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Archive for 2017|Yearly archive page

March 8th, 2017

In Uncategorized on March 8, 2017 at 3:22 pm

This old Visitorium has been a little patchwork/schizoid these last few months. Am i reviewing still? Am I just promoting theatre…or my own work? Why is it still here?

Honestly, every time I try and come up with answers to these questions, I just get tired in my brain. So instead of thinking, I’m just gonna write, which is way easier and probably more productive. Let’s just try it shall we?

And what a day to start writing…international Women’s Day! Where to even begin? I suppose where my instincts usually tell me to start…with comic books.

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Fun Fact: If you’ve ever lamented that there is no ‘International Men’s Day’; congratulations! You’re part of the problem.

 

I don’t buy as many comix as I did in my heyday, but feel free to check out FAITH from Valiant comics, written by Jody Hauser and featuring maybe the only plus-sized female superhero headliner, well, ever. Revived from her original incarnation at Valiant in the 90’s, the new Valiant has left the litany of fat-jokes that dogged this character behind and instead embraced her unfaltering optimism, loyalty and flat-out heroism. It’s an unapologetically positive book that deserves much of the accolades its receiving. And check Faith out in the team book HARBINGER RENEGADE as well, because its awesome too.

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And of course there’s LUMBERJANES, an epically amazing fantasy-tinged ongoing from Noelle Stevenson about the adventures of an all-girl scout-style troop at a summer camp. With delightfully cartoony art and instantly engaging and diverse characters, this is one for all ages and all hearts. I’ve been collecting the trades, and you should too. Might I suggest, for my Ottawa readers, picking a few of them up at Comet comix at 1167 Bank Street in Old Ottawa South? Owned and run by the fantastic Heather, and she won’t steer ya wrong!

I could go on and on…DOCTOR MIRAGE, SAGA, BITCH PLANET, MS MARVEL…there’s good stuff out there. But I DO have theatre to get to. And I love me some rambling about theatre. I mean, this blog was primarily founded on my unabashed love for the one-woman show. And having already caught one of the best of these, Margo MacDonald’s THE ELEPHANT GIRLS this year, my theatrical ladybar is set nice and high for 2017.

Elephant Girls cred AA

So what’s coming up? Well, tonight I have the honour of catching INFINITY at the NAC Studio, written by Ottawa’s own wunderkind playwright Hannah Moscovitch (or @moscotweets as her close personal friends like me know her on the Twitter). She’ll be back in the newly announced GCTC 2017/18 season. I’ll dig into many of the new season announcements in another post, but happy to report there seems to be plenty of female representation across the board, at least at first glance.

For my own part, I’ve been blessed to have some simply astonishing and talented ladies helping to prop me and Strange Visitations up during our 3-year existence. Like repeat director Jodi Morden, soon to be seen back at the Ottawa fringe with the fierce Hannah Gibson Fraser in a new project from Pretty Ugly Productions. Or my clown pal Madeleine Hall, also returning to Fringe with a solo project that will quite simply knock your likely mismatched socks off. Also multitalented Rebecca Laviolette and the unstoppable Erin MacDonald, both of whom I would have been lost without.

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True Theatre Luv.

And I have so many more women in Theatre who I look up to, admire, and continue to be inspired by…Nancy Kenny, Alix Sideris, Michelle leBlanc, Kristina Watt, Martha Ross, Alexis Scott, Gemma Wilcox, Rachel Eugster, Laura Hall, Brooke Cameron, Morro and Jasp, Kirsten Rasmussen, Mind of a Snail, Ingrid Hansen, Jan Irwin, Megan Carty, Catriona Leger, Mary Ellis, Kate Smith, Bronwyn Steinberg, Lisa Zanyk…I could (and probably should) go on. Instead, I’ll just make a special shoutout to my old classmate and theatrical force of nature Kathryn Paige Reeves. The Mouse has a brand new play of her own creation about to take to the stage this April, and I could not be prouder. Don’t think I’m not considering a road trip, Kathryn!

carpe noctem

SO. EFFING. PROUD.

