visitorium

2012 – Big Stoopid End of Year Post!

In Theatre on January 1, 2013 at 10:07 am

Another year down and FUCK YOU, Mayans, I’m still here (that whole prediction was about me, right?).  It’s been a  helluva year, and wordpress informs me that my views this year more than doubled from last year.  Not bad for a rough-and-tumble kid from the wrong side of the tracks, if I do say so myself.  But first things first, before I start reminiscing about the year that was…just what were the shows that I’ll be reminiscing about?  Well…

2 Pianos 4 Hands
‘33 – a Kabarett
100 1st Kisses
2020
the Actor’s Nightmare
Aerial Allusions
Agnes of God
Albertine en Cinq Temps
Alien Predator: the Musical
Ambition
An Ideal Husband
And Then it Happens
As You Like It
Bad Connections
Beat the Devil
Beyond a Joke
Bifurcate Me
the Blind Date
the Blind Seal
Blood on the Moon
Blue Box
la Boheme
[boxhead]
Breaking Rank!
Breaking Velocity
the Bridge
Caution: Do Not Feed the Mermaids
le Cimetiere des Voitures
Circle Mirror Transformation
Communication Cord
Communion
Company
A Complete History of Zack Adams
Conversations With Strangers
Creation
Crime and Punishment
Crux
Cyrano de Bergerac
Dangerous Liaisons
Danti-Dan
Death and the Maiden
the Death of Dracula
Deciding What Is
‘Dentity Crisis
Dirk Darrow: NCSSI
the Dog, the Cat, and the Fish
Dead Wrong
Dog Sees God
Donkey Derby
Don’t Make me Zealous
Dusk and Dawn
East of Berlin
Eumenides
Fallen: the Book of Samael
Falling Open
the Fat Guy Show
Fear Factor: Canine Edition
la Fin de Fins
the First Canadian President of the United States
First Dusk, Last Light
Fishbowl
Float
Fly Me to the Moon
FNL: Fringe Night Live
the Game of Love and Chance
Gametes and Gonads
Giant Invisible Robot
Glace Bay Miners’ Museum
Happy
Hard Times
Hay Fever
the Henchman’s Survival Guide
Henry V
Heterollectual: Love and Other Dumb Ideas
Hide
Highway 63: the Fort Mac Story
Hip-Hop Shakespeare Live Music Videos
the Hollow
How it Works
Hydrangea
If We Were Birds
I’m Not Crying in the Bathroom I’m Crying in the Supply Closet
In/Side the Box
In Waves
Jem Rolls: Ten Starts and a Stop
J’te Rappelle
Judgement Day
Julius Caeser
Just Dessert
King Lear (GNAG)
King Lear (NAC)
Kleo’s Wake
Kuwaiti Moonshine
the Laramie Project
Late
Leftovers
Little Lady
Little Orange Man
Live from the Belly of a Whale
Lonely Bear
Long Division
Lost in Yonkers
Lovebug Louie in a Blessing From the Cursed
Mabel’s Last Performance
MacBeth
A MacSummer Night’s Dream
Mahmoud
Mamamouchi
Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety
Mercutio & Ophelia
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Miracle on 34th Street: the Radio Play
Mister Pim Passes By
More Power to Your Knitting, Nell
Mouving
Mum and the Big C
My Drunk Play
My Name is Asher Lev
the Nightingale
November
the Number 14
Occupy Me
Of Mice and Morro and Jasp
Oleanna
Open Couple
the Orrery
Othello
Penny Plain
Peter ‘n Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Motel
le Petit Kochel
Player’s Advice to Shakespeare
Please Save the Queen
Pride and Prejudice
A Report to the Academy
the Restaurant
Rider Girl
Roller Derby Saved my Soul
Romeo and Juliet
RU Smarter Than an Irishman
Secret Mask
Self Help
Shakespeare’s Dead
Shakespeare’s Interactive Circus
She Has a Name
She Hath Done What She Could
Short Skirt Butch
Snapshot
Space Mystery…From OuterSpace!
Stones in his Pockets
the Suicide
Summer of ‘34
Tales she Tells
Temple of Khaos
Theatre of the Film Noir
Third Time Lucky
Thirsty
This is Today
Tinfoil Dinosaur
‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore
[title of show]
Tongue and Groove
Tony Ho’s Sad People
Tour de L’Ile
Unity (1918)
the Vagina Monologues
le Ventriloque
Vernus says Surprise!
Vicious
A Walk with Mister McGee
Wanderlust
Weetube 5400
We Want Life
What Happens Now?
When the World Blew Away
White Noise
Wolves>Boys
Yerma
You Never Can Tell
You Win

