So Eric Coates took a slightly diff’rent tactic for his season launch than fellow newb Jillian Keiley over at the NAC. While her launch was in the AM with coffee and cookies, his was a late-night affair with DJ, discoball and plenty of hooch. Once again, I like how this man thinks (though cookies WOULD have been a nice touch). The lot of us packed the Oiving Greenboig Theatre at about 7:30 last night to see what the Man Who Hated Cell Phones had up his sleeve for his first season at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.
After some hearty onstage shenanigans with his Season Launch Players (John Koensgen, Alix Sideris and Andy Massingham…excellent choices), the affair got underway. Up first..?
PROUD by Michael Healey, directed by Miles Potter. A properly political tale for Ottawa, featuring Conservatives vs.Quebec in a show that should have more than enough in-jokes to keep our capitol crowd in stitches. And danged if Coates didn’t have Michael Healey himself there to read the opening scene! (Note: if you want an earlier taste of Healey, catch his DRAWER BOY in August at the Ottawa Little Theatre!)
YOU FANCY YOURSELF by Maja Ardal, directed by Mary Francis Moore. This one was originally programmed by Lise-Ann Johnson a couple years back, but got sidelined due to a sudden ‘medical adventure’ as Eric Coates put it, so I’m thrilled to finally get the chance to see this one-woman show (my fav’rit form of entertainment) about childhood, fitting in, and overweening imagination. And danged if Maja Ardal herself wasn’t there to perform a scene for us! I’m sensing a theme…
GOODNIGHT DESDEMONA (GOOD MORNING JULIET) by Ann Marie MacDonald, directed by Ann Hodges. Ha! I’ve totally got a copy of this one! Looks like I’m finally learning, and will learn more when this innovative feminist Shakespearean mashup hits the stage in November. And danged if Ann-Marie MacDonald herself wasn’t there to read a scene for us! Dammit Coates, is there anyone you DON’T know??
THIS IS WAR by Hannah Moscovitch, directed by Eric Coates his own self. From the red-hot author of EAST OF BERLIN, a modern classic about a Canadian mission gone wrong in Afghanistan. Always a pleasure to see some Moscovitch on the big stage, and I think this will be no exception.
DANCING WITH RAGE by Mary Walsh. The NAC has some Corner Gas royalty this season, so Coates has countered with a little This Hour Has 22 Minutes pedigree with this one-woman theatrical assault from Marg: Princess Warrior herself. I was almost stunned when Walsh did NOT appear to perform a scene, though Andy Massingham in drag made a more than adequate sub. And finally…
THE BURDEN OF SELF-AWARENESS by George F.Walker, directed by Arthur Milner. Yes, it’s a World Bloody Premiere from Canuck superstar Walker about a rich man looking to give away his fortune to assuage his conscience, only to have his wife take a contract out on his life before he can go broke. Sounds perfectly dark and delightful, and might already be the show I’m most looking forward to. Although it has plenty of competition in this, a predictably wicked looking season from the GCTC and Eric Coates, who does not disappoint.
Wish I could have stuck around for the happening afterparty, but a day-long mental breakdown was having hilarious effects on me and I needed to bolt before I started bringing people down with me. Hope everyone had a blast, and I expect we all definitely will next season…though we still have a merry bit to go on THIS season, first. Bring on LIKE WOLVES already! Peace, love and soul,
Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)