I don’t know about the rest of you, but my puttering game is getting pretty solid during this pandemic. The ability to fill a day with LITERALLY NOTHING and yet somehow be exhausted from the effort has been honed to razor-sharp efficiency. And don’t even get me started on staring off into the distance. Fucking CHAMP right here.
But of course, I exaggerate, I do things! I’m the designated cook in my little household, and preparing meals for myself and the otter is a cherished chore. I have also recently begun delving into the classic Terry Nation sci-fi teevee series BLAKE’S 7 and it is a major joy. Even participated in a fun new play reading on zoom with the gang from Theatre Kraken, in which I probably chewed more scenery than was called for, but hey, they invited me. And hey, then there’s this thing! I’ve done more blogging during quarantine than in the previous year, which admittedly mostly just points out how lazy I was in the previous year, but stop judging me. It helps keep my brain nimble, or at least from fully atrophying into a fine mist, and luckily there’s no shortage of online content to blather about while we’re all stuck at home.
My latest spot of blather comes, once again, courtesy of the ceaseless parade of content from the NAC livestream series. I had no particular connection to this one going in, but the grabber of a title sucked me in and got me piqued. That mouthful of a title is EVICTION? DOG’S BLOOD!! Nick Zynchuk & Montreal’s Red Plateau, 1933 and comes from the mind of Norman Nawrocki, a multiple threat performer who wrote and stars in this one-manner, originally intended I think for the Fringe circuit. Plague gods willing it will hit that path again, because having seen it online, I would be more than happy to catch it again in person some day, given the happy chance. EVICTION? tells the true tale of Polish Ukrainian immigrant Nick Zynchuk, an everyman working stiff just trying to eke out a living in a foreign land (in this case, Canada), only mildly hospitable to foreigners and decidedly less so to poor ones. When the worldwide depression shifts into gear, Nick and most everyone else around him loses their jobs, their homes, and in some cases, much more.
I’m not sure if Norman Nawrocki could have possibly foreseen when he undertook this piece, just how much subjects like worker’s rights and eviction protests would be weighing on the popular discourse right now, probably more so than anytime SINCE the great depression, but…god damn, good timing, Norman! Told exclusively from the pov of our delightful guide Nick (or Nikita, as he was known until Immigration authorities got through with him), EVICTION takes a harrowing tale of class struggle, racism, and police oppression and turns it into a thoroughly engaging and almost optimistic story of an ordinary, hardworking man just trying to make good in a new home. The show is deftly aided throughout by background images and music…yes, even in the online version. And aside from being a solid character actor, projecting defiant heart as the stalwart hero of the piece, Norman proves with some gorgeous violin work that he’s a capable musician to boot (seriously, check out his bandcamp for more samples of his musical prowess). Yes, this show was intended to be played in theatres, but the filmed-at-home version is pretty successful in all respects, though of course it has me chomping at the bit to see it live and in person. Which, I suppose, makes it even MORE successful. Not sure how long the video version is up, but as of this writing you can still find it at Norman’s Facebook page HERE, to see the goodness for your own self.
I know there are some people who are unhappy about the whole ‘theatre-via-internet’ that is happening as the result of this shutdown, and who think it just plain shouldn’t be happening at all. After multiple terrific experiences viewing shows at home like HOT DOGS AT THE EIFFEL TOWER from Hyde Park Theatre, BARBED WIRE IN THE BATHROOM from Johanna Nutter, WILL SOMERS from Pierre Brault, the previously reviewed DIANA from Falling Iguana, and now EVICTION? DOG’S BLOOD!, I am happy to report that those people are wrong and they can shut up now. While we are all chomping at the bit to get back on the boards and back into our seats and absolutely will the first safe chance we get, powerhouse performances like this serve to remind us that the creative powers that drive us into our special kind of madness are alive and well, no matter what fresh demons try, like ever, to knock them down. And with that, I’m putting this to rest for now and buggering off to refresh my Jamesons, lean back, and find out how Blake, Jenna and the rest of the crew deal with their next high concept, late 70’s sci-fi escapade.
Stay safe and stay home, gang. Peace, love and soul,
Kevin and Caitlin (and Winston’s ghost, still fighting for his right to shed wherever he likes)