Archive for August, 2012|Monthly archive page

Coming Up in September 2012

In Uncategorized on August 31, 2012 at 6:32 pm

September already!  It’s back to school time…for LOSERS, that is!  For awesome people, it’s back to Theatre time, which makes you and me PRETTY FUCKING AWESOME.  Let’s get right to the goodies and goings-on, hey?

ALIEN PREDATOR/SPACE MYSTERY…FROM OUTERSPACE!  From Go Fly a Kite and Dead Unicorn Ink., at Arts Court.  The Fringe Benefits 2-bill continues until the 2nd, open bar and all.  Don’t miss the bestest live sci-fi experience around!

STONES IN HIS POCKETS from 730 Productions, at the Gladstone.  Kicking off their latest season, the Gladstone has some Irish comedy courtesy of John P.Kelly, and the dynamic duo of Zach Counsil and Richard Gelinas.  From the preview of the action I saw recently at the FLY WITH STONES party at the GCTC, this show is absolutely not to be missed!  Plays from the 7th to the 29th.

LA BOHEME from Opera Lyra, at the NAC (Southam Hall).  Yes, apparently I talk about opera now!  Caught the media call of this one a couple days ago, and you know what?  Those fuckers can SING.  Plays the 8th, 10th, 12th and 15th, and promises to be a good epic time.  Can’t wait to check it out!

THE SECRET MASK at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.  Kicking off their 38th season, GCTC is loading the Oiving Greenboig stage up with the serious talents of Paul Rainville, Kate Hurman and Michael Mancini for this family dramedy, playing from the 11th to 30th.

LE TOUR DE L’ILE at Theatre de L’Ile.  Over the river in Gatineau, the second show of the season at Theatre de L’ile kicks off on the 12th, running straight thru into next month.  I’m gonna make it out to this one, I SWEAR.

HAY FEVER at Ottawa Little Theatre.  Did you think that 38th season mention for the GCTC was impressive?  It was, but it kinda pales before a solid century of programming, which OLT kicks off with this Noel Coward joint, from the 15th thru to October 6th.

PRIVATE LIVES from Kanata Theatre, at the Ron Maslin Playhouse.  Launching a very respectable 44th season, the Kanata kids are back with EVEN MORE Noel Coward, who seems to be enjoying an Ottawa Renaissance this month.  From the 18th to 29th.

DELUGE from Theatre du Trillium, at la Nouvelle Scene.  More French theatre, which can only be a good thing.  The company that brought you the multiple-Rideau winning show TARAM is back with this cool-sounding show from the 25th to 30th.

SNAPSHOT from Gruppo Rubato, at the GCTC Studio.  Ottawa faves GR are back with a full-length play, which is going to be several kinds of fantastic, if the preview a while back is any indication.  From the 25th to 30th.

DOG SEES GOD from Red.Collective, at Saw Gallery.  The Reddies are back and ready for more, and you should be too.  Their latest plays deep down in the belly of the SAW from the 27th to 30th.

THE TEMPEST REPLICA from Kidd Pivot, at the NAC.  Some Shakespeare-inspired dance for y’all, featuring choreography from Crystal Pite.  27th and 28th only!

THE FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL at Pressed Cafe, from various.  The Kids are rising up!  A bevy of young upstarts, from Fringe fav’rits May Can Theatre to local improv troublemakers GRIMprov (check out their event page for all the info), all putting short new shows while you drink and make merry.  It’s gonna be some pretty incredible fun, and that’s the truth.  From the 28th thru 30th.

All this, plush CRUSH IMPROV have lots of cool stuff planned this month.  First up is thir regular BOUT TIME show at the Elmdale on Monday the 3rd…and they’re hosting a drop-in Improv workshop prior to the show at the OSSD, which any ‘prov hopefuls would do well to check out.  The following week, they’ve got the premiere of a regularly scheduled gig at the Gladstone Theatre on the 10th, featuring the return of that dreadlocked munchkin herself, Cari Leslie!  I hear there will be another workshop attached to this show, check their website for more details.

And as a curiosity to the deranged, a new podcast on local Ottawa Theatre is threatening to premiere sometime this month as well.   Going by the senses-shattering moniker of THREE GUYS TALKING ABOUT THEATRE, the show is reported to feature Allan Mackey of Production Ottawa, Andrew Snowdon of Apartment 613 and the local Pipe-smokers Union, and Kevin Reid of Parts Unknown.  So if you need something to listen to while you’re, I dunno, baking a souffle or something next month, this might be for you.  Personally, I’d rather listen to Motorhead, but that’s just how my Momma raised me.

