In my ongoing case of mistaken identity, wherein people of influence continue to confuse me with ‘media’, I had something of a first last night…I got myself invited to the new season launch at Canada’s National Arts Centre, which is every bit as swanky as it sounds. I gotta admit, I was pretty stoked…the only thing that overshadowed my excitement was the fact that I finally joined the cellphone generation earlier that day (now text me, you fiends, and justify my existence!).
But, since I wouldn’t be able to make the damned space-phone work for some time yet…something about simcards and technobabble and whatnot…I put the damnable thing away for the time being and sidled into the NAC studio space with a goodly crowd of fellow seekers of knowledge. It was a solid turnout, and mayhap because this was the last season to be launched by outgoing Artistic Director Peter Hinton. And it looks like he’d going out with a bang.
For the first time ever, the NAC has scheduled an entire season of shows completely created by female playwrights. It’s actually kind of a brilliant non-gimmick, in that it’s only a gimmick if you’re sexist. As Hinton himself pointed out, when he announced the LAST season, that happened to have naught but MALE playwrights at its core, nobody said boo. But in interviews now, people are madly curious about why anyone would do such a thing as let the girls out to play. It’s beautifully telling. Myself, I’m more embarrassed at how unfamiliar I am with most (not all, tho!) of the works and scribes involved, but I’m happy that I’ll get a chance to remedy that next season. The showlist is:
THE GLACE BAY MINERS’ MUSEUM by Wendy Lill – Based on the book by Sheldon Currie, and the same source that inspired the flick MARGARET’S MUSEUM. Andy Massingham himself told me at the launch that it was one of the most beautiful pieces of theatre he ever done seen, so that’s more than good enough for me.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Jane Austen – Okay, okay, ya knew they HAD to have an Austen in an all-gal season, right? Funny tho, that they picked the SAME Jane Austen piece that the Ottawa Little Theatre is doing in THEIR next season. Let the comparisons begin!
METAMORPHOSES by Mary Zimmerman – Based on the works of that ancient madman Ovid, there’s lots of mythic retelling AND a swimming pool in this one. So there.
INNOCENCE LOST by Beverley Cooper – Based on a real-life murder case in 1959 that ended up convicting a young boy, later proven innocent in 2007..! Sounds creepy cool.
BIG MAMA! THE WILLIE MAE THORNTON STORY by Audrei-Kairen – Starring the great Jackie Richardson, and telling the story of the larger than life jazz legend who wrote Hound Dog, and got paid a whole 500 bucks for it. This one sounds AWESOME.
THIRSTY by Dionne Brand – Brand’s one of the NAC playwrights-in-residence, and she’s adapting her own poem into a full-blown play here, in the only piece this season to be directed by Peter Hinton hisself.
THE EDWARD CURTIS PROJECT by Marie Clements – A joint NAC/GCTC production, following the highly succesful VIMY team-up, as well as being a fusion of theatre and photo exhibit. Remember to head over to the Oiving Greenboig theatre for this one!
MISS CALEDONIA by Melody A.Johnson – YAY, one I know! Okay, okay, I know PRIDE AND PREJUDICE too, of course, but I’ve actually SEEN this production! It was one of my fav’rits at SUMMERWORKS two years ago (I seen it twice), and I could not be happier that it’s coming to the NAC, along with musical accompaniist Alison Porter. Trust me, you’re gonna LOVE it.
And rounding out the season in the family series, there are the amazing sounding SANCTUARY SONG by Abigail Richardson Schulte and Marjorie Chan, an opera for children from the pov of an elephant, and TULUGAK: INUIT RAVEN STORIES by Sylvia Cloutier, presenting Inuit legends and stories for all ages. And I’M an all-aged person! So I’m going.
I think the NAC and Peter Hinton (who got a lovely warm standing ovation at the launch) done good here, and they couldn’t have made this season more girl-powerish unless they’d staged a full-blown musical theatre rendition of SPICE WORLD…which, now that I think of it, they TOTALLY should have.
Oh great, now I’m gonna be dream-casting a Spice World production in my head for the rest of the day. Let’s see, Tess McManus can be Baby Spice, Nadine Thornhill for Scary…Oh man, this is gonna be AMAZING!
Peace, love and soul, ladies,
The Visitor (and Winston)