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Archive for the ‘Foofarah’ Category

Monday Foofarah! – Apr 3 2017

In Foofarah, Uncategorized on April 3, 2017 at 2:44 pm

Because I was bored!

I know nobody but my sweet Otter really reads this thing anymore, but quite frankly, that’s enough. Hi Sweetie!!

WHAT’S ON THIS WEEK:

VIGILANTE at the NAC Theatre, from Catalyst Theatre. The radio is very excited about this show. I kinda am too.

PLAN B at the Gladstone, from Phoenix Players. A first dose of Michael Healey before the GCTC takes their annual crack at him next week.

MARION BRIDGE at Ottawa Little Theatre. MacIvor! ’nuff said.

THE MELVILLE BOYS at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre. If Norm Foster can’t get you out to Kanata, who can??

RoaS

Ray Besharah and Laura Hall in ROOT OF ALL SQUARES

AN ADULT EVENING OF SHEL SILVERSTEIN from Third Wall and ROOT OF ALL SQUARES from Black Sheep, at Arts Court. The latest 2-bill in honour of #Fringe20 …check it out, or be so square someone might root you!! or something.

…and probably some other stuff!  French stuff probably! ‘Probablement’.

WHAT AM I DOING?

Well, I recently played a little in the yearly OTTAWA THEATRE CHALLENGE hosted by the might Company of Fools, this time over at Arts Court while the NAC 4th stage (their usual venue) was being redecorated in rose petals and elephant tusks, or whatever they’re doing over there. Was hoping the photos being snapped that night by Andrew Alexander would be available to show off here, but so far no soap, so you’ll just have to imagine me in all my red-nosed lack of glory, representing Strange Visitations in the challenge with a 4-minute wordless clown turn, harkening back to my clown training on Manitoulin Island. It was a definite treat to finally appear before an Ottawa audience in full cloune, and it hopefully will not be the last time.

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Placeholder!

All props to SUZART who took away a much deserved win, and the legendary Rubber Chicken Award, for their piece. Some dandy stuff too by other local gangs like the Fools themselves, 1 Kind 1 Blind, the Improv Embassy and more. It was a funtastic night that raised some cool cash for the actors fund, always a good thing.

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Also, Comix!

What else…well, I finally posted a new post in my long-dormant Valiant Comics’ blog THE BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE, which so far has been perused by literally nobody except my wunnerful Otter, which made my day! 🙂 More to come, because I might as well use this staggering unpopularity of mine to my advantage, amirite? Pro Tip: Head on out to Comet Comics and try and pick up a copy of the brand new XO MANOWAR #1 while you still can…it’s space-action-adventure done right!

And in even more exciting news, the sweetie finally managed to get me to watch, for the first time, the piece of cinema history that is SPACE JAM last night. And while it was no Who Framed Roger Rabbit, it was a silly bit of fun and I’m glad I can scratch it off my list. I am now fully prepared to enjoy the full length Greg Houston show SPACE JAMERATION when it hits Ottawa Fringe this June (remember it from its debut at FRESH MEAT? I sure do!)!

So what’s up for me this week? Hopefully hitting up Vigilante, Shel Silverstein and Root of  all Squares with the Otter, a little bit of standardized patient shenanigans (can I say that?) , hopefully hearing back about some auditions, enjoying the first week of a sober April, maybe seeing a movie even. Though I’ve een a bit addicted to the YouTube of late. If you dig geekspeak, check out the terribly hilarious and charming MR SUNDAY MOVIES, an Aussie-hosted chat channel specializing in comix, video games and the like. Very enjoyable stuff.  Please enjoy their epic trolling of the epically trollable JUSTICE LEAGUE tv movie, seldom seen since its unfortunate birth in the mid 90’s. Hopefully the new movie won’t be (much) worse!

