Okay, I know I KNOW I’m behind on getting my class post up for this week. Things are a little hectic here at the Visitorium…I’ve already written two posts today and here comes the third! I’m looking into getting a couple of guest-writers in the near future. I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, here’s how good a day today was. After Winston very kindly refused to let me sleep in past seven AM on my day off (a wise kitty, I’m certain he had his reasons), I wandered a spell and shopped rather fruitlessly, before heading out to Wellington for a coffee date with pretty lady/human dynamo Natalie Joy Quesnel. And one does not spend time with the Great Duchess of Fringe and not wear a glow for the rest of the day. It’s like Theatre itself blessed my travels, and that blessing would maintain, dear readers, oh yes.
Later on that day, and I made my long, long way out to Orleans, which I think is a country or something, to their fabled Centre of Shenk-Man. Had me a ticket for tonite’s debut performance of Dylan Thomas’ UNDER MILK WOOD, performed by the graduating class at the Ottawa Theatre School. You may recall we last saw the OTS gang at their successful production of TWELFTH NIGHT, which kicked all sorts of ass. So I was pretty hopeful for this one, directed by Deluxe Hot Saucie Janet Irwin herself. After spending a few baffled minutes exploring the cavernous interior of the Shenk-Man, I found the venue. Also found cool dude Brad Long, recently of Evolution Theatre’s fantastic LITTLE MARTYRS, along with her worship the Lady Alix Sideris, so that made me happy, because I didn’t want to be lost in the wicked kingdom of Orleans all by my lonesome. More good omens!
The venue, the Richcraft Studio, was a high-ceilinged beauty of a space, set up COUNTRIES SHAPED LIKE STARS-stylee with audience on either side of the narrow set (There’s even a ladder!). And the cast (featuring Annie Lefebvre and Todd Duckworth joining the OTS gang) marched out single file as the show began, filling the space neatly. And then the fun got underway.
It’s a little hard to describe UMW, embracing so many characters and situations as it does, but know that it takes place over the course of one special and ordinary, music and love-filled day in a small Welsh village. Know that it is told in beautiful poetic prose, with characters who are unique, beautiful, tragic, glorious and hilarious alternately. And know, and I mean KNOW, that these folks pull it all off like nobody’s business. Janet Irwin’s direction is bloody brilliant to see, and the performances…God Damn. Somebody graduate these kids, stat. The notion that the actors I saw tonite are merely ‘students’ is like saying Batman is only a hall monitor.
Everyone impressed, and in multiple roles to boot. Obviously the pros Annie and Todd are wonderful…his blind Captain Cat is a centerpiece of the production, and Annie’s songs of lamentation as poor Polly Garter are wondrous to the ear. But the others, the lot of them, are stunning revelations, easily matching Anni and Todd, and surpassing their previous work in TWELFTH NIGHT (which was already fantastic). Diego Arvelo. Kyla Gray. Kaitlin Miller. Jodi Morden. Greg Shand. Henry Austin Shikongo. Might as well remember the names now, folks, because you’ll be hearing them a lot more as time goes by. They were smart, funny, sexy, and had timing you don’t find usually outside of your average Tardis. This is, flat out, an amazing show, and you should run and see it. Now. Run like Charlie Sheen was chasing you.
I love getting on a post-show high like this, and I’m still on it hours later. Had a chance meeting with yet another of the pretty girls I’m lucky enough to know after the show (I’m sworn to secrecy as to just why she was there, but I’m glad she was), and the supercool Brad Long was kind enough to give us both a ride back into civilization. Now, a few hours later, after some impromptu Twitter-Youtube sparring with Natalie Joy and Tweedy old Snowdon, I’m finally about done with this post. So just to reiterate…UNDER MILK WOOD. One of the most surefire good times at the theatre so far this year. I may go again. See it. Go.
Even if it IS in Orleans.
Peace, love and soul to you all,
the Visitor (and Winston)