And hey, it would be quite silly to write up a Women’s Day post without mentioning, nay worshipping, the brilliant, sexy, silly and passionate woman who has allowed me to be a part of her life, my sweetie Caitlin. You make me stronger, you help me grow, and even if I am the Giraffey in our relationship, I promise I’m always looking up to you. Thanks for never giving up on me.

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Schmoop.

What else? I should mention the incredible book I’m reading right now, found at the library while hunting for the autbiography of Harpo Marx (which I DID find, don’t worry). It’s called I AWAIT THE DEVIL’S COMING by turn of the century flapper-to-be Mary MacLane, and it’s a series of fiery, brilliantly nonconformist diary entries she wrote in Butte, Montana in 1902 at the age of 19. Full of incredible language and razor wit, it’s a thing of terrible dark beauty and I kind of NEED some local young actress to pick it up and adapt it into a 1-woman show. Monica Bradford-Lea, off the top of my head? I’ll help you!

This is an important day, and ever-more important this year with the pussy-grabbing grand wizard down south doing his worst every day (and that’s pretty worst). Keep being positive. Read something a woman wrote, see a play with women, watch a movie directed by a woman, collect a comic starring a woman…and then keep doing that. Because, of course, one day is approximately 364 too few. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

PS special shoutout to the bestest ladies of the all, my amazing niecelets Brynn and Clara. Rule the World, gals!!

I don’t know what the birds signify!

In GCTC, Theatre on February 25, 2017 at 6:38 pm

I’ve been in a bit of a theatre funk, post-Undercurrents. Is that okay? It seems a bit selfish, frankly, but being able to share the festival stage with the kinds of big shots and talented magillas that we did was pretty amazing, and the post-show ennui is a force to contend with (note: I know totally forgot to do a blogpost about my show, Faster than the Speed of Dating, being part of the 2017 Undercurrents Festival, so if the above confuses you, don’t worry, I just suck at marketing!). But funk or no funk, Theatre stops for nothing, especially not whiny suckybabies like me. And hey, is that my 1st GCTC opening night show in almost 2 years I see before me? Well hot damn, so it is. Right, funk over, let’s get to the show!

The show, 5th up in the 16/17 season and a bit of a milestone in even GCTC’s long history, is LES PASSANTS from the mighty Theatre la Catapulte. And yes, as that company name implies, this is indeed a French language production (no catapults though, here’s hoping for next time), first ever at the Irving Greenberg Theatre. Seems a little silly to think about it, but there you go…and if this is the beginning of a GCTC francotheatrical tradition, then it’s off to a terrific start. As was easily predicted from the involvement of Catapulte, Luc Moquin’s PASSANTS is a terrific show.

Featuring a cast consisting of Melanie Beauchamp, Benjamin Gaillard, Andree Rainville and Yves Turbide, and directed by Jean Stephane Roy (also the AD of Catapulte), Les Passants is made up of a series of vignettes and scenes each shining its own light…be it satirical, slapstick, serious, ironic, or all of the above…on human interconnectedness (or lack thereof, aka solitude). A somber opening featuring a ride on the river Styx (or something similar from Dante’s Inferno) and a lone man trying to remember his way and his why, quickly give way to lighter fare including the recurring romantic misadventures of the Waldo-esque Bernard and the series of women he tends to drive away with overzealous ardor. Or a mismatched long-term couple venting their mutual frustrations via interpretive dance. Or a fantasy vs.reality look at knocking on a strangers door in search of romance.