Not much else steam for now…nice talking to you, anyone besides my girlfriend who wandered by here looking for a review of their show!  Haha, weren’t those the days?  I had purpose, and respect, and now I’m just a schnook.  But this seems fun. See ya next Monday!!!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin R

Monday Foofarah! – Monday, April 20th 2015

In Foofarah on April 20, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Happy 4/20 everyone! Go drink 4 coffees and eat 20 donuts (that’s the deal with today, right?)

It should be.

It should be.

APED: So the crazy run of an even crazier play has ended at last, as Chamber Theatre Hintonburg‘s production of Eugene O’Neill’s classic THE HAIRY APE, a play I am now very, very much in love with and plan to revisit someday, has wrapped at the Carleton Tavern this past Saturday. We had some good houses, a few small ones, a few packed ones, and gave our all every time. I can’t thank Lisa and Donnie enough for letting me tag along and take this incredible plunge into ensemble, expressionist acting…it’s already hard to imagine just playing to an audience in a classic, proscenium stage. Working the room at the Carleton is such a brilliant, unique experience in theatre, and such a huge part of why I adore Chamber Theatre as a company. Nobody else is taking the chances they’re taking, and it’s gonna be hard not to jump at another opportunity if it comes along. We shall see, as the reading for their next proposed production is coming up in a week and I will happily be at the table for it.

It's got its work cut out for it if it wants to be as fun as this, though.

It’s got its work cut out for it if it wants to be as fun as this, though.

As for the Ape, it will be hard to let it, and my beloved ensemble (Madeleine, Rebecca, Darren, Brent, Laura, Jed, Donnie, Matt, Louis, and Auntie Ellen, plus our crew Lisa, Alain, Glen, Donna, Kristen, Carole and Lesley) go…post-show blues are always hard, something even a raw rookie like me is starting to understand. So to Hell with it, let’s take one last shot at it! Yes, it is officially official…THE HAIRY APE will be unleashed a month today in the Glebe at the legendary Irene’s Pub for a special one night performance, the first ever theatrical production at that venue (we already popped the Blacksheep Inn’s cherry at the start of our run, seems fitting to end it in similar fashion). Looks like I have one more filth shower in my future, and I couldn’t be happier. Well okay, I could, if all of you who sadly missed our Carleton run would do yourselves a favour and come on down to check out one of the funnest and most exciting pieces of theatre this year!

#2FARAH: So in a scant two months, my newest co-creation with my brilliant collaborators (Madeleine Hall, Jodi Morden, and Rebecca Laviolette) at STRANGE VISITATIONS will hit the boards of Studio Leonard-Beaulne for its world premiere at the Ottawa Fringe Festival. This hourlong show, HANNAH & GEORGE, will (hopefully) be a fast-paced, high energy clown love-story and magical adventure-comedy, a childrens show aimed at entertaining kids of ALL ages and winning over even the hardest of hearts. How to celebrate its arrival? The only way you celebrate anything…with Foofarah, of course!

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Yes, it’s that time of year again, as I can now officially announce the upcoming second annual FOOFARAH LIVE! At the Clocktower Brewpub on Bank Street this Monday June the 1st. Consider this my first feeling out to ask for anyone interested in contributing to the evenings entertainment…as per last year, the show will consist of a cabaret-style collection of pieces, anywhere from a minute in length to over 20. Details to follow, but if you’d be interested at all in taking part, send me an e-mail at visitor.tba@gmail.com and let me know! I should stress, this event WILL be, in part, a fundraiser for myself and Strange Visitations on our road to Fringe, so any contributions on your part will be very gratefully voluntary…but if you have an upcoming show as well and would like to give audiences an early taste of it, this is a good (and fun) place to do it! Or if you just have a short bit of fun that doesn’t fit anywhere else, give me a shout! Last year was a blast, and details will follow shortly as to the specifics on this year’s madness. I can tell you that I’ll be bringing out at least one or two of the clown ‘turns’ I worked during my stay at the Manitoulin Conservatory for Creation and Performance (aka the Clown Farm) last summer. I can ALSO tell you that this evening will feature a one-night-only revival of Strange Visitations’ Fresh Meat hit, FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING (among other goodies).

Admit it, you NEED to see this live.

