This might be a quick one…it’s getting late, and I was up EARLY. Today’s my Monday, and after an 8-4 day of drudgery in the salt mines, I had to sprint home, write a foolishly long post of all the amazing shows coming up in March (just scroll down, you’ll find it), and then run out the doors again to SEE some of that great stuff.
First up was a stop-in at the fundraiser for the upcoming WE WANT LIFE, being put on by the Ottawa Theatre School (or the Studio D Collective, as this gang seems to be calling themselves now…fucking gangsters, I LOVE it). And even tho I had to leave pretty much as soon as whatever was going to happen actually HAPPENED, I still had good fun. Chat with Andy Massingham and Alix Sideris is ALWAYS to be treasured, and it certainly was today. And I got to meet a few more of the Studio D gang, in the form of the de-lovely Dyna Ibrahim and Jazmine Campanale (here’s hoping I win something in the raffle!).
But sadly, I did have to dart early, because I already had a ticket to the late show at the Gladstone, and the first of their BLACK BOX series (okay, ’33 is technically a part of that as well, but since it’s also part of the official Winter season at the Gladstone, I’m calling it more honorary than anything), featuring past Fringe-style shows , showcased on the big stage. Tonight was the start of the second week for Jayson MacDonald’s THE LAST GODDAMNED PERFORMANCE PIECE. Running in a late-night 10 pm slot after Bremner Duthie’s ’33, the show is basically the same one that ran in the Ottawa Fringe Festival two years ago. Featuring the same two stars, Ben Meuser and Celine Fillion (regretfully not counting the Nancy Kenny bonus-night for our current purposes, and ya know I’ll watch that remount ANY day), it tells the slightly skewed tale of the doomed U.M.I. collective, a performance art group who find themselves down 9 of their 11 members and needing to somehow put on a show. And, digging deep into their fractured lives, remaining members Summer Rain (Celine) and Bleu Skye (Ben) do just that.
LGDPP is a great little show directed by Black Sheep mainstay Dave Dawson (who also directed ’33), ranging from the utterly hysterical (like Celine returning, and promptly ejecting Ben from her womb, but only after he helps with the groceries) to the almost painfully human, best exemplified when Ben shows Celine his collection of frailties, failures and humiliations. After two years, I can say I notice definite strengthening in both performances, and Celine Fillion especially seems to have grown wonderfully since I last saw her making like a crow onstage (seriously, see this show). Her final monologue on the failure to love rings heartbreakingly in your ears…the show has a brilliant/horrifying structure to it, early and madcap comedy setting you up for a merciless fall into UMI’s twin specialties…truth, and destruction. It works well, and Ben and Celine do it great justice here. Especially with as sadly small a crowd as I was part of this night, they KILLED it. So my hat is off (there’s a nice trick done with the staging here, too, that adds some extra fun…I won’t spoil it).
There are still two more shows, and if you never caught this show at Fringe, please don’t miss this second chance. So it’s at ten at night, boo hoo, what do you do in the morning that’s SO important? Call in sick, sleep in late, and catch some awesome theatre. And I’ll see you around the Gladstone next week, when the Black Box series resumes. I can hardly wait! Peace, love and soul,
The Visitor (and Winston)