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There’s a lot covered in PASSANTS’ 100 minute runtime, and if you don’t find something that relates to your experience, you might want to leave your house more. Not that homebodies aren’t covered well too, like the middle aged gent who realizes that, despite his best efforts, he just doesn’t (gasp!) like reading as much as he used to. The quartet cast slides effortlessly (probably not, of course, but they make it look as easy as falling off a log) between multiple roles and styles, be it deadpan serious or over-the-top goofy, assisted by a terrific overall production. Brian Smith’s set is all-encompassing and out of the way at the same time, and the lighting from designer Chantal Labonte is nothing short of astounding. The great Vanessa Imeson impresses as always with a dizzying array of costumes that seem to never run dry. And big thanks to Lisa L’Heureux, whose English translation of the script runs constantly over the stage, making this French production as inclusive as anyone could hope. No excuses, Anglos!

LES PASSANTS marks an exciting milestone in local theatre, and hopefully not a one of a mind event. I’ve long touted the wonders of French Theatre and the dazzlingly different sensibilities they bring to the theatrical table, and this show is as solid a proof of that as any. Check it out while you can at the Great Canadian Theatre Company, then check out something else! Ottawa U is presenting LE CHANT DU DIRE-DIRE next week at Academic Hall, and I’m calling that a good next step. Heck, I’ll be there. Allons-Y au theatre! Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

PS now, back to our regularly scheduled funk:

Coming Up in February 2017

In Undercurrents on February 3, 2017 at 10:54 am

Sorry I’m late! Already 3 days into the month…that’s, like, half of February! Let’s get it started already!

COLONY OF UNREQUITED DREAMS at the NAC Theatre, until the Feb 11th. So many dreams they formed their own colony!

THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEPEOPLE from Eddie May Mysteries, at the Velvet Room downtown every Saturday night. Superheroes and dinner, what more do ya need?

A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM from Taboo Productions, at Academic Hall until the 4th. An LGBTQ retelling of the Bard’s most fantastical outing. So get out there!

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AT HOME AT THE ZOO at the Carleton Tavern, from Chamber Theatre, from the 1st to the 11th. Albee’s Zoo story with its prequel Homelife get the Chamber treatment at Ottawa’s coolest theatre…order a quart and some wings and strap yourselves in!

SCHOOLHOUSE from Kanata Theatre, at the Ron Maslin Playhouse from the 7th to 18th. Will this Schoolhouse rock? Only one way to find out..!

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CRIMES OF THE HEART from Three Sisters, at the Gladstone the 8th to 18th. A gritty drama about the grizzled, veteran cops who tackle to toughest crimes of all…Heart Crimes! Probably.

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD at the Ottawa Little Theatre, from the 15th to March 4th. Get a Little Harper Lee in yer February, people!

PHANTOM OF THE OPRY from Brett Kelly Entertainment, at the Gladstone Theatre from the 22nd to 25th.

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SWEENEY TODD: THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET from Suzart after Dark, at Centrepointe Theatre the 23rd to 25th. The brutal killer with the silly name is back!

UNDERCURRENTS at Arts Court, the 8th to 18th. Hosted by the Ottawa Fringe Festival, the mighty undercurrents festival is back with another sweet, sweet lineup (and also me). Check it out, and plan your month accordingly:

 

THE ELEPHANT GIRLS from Parry Riposte

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TOMORROW’S CHILD from Ghost River Theatre

UN-COUNTRIED from Theatre 4.669

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BROTHERHOOD: THE HIP-HOPERA from b current and Sebastien Heinz.

BURNT from Norah Paton

VOVK from Lana Kouchnir

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FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING from Strange Visitations (that’s ME! And Jodi Morden and Madeleine Hall, too) Pay What you Can, PLEASE COME SEE OUR FUNNY LITTLE SHOW!!

– …plus the INDIGENOUS WALKS walking tours (bundle up!), New Play Tuesday, panel discussions, talkbacks, opening and closing night parties, and all the fun you can handle. Go go go!  Check out the full schedule HERE.

– THEATRE FRANCAIS

FUCKING CARL from Theatre du Trillium, at La Nouvelle Scene the 4th and 5th. Sold-out Fringe hit is back for a limited engagement!

LES PASSANTS from Theatre la Catapulte, at the GCTC from the 23rd to March 12th. A french show at the GCTC? Allons-Y!