Admit it, you NEED to see this live.

So get in touch with me asap (and some of you I might be getting in touch with to gauge interest) and get in on the Foofarah Funtimes, and let’s kick Fringe month 2015 off with a bang…or at least, the annoying screech of a rubber chicken.

FRIENDS AT FRINGE: Speaking of Fringe (which you cannot do enough), why not shine a wee Visitorium spotlight on one of the many awesome shows I’ll be lucky enough to share the fest with this year?

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My darlin’ little galpal Caitlin is diving headlong into the Fringe this year (with the help of the incredible Hannah Gibson-Fraser behind the scenes) in her one-woman show, CRUSHED, and you can help make it happen for her by checking out her Fund-What-you-Can promotion right here. Then check out her squinky new show website, and get ready for what I expect to be a very smart, sweet and funny show…and Caitlin, consider yourself invited to join us at the Foofarah if you’re into it! 🙂  I can’t wait to see what you guys are cooking up!

And that’s it for this Monday…see you again soon, gang!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

Monday Foofarah! – March 16 2015

In Foofarah on March 16, 2015 at 10:50 pm

Well, I’m not reviewing anymore, so I might as well use this space for SOMEthing. And the Monday Foofarah, why that certainly is something! It’s ten pounds of something in a five pound bag is what it is! Or IS it..???  Never mind just get your dancin’ shoes on already!

And when I said just now “I’m not reviewing anymore”, well, just take that with an apparent grain of salt, because…

THE BEST HAPPINESS: …I just saw two shows back to back that I simply GOTTA give a little public props to, because I feel a deep, gnawing need to have people fill their houses with adoring fans. First up is a gorgeous little slice of Daniel MacIvor with THE BEST BROTHERS, playing now at the GCTC. Starring John Ng and Andy Massingham as Hamilton and Kyle Best, two brothers who are just similar enough to make their differences all the more grating whenever they try and get along. And as the occasion of their meeting in the play is to handle funeral arrangements for their suddenly departed Mother ‘Bunny’, emotions are indeed flaring a little higher than usual between buttoned down Hamilton and flaky Kyle. And then there’s Enzo, Mother’s beloved pooch who has a tendency to eat all the things, and then defecate them wherever he likes. It’s a trying time.

John Ng and Andy Massingham in THE BEST BROTHERS (pic by Andrew Alexander)

John Ng and Andy Massingham in THE BEST BROTHERS (pic by Andrew Alexander)

A sneaky piece from Danny Mac, BROTHERS starts off looking like a wacky dark comedy, and somewhere along the way shifts into a multilevel character piece and exploration of grief, relationships, sexuality and family, among other subjects. GCTC boss Eric Coates sits comfortably behind the reigns on this one, and couldn’t have asked for a better tragicomic duo than John Ng and Andy Massingham, who play off each other like a human game of ping pong, as well as taking turns giving a posthumous voice to Mother Bunny. It’s a hilarious and touching play whose every moment bears close examination. 2015 is turning out to be a stellar Ottawa year for MacIvor!

Meanwhile, over at TACTICS, the third show in that inaugural series has rolled out this past week at Arts Court, as local heroes May Can Theatre hit the big time with a revamped and reworked version of their 2013 Fringe show HAPPINESS(tm). And while the show is still pretty much the same at its very core, or at least in the same ballpark, this is very much a bran new experience for audiences to take in. And I do mean experience, as Cory Thibert, Tony Adams and director Mado Manseau have turned this darkly comic tale of corporate shilling gone wrong into one of the most wonderfully immersive theatrical experiences of the year.

