Not sure how much time I have to write this…started work at 9 this morning, started drinking at 4, and now it’s 12:30 and bed is calling my name. And before you judge me too harshly for beginning my libations at such an early hour, I should point out that I was having a gentlemanly conversation with hizzoner Mike Doiron of Dead Unicorn Ink, about his upcoming fringe show PLAYING DEAD, and about which I shall expound more later (and, if I forget, go see his show, it’s gonna be wicked good fun). After that, the boss was buying drinks at the Oak, and I’m gonna say no? Even still, I managed to pry myself away and take a nice stroll down to Arts Court, for tonite’s dose of Magnetic North action.
As to be expected, lotsa good people-spotting at the AC this evening…Kelly Rigole, Simon Bradshaw, Kris Joesph, Tania Levy, Richard Hemphill, Bronwyn Steinberg…I even had a moment with my acting coach Brie Barker outside! But eventually they opened the doors and started letting us in…slowly, and in small groups, which was a clue that something cool was about to take place…to this performance of Zuppa Theatre’s 5 EASY STEPS (TO THE END OF THE WORLD).
I was frankly amazed at the total reinvention of the Arts Court theatre space for this show…I hadn’t realized the room was so versatile until today. Why, they’d changed things so thoroughly I think they even had to remove the air conditioner! Ha! No, but seriously, it’s really fucking warm in there. Then again, I WAS dehydrated from 4 or so hours of solid alcohol abuse, so maybe that didn’t help either. Stop mothering me!!
What am I forgetting…? Oh, right, the show! Well, Zuppa Theatre (out of Halifax) like to play around some, and they put on one heck of a play for us all this evening. Stars Susan Leblanc-Crawford, Ben Stone and Stewart Legere pop out of the audience as Samantha, Warren and Jasper, three longtime friends having a very strange night indeed. Champagne pops, songs are sung, wardrobes change, robots and pistols and just a dash of karaoke all take their part at various times. At the heart of it all is a dark day in their collective past they’ve tried, in their own ways, to leave unsuccessfully behind. Or, so it seemed to me…it WAS a very playful show, and I spent a lot of my time with it just trying to enjoy the experience of being there, switching perspectives from the actors to their simultaneous video images being displayed along one of the walls. The performances were dynamite, tho I might give a slight lead to Stewart Legere’s Jasper in that regard. Slight…all were rock-solid.
The show ranged from the intimate to the overtly absurd, and I had a blast through the lot of it. Zuppa’s got imagination and energy to spare, and all of it was on display in this show. Or rather, a lot of it. I suspect they’ve got plenty left to surprise us with.
Sidled off to the SAW bar for quick one with Richard Hemphill, then made a quick sideline to Elgin street to rendezvous momentarily with the only thing in Ottawa hotter than Arts Court this evening…Nadine Thornhill singing Parliament Funkadelic karaoke-style. A great way to end ANY day. And now, after THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS NEXT and YICHUD, I’m officially calling Mag North Three for Three, and I’m getting pretty excited for the second half. Bring it on, then…I’m still awake, aren’t I? Peace, love and soul,
The Visitor (and Winston)