– IMPROV AND OTHER STUFF

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CRUSH IMPROV continues their ‘Bout Time tournament thru February, at Mother McGintey’s. Check the calendar HERE!

GRIMPROV, you lads still good for some funny the 1st and last Wednesday of the month at the Cock’n’Lion? Here’s assuming!

THE IMPROV EMBASSY has their usual full roster of events, and their own calendar to boot. Check it out!

More to come!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

Brooke & Pierre

In Uncategorized on January 21, 2017 at 12:59 am

I don’t know what it is about today, January 20th 2017, but I have a strong urge to write a blogpost about a world leader with a surname beginning in TRU. Someone charismatic, and known for speaking his mind. A real divisive figure, ya know? And I’m not talking about Justin Trudeau, neither. I’m talking about TRUDEAU. As in Pierre Elliot, the ultimate PM…yeah, no, I wouldn’t waste your precious time talking about that monster down south. You got enough of that on Twitter today (and every day, really).

Fortunate Son that I am, I got a chance to check out the latest at the GCTC, Brooke Johnson’s autobiographical one-woman storytelling epic TRUDEAU STORIES. The stage was sparsely set as I walked in, just a small box set beside a terrifically comfy looking chair. I thought for a moment Jim Jefferies was about to stroll out and do a set

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Comedian Jim Jefferies also uses a comfy chair in his stand-up comedy shows. Just to put a point on this completely unnecessary sidebar.

But of course, tonight belonged to the great Brooke Johnson, who took to the stage with a smile and started telling her story through memory, letters, and a very special piece of audio, of her unlikely friendship with the man himself, Pierre Elliot Trudeau. Beginning with a chance encounter during her time at the National Theatre School in Montreal back in the 80’s, including an awkward dance in ill-fitting shoes, the show goes on to detail the extraordinary platonic bond that developed between a budding actor and our national enigma, both a playful and sombre figure in this recollection as his legendary head occasionally weighs heavy under the burden of his phantom crown. He may have stopped being PM, after all, but he could never stop being Trudeau.

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Not that Brooke Johnson herself isn’t a force in the show…her easy warmth and charm brings the audience in to her story before they even know they’ve been trapped in her storytelling spell. Together with some beautiful direction from Allyson McMackon, the story of not only Brooke and Trudeau, but their odd relationship and his place in the Canadian identity creeps off the stage and into a warm, fuzzy place in the audience’s hearts. The show ends with an appropriate ‘remember where you were’ moment, as the struggle of maintaining so private a friendship with so public a figure comes to its inevitable, emotional conclusion. It’s a satisfying, heartwarming, funny and terribly Canadian piece of work and it made me awful happy to see it. It might even be enough to make you love Justin again. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

Coming Up in January 2017!

In Theatre on January 4, 2017 at 5:56 pm

            Updated Jan 15 – Added AMERICAN IDIOT and MARY POPPINS

Righty-right-right, let’s get this Theatre year in Ottawa off to a good start with a nice list of shows to check out! And okay, there’s the usual not too much going on this month, but give theatre a break, it’s cold out!

BLIZZARD OF OZ at the Gladstone from the 4th to 8th. As I write this it’s opening day, and there’s a blizzard out, so…good omen?

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KNIFE 3: SUMMER OF BLOOD a live preview from Morning Person Theatre, on the 6th at the ODDbox (Arts Court). It’s no Knife 6: 3D 2, but it’s not half bad.  Pay what you can!

SOUTHERN DIS-COMFORT from Eddie May Mysteries, at the Velvet Room byward market (on the 14th) and in Kanata Centrum (7th and 21st). A little murder to start the year off right…you know, except for the victims.

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Brooke Johnson in TRUDEAU STORIES. Pic by Kelly Clipperton.

TRUDEAU STORIES at the Great Canadian Theatre Company. Brooke Johnson reminisces about that time she beat PET in an arm wrestling contest…or something. Just see the show!