HONOURABLE MENTIONS:

Company of Fools Twelfth Night
Coronation Voyage (staged reading)
Empty Space series – Oscar Wilde
Flying Solo
Ottawa Stage Managers’ Battle (featuring Guard Duty, Strips, and Les Animaux)
Workshop II Series

…Beat THAT, Ruprecht!  Yeah, okay, that list IS, to be honest, a little artificially padded, as a lot of those shows were the shows-within-a-show or festival (ala SubDevision, for example), that I’ll be getting to in a paragraph or two.  But let’s start off with what kind of journey it’s been for me this year, and it HAS been one, marked on more than one occasion by an odd feeling that, quite frankly, I’ve been unaccustomed to feeling in my 42 years.  I think it’s called ‘Pride’.

SoberMaryPost2

– HOLY SHIT, I DID INTERVIEWS! Yes, with some dutiful prodding from the lovely Nancy Kenny, I finally managed to do a tentative bit of interview action, first with the Evolution Theatre gang for the boffo 2-bill of MARY MAGDALENE AND ADVENTURES IN SOBRIETY and [boxhead], and then a whole series leading up to Fringe, among others.  And while it has been a while since my last one, I do plan to get back on that horse someday soon.

– HOLY SHIT, I DID SOME VOICE-ACTING!  And boyoboy, did I have fun doing it.  The irreplaceable Ken Godmere and wunnerful Tania Levy got it all started, when they yanked me in for their recording sessions leading up to the Fringe classic VERNUS SAYS SURPRISE.  It was a great time, take after take behind Ken’s couch in  his basement/makeshift recording studio, and in the end I was graced  with the honour of being featured not once, not twice, but thrice on the VERNUS soundtrack, something of which I am enormously proud.  This great experience later led to me tagging along with fellow Fringe superfan Richard Hemphill to do some recording for his long-running CKCU radio sketch comedy show REMOTE PLANET.  I’m hoping there’s more to come on that front, so stay tuned!

– HOLY SHIT, IT’S TEAM VISITORIUM!  This year I took on my biggest Fringe-Challenge ever…the review every single show int he festival!  But even I wasn’t dumb enough to try it alone, and to that end I assembled my very own Avengers, and lived out my dream of becoming a blogging Dolemite, with an all-girl army of kung-fu killers/reviewers.  My eternal thanks to FIONA CURRIE, AMANDA KLAMAN, DANIELLE SAVOIE, NADINE THORNHILL, GRACE GORDON and KIERSTEN HANLY for getting us to the goal with time to spare, and looking good doing it.  And Gordon, don’t think I’ve forgotten about your NY review offer!

– HOLY SHIT, I’M STILL VOLUNTEERING! Yes, even though I’m now on a ridiculous number of media lists in Ottawa (double digits, for serious!), I’m honestly quite proud to say I’m still keeping up with my volunteer gig at the GCTC.  Partially because I’m madly in love with most of the gals in the box office (ladies…), but it really is just nice to give a little back to the theatre community that’s made such a huge change in my life these last few years.  I had two special moments with the GCTC volunteer gig this year…one came at the annual volunteer appreciation party (which I missed due to Fringe).  I found out afterwards I was given the ‘Repeat Offender’ award, for being the volunteer who showed up more often than all the others.  And sure, it was just because I wanted to see some of these shows as MANY TIMES AS HUMANLY POSSIBLE (I’m looking at you, BLOOD ON THE MOON…), but I was humbled nonetheless.  The second moment came during one of my shifts for that lovely show I just mentioned in brackets, when I got my first proper test as a volunteer, and had to walk an older couple out of the theatre (the lady had hurt her head on the way in to the theatre that night, and it was worse than she’d thought).  It was the first time I had to miss the show for something like that, and it made me oddly glad.  Duty, and all that.  Shut up!  Moving on…

– HOLY SHIT, I GOT NOMINATED FOR AWARDS!  This one may sound like I’m making it up, but for reals, I swear that it seems to be true as far as I can tell!  The offending parties can be found at the NINJAMATICS NATIONAL WEBLOG AWARDS, and for reasons passing understanding, my little chud (remember that??) has picked up nods in the Arts & Culture, and Best Written categories.  It’s a swell honour, to be sure, and here’s hoping I survive the first round of judging in mid-January!  And if not…?  Well, who cares, that’s why I drink!