That’s all for now…as always, tell me if I missed anything…I mean it!  I wanna know!!  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)



In Uncategorized on August 30, 2012 at 8:04 pm

This is a quickie post about a show I just saw the other night.  It’s not a quickie because of the quality of the show, which was supoib.  No, it’s a short one for a very particular reason: I still don’t know what happened in the play.

I will rapidly point out that this is NOT the play’s fault.  The show, LE PETIT KOCHEL by Normand Chaurette, is a very text-heavy, poetical show entirely in French, which is not my first language (apparently by a long shot), and large chunks of the text totally flew over my head last night.  It seemed like there was something vaguely meta going on, possibly supernatural, and it all seemed very cool, but…well, I’m still merrily mystified.

That much being said, I can heartily endorse this show whether you know French or not.  Director Gabrielle Boucher, clearly a  contender to watch out for, puts on a dandy spectacle starring four fantastically talented actors…Frederique Therien, Chloe Tremblay, Julie Grethen and Lauriane Lehouillier.  They all put on an absolutely powerhouse show (I admit to being especially tickled, as was the opening night audience, by Julie Grethen’s Anne…but make no mistake, these were ALL stunning performances).  Boucher makes full use of her seriously skilled cast and the theatre space itself in a way only French theatre seems to on a regular basis.  Anglos, please take notes.

I’m afraid my writeup tonight is later than I’d hoped, and there’s really only two more shows available to catch, Friday and Saturday night at 8 at Studio Leonard Beaulne.  The show is Free, part of a student directors’ series I believe…and quite frankly, it’d be a steal at 20 bucks.  This is kick-ass theatre, folks, and at this price it’s too good to pass up.  Do the right thing and pack the house…and, uh, watch out for flying crockery.   Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

For the Love of Derby

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm

This is just a bit of a quickie post, as I’m chilling out on a Sunday eve with Winston the Cat, trying to decide whether I’m going to watch GREATEST AMERICAN HERO reruns, or try and make sense of KNIGHT RIDER chronology (seriously, how does the KNIGHT RIDER 2000 tv-movie possibly fit in to the KR universe??).  This is all important stuff and is going somewhere, I promise!

But first, important roller-derby-themed business.

I would have done this in tomorrow’s Foofarah, but this is a bit of a time-sensitive issue and just couldn’t wait.  My most-viewed piece of theatre ever (I’m at 4 times now!), and the most epic piece of eight-wheeled adventure since Dazzler fought Doctor Doom, Nancy J.Kenny‘s ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL enjoyed a kick-ass run at Ottawa Fringe last year, and is planning to wheel across the country sooner than later.  But the lady miss Kenny (along with directorial superstar Tania Levy, and hardest working stage manager in town Nick Alain) want to put some solid work in on the show, give it the no-expense-spared workshop treatment so that folks get the derby-est Fringe experience possible when next the show takes to the stage.  There’s an online fundraising campaign set up at IndieGoGo (which I’m thinking of doing later on to help fund my OWN Cross-Country Fringe trek) which you should all click on and donate to RIGHT NOW!!!  The campaign ends in just a couple of days, and every little bit helps.

Defeating Doc Doom while wearing rollerskates takes serious cash, folks, so dig deep.

That’s it, just a plea for donations on other peoples behalf…but never fear, I think I might actually see a show or two and review them this week.  And as hinted, there might even be a regularly scheduled Foofarah tomorrow!  Kind of depends how much of it I get written before I get loopy at the Elmdale watching MY SUMMER CRUSH, which you should totally come and see with me, because I get so very lonely.  And lonely and funny don’t mix unless you’re watching it, so come keep me company!  And give Nancy some money, willya?  Winston would very much appreciate it…he still has kind of a soft spot for her.  Peace, love and soul,

the Visitor (and Winston)


New Kids on the (theatrical) Block

In Uncategorized on August 24, 2012 at 12:49 am

So the more reg’lar readers of this Chud who know why I call it that sometimes) will have noticed that I’ve fallen off my pace of late in the posting department.  And truth be told, it isnt that there aren’t enough shows going on, it’s that a) I’m not seeing enough of them, and B) I’m sometimes not even writing about the ones that I DO see.  Yeah,that felt weird for me to type.  I guess my post-Fringe ennui really kicked me in the gut harder than I’d believed or something…also, I”m spending way, WAY too much time alone.  Which is great for finally catching up on MAN FROM ATLANTIS and OCEAN GIRL (somebody has to archive old water-based sci-fi teevee shows, folks, it’s not a problem that’s gonna take care of itself), but tends to let me forget why it is I started doing this thing, and why it’s important that I keep it going full steam ahead AT ALL TIMES.  I will attempt to rectify this, on the off-chance that anybody is still reading.

For starters, I saw a show tonight by a new theatre group in town…actually, I saw a show by a new group last week, too.  That one I didn’t write about at the time, on account of I caught it on the last night anyhow, but tonight I’m gonna pull a good old fashioned late-nite post and cover’em both.  Because quite frankly, they’re both more than worth it.

The show last week was J’TE RAPPELLE from Theatre Circonstanciel, at Studio Leonard Beaulne, one of my very fav’rit venues in the whole wide world.  Written by the new company’s general director Catherine Chiasson, and directed by their AD Charles Rose, the play (really an extended scene at just shy of 45 minutes) is about a young woman, Catherine (Alexe Lodin), grieving the loss of her beloved Grandma, or ‘Mamie’ (Marieve Gauvreau-Presseau).  In a neat twist, we get to see the grieving process from both sides, Catherine’s AND Mamie’s.  It was a beautifully staged show, with the usual inventive flair I’ve come to expect from Franco-Theatre.  Both performances were excellent, and Gauvreau-Presseau especially made Mamie one of the most instantly likeable and memorable characters I’ve caught onstage in a while.    The pair of them smoked herbal cigarettes like DeNiro in MIDNIGHT RUN through the entire show, and I hope their lungs survived the run unscathed.  I had a great, grand smile on my face laving the theatre that night, and I hope Ottawa gets another chance to see the Circonstanciel gang put up another show before too long.  Some serious talent is going on there, and it deserves to be seen.

Tonight’s show was a little off the beaten path, at Southminster United Church in old Ottawa South.  This bunch calls themselves Ouroboros Theatre, and for their debut they’ve gone in a more classic direction, by way of Oscar Wilde’s AN IDEAL HUSBAND.  At nearly three hours, Wilde’s densely verbose comedy of high society is a rather daring choice for a student premiere, but the gang pulled it off with panache.  The story centers around a scheming femme fatale, one Mrs. Chevely (Chany Singh, digging into her villainous role with admirable zeal), who tries to blackmail an upstanding member of Parliament (Christopher Hoeft as Robert Chiltern, doing strong work as the play’s straight man) into betraying his principles for her.  Caught in the mix are his adoring wife Gertrude (Siobhan Fleury, impressive throughout) and best friend and prize dandy Lord Arthur Goring (Jonas McLean, who makes a tremendously endearing fop indeed).  The verbal sparring gets very Wilde-ish throughout, and there ARE bobbles in the delivery on more than one occasion.  But the spirited ensemble, and especially director Jacob Millar’s cool decision to do the show in Mask (with a clever twist indeed which I won’t spoil for you), makes up for any such foibles.  And there are other good turns in the large cast.  Liam McGarry’s bombastic Lord Haversham has several wonderful scenes with McLean as Goring. Erin Crowell’s wonderfully dippy Mabel is a treat when on stage, and Dante Tolusso as servant Phipps nearly steals all of the second act with the best deadpan delivery this side of JEEVES AND WOOSTER.  Like I said, at three hours (in a church basement no less) it’s a bit of a trek, but I’m glad I  went, and I look forward to seeing these folks again on a stage, before too long.  You’ve still got two chances to catch it yourself, it plays until Saturday night.

There, that catches me up at least a LITTLE.  Ouroboros and Circonstanciel, thanks for the good times, and thanks for getting out there and fucking DOING it.  Don’t ever let anyone say ya didn’t.  And if you get out there and do it again, well…I’ll probably be there.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Monday Foofarah – The Brad MacNeil Edition

In Uncategorized on August 20, 2012 at 11:51 pm

Okay, so I know I missed doing one of these last week, but let’s face it…I’m hardly professional, even IF I do get sued like one by wedding photographers who rhyme with Sven Bell-End (yes, I plan on being bitter about that for a LONG time, get used to it!).  And as such I likely owe you guys a Foofarah twice as long as normal.  But, it’s already past eleven ass I start this, time’s a wasting, and I really, REALLY hate typing on this new laptop keyboard.  So, let’s get to it quicker than usual because I got me something to say.


JASPER STATION from Ottawa Little Theatre.  Until the 25th, and it sounds all fun and musical!

BOEING BOEING from Theatre de L’ile.  Final week, over gatineau way!

THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE from Odyssey Theatre.  Last chance for some fun in the sun at Strathcona this year, so take advantage.

MY NAME IS ASHER LEV from 9th Hour Theatre. Awesome show from Bronwyn and the gang at Arts Court, don’t miss it.

AN IDEAL HUSBAND from Ourobouros Theatre.  New production of Wilde from some crazy kids at Southminster United, near the Mayfair, from the 22nd thru 25th.

THE LAST BRAD MACNEIL:  Tonight was a tough call…go to the Gladstone Season Launch, or check out some Crush Improv at the Elmdale?  I admit, it was touch and go for a while, but in the end, I went Elmdale.  Not the least of reasons because tonight was the last night mister Brad MacNeil would be performing with Crush, before he and his clan relocate to Vancouver.  He and the collective Crush Improv family (including Al Connors, Desiree Connors-MarriedName, Dan Lajoie, Dan from Montreal, Tim Anderson and Jordan Moffat) put on an expectedly stellar show to a foolishly packed house.  Highlights included Tim singing an impromptu Xmas carol, dolphin sex, Brad the Guru, the always amazing Glen Gower, Top Gun Accountancy, and just a whole buttload of you-shoulda-been-there.  But the show ended on an emotional note, with the gang letting the MacNeil know what he meant to them.  And I realized shortly after I left, I had something to add to that.

Last year I was finishing up a series of introductory acting classes at the OSSD.  Part of that included thee odd improv game to warm up, and once, we got to do a game of Questions.  Now, having already seen Crush go at it a few times (including an epic bout involving Tim Anderson), I was familiar with Questions and I LOVED it.  I could not WAIT to try it, especially since no one else in my class could even grasp the concept.  I thought for sure I’d wipe the floor with them.

I had two goes at it.  Both times, I choked before getting a SINGLE question out.  I felt like total shit, like a loser, like a failure.  I was low folks, and no fooling.

Later that week, I was at the Elmdale for the latest Crush bout.  Somehow, I ended up in palaver with mister MacNeil, where I ended up whining about my suckiness at Questions.  Without missing a beat, Brad stood me up and immediately started giving me pointers at the game.  He asked me where I was having trouble, instructed me as to how I could best improve, and just generally went above and beyond what was expected of an improv performer at 1130 pm on a Monday night.  It meant a helluva lot to a dopey neophyte, ten years too old to be ‘starting out’ with shit like this, I promise.  From everything I have seen or heard since, this is pretty typical Brad MacNeil behaviour, and I can tell you I haven’t forgotten it, and I never will.  I had the pleasure of interviewing Brad (along with Nick diGaetano) for his shortlived talk show THE BRAD MACNEIL (which I somehow managed to miss all three installments of), and he impresses as much with his manner and heart off-stage as on.

I’m honestly not sure how I feel about an Ottawa with a Brad MacNeil-shaped hole in it, I’m really not.  There’s hard shoes to fill, and then there’s impossible (inside joke…you REALLY should have been there tonight).  So Brad…I salute you, I respect you, and I’m really gonna miss you.  You were the SHIT, my man, and no fooling.

Oh, and, uh…I’m probably gonna be passing through Vancouver next September on the last leg of my cross-Canada Fringe tour?  So, if you have a couch to spare, or know someone who’s GOT one…keep in touch, okay?  I’m just sayin’.

And check out Crush’s website for news about upcoming shows! Brad’s takin’ off, but ‘prov in O-town goes on!

Peace, love, and soul, Brad MacNeil,

The Visitor (and Winston)

PS!  Help MAY CAN THEATRE get to PEI Fringe without making them do it Hobo-Style!  Donate now to their IndieGoGo campaign, and become a better person!

the Art of Asher Lev

In Uncategorized on August 17, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Holy Shit, a theatre company got in touch with me and invited me to come see and review their new show!  Honestly guys, after Fringe I thought you had all forgotten my name!  My suffering blogger ego was down to its last farthing of self-worth, I tells ya.  But when the call finally came, I wasted no time!  With a nod to Winston the Cat, I fired up my trusty Whirly-Bat and roared across the city to my destination, with no time to waste!  Zoom!!

Well, okay, I hopped on a bus and slowly putt-putted across the city, but the end result was about the same.  New show!!!

Also, remember the WHIRLY-BAT? I fucking loved that thing.

The invite was courtesy of the good folks at 9th Hour Theatre for their latest production, MY NAME IS ASHER LEV.  From the novel by Chaim Potok, adapted by Aaron Posner, LEV tells the story of the titular Asher, an ‘observant Jew'(a phrase I only just heard for the first time during this show…I am quite an unobservant religious sideliner, so I was hearing a LOT of jargon for the first time) who tries to reconcile his religious passions and faith with his overriding drive to become a great painter and artist.  I’m often wary of plays with a religious theme, mostly because I’m such an ignorant, swarthy heathen (okay, I’m not swarthy), so I walked into this one with…not trepidation exactly, but relatively reserved expectations.  But then, the always trustworthy superstar Bronwnyn Steinberg was at the director’s chair for this one…and if that wasn’t reason enough to give it a chance, then reason doesn’t mean what I think it does.

The theatre at Arts Court has been rejiggered a bit for this one, splitting the audience on different sides of a rather attractive set from designer Patrice Ann Forbes (who also took care of the nicely authentic costumes) depicting the modest Brooklyn home of the mightily Jewish Lev clan, headed by strict father Aryeh (David Whitely, rocking the Hasidic beard like a champ) and young, doting mother Rivkeh (Sarah Gabriella Waisvisz…oy, that wig!).  Together they grapple with their growing boy Asher (Drew Moore, fresh from the Ottawa Theatre School and THE SUICIDE) as he enters the world of art. Papa Lev takes it about as well as Krusty the Clown’s Rabbi dad did, and years of heartache and conflict ensue.   Eventually, Asher discovers the world of Jakob Kahn (Whitely again), a renowned Jewish painter who takes the passionate lad under his wing, raising the stakes ever higher.

I was merrily surprised with ASHER LEV, its oodles of humour and warmth, and the wonderful way it soberly pitted religion versus art while still portraying both with something akin to reverence.  Drew Moore does himself proud as the conflicted hero, trying to honour his parents while following his irresistible path.  Waisvisz is wonderful as Rivkeh, getting strong emotion across in a mostly subdued performance.  And David Whitely and his beard also turn in solid performances, and his portrayal of devout Aryeh is especially memorable indeed.  The whole play is staged beautifully, with an intimate set that somehow manages to feel expansive when it needs to.  I have a minor quibble with the use of music in the show, as once or twice it threatened to overpower a key scene, and strong dramatic moments bordered on cheesy as a result.  But for the most part, it was a lovely accompaniment.

9th Hour and their gang have put together a pretty damn terrific show, that a devout Pagan like me ate up with delight.  The show runs until the 25th at Arts Court Theatre, and y’all should do yourselves a favour and check it out.  Peace, love and soul,

the Visitor (and Winston)

Green is the Colour

In Uncategorized on August 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm

How bummed was I to be missing Winnipeg Fringe this year?
I mean, come ON!  Ottawa Fringe is my baby and always will be, but 170+ shows?  All day, every day?  And it sounded like a helluva lot of fun, from the Ottawa peeps who were in thee peg touring…the Godmeres did boffo business with VERNUS SAYS SURPRISE, wee Tess McManus did herself proud with DONKEY DERBY…and then, there was that one other show that I had NOT seen.  A solo show by OSSD’s Colleen Sutton, someone I was only familiar with in passing.  But after what sounded like a very successful run in Winnipeg, the lady Sutton decided to give Ottawa a pleasant surprise by offering a one-night remount of the show for us to enjoy, at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama.  And enjoy isn’t nearly a big enough word.
Colleen’s show RIDER GIRL is her own story, as well as the story of the century-old underdogs of the Canadian Football League, the Saskatchewan Rough Riders.   Starting out as a reluctant band member at the games, Colleen is drawn into Rider mania by her football-fan mentor Sandra, a disturbingly endearing character who, true to her word, only gets louder as she goes.   The story charts Colleen’s progress as a musician, actor AND Ridergirl, with Sutton’s undeniable green-and-white-clad charm powering the way forward.  But bills, personal tragedies and fumbled balls start piling up, and what starts out looking like a fluffy comedy about CFL fandom turns into something far more memorable.  There are tons of genuine laughs in RIDER GIRL, but the heart wrenching moments are a close second.

Pom poms are third.

I’ve seldom, if ever seen a show with as much pure heart as this show, and Colleen Sutton (who I now proudly have a HUGE crush on, thank you very much) pours every last bit of herself into the performance. Seriously, you might find yourself wondering how she’s even still standing at the end of it.  A quiet monologue this ain’t, folks.  This is a rowdy, physical, trash-talking, hilarious and moving show that performs the heretofore presumed impossible task of bridging the gap between professional sports and independent theatre.  And if Mam’selle Sutton (along with director Jan Irwin) doesn’t deserve an MVP for that, then fuck me, I don’t know who does.  And I don’t even WATCH football.

Now, I don’t know how much use this particular review IS, as this was a one-night only show.  But if there’s any justice in the universe (and we’ll let Riders fans decide that for themselves), Rider Girl will be back at next year’s Fringe, and maybe sooner.  Undercurrents, anyone?  Just a thought.  Peace, love and soul, Ottawa,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Monday Foofarah! – Aug 06 2012

In Uncategorized on August 6, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Howdy folks…long time no Foofarah!  My profuse apologies for those of you so bereft of anything to do with yourselves that you actually read this crap.  I promise to try and make this one worth your while!  I missed the Foof a couple off weeks ago due to technical difficulties, and last week due to paralyzing clinical depression (but FUNNY clinical depression, don’t worry or anything).  Hardly any excuses this week tho!  If I can get some good writin’ done before heading out to CRUSH IMPROV in a few hours, then maybe I can get this out to you, complete with the announcement of my balls-to-the-wall MAJOR Fringe initiative in the works for next summer! you’re gonna dig it the most, you crazy kids.   So what’s first?


HENRY V from A Company of Fools.  Still touring parks across the Ottawa region, and it’s an absolute must-see.  Margo Mac was BORN to play Henry the Fifth, I’m going on record.

OTHELLO and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM at the St.Lawrence Shakespeare Festival.  Ongoing over Prescott way, if you’re up for a road trip (or, you know, reading this website from Prescott, as is conceivable), both shows are amazing bang for your buck, AND they both have Kate Smith and Alix Sideris.  Why are you still reading this?

THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE from Odyssey Theatre.  Ottawa’s fav’rit masked men and women are back with a new, Andy Massingham-directed piece of outdoor theatre in Strathcona Park.  Just started, so get it while its hot!

BOEING, BOEING from Theatre de L’ile. Out in Gatineau, French style comedy goings-on continue until the 25th. Quite frankly, they had me with pretty girls on the poster.

QUELQUES HUMAINS from Theatre Belvedere. More cool French theatre, this time at La Nouvelle Scene in the Market, to the 18th.  Don’t know much about it, but I’m betting  that it’ll be sweet.

AND TREAT THE DISTANT PEOPLES WITH KINDNESS from Atelier du Corps. From the 9th thru 11th at Academic Hall, an exciting sounding piece that I know little about, but wanna know more.

And now, here’s that Dan Mangan dude that Katie Hood had a poster of hanging in her living room.  Turns out it’s because he’s so good at singing and stuffs.

SUBWAY.  So Subway has a series of ads up on the radio.  By virtue of the fact that they’re radio advertisements, of course they’re shit (radio advertising is where hack writers go to die), but this latest pack of ad pieces has me particularly disturbed.  The gimmick is that Subway has different subs on sale every day of the week…one day is Tuna Day, the next is Subway Club day, etc.  And each commercial features a different person who has become so enamoured of the home of the sandwich artiste that they have eschewed the traditional ‘Monday’ and’ Thursday’ appelations in favour of the Subway rechristenings.  Harmless enough fun, right?  But it goes deeper than that.  See, not only do the characters in the ads refer to Thursday as ‘Mexican Fajita Banana Sub’ Day or whatever it is, but they honestly DON’T EVEN KNOW that they’re using the wrong word.  They legitimately, vehemently claim that they’ve never even HEARD of words like ‘Saturday’, despite the fact that, as 20-30 something members of North American society, there’s no possible way they could not be familiar with the traditional Gregorian calendar system.  One guy in an ad goes so far as to cancel a date with a girl, on the grounds that she used one of the classic weekday names, as opposed to the Subway variation.  He actually is so engrossed in the new Subway version of reality that it overrides his sexual desires.  In each case, the brainwashed (subwashed?) individual gets into increasingly escalated conflict, be it with a total stranger or even a loved one, over which word is the right one for the days of the week.  And calenders don’t work as proof…one guy actively berates a shopkeeper for selling what he refers to as ‘bogus’ calendars.  This is mind control of the highest order being gleefully depicted as the result of an untoasted lunch sandwich, people, and it makes me wonder who’s behind the subway franchise in what I pray is the alternate universe being depicted in these ads.  Jim Jones WISHES he were charismatic enough a manipulator to actually make people forget the word for Friday. And not down-and-out street people neither…the characters in these ads sound like pretty well-educated middle-class taxpayers to me, the kind of suckers a cult leader would dearly love to ensnare. What do they put in the subs in this terrifying world?  It sure as hell ain’t chipotle southwest sauce, that’s for sure.  Basically, kudos to Subway for sneaking a surreallist, Twilight-Zone horror campaign onto the radio.  And cut down on the fast food, everyone, okay?

MONEY. I’ve recently taken a good hard look at my financial situation, for reasons that I’ll explain in the exciting news to come a little later in the post.  And I’m looking at a situation where I have to try really hard to save a few pennies over the next ten months or so.  Thanks to being a touch too thrifty in recent months, not to mention being gouged by a certain vindictive douchebag of a wedding photographer who shall remain forever nameless, my wallet has to come under tight rein. That may mean I won’t be able to spend as much on theatre in the coming months as I might like, which hurts.  Still, I AM blessed with being on a media list or two, and eternal thanks for that if you’ve deigned to include me on that very precious invite list.  I do not take it lightly, I promise.  In fact, I’ll be absolutely depending on it for next year, when I’ll be launching (hopefully) my ridiculously ambitious, life-altering Fringe plan for 2013.  This year it was TEAM VISITORIUM (and ladies, I know I still owe you dinner…I haven’t forgotten!).  But next year, it’s…

And just what is AYFABTM you rightfully ask?  It’st he plan I came up with as a joke when talking to Shane Adamczak aka Zack Adams, at the Toronto Fringe recently (get well soon, buddy!), before realizing that I actually HAD to do it.  The plan is: Save up a ton of cash between now and next June.  Then, in the following order:
A) Quit my job.
B) Give up or sublet my Apartment (and safely bunk Winston the Cat with my parents), and finally
C) Hit the road!  Starting with the Montreal Fringe Festival early next June, I will be embarking on what I imagine might be the first ever Cross-Canada Fringe Review tour!  While most cities have not yet announced their official 2013 dates, I’m looking right now at a tentative schedule of: Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Victoria, and finally, Vancouver.  It would take me across Canada over three and a half months, travelling with the performers and creators who have reshaped my life since I first discovered the Fringe 5 years ago.  I still have a LOT of things to work out for this plan to make it to reality, lots of connections to be made, details to be sorted, rides to beg, couches to crash on, monies to save, the works.  And there WILL be a fundraiser or two to help fuel this madness, so save your spare pennies for THAT one.  I was going to wait a lot longer to announce this, but I need to get going on things NOW, and a public declaration seemed like a good bridge-burning moment.  It’s Red October time, people, and the promised land isn’t going to find itself.  If you’re excited along with me, and especially if you know anyone in any of my planned cities with a room to spare during Fringe next year, let me know!

That’s it for tonight…I’m just home late now from an epic CRUSH IMPROV at the Elmdale.  Brad MacNeil went out of ‘Bout Time with another victory, tho it was a hard fought battle.  Two of the three best ever Bout Time trios squared off tonight (only THE NEIGHBOURHOOD was missing), and even I managed to get on stage for a bit of the fun (Batmobile!).  And can I say how fucking impressed I am by relative newcomers Christine and Brooke from TWO AND A HALF WOMEN? Them gals is bringing the funny but good. Check out Crush every Monday this month for a brand new show at the Elmdale, and check back here soon for some new local show reviews, news, and as always, Foofarah.  Peace, love and soul, Ottawa,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Red Oleanna

In Uncategorized on August 3, 2012 at 8:31 am

It’s been a rough few days and weeks here at the Visitorium, or so it seems, so it’s always a delight to spend a night doing what I’m SUPPOSED to be doing for once…seeing some cool new theatre.  And at the Saw Gallery even..!  Oh, weird, artsy, subterranean venue, how I missed you at Fringe this year!  And it was a special enough even this particular evening, as local young theatre punks Red.Collective were kicking off their first ever full season of programming as the Saw’s resident company, which is some cool beans right there.  I became a quick fan after their kick-ass presentation of THE LARAMIE PROJECT earlier this year, so I was eager to see more from them.  And in true upstart rebel fashion, they decided to start things off with maybe the most divisive play they could find, David Mamet’s OLEANNA.

The story of the contentious (to say the least) relationship between unconventional college professor John (Jonah Lerner) and struggling student Carol (Laura Abramsen) as they go from an innocent-seeming consultation into a spiralling clash of perceptions and values that is one of the most beautifully frustrating things I’ve ever witnessed.  Director Iain Moggach solves the problem of the Saw Gallery’s infamously shitty sightlines ingeniously, placing the set in the center of the room…sneakily forcing the audience to ‘choose a side’ even before the play has begun.  And the two leads do pretty damn fantastically with the material and the dialogue, which is even more Mamet-ish than I could have imagined.  I was ready to strangle someone if they didn’t just speak a WHOLE GODDAMNED SENTENCE already!

