Been looking forward to this one for a bit now…a few weeks ago I got an invite for me and a guest to hit up the GCTC to check out the launch of the upcoming 2014/15 season, also their 40th anniversary. I didn’t bring a guest, as I’ve been feeling intensely anti-social of late, and it was rough enough to haul myself out to something that I knew would be so damned, well…SOCIAL. But season launches arrive but once a year, and the show must go on and all that, so out of my cozy little Visitorium I ventured Took a pitstop at Bridgehead to read a little Eugene O’Neill, which got me into the theatrical mood soon enough, and I made it to the corner of Holland and Wellington just as the large and enthusiastic crowd was starting to form outside of the Irving Greenberg theatre. Lots of familiar and friendly faces were abounding, and I could feel my anti-social armour starting to crumble when, thank Heavens, the theatre doors opened and we started going in. I ran to a seat and eagerly awaited the evening’s announcement (ignoring the full disclosure media release I just spotted being delivered by e-mail to my cellphone…no wonder Coates hates those things!).
After a swell into delving into the 40 year history of the GCTC, Artistic Director Eric Coates himself took the stage to helm the launch. And he started out with a strong vision of what the ‘theme’ of the new season would be. “If you want a theme, go to Santa’s Village” he shouted to a pretty joyous response from the crowd, and I have to agree…the notion of theming a theatre season has always seemed pretty dubious to me, and I’m happy to see the idea so merrily disowned. Good theatre is theme enough.
The new season begins with Emil Sher’s adaptation of THE BOY IN THE MOON by Ian Brown, a book that is apparently amazing but which I have not read (longtime readers know that I am , of course, functionally illiterate). Starring Peter James Howarth, the show tells a Father’s true-life story of raising a son afflicted with a rare disability. Howarth gave us a short reading from the play (the first of two directed by Coates himself, who last helmed the great THIS IS WAR), and I think this one’s gonna be a gooder.
Next up is a double bill, FISH EYES and BOYS WITH CARS, both written, performed and choreographed by Anita Majumdar. She stars in the paired shows as Indian Canadian teens Meena and Naz, both dealing with life, tradition and dance in Port Moody BC. I love one woman shows, I love double bills, I am SO THERE.
The Holiday show is next, and I’m so excited for this one I cannot tell ya. But I’ll tell ya ANYWAY. A joint production with a Company of Fools (who last paired with the GCTC to bring us the sublime MIDWINTERS DREAM TALE), Ottawa’s fav’rit homegrown clown duo return to the stage in POMME AND ’RESTES: SHIPWRECKED! ON THE TEMPESTUOUS LOST ISLAND OF NEVER. To be directed by AL Connors, and written whenever, this show is brilliant news to a wee budding clown like myself (have I mentioned yet in this post that I’m going to clown island this summer? Because I am). If you miss this show, then good luck in the next life, friend, because you have hopelessly fucked THIS one.
Hitting 2015, we start the second half of the season with the second dose of George F.Walker in 2 consecutive seasons (following the upcoming premiere of BURDEN OF SELF-AWARENESS to finish off the current season), with Green Thumb Theatre’s production of MOSS PARK. Directed by former GCTC artistic director Patrick McDonald and starring Graeme McComb and Haley McGee as a down and out couple looking for a future…a dark comedy for what will likely be a dark January, if this crappy winter is any indicator of things to come.
Next up would likely be UNDERCURRENTS, and it will of course be having its fifth iteration in 2015….but that news no longer belongs in this post. In what may be the biggest bit of news to be revealed at the lunch, Undercurrents is officially following producer Pat Gauthier to the Ottawa Fringe Festival, and will happen next year under the Fringe umbrella at Arts Court Theatre! And while it while be sad indeed to no longer lounge at the Greenberg while waiting for my February awesomeness, I’m stoked that Gauthier will continue to helm the series, and a marriage with Fringe does indeed make perfect sense. The studio at GCTC will still get some use, as they’ve partnered up with local heroes Propellerdance to work up there in anticipation of a mainstage show later in the year. Good news all around, I say.
Speaking of the mainstage, the next show in the roster is another one that makes me smile, Daniel MacIvor’s THE BEST BROTHERS, a play I only recently bought and read my own self! Directed again by boss Coates, and starring the dream team of Andy Massingham and John Ng as two estranged brothers dealing with the drag-queen-related death of their Mother (as well as the disposition of her dog Enzo, surely a nod to our own Richard Hemphill), I can attest to how great this play reads and cannot WAIT to see it brought to life in front of me. Very, very happy to see my teacher Andy back on the GCTC stage. 🙂
And the season caps off with a former UNDERCURRENTS show making the jump to the big stage (falling in BLUE BOX’s salsa-dancing footsteps), as THE PUBLIC SERVANT returns to town. The breakout hit of the 2013 festival, the civil-service-skewering comedy by Jennifer Brewing, Haley McGee, Sarah McVie and Amy Rutherford was a goddam laugh riot in its original form, and will be expanded into a full length show for its triumphant return to the GCTC next June. It will be very, very great to see this show and this ensemble again. And a show about civil service will sell in this town, folks, so get your tickets early.
That was the end of the launch and the beginning of the afterparty where, despite myself, I found a little bit of non-anti-social behaviour creeping in. But what else could I do when confronted with the likes of Emily Pearlman, Michelle leBlanc, Alexis Scott, Alix Sideris, Zach Counsil, Karen Balcome, Rich Hemphill, and so many, wonderful more. I love my life in theatre (also known as my life), and am delighted to look forward to the next year of it at the GCTC. Heck, I might even volunteer again this year. I’m sure they miss me anyhow…and I just KNOW I’m gonna need to see Pomme and ‘Restes more than once…
Peace, love and soul, GCTC fans,
Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)
PS the entire Box Office staff danced onstage, and Tony Adams got naked. Sorry NOW you missed the launch..?