Tony Adams and Cory Thibert in HAPPINESS(tm)

Tony Adams and Cory Thibert in HAPPINESS(tm)

Working with a budget for likely the first time in their history, May Can puts every cent of it into the production and the results are fantastic, with an eye-popping opening that sets the scene perfectly, with high-octane HPL sales reps Peter Barrel (Tony) and James Lemon (Cory) getting ready to sell the ever-loving shit out of their new ‘Infinity Line’, products specifically designed to make you happier (including the cringe-inducing ‘Happy Hook-Up’). All of this takes place in the studio…audiences are then ushered into the Theatre for a look at what lies beneath the happy face of Pyramid scheming-sales in a genuinely inspired and clever twist in storytelling that goes from hilarious to grim when you’re least expecting it. Aided by some sweet light and projection effects, Cory and Tony deliver what is probably their fullest and most satisfying show to date, and one that should propel them into a new phase of their careers in theatre, if there’s any damn justice in the world. Amazing to think back to when I was sharing a venue with the original prototype of this show at TAN Coffee in Sandy Hill. And very proud of how far May Can has come since then.

YOU DAMN DIRTY APE: Counting the days now until THE HAIRY APE at long last clambers onto the stage, first for a preview show at Wakefield’s Black Sheep Inn, and then back in Hintonburg for the full run at the Carleton Tavern. Working with Chamber Theatre for the last several months on this beast of a show has been challenging, frustrating and fulfilling, sometimes all at once, and its hard to believe the end is at last in sight. Donnie Laflamme is poised to once again knock Ottawa audiences over with his performance as Yank, a steel-tough stoker on a liner who has his world turned inside out after a chance encounter with a high-society dame (the seriously amazing Laura Hall).

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Director Lisa Zanyk continues to push the whole cast in wonderful new directions up to the last minute, and I think audiences are going to really enjoy what she’s come up with. Our cast is filled out with Madeleine Hall, Matt Smith, Louis Lemire, Ellen Manchee, Brent Rouleau, Jed “Rocket” Rached, Darren Jerome and Rebecca Laviolette, and rehearsals are starting to really cook as we near the finish line. Now, I’ve got a couple of comp tickets to give away for opening night here at the Carleton on April 2 at 7:30, and that means CONTEST!!!  What do you have to do to get’em? Simple: get out your phones, use the hashtag #ChamberApe, and between now and next Monday post a pic (or a video, if you’re feeling ambitious) of yourself doing your best impression of a Hairy Ape. The winner will be announced next Monday right here…and keep in mind I may post some of the pictures here as well, if we get a good-lookin’ bunch. Trust me, this is theatre good enough to make yourself look silly for. 🙂

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STRANGE VISITATIONS: Even as APE nears its destination, over in Fringe Festival territory my other show, HANNAH & GEORGE, is just starting to pick up steam. Just yesterday I sent in information to be printed in the official Fringe guidebook (guess there’s no changing the name NOW), version 2 of the script is in all of our hands, prop and costume scouting is on and rehearsal spaces are being booked. I am desperately anxious and excited about this show, which is almost a direct descendant of the short piece THE FLOWER I performed as my end-of-semester presentation at the late, great Ottawa Theatre School, so I feel pretty close to it.

Coming soon to a Fringe near you...

Coming soon to a Fringe near you…

Even got assigned my dream venue, the beautiful Studio Leonard-Beaulne on Ottawa U campus, where I’ve seen the likes of Amy Salloway, Celeste Sansregret, Nancy Kenny, Jem Rolls, Margo MacDonald, David Gaines, Peter’n’Chris, Chris Bange, Ken Godmere, May Can Theatre (of course), and so many more do so many amazing and inspiring things. I have a lot to live up to, and I’m confident that with the help of my radiant co-star Madeleine Hall (our third show together in a row, and if that could continue forever, I’d be quite content) and whipsmart director Jodi Morden (who also wowed me in SLB last year with RACHEL & ZOE) we’re gonna deliver something very, very special. Or at least silly. Silly is a good start.

See you next week, gang!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

Monday Foofarah! – May 12th 2014

In Foofarah on May 12, 2014 at 9:54 pm

Cranking out another weekly Foofarah, despite hilarious anxiety attacks and occasional suicidal thoughts…my medal is in the mail, right? On with the show! What’s to see this week?