LE DIRE DE DI at the NAC Studio, the 11th and 12th. This is all the French Theatre I could find for January…any leads out there that I missed?

OTHER DESERT CITIES at the Ottawa Little Theatre, the 11th to 28th. Because there’s more than just Cairo.

COUNTRIES SHAPED LIKE STARS from Mi Casa Theatre, at Arts Court Theatre the 19th to 21st. The legend returns as part of the #Fringe20 series, and that is news both marvellous and spectacular!

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THE GHOMESHI EFFECT at the Gladstone Theatre the 19th to 28th. A new show about hard-hitting radio journalism, I presume. Unless I missed something..?

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AMERICAN IDIOT at Academic Hall, from the U Ottawa Musical Theatre Society, the 20th to 22nd. The modern smash featuring the ‘punk rock’ (yeah, right) tunes of Green Day. You can always listen to Iggy Pop on your headphones while you watch it!

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COLONY OF UNREQUITED DREAMS at the NAC Theatre, the 25th to Feb 11th. Jillian Keiley’s contractually promised dose of Eastern Canada hits the big stage, and it looks as fun as always!

BIZET’S CARMEN  from the University of Ottawa Opera Company, at Huguette Labelle Hall (Room 112, Tabaret Hall) the 26th to 29th. Some opera back in town at last, thanks to Uottawa and Artistic Director Doreen Taylor-Claxton! Performed in French with English dialogues.

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GOD OF CARNAGE from Sock’n’Buskin, at the Carleton U Art Gallery from the 26th to 29th. Yazmina Reza goes back to college in this latest production from the sockies!

MONKEY QUEEN: JOURNEY TO THE EAST from Ottawa Storytellers, at Arts Court Theatre on the 27th.

MARY POPPINS at Centrepointe Theatre, from Ain’t Seen Noth’n Yet Theatre from the 27th to Feb 4th. Will it include that bit where she fought Harry Potter in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Wait and see! Speaking of which…

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THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEPEOPLE from Eddie May Mysteries, at the Velvet Room downtown, starting the 28th. Brand new super-murder adventure, with what had best be some sweet, sweet spandex getting all bloody.

     -IMPROV AND OTHER STUFF

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‘BOUT TIME TOURNAMENT from Crush Improv. It’s back! Crush takes their beloved 3 on 3 improv battle show into the thunderdome, with teams competing against one another towards a final confrontation…for MONEY! Starts on Monday the 16th at Mother McGinteys in the Market and continues every Monday thru February. And the classic Crush gang will be performing at Yuk-Yuk’s on Elgin on the 29th as well!

THE IMPROV EMBASSY has a bunch of shows going on in January, including appearances from Quest Friends Forever and the return of the Improv Game Show (plus workshops and classes)! Just gonna link to their full calendar right here.

THE SENTIMENTALISTS at the Gladstone, 11-14. Magic and illusion and other mindgames that might make a Trump presidency make more sense.

GRIMPROV are still (I assume) at their usual haunt the Cock and Lion, the first and last Wednesday of every month!

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OUTTAKE IMPROV, formerly Elgin Street Improv, formerly Make Up Your Mind Improv, also have their sci-fi themed FINAL FRONTIER show on the 8th at Live on Elgin, and likely more stuff to come. Those crazy mixed-up kids.

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A rare musical entry for the Visitorium, but when it involves theatre heroines RHYTHM AND BURGUNDY as well as Zoe and Robin, I’m happy to list it!  At Bar Robo on the 9th.

That’s all for now…hopefully more to come! Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

Big Stoopid End of Year Post 2016!

In Theatre on January 2, 2017 at 8:04 am

So, 2016! That was a…well, that certainly was a period of measured time, am I right? All the way around the sun, and a few of us are still breathing. And if you hear a distant tapping, that’s me, knocking on wood.

But hey, it wasn’t all bad. Yes, in addition to the beloved celebrity deaths and ill-tempered trolls proving that Western democracy is forever shattered, there was some mighty fine Theatre to remind us why we feel, and love, and fight. I saw a lot of it, I helped make some of it, and I am better for all of it. And or me personally, here IS that all in handy alphabetical list form:

#PigeonsAffames

#staystrong

2 for Tea

Addams Family

Alpha Delta 86

the Amazing Adventures of Pericles Prince of Tyre

Angels and Aliens

Antigone

Anton in Show Business

ArborAmor

Asylum

Attempts on Her Life

Aux.la.more.

the Ballad of Frank Allen (2)

Barefoot in the Park

Bella Culpa

Belles Soeurs

Berlin Waltz

Best Picture

Blindside

Boom

Boy vs.Chair

Burger King Lear

Burn

Butcher

C-

Callaghan

Cardinal

Chocolate Cake

Crow’s Nest

Curious Contagious

the Daisy Theatre

Da Kink in my Hair

Darkness

Desdemona: a Play about a Handkerchief

Dial M for Murder

Dissidents

Does Not Play Well with Others

Drinksitter

Everybody Dies in December

the Exclusion Zone

the Extremely Short New Play Festival

Falling Awake

Fat Sex

Forstner & Fillister present: Forstner & Fillister in: Forstner & Fillister

Frank: to be Frank

Gary

GET LOST Jem Rolls (2)

Getting to Room Temperature

Giant Invisible Robot

the Girl who was Raised by Wolverine

Grade 8

Great Day for Up

Happiness ™

Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas

How to be a Gentleman

I Forgot to Fly Today

Interior Panic

In the Blue of Evening

In the Trenches

the Inventor of All Things

In Waking Life

Jack Charles v.the Crown

Janet Wilson Meets the Queen

Joe the Perfect Man

the Jupiter Rebellion

Laser Kiwi

Last Wife

the Lion the Bitch and the Wardrobe

a Little Fire

Love is a Battlefield

Love Letters

Love, Lust and Lace

Lovely Lady Lump

MacBeth

MacBeth Muet

Magic Unicorn Island

Maltese Falcon: the Radio Show

a Man Walks into a Bar

Matchstick

Monstrous, or the Miscegenation Advantage

Mouthpiece

the Murder Room

My Fair Zombie

Nerdfucker

Novel House

Oh No! Said the Parrot

One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest

One Man Star Wars Trilogy

Particle

Perfect Pie

Peripeteia

Perpetual Wednesday

Phone Whore

Pierre Brault

Pool (no water)

Rideshares and Rope Swings

Roller Derby Saved my Soul

Romantic Poetry

Romeo and Juliet

Saor (Free)

the Servant of Two Masters

Space Hippo

Space Jameration

SS Lightbulb

Swordplay: a Play of Swords

Tead Talks

a Tension to Detail

Three

the Three Musketeers

Til Death: the Six Wives of Henry VIII

Twelfth Night

Twilight Zone

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike

V.R.Dunne

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Wild/Society

Will Somers

Woyczek’s Head

Ze: Queer as Fuck

HONOURABLE MENTIONS

Company of Fools 12th Night

Betroffenheit

New Play Tuesday featuring Burnt Out, Wanting, and Finishing the Suit

Just Mingling

Ottawa Theatre Challenge

Mop in the Grid

em, or Me, Mom and Medea (staged Reading)

Aiming to Float (staged Reading)

On the Fringe (movie)

Healing from Heartbreak

Not too shabby, eh? Packing in shows from two separate Fringe Festivals there, not to mention the usual suspects like UnderCurrents and Fresh Meat. And where to even begin culling this mass of amazing theatre into a ‘best of’ list of any kind? In my heart, that list would be almost identical to the one you just looked past. But people do love themselves some listing, so here’s my by no means definitive think back at some of my absolute fav’rit bits from 2016.

THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS. Odyssey Theatre shows they know how to extract gold from Goldoni with this Andy Massingham-directed adaptation of the masque classic, filled with archetypes of farce and funny, romance and madness, and enough mistaken identity for any ten plays.

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PARTICLE / MOUTHPIECE. Two of the several amazing entries at Undercurrents this year, Kristina Watt showed us how it’s done in her clown collaboration Particle (with the great Martha Ross) that was inventive, hilarious and endlessly endearing. Meanwhile, Mouthpiece took the concept of feminist theatre and raised it to a new level, featuring unbelievable timing and performances from its two leads Norah Sadavaand Amy Nostbakken . Two very different, but very extraordinary shows.

CALLAGHAN / SWORDPLAY: A PLAY OF SWORDS. A one-night-only event that too few people had the sense to make it out for, the mad geniuses of Montreal’s Sex T-Rex busted out all over with this double bill adventure/comedy/fantasy/sketch hybrid that had to be seen to be believed. They’re the best for a reason, gang. Hoping they come back soon.

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GET LOST JEM ROLLS. The fine whiskey (no wine, he) that is Fringe legend Jem Rolls just keeps getting better with age. After the brilliant historical bio INVENTOR OF ALL THINGS the previous year (which made a brief reappearance on Ottawa stages this year as ll), his latest rollercoaster spoken word adventure continued to up his considerable ante. I was lucky enough to catch it at 2 Fringes, and could happily go for thirds.

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FALLING AWAKE / BELLA CULPA. Two different 2-person physical shows from 2 different companies (Ragmop and A Little Bit Off) at this year’s Vancouver Fringe, and both made my heart do backflips with joy and delight. From a tragicomic look at love and loss to a manic battle of servants vs.masters vs.rats, these were two unmissable shows that made me want to be better at what I do. Out. Fucking. Standing.

-Cardinal 1 (cred Aplombusrhombus)

CARDINAL / OH NO! SAID THE PARROT. From Ottawa Fringe and then Fresh Meat, Aplombusrhombus (featuring Madeleine Hall and Mitchel Rose) knocked me out with two magically engaging pieces that should seriously be putting Ottawa’s clown community on the map. Winners of the Emerging Artist award at Fringe for very good reason. Watch out for these two clowns!

Magic Unicorn Island WEB

MAGIC UNICORN ISLAND. My fanboy crush on Jayson McDonald is no secret, and his latest, an imaginative, hilarious heartbreaker about the ultimate rebellion scenario did nothing to diminish my longing. You’re still my hero, Jay Mac! (bonus: his legendary hit GIANT INVISIBLE ROBOT also made a welcome appearance in Ottawa this year, huzzah!)

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PERFECT PIE. From Judith Thompson’s great script to perfectly cast and beautifully directed stage production, this show was my fav’rit from the latest Tactics series (with the trippy WOLCZECK’S HEAD a close second). Deeply affecting, unflinching, catastrophic and present. Terrific bloody theatre.

And there’s so much more! Other Vancouver Fringe faves like THE BALLAD OF FRANK ALLEN, TIL DEATH: THE 6 WIVES OF HENRY VIII, GREAT DAY FOR UP and FRANK TO BE FRANK. Or Ottawa Fringe beauties like EVERYBODY DIES IN DECEMBER and RIDESHARES AND ROPE SWINGS. Ow about Ottawa Little Theatre’ grandly theatrical THREE MUSKETEERS? Kate Smith’s fast food breakthrough BURGER KING LEAR? The brilliant nostalgia-fest BOOM? The silent but deadly MACBETH MUET? Or my own record setting 7th viewing of ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL (I’m just about ready to start writing RDSMS fanfiction at this point. Hmmm…) ? Or maybe I could stop talking about other people’s stuff for a second, and start yammering on and on about…

MY STUFF!! Yes, I did some theatre stuffs in 2016, in fact more than I ever did done in a year before! It started early on with my first ever step into the Ottawa Theatre Challenge ring alongside Madeleine Hall in the short piece PARKS AND TREACHERY. We didn’t win, but we didn’t get booed off the stage neither (in fact, I think got my first ever Brian Carroll laff in that show, so I’m calling it a victory).

bisbee poster

Next up was maybe my most ambitious project to date, my first solo Fringe show NORMAN BISBEE GOES TO WAR. With thee great Erin MacDonald as SM, Jodi Morden, Leslie Cserepy and Pierre Ducharme helping out, I was ready to bring this solo drama/adventure/comedy to the ODDbox. Small audiences, middling reviews, money lost, lessons learned. Will Norman be back> Time will tell, but he doesn’t give up easy!

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lux elle imagery is fine art, editorial, and comercial photography, digital editing work and motion work.

I wasn’t done with Fringe yet, and I packed up my bags (as well as Jodi Morden and Madeleine Hall) and headed out to Vancouver to hit the west coast with FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING. My first out of town performance, and it was a treat from start to finish. We didn’t set records but we had good houses and great fun and we’d all love to come back to the finale Fringe ASAP. I still miss it.

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Back home, it was time to get personal. Longtime Visitorium mainstay Winston the Cat transubtantiated to Valhalla in 20116, and he needed him some immortalizing, Theatre Style. That came at Fresh Meat with UNZIPPING THE CAT, my storytelling debut. Even Patrick Langston had to grudgingly admit it was pretty good.

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I figured I was done acting for the year, until Eddie May came calling, and drew me into the madcap mystery that was HAVE YOURSELF A SCARY LITTLE CHRISTMAS out at the Kanata Velvet Room. After a year of DIY theatre, it was a nice change to end the year with a collaborative production (great working with Andy Massingham as director, plus sharing the cozy little stage some swell kids), tight alleyways, loud audiences, fake bloodstains and all. A great time being introduced to a whole new way of guerilla theatre-making for me, and a great way to close out 2016.  And huge thanks to EVERYONE who came out and saw one of the abovementioned shows…it means the world, as you all do know so well.

GETTING PERSONAL. As mentioned above, my roommate and best pal Winston the Cat had to be put down many months back. It was a rough bit, and I still miss that fuzzy little guy (tho I’m still finding enough of his leftover fur that I could likely construct a replacement Winston if I saved properly). As was truly said, Winston was an Ottawa Theatrical Institution, and he will always be missed, loved and remembered. Goodbye, my dear pal. I love you.

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There’s one more friend I ALMOST lost in 2016, but was blessed beyond my worth to get back. A few months ago, I almost threw away the best thing to ever happen to me, because I didn’t even realize how much she meant to me. After the worst and best night of my life, she helped me break through a lifetime of damage and bad wiring to see things more clearly, and I’m ecstatic to say that I am still very happily in a relationship with Caitlin Oleson, my beautiful, smart, sexy and ridiculously goofy girlfriend. She makes me happy, she makes me better, she puts up with my nonsense and shares this made-up life of mine in a way I never imagined anyone doing. Thank you so much, Otter, for sticking with me and smiling the way you do. You make things worth doing. I love you.

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That’s just about it, folks! 2016 saw lots of big theatre doings in Ottawa that I didn’t even touch on…the continuing redevelopment at Arts Court, NAC renos, the end of arts coverage in the Citizen (leaving our theatre reviewing state in such a sorry state I’ve already started doing a little of my own again…to be continued). 2017 promises some exciting things to come, hopefully a little extra theatricals from the 150 celebrations, and the return of Magnetic North. I’ve got some behind the scenes work coming soon with a local production, plus the Ottawa return of FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING in this years Undercurrents festival, hooray! After that..? Well, I punked out on the Fringe lottery, so who knows? Working on a few projects, but isn’t that just artist code for masturbating? We shall indeed see, folks. In the meantime, I DO hope to be writing a little bit more than recently usual about local theatre on this blog, because I goddamned LOVE local theatre and I want to see people getting excited about it. S o get getting excited, gang, and I’ll see you in 2017.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R