So yeah, a great year for me here at the Visitorium.  But mine were hardly the only fun stories in Ottawa Theatre this year, not by a very long shot indeed…

image

– SO MANY NEW THINGS!!  This was, to my mind, an amazing year for new ideas in Ottawa Theatre.  New festivals abounded, from the excellent (and criminally underattended) BLACK BOX SERIES at the Gladstone, the incredible site-specific adventures of SUBDEVISION (already hearing rumours about the new venue for the upcoming sophomore effort..!), the high-energy of the FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL, and New Theatre Ottawa’s crowd-pleasing festival-within-a-show that was the EXTREMELY SHORT NEW PLAY FESTIVAL. Only the most incurable cynic couldn’t find something to blow her or his theatrical mind.  Black Sheep Theatre’s BLACK BOX Series is already back, having rebooted Ken Godmere’s VERNUS SAYS SURPRISE, and next launching the Ottawa premiere of Jayson MacDonald’s UNDERBELLY in early January, and I may just go to every single performance.  Gotta start 2013 off right, after all!

– ARTS COURT MISADVENTURES!  2012 was a pretty wild ride of a year for the venerable, tempestuous institution called Arts Court (or, as I have to explain it to everyone I talk about it to, ‘the building the SAW gallery is in).  After a long and extremely frustrating period when the Arts Court Foundation was relieved of their duties managing the building (as I understand it), things were very up in the air, or so it seemed, as to the future of the building that, aside from hosting a majorly cool art gallery, is a staple in the Ottawa Theatre scene.  But good news came late in the year, as the bid from the Ottawa Fringe festival to manage the space appears to have ben accepted, and plans are underway to make it a reality.  Very good news for all involved, I should think, and I’m looking forward to many more years of Fringe, and other, theatre activity in and around those weird elevators.

OTHER STUFF I’M FORGETTING!  Because I’m a little bit sick right now, and come on, let’s get to the good stuff already!   I wanna dig into my fav’rits of 2012 (as always, yes, these are just MY Fav’rits, not ‘The Best’ of anything…and as always, never trust anyone when they tell you they know what ‘the best’ really is.  They’re just trying to impress you.)

om&m&J

FAV’RIT FRINGE!

I got to see a merry faceful of Fringe this year…not just here at home, but in a whirlwind three-day visit to the Toronto Fringe as well, and I saw some amazing stuff. Because as even the stupidest of children knows, FRINGE IS AMAZING.  I got to see Irish history done right, from Tess McManus and DONKEY DERBY, and Fibin Theatre’s beautiful THE BLIND SEAL.  I witnessed world-class storytelling from the likes of Martin Dockery in WANDERLUST, Paul Cosentino in BAD CONNECTIONS, and John Grady in FEAR FACTOR: CANINE EDITION.  Incredible dance moves and shows from Sinead Cormack with IN/SIDE THE BOX, Caithream’s A MACSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM, and Pollux Dance’s giddily fun HETEROLLECTUAL: LOVE AND OTHER DUMB IDEAS.

Wolves Boys 1

Insanity abounded as well, with Dead Unicorn Ink’s sci-fi/film noir sendup SPACE MYSTERY…FROM OUTERSPACE! and the darkly twisted TONY HO’S SAD PEOPLE.   Good pals brought their best in shows like WOLVES > BOYS from May Can Theatre, and Weeping Spoon’s ZACK ADAMS: A COMPLETE HISTORY OF ZACK ADAMS.  Unforgettable characters brought to life in Theatre Sasa’s LOVEBUG LOUIE IN A BLESSING FROM THE CURSED, Tara Grammy’s astonishing MAHMOUD, and of course Ken Godmere’s masterpiece VERNUS SAYS SURPRISE.