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Well, there’s MY BRILLIANT DIVORCE wrapping up at the Gladstone, as well as MAURITIUS finishing over at Ottawa Little Theatre. Premiereing we have OIL AND WATER at the NAC Theatre, LE PROMENIOIR in the studio. Over Gatineau way, FAUSSES RUMEURS launches at Theatre de L’Ile, and at the 4th stage THE ARRANGEMENT THE MARRIAGE AND ME plays for one night only. INHERIT THE WIND starts in Kanata, the OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL plays until Wednesday at Lebreton Flats, and the 16th YOUTH INFRINGEMENT FESTIVAL runs this week at Arts Court Theatre! And for your dinner theatre pleasure, DIAL M FOR MOUNTIE is at the Velvet Room. Sorted!

ABORTION: Earlier this week I tried to check out a movie on my day off. And since we ain’t got no more movie theatres downtown (except the Bytowne and Mayfair, which are awesome but sometimes I want to see superheroes, right?) That meant a trek on the bus out to the boonies somewhere…I settled on Silver City, out Gloucester way. But I hadn’t planned well…that day was the day of a massive protest on parliament hill and thereabouts, by our avid ‘pro-life’ crowd, or the ‘anti-choice’ crowd, depending on who you’re talking to. This meant me being trapped on the 95 for about 45 minutes going exactly nowhere, until eventually we had to practically threaten the poor driver to let us off the damn bus. It wasn’t the best way to spend the day off, for sure, but it did give me time to think about the issue at hand. Here are a few bullet points I came up with during my isolation:

– I get where the vitriol comes from, I really do. I don’t want to get into name-calling, even IF they did make me miss Amazing Spider Man 2 that day (in the long run, a minor issue and possibly even a favour). Most of the Pro-life crowd are no more ‘anti-choice’ than the pro-choice crowd is ‘anti-life’. There are exceptions on the fringe, of course, but I do understand the core issue for a lot of them. I just disagree, is all. To me, the difference between abortion and killing babies is like the difference between scrapping a chapter in the novel you’re working on, and burning books. While tangentially related on a certain level, they are, in all important aspects, completely different animals.

– This is just a theory on my part, but something I strongly suspect nonetheless: if it were men who got pregnant, this conversation would be LONG over. A few rousing and loud speeches about personal freedom and some perfectly reasonable ‘How DARE you’’s later, and we’d all move on. The argument persists because, and this is the terrible truth of it, most of our world still holds onto the idea that women’s opinions can be summarily dismissed by virtue of the fact that they are the opinions of women. This isn’t publicly stated very often (except occasionally on Fox News), but if you look it’s pretty easy to spot. Even worse, it ain’t just men who hold this ugly idea. I think things are getting better, but too slow for many of our tastes.

– I have no children, but do have a pair of precocious Nieces whom I adore and look up to. And while I’m thrilled that my sister chose not to have an abortion during these instances (not that I think she was contemplating anything like that, this is just an example), I’m also glad that she DID have the choice. And I hope my nieces grow up to be wise, wonderful, healthy and strong women who have full access to reliable birth control and safe abortion technology so that, should the moment arise, they can make the same informed decision that was their Mothers right. And it annoys me that there are people out there who don’t want my nieces to have that right. Who think that they have the authority to preemptively make that decision FOR my nieces, without ever meeting them. All I can really ask these people is..who the Hell do you think you ARE? Trust the ladies to make their own choices, dig? And let me see shitty superhero movies if I want to. It’s MY LIFE!! Speaking of which, here’s the amazing title song to HOWARD THE DUCK:


