote.  And Rejean Cournoyer absolutely levels the place as King Herod, reveling in his grand, self-obsessed evil.  He’ll be picking scenery out of his teeth for DAYS after this one, and we all loved every moment of it.

There’s more, of course…Jean leClerc’s wonderful appearance as the angel of death (and a horse), Laara Sadiq’s feisty/fretting Mary, little Samantha Lin as what must be the most adorable sheep in stage history…I could go on, but won’t.  I had an ever-loving blast at NATIVITY, kudos to the cast and crew.  The show runs until the 23rd, tix starting at 22 bucks, and it definitely qualifies as fun for the whole family.  Check it out if you will, I think you’ll be tickled.  Just my opinion.

Now for a little rest afore the Gladstone tomorrow…hey, maybe days off aren’t so bad AFTER all.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Here We Are Again

In GCTC on December 7, 2010 at 4:05 am

It’s been playing for almost a month now.  I figure at least 5000 people have attended thus far.  I’ve volunteered for it four times, seen it FIVE times, and most every showing has been damn near sold out.  The first ever joint production between Ottawa’s theatrical heavyweights the National Arts Center and the Great Canadian Theatre Company seems to be, by any measurement, a wild success.  And now, with less than one week left in its celebrated run, I’m finally going to get off my lazy ass and write a few, likely completely unnecessary words, about the show.  About VIMY.

…hey, did anyone else notice that?  I wrote an introduction!  Wow, it feels like I never do that.  I’m really growing.

But I digress!  It was one month ago tomorrow, as I write this, that I first saw VIMY at the dress rehearsal.  Like everyone else, I was pretty excited about it.  Not that I knew much about the piece, the brainchild of one Vern Thiessen, other than it was about the legendary battle of Vimy Ridge in 1917, and that Nick DiGaetano was in it.  The Visitorium has quite a soft spot  for the MiCasa kids, so I was all gung ho for this one…although I doubted if I was actually in for COUNTRIES SHAPED LIKE STARS: THE WAR YEARS.  And I wasn’t (although there IS a song!).

No, VIMY is something else entirely.  A war story about stories, about people, about a country fighting for identity, all of that romantic jazz and more.  It starts off in a hospital in France, just after the epic assault on Hill 145 by some 20,000 canuck troops, where we meet four men, broken and mangled, and the angel watching over them.  Together, they form a neat cross-section of Canada, far from home and seemingly getting more lost by the second.

DiGaetano is Will, who comes off initially like a somewhat brash everyman but goes on to become perhaps the most complex character in the whole story.  Kevin Loring shines as Mike Goodstriker, an indian aching to prove his valour.  John Doucet is JP, an enthusiastic Quebecer shaken literally to his core by his experience.  Jon Elliot Koensgen (yes, son of John ‘Killer’ Koensgen…good theatrical stock indeed!) is the soft spoken Winnipegger Sid, who just wants a little bit of warmth.

Watching over them is bluebird Clare, played with palpable joy by Katie Swift.  Clare is kind of the glue that hold VIMY together as she tends to the soldiers and hears their stories (Clare loves stories, you see…), even as she searches for the ending to her own.  It seems the war has separated her from her love Laurie, played by James Stuart MacDonald, and she yearns to reconnect with him even as he almost literally haunts the show, appearing eerily through the backdrop, overtop and off to the side, always near but never there.  And although Clare seems determined not to let the war break her spirit, the relentless tide of it seems determined to wear her down.  It smacks its lips, holds its breath…and when it finally strikes, there’s nothing anyone can do.

VIMY is a wondrous piece, and I can merrily say that in five viewings not one part of it ever got stale.  Linda Moore directs with a cinematic hand, and the script by Thiessen wrings gasps and sobs as easily as it does laughs.  From a terrific scene in which our bedridden fighters verbally spar over the latest hockey news from back home, to evocative flashbacks detailing who these men, and Clare, were back home.    And the battle itself…yeah, it’s fucking stunning.  Starting off with the most amazing training sequence this side of 36th CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN, and moving into each man’s experience in the massive, meticulous, and almost incomprehensible assault on Vimy Ridge that day in 1917.  Horror and tragedy become the order of the day.  The lines between heroism, cowardice, and just plain luck become almost hopelessly blurred, and you realize  that these men, men our country to this day places on a pedestal higher than any other, really are that…just men.  And that the story of Vimy Ridge is more than one story…and can never fully be told.  Just fragments.  But what fragments.

So, basically, I’m glad I saw VIMY five damn times, I am.  It’s all stuck in here now, and it ain’t never gonna leave.  The way Katie Swift says Shubenacadie, the way Nick DiGaetano asks (nay, demands) what you’re gonna do day off.  Kevin Loring seeing a sky of fire (twice), and John Doucet getting the show of his life (better even than in Montreal!).  James Stuart MacDonald struggling to pronounce Place Jacques Cartier (and honestly, that should get bigger laughs than it does), and Jon Koensgen looking for somewhere he can really just belong…just be.  Just be WARM.  Maybe Bora Bora…

So hats off, ladies and gents, for a fine show.  From the cliffs at Five Islands to Somewhere in France, you done good.  And yes, there ARE still tickets available for this final week!  Now hurry up and get one if you haven’t seen it yet…because, frankly, I’m thinking six viewings has a nice ring to it.  Hmmm…

Peace, love and soul to you all,

The Visitor (and Winston)

A Great (12th) Night Out

In Theatre on December 3, 2010 at 6:52 am

Today was a theatre day,  and thank fucking Christ, because yesterday made me want to gargle chicken bones.  Yesterday, of course, being my first Wednesday sans acting class at the OSSD, and it turns out that my days off without that spot of relief are akin to taking a long cruise on the SS Nails-On-Chalkboard.  Lucky thing I had that bottle of wine, and those FLYING NUN dvd’s, or I wouldn’t have made it through to today.

And today was a blast!  After the usual time-wasting, I trundled out to the Carleton Tavern for a drink and some dinner…by the by, their pizza is a thing of beauty.  I was there as tonite’s production of MECHANICSVILLE MONOLOGUES II was getting set up, and the terribly dee-liteful Kelly Rigole stopped over to say hello…we chatted about the show, her acceptance into next year’s Ottawa Fringe (yay!), even this silly old chud you’re perusing right now.   Afterwards, Lisa Zanyk and Donnie Laflamme from the show gave me some well wishes to boot, and they’re both mighty fine folk, I can happily say.  Quite frankly, I left the tavern feeling like a bit of a big shot, which isn’t really how I USUALLY leave bars, so this was getting things off on the right foot.

Made it down to the good old School of Speech and Drama, not for class this time, but for the Ottawa Theatre School‘s production of Shakespeare’s TWELFTH NIGHT, or WHAT YOU WILL.  Directed by I’s Andy Massingham, starring the grads of the OTS and some special guest-stars, it promised to be a fun show.  Spotted Ken ‘the God’ Godmere and John ‘Killer’ Koensgen in the crowd, and even managed to pick up my Alan Dean headshot/cd that I got taken at a fundraiser a few weeks back.

Ladies, start your swooning.

Seriously, many thanks, messr.Dean…you’re a magician.  But back to the show…we went on in to the Nathalie Stern Studio, aka the place I’ve been learning to have some fun for the last ten weeks, although I imagined we were in for better entertainment than my Enchainement on this nite.  I was correct.  The play, for those not familiar with this bit of bard, concerns a young lass named Viola, shipwrecked in the land of Illyria and separated from her beloved brother, whom she believes drowned.  For reasons I’ve never managed to fully grasp, she disguises herself as a boy and sets up working for a swell local lord, Orsino.  Things get kinda weird from there.

Since I’ve already wasted a lot of space in this post, I’ll get right to it….this OTS production of 12th Night is a fucking laugh riot.  Massingham uses the intimate studio space masterfully, staging everything from the shipwreck to a gut-bustingly hilarious hilltop duel between Viola and the delusional Andrew Aguecheek (Pierre Brault, apparently having the time of his life) with easy flourish, and Doreen Taylor-Claxton’s music was a hit throughout.  And the acting is rock solid.  Viola/Caesario her/himself is played with honesty and flair by Kyla Gray, one of the several impressive newcomers shining in this piece.  Greg Shand’s gleefully manipulative Toby, Katilin Miller doing double duty as scheming Maria and trusting Antonio (with a cartwheel or two in between), Jodi Morden convincing as Viola’s stern missing brother Sebastian, Henry Austin Shikongo cutting a dashing and smooth Orsino, and golden-voiced Diego Arvelo as Feste the Fool, and also likely the wisest character in the play.  As a new-newcomer to the acting game, it was more than a little inspiring to see these cats doing it up, with such success, and especially in such a beauty of a production.

And the non-students (like Brault, already mentioned) are likewise a delight.  Brad Long (Midsummer’s Night Dream) hits a few different roles, and his hairstyle in this show has more range than most actors out there. Alix Sideris makes a particularly human and sexy Olivia, beautifully selling the underlying motivation of her character…that she really, REALLY wants to lay that Caesario guy.  She and Kyla have some gorgeously funny moments together.

Which leaves us with Malvolio.  Malvolio, a juicy part even by Shakespearean standards, is played here  by Greg Kramer (some of you may have been lucky enough to have seen him in THE HAUNTED HILLBILLY as Nudie this past summer…I was!), who…oh, lets just say it…he fucking steals the show.  He’s talented ENOUGH, I can attest to that, but…but that SMILE…and the tights, and…oh, Christ.  I’m starting to laugh again just picturing him. Go see it.  Get your ticket.  Why are you still READING this??  GO!!

(and, when I say ‘Go’?  I’m especially talking to my fellow OSSD classmates…guys, go and see this show, I’m serious.  I recognized more than one of the bits Barry has been teaching us, or telling us about, in the show. You’ll love it, trust me.)

One standing ovation later (richly deserved), there was a bit of an opening nite afterparty in studio D ( where I’ve also had class…such an insider!).  Some tasty nosh from Fratelli’s was on hand, beer from Beau’s, and a chatback with the cast, who were a delight.  My mingling skills are legendarily poor at this point, so aside from a moment of bravery where I geeked out to Greg Kramer, I was silent.  But  it was such a great night I don’t care.  Made it out of there just in time to catch my last bus home, and now I’ve just about managed to finish this writeup before 2 AM…and I only have to be at work by 8!  It’s like another day off…

…oh, shit, I have to get to sleep.  Guys, great, GREAT job.  Loved it, would love to see it again.  Folks, do the right thing, get thee to the OSSD, and tell’em the Visitor sent ya.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)