This isn’t even mentioning incredible shows like MABEL’S LAST PERFORMANCE, WHITE NOISE, THE OPEN COUPLE, or DEAD WRONG.  Everyone else finally got to see what I saw the previous year in Victoria with the unmissable LITTLE ORANGE MAN from Snafu Dance and Ingrid Hansen, and Ottawa understood right quick just what I did (and that’s why Ingrid will be back with that show at UNDERCURRENTS in two months time).  And I FINALLY got to see what all the fuss was about, in OF MICE AND MORRO AND JASP.  There’s reason for the fuss, folks.  We need these two in Ottawa, stat. Like I said…amazing.

Photo courtesy of Sylvain Sabatie.

Photo courtesy of Sylvain Sabatie.

FAV’RIT FRENCH!

A whole new category (not the first) for this year, as I done seen my fair share of Franco-theatre (for an ignorant Anglo, anyways), and had a blast every single time.  The gals from ALBERTINE EN CINQ TEMPS from Theatre la Catapulte couldn’t help but impress with their performances, in an amazing Tremblay show.  My one and only show at the beautiful Theatre de L’Ile was a musical cabaret, TOUR DE L’ILE, and a rockin’ good time it was.  And the glorious clown show MOUVING broke through any language barriers by not bothering with speech at all, and they didn’t need it.   A gorgeous show.

But my Franco-heart belongs to Ottawa U this year.  Small-scale shows like LE PETIT KOCHEL and LE VENTRILOQUE (is that one of the ones I’m not supposed to talk about?  Let me know and I’ll call it something else!) were balls-to-the-wall astounding, and I could have seen them each again easily.  And the Joel-directed production of UNITY 1918 was another beautiful and moving piece, understated but perfect.

And yet, for my honest fav’rit of the year, I have to go way back to the first French production I saw this year…LE CIMETIERE DES VOITURES, from Fernando Arrabal, and kickass director Elif Isikozlu.  Between a killer set, rocking performances, and live projected foley work from a gang of masked sound artists, this raised the bar for me early this year, and it stayed there.  THIS is why I love student theatre.  This is why Comedie des Deux Rives is one of the best theatre companies in town, bar none, student or no.  DO NOT MISS THEIR SHOWS!!!  But before I get carried away…another new category!

aylib&c

FAV’RIT SHAKESPEARE!

Because yes, there’s just THAT MUCH GODDAMNED SHAKESPEARE in this town!  If the dead do rise, and the zombie hordes attack the living, old Bill will be leading the charge, because he’s doing a pretty good job of taking over as it is.  Not complaining!!!  Just wittily observing, there’s a difference, I swear.  And why would I complain?  About shows like St.Lawrence’s devastating OTHELLO and gleeful MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM? Ottawa Shakespeare company’s immersive, tech-savvy JULIUS CAESER?  Kanata Theatre’s righteous rendition of ROMEO AND JULIET? Great stuff all, and I wouldn’t have missed them for the world.  Honorary mentions go to Caithream Dance’s MACSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM, a dance-stomping interpretation of Bill’s Faerie classic, and HIP-HOP SHAKESPEARE LIVE MUSIC VIDEOS from 411 Dramaturgy, re-envisioning the Bard for a new era…still no Young MC, but I’m sure they’re working hard to correct that (they’ll be back at UNDERCURRENTS this year, too!  Yay!)

HV

My fav’rits, tho…well, this was tough.  I really came down to three, in the end.  AS YOU LIKE IT, from Bear and Company, was a close contender, and if I hadn’t had to sit on concrete for the performance I saw, they might have rated higher. 🙂  They, and director Will Somers, did a fantastic job.  And the newly rebranded Salamander Theatre just fucking nailed it with their MACBETH featuring Katie Bunting, Brad Long, and Zach Counsil.  SO good.

But my absolute fav’rit still has to be…HENRY V from a Company of Fools.  Geoff McBride’s brilliant girl-centric version of Bill’s war epic was a raucous fun time,  with a particularly incredible turn from Margo MacDonald as King Hank…and my nieces loved it, too.  So…yay!

wtcss

Yes, it’s that time again, for the second ever awarding of the WINSTON THE CAT SCENE-STEALER AWARD!  Last year’s recipient, the ever lovely Jacki Brabazon, did her best to make it a two-fer with her work in the staged reading of THE CORONATION VOYAGE from Obviously a Theatre Company. But it wasn’t enough! A stagemate of hers, cool dude Bubba Vien, nearly nabbed it with his crafty work in the Youth Infringement play BLIND DATE.  And Jake William Smith and Carly Kastner did their best to take the honours with their memorable maskwork in Sock’n’Buskin’s YERMA.

But in the end, I had to go little…little theatre, that is.  And the winner for 2012 is…Theresa Knowles, as Veronica Craye in Ottawa Little Theatre’s THE HOLLOW.  She blew the roof off of that sweet old theatre every time she slunk out on stage, vamping it up for everything she had, which was a lot.  When you get a round of applause every time you appear on stage, that’s a tip you’re doing something right.  Thanks for an amazing performance, miz Knowles, and Winston thanks you too.

Andrew Alexander, the photog with the most-og.

Andrew Alexander, the photog with the most-og.

FAV’RIT TECHNICAL STUFF!

Yeah, because I know technical!  Sure ! Yeah!  What?  I dunno, let’s just name some stuff that looked cool…except shit, I forgot to research this one properly before I started to write tonight!  Should I just talk about Ivo Valentik’s EAST OF BERLIN set and be done with it?  But what about the amazing light design of [boxhead] from Pierre Ducharme?  The terrific costumes for THE GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE from Snezana Pesic?  Those sweet Patti Vopni props from MY NAME IS ASHER LEV?  Jock Munro’s killer lighting from THE SECRET MASK?  Too much to choose, and I still consider myself dumb about these matters.  So you all win, once again!  And I swear, I’ll take better notes next year.  But I’m STILL not doing best director.  Figure it out amongst yourselves.

…okay, wait. I AM gonna take a moment to single out two directors in particular, because they deserve it.  And it’s the real-life dynamic duo of Alix Sideris and Andy Massingham.  Alix made her directorial debut this year with the impossible to direct [boxhead] (back in 2013 from Evolution!) and it was sensational.  And Andy had a few gigs, including the great GAME OF LOVE AND CHANCE from Odyssey and MARY MAGDALENE AND ADVENTURES IN SOBRIETY from Evolution, but I wanted to specifically praise him here for the wonderful Ottawa Theatre School production WE WANT LIFE.  Lyrical, poised and damn near perfect.  Nice job, you two!

Stilts make EVERYTHING better.

FAV’RIT ENSEMBLES!

What a gang of gangs to choose from!  Natcherly, the Ottawa Theatre School made a great show, not only with the graduating class featured in WE WANT LIFE and THE SUICIDE, but the new third years who stepped up their collective game in THE EUMENIDES.  The immaculate crew the NAC assembled for PRIDE AND PREJUDICE  is impossible to argue with, and no fooling.  AS YOU LIKE IT‘s travelling troupe proved they had what it took, and my hat is off to the community folks behind GNAG theatre’s KING LEAR, a small budget show that out-entertained the NAC version a few short months later.  Tho the NAC scored points again with group shows like THIRSTY, and GLACE BAY MINERS MUSEUM (weird ending notwithstanding).  The gaggle Jodi Sprung-Boyd assembled for Ottawa U’s MAMMAMOUCHI blew the house down, and Ottawa Little Theatre’s ensemble for LOST IN YONKERS shattered a lot of people’s ideas about what amateur theatre could accomplish.  Major kudos also to Red.Collective’s collective for DOG SEES GOD, my fav’rit show from maybe my fav’rit theatre company of the year.  And the visit from the Axis Theatre gang for THE NUMBER 14 was one for the ages.

For my fav’rit, I’m digging right into maybe the best new fest of the last year, SubDevision.  And I’m giving it to the Ottawa Stilt Union, for KLEO’S WAKE.  YOU try putting on a show in an underground, enclosed space, on stilts and featuring acrobatics, and still encompassing a strong narrative, and THEN tell me you deserve it more.
I thought not.

cyrano-v

FAV’RIT BOY PERFORMERS!

ALL DA COOL BOYZ!  And boy o Boy, were there some amazing performances from the boys this year.  Alain Chauvin brought the goods in Algonquin’s production of Chris Durang’s THE ACTOR’S NIGHTMARE.  Jake Smith did Old Bill proud as the lead in ROMEO AND JULIET.  Drew Moore impressed in MY NAME IS ASHER LEV.  Paul Rainville and Michael Mancini both delivered the goods in THE SECRET MASK.  Tony Adams and Cory Thibert blew the audience away in WOLVES > BOYS and THAT WATER PLAY (not the real name).  But for my real gut-busting faves of the year…

– Pierre Brault in BLOOD ON THE MOON.  Okay, he’s had 10 years practice, he SHOULD be good, and he IS.  Holy shit, is he ever. A substitute show, but maybe the best substitute since

– Simon Bradshaw in EAST OF BERLIN.  A supercool guy in one of the best GCTC productions of the year.  Nazi son or no, this was a great performance.

– Richard Gelinas in CYRANO DE BERGERAC.  Gelinas is Ottawa theatre royalty, and he was given a serious chance to strut in this show, and he brought it in spades.

– Greg Kramer in THE PLAYER’S ADVICE TO SHAKESPEARE.  A pivotal performance in one of the best shows of the year.

– Todd Duckworth in NOVEMBER.  Mamet made even more Mamet with Duckworth’s hilarious, cringe-worthy performance as an underperforming President.  But my fav’rit Boy Performer of the year…

BRAD LONG in MACBETH and JULIUS CAESER.  I’ve seen Brad in a few shows now, and I was seriously impressed by how he brung it the times I saw him this year.  The lad done good, and it shows. Can’t wait for next year!

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FAV’RIT GIRL PERFORMERS!

The ladies, my weakness!  But I soldier on.  The year started off a little light for the great roles for the gals, but that shortly corrected itself, and now there be lady roles aplenty to choose from.  Like Bronwyn  Steinberg in OCCUPY ME from SubDevision (coming soon to a Fringe near you..?  Fingers crossed!).  Or Stephanie MacDonald in Kazan Theatre’s NAC coproduction COMMUNION, as well as Lee Ann Poole’s SHORT SKIRT BUTCH at Venus Envy.  Caitlin MacNamee got some serious laughs (and more) out of her role in DOG SEES GOD, and wee Jenny David rocked it as flighty Dolly in YOU NEVER CAN TELL.  Catherine Rainville was perfect as grumpy Lauren in CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION, and ALL the ladies of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM were a joy to behold.  Alexis Scott nearly stole the show as Apollo in THE EUMENIDES, Colleen Sutton was wondrous in RIDERGIRL (one night only, but it still counts!) and Laurie Batstone and Charlotte Stewart were amazing as Bella and Grandma in LOST IN YONKERS.  But wait, there’s more!
– Kristina Watt in THE EXTREMELY SHORT PLAY FESTIVAL…specifically, David O’Meara’s VICIOUS.  If you missed Watt as Sid Vicious, dead punk Icon, you missed several minutes of the funniest shit Ottawa stages have seen in a long time.

– Nancy Kenny in MARY MAGDALENE AND ADVENTURES IN SOBRIETY.  A tour de force from my fav’rit famous actress, as an alcoholic hobo who may or may not be immortal.  Heartrending and hilarious.

– Hannah Martin in HYDRANGEA. Missing Youth Infringement?  Then you’re missing some incredible talent, and Miz Martin’s one woman performance as frustrated housewife Dawn was simply brilliant.  Props also to fellow YI solo artist Justine Parker for the harrowing PLEASE SAVE THE QUEEN.

– Gabrielle Lazarovitz in AGNES OF GOD.  A beautiful and haunting performance in a pretty sweet production, smoky room or not.

– Michelle LeBlanc in HOW IT WORKS.  This was SO CLOSE to being at the top of the list!  Michelle was fantastic as Danny MacIvor’s wise eastern heroine Christine (and working with several other amazing actor-ladies, like Hannah Kaya and Genevieve Sirois).  But I gotta give props to the King…

– Margo MacDonald in HENRY V (plus FLY ME TO THE MOON and SHAKESPEARE’S DEAD).  Margo is always great, but seeing her as King Henry was something out of this world.  I defy any male to play this role better, ever.

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One more award!  And I’ve known who was getting it for a while now.  Close runner-up status to the crew from RED.COLLECTIVE for their great work and shows, making the SAW Gallery a viable theatre space once again. Keep on keeping on, Reddies!

But my Spirit of Theatre award this year goes to a guy who recently graduated from the Ottawa Theatre School program.  He appeared in a couple of their shows this year, and even though one of them, THE SUICIDE, was featured in Fringe, he still sold two of his guitars and a game system to finance a BYOV so he could debut his own solo show IN WAVES at the same festival.  As soon as that was over, he spearheaded the creation of the FRESH MEAT FESTIVAL, showcasing some of the finest up and coming talent Ottawa has to offer in a fun, DIY setting (and, naturally, premiering ANOTHER original creation of his own, SUMMER OF ’34).  He finished off the year with several roles in Ottawa Shakespeare Company’s JULIUS CAESER, and I’m already hearing good rumours about his plans for 2013.  VERY proud to call this guy a friend, and Ottawa Theatre’s lucky to have him.  Here’s to ya, JONAH ALLINGHAM!  You do us all proud.  Keep it up, eh?

photo: Andrew Alexander,

photo: Andrew Alexander

FAV’RIT SHOWS!

This is it, the end of the damned post!  Yay!  And there were bloody amazing shows this year, and it’s really hard to pick a fav’rit this time around, but I’ll give it a go.  Here, then, are some of my fav’rit shows of 2012:

HIDE from MiCasa Theatre.  A one-audience-member-only show from SubDevision , and a completely unforgettable experience.  Thank you, M. LeCoat!

THE PLAYER’S ADVICE TO SHAKESPEARE from New Theatre Ottawa. A world class performance from Greg Kramer made this killer good play from Brian Stewart into something spectacular indeed.

EAST OF BERLIN from GCTC.  Great cast, direction, and the coolest set of the year.

MAMAMOUCHI from Unicorn Theatre.  Inspired Moliere lunacy from director Jodi Sprung-Boyd and a cast of thousands.

LOST IN YONKERS from Ottawa Little Theatre.  Neil Simon’s classic done right.

WE WANT LIFE from Ottawa Theatre School.  A beautiful non-verbal piece from the graduating OTS class and director Andy Massingham.

FLY ME TO THE MOON from GCTC.  The fantastic combo of Margo Mac and Mary Ellis helped knock this Irish working-class comedy out of the park.

– TOP SHOWS!! –

NOVEMBER from Seven Thirty Productions.  No one who saw this will EVER forget Todd Duckworth’s turn as President Smith, I promise.

THE NUMBER 14 from Axis Theatre.  20 years later, this bus still runs just fine.

BLOOD ON THE MOON from Pierre Brault. The show that put Ottawa Fringe on the map has still got it, ten years later. Brilliant.  And a quick shoutout to another great show this year about this particular father of Confederation, Obviously a Theatre Company’s inspired A WALK WITH MISTER McGEE.

HENRY V from a Company of Fools.  Shakespeare done goofy and great.  Incredible cast, and just the right amount of tennis balls.

MARY MAGDALENE AND ADVENTURES IN SOBRIETY and [boxhead] from Evolution Theatre.  The double bill to end all double bills.  Either show would have been solid to stand alone, and I’m privileged to have caught them both.  SO CLOSE to topping the list!  But I have to give it to…

How It Works Type and ArtworkHOW IT WORKS from Plosive Productions.  A great MacIvor play brought wonderfully to life by director Stewart Matthews, and a perfect cast led by the amazing Michelle LeBlanc.  Killer soundtrack, too.  An inspiring, wonderful show.  Can’t say enough.

That’s it!  I could say a lot more about this theatre year, and I’m sure I missed a TON of great stuff that I should have yammered on about.  You were all spectacular!  Give yourselves a big hug from me.  And let’s get started on 2013!!  Peace, love, and soul, Ottawa,

The Visitor (and Winston)

  1. Going through your list closely… I can’t believe I missed Laramie Project and [Title of Show]. Them’s some of my favorite shows ever! Color me jealous.

  2. […] a page from The Visitorium’s book, I have decided to look back on the year that was… my life… in Ottawa theater. […]

  3. […] In April, I got to perform in another one-women show, the terrific Mary Magdalene and Adventures in Sobriety, which got some lovely recognition over at The Visitorium’s Big Stoopid End of the Year Post. […]

  4. […] I rejoined Ottawa in the 2011/2012 season. At the end of the 2012 calendar year, I took a page from The Visitorium’s book and made my very first Year in Theater Review post. Without even trying, I saw 31 shows + 15 at the […]

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