CHUGGERS: Oh, God, the chuggers. They’re getting to me, I won’t deny it. You know who I’m talking about…the ‘Charity Muggers’, those well-intentioned young clipboard-wielding psychopaths lurking on every second downtown intersection these days, waiting with an overly aggressive sales pitch and a smile to try and get you to fork over your cash to the cause du jour. And I am officially DONE with these kids. Not that I think they intend evil or anything, just that it’s really time to retire this schtick and think of something new. I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty sure I get hit up for cash MORE than enough in the downtown core as it is without a bunch of amped-up saleskids chasing me down and calling me ‘bro’ and trying to convince me to hand over my private banking information to a stranger on a streetcorner (spoiler alert: never gonna happen.) It’s gotten to the point where I’ll cross the street in a direction antagonistic to my destination just to avoid these goddamn critters. Am I just a grumpy old fuck? Okay yes, a bit, but tell me I’m alone in this, I dare you! I can’t take it no more….I’m starting to actively dislike the causes these guys are hying, just by association. I want to like Amnesty International again!! Let me walk down Bank Street in blissful self-isolation again, I beg of you! Get a new gameplan, charities, think outside the box, and more importantly, think off the sidewalks. WAY off. I’m walkin’ here. And now for something completely different, here’s some awesome fucking VENTURES goodness from my fav’rit album growing up:

CROWDFUNDER OF THE WEEK: I realized that, in my haste, I actually forgot to include one of these last week. I forgive myself, it’s a new segment..but on the other hand, I don’t forgive myself, and FUCK ME! But I’ll make it up to you, by including TWO great places to throw your money at, and both without bothering you on Bank street in any way whatsoever.

First up is the amazing Natalie Joy Quesnel: Mom, teacher, artist, and Executive Producer of the Fringe Festival in our Hearts. She’s got a fantastic-sounding new one-woman show coming to the Ottawa Fringe Festival this year, FIRST WORDS, and is looking to shore it up with a little funding, and you all WANT to help her out with that. Dramaturged and directed by the incredible Emily Pearlman, sound by Steve Goddam Lafond…it is gonna be SOLID. Check out her page, watch her video, and then please, help out in any way you can. I’m very proud to call this wonderful lady a friend, and can’t wait to see this show. You can’t either. Skip the next take-out latte and help a true artist out…you’ll be glad you did.

http://fwyc.ca/campaigns/first-words

Second is one that you may have already seen around, on account of the whipsmart production team at work behind it, but it’s such a great cause I have to pimp it a little more. Nancy Kenny is a longtime friend, and the reason I have cat hair on everything I own, and she’s going on the road this year with her great show ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL (which I’ll be seeing for the 6th time at the end of this month). But more than that, she’ll be taking a crew along with her on her cross-Canada tour to create a feature-length documentary on the Fringe circuit life, called ON THE FRINGE. And folks, this is a movie that NEEDS TO HAPPEN! Nancy is a passionate performer, and has the tenacity and the drive to do this right…and with the team she’s assembled (including director Cory Thibert of May Can Theatre and Wolf Pelt Productions), I have all faith this will be a movie that we can ALL be proud of…the Fringe circuit is one of the most beautifully unique things about Canadian Theatre culture, and I can’t wait to see it documented in the way it deserves. You can help. Donate what you can, share the link even if you can’t spare the cash, tell your friends all across this land…the doc will be following not only Nancy, but fellow Fringe vets like Jem Rolls, Martin Dockery, Venessa Quesnelle, and who knows who else. Help out, gang…it’s the right thing to do.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/on-the-fringe-documentary

And now, to help soften the blow of what comes next, fucking Guitar Wolf:

NOW, ABOUT THAT ‘SUICIDAL THOUGHTS’ REMARK IN THE OPENING PARAGRAPH: Okay, not really, okay? Take it easy. I mean, yes, I DO think about it. Kind of in an abstract way, though…trust me, my fear of death is WAY too high to ever seriously contemplate the S word. But I will admit, when my mood gets progressively darker and I grow more isolated (kinda like is happening right about now) that thought just creeps into my mind, like a terrible TV show running in the background and I can’t reach the remote. I wrote a shitty piece of poetry about it called THE WORD when I was a teenager or thereabouts, and since I can’t find the original (I actually looked), here’s the gist of it:

There’s this word that pops into my head from time to time. Suicide. I don’t like the word. I hate it. I would never, ever do it. Not if my life were a million years. Never. I want to LIVE.

…but then, if I hate it so much…why is the word there, at all?