Ahem.  But that’s Mamet for you, eh?  He’ll frustrate you one way or the other…and this is a play I seem to be having a LOT of trouble getting out of my head.  Lerner, last seen in the slightly different role of the singing and dancing extraterrestrial in ALIEN PREDATOR: THE MUSICAL, brings the self-absorbed John a practiced charm that got me on his side in the early going.  But Laura Abramsen’s Carol, who moves from shrinking violet to strong and calculated aggressor (which may not be the right word at all, at all), makes a more and more persuasive case as the play moves angrily forward, and the slightest action from either character has you questioning their motives.  I won’t say much more about it, except that Abramsen and Lerner do strong work with some of the most challenging material around…I had to do a little GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS at the OSSD, I know what a bastard Mamet-speak can be.  And of course, the dialogue isn’t the most challenging thing about OLEANNA…it’s the material itself, and the prickly issues (power, gender, education, entitlement, etc.) it not only raises, but shoves right in your fucking face and dares you not to pay attention.  Major props to the Reddies for debuting with this piece, and a great version of it at that.  Ottawa, do yourself a favour and get down to the Saw, pick a side…and watch out.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in August 2012

In Uncategorized on August 1, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Okay, I know I know it was kind of a quiet month (especially on the heels of Fringe) last month, but we’ve got some cool stuff line up for this coming month, I do promise ya.  Some outside, some inside…a little of everything!

HENRY V from A Company of Fools.  Still trekking around Ottawa Parks until the 18th, and so worth a look it almost defies description.  Margo Mac’s King Harry is an absolute must-see, I can’t stress it enough. Also, tennis balls.

AS YOU LIKE IT from Bear and Company.  One week left in Bear’s Shakespeare tour, settled for the end of the run in Arts Court Theatre until the 5th.  Highly recommended, and not just because Team Visitorium’s Danielle Savoie is in it (though she’s awesome in it, as is everyone).

THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE from Odyssey Theatre.  From their home in Strathcona Park, Odyssey brings on director Andy Massingham for  a masked romp that I’m betting good money will be amazing.  Runs through the 26th.

OTHELLO and A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM from the St.Lawrence Shakespeare Festival.  Both playing until the 18th out Prescott way, both fantastic fun, and both featuring Alix Sideris AND Kate Smith… why are you still even here?  Seriously, all the Shakespeare you need is going on this month.  Get out there and get your fill!

OLEANNA from Red.Collective.  Starting their run as Saw Gallery’s new resident theatre company, the Reddies are ready with some Dave Mamet to get things rolling, from the 2nd to the 5th.  Be there.

STITCHES IN TIME from Theatre Wakefield.  Playing at the Maison Fairbairn House Museum in Wakefield until the 5th , and featuring Visitorium fav’rit Will LaFrance!  Hop the train and check it out already.

JASPER STATION from Ottawa Little Theatre.  Part of the Summer Fling series, OLT presents this  Norm Foster bit from the 14th through 25th.  I think it’s totally acceptable to shout ‘NORM!’ as soon as the curtain opens.

MY NAME IS ASHER LEV from 9th Hour Theatre.  It’s directed by Bronwyn Steinberg, what else do you need yto know?  From the 15th to 25th at Arts Court Theatre.

AND TREAT THE DISTANT PEOPLE WITH KINDNESS from Les Ateliers du Corps.  Billed as a collaborative, devised piece with choreography, music, text…it just sounds awesome, all right?  Three days only, the 9th to 11th at Academic Hall. Don’t miss out!

BOEING BOEING from Theatre de L’Ile.  Still running through to the 25th just over the bridge.  They had me the moment they put pretty girls on the poster.

QUELQUES HUMAINS from Theatre Belvedere.  Don’t know much about this French piece playing at la Nouvelle Scene from the 2nd to the 18th, only that French theatre is usually cool theatre.

SPACE MYSTERY…FROM OUTER SPACE! from Dead Unicorn Ink, and ALIEN PREDATOR: THE MUSICAL from Go Fly a Kite Productions. Remounting their smashing sci-fi double-bill from this year’s Fringe, the DUI and Kite gangs will be back in action at Arts Court Theatre from the 30th through September 2nd.

And there’s more!  On the 6th at the Elmdale Tavern, Crush Improv returns with another BOUT TIME battle, so get your Hintonburger ready.  And on the 9th over at Mercury Lounge, Ottawa’s best live talk show THE BRAD MACNEIL returns, starring the MacNeil himself, and Nick DiGaetano.  Also, at the ODD Studio in Arts Court, the Ottawa Dance Directive presents their SERIES DANCE #10 from the 23rd to 25th, for those of you that, like me, only had your appetite whetted by HETEROLLECTUAL back in June.

I’m hoping a few more things are gonna pop up in the next while, because there’s ALWAYS room for more theatre!  As for myself, I’ll be getting out to as much of this list as possible, wrapping up my dealings with a disgruntled wedding photographer (hopefully), and making an announcement soon about MAJOR Visitorium plans for next year’s Fringe Festival(s?).  It’s gonna be sweet, it’s gonna be epic, and it just might make history.  That’s it for me for now, I’m gonna go eat, watch some HOLMES ON HOMES, and then…what else..?  Head out to a show.  Hope to see you all there.  Peace, love and soul, Ottawa,

The Visitor (and Winston)