Jesus. How annoyed am I that I’ve made exactly zero emotional progress from my teen years to now? Still the same dumb loner, still not understanding at all why ANY of you would like me, ever. If you all disown me, I understand. I certainly wouldn’t have the patience for my bullshit that you all seem to have (thanks very much for that, by the by). In the meantime, here’s some apropos Suicidal Tendencies coolness to play us out this week:

Peace, love and soul, Ottawa…and I’ll try and be a little more positive next week, deal?  Deal.

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

 

Monday Foofarah! – May 5th 2014

In Foofarah on May 5, 2014 at 10:35 pm

Another week, another Foofarah…who knew I could be this productive? And does this really count AS being productive? Doesn’t that require the creation of something useful? I suppose I should stop splitting hairs, I don’t have that many to spare anymore (don’t worry, it’s growing back). Rather, let’s get down to business, and see if I actually have enough in my head to fill another one of these nonsense posts!

First up, let’s see what’s playing in town this week, so you can decide what order you’ree going to see ALL OF THE THINGS in, because you are, right? Right.

Heloise Drouin et Chantal Tokarsky dans LE PROJET TURANDOT.  Photo: Martin Cadieux

Heloise Drouin et Chantal Tokarsky dans LE PROJET TURANDOT. Photo: Martin Cadieux

Well, there’s CORPUS from Counterpoint Players, still running this week at Arts Court Theatre. MAURITIUS at the Ottawa Little Theatre. HUFF at the NAC Studio from Cliff Cardinal. LE PROJET TURANDOT at Studio Leonard-Beaulne, from le Theatre Tremplin. NUNSENSE A-MEN at Academic Hall, from Tototoo Theatre. DIAL M FOR MOUNTIE, the current dinner theatre from Eddie May Mysteries, is also still going. Improv-wise the latest ‘BOUT TIME from Crush Improv is on this Monday, and GRIMprov plays at the Cock’n’Lion on Wednesday. If you’re mobile, my OTS classmate Alex is partaking in RAPA’s musical production of THE FULL MONTY out Russell way…still trying to figure out how to get down there myself! And for the kids: WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE at the NAC 4th Stage. Wild Things played at last year’s OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL, and its return coincides with this years festival, kicking off on Friday. I’ll be there for FROGZ on Friday, can’t wait!

COMIX: Well, this past weekend was Free Comic Book Day, and from the looks of how picked clean both the Snail and the Shoppe were when I checked them out after my brunch shift, FCBD is more popular than ever. And while I’ll have to continue hunting for my Valiant Universe Handbook, dagnabbit, I’m glad to see my other fanboy addiction is thriving to some extent.

As I’ve mentioned a time or three in these pages before, I’m a Valiant fan from back in the 90’s, and am so far delighted with their modern-day resurrection. Titles like ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG and HARBINGER continue to knock it out of the park month after month, the new RAI is so flippin’ gorgeous I can hardly bear to look at it, and the upcoming ARMOR HUNTERS event looks like major fun. But what the Hell ELSE do I buy? After a lifetime of being a DC man, the soulless ‘new 52′ initiative has cured me of that (although Fringe bigshot Pat Gauthier tells me the current BATMAN title is still worth picking up). I actually AM buying a DC Batman title, but it’s the awesomely retro BATMAN ‘66, based on the classic tv series and handled just perfectly. There’s a Green Hornet crossover coming up, y’all should check it out for sure.

This could be YOURS!

This could be YOURS!

My Valiant addiction has spread to other publishers as well, as the classic ‘Gold Key Three’ of Turok, Magnus and Solar have been licensed by Dynamite entertainment and relaunched in their own new mini-universe, along with the revival of Gold Key mystery character Doctor Spektor later this month. I’m mostly enjoying them so far…a few sweeping changes in the characters that I call into question, like the elimination of the ‘Lost Land’ concept from Turok. I always wonder, why license the character if you’re not interested in using 90% of what made them unique? And a lot of the revamp makes me giggle, because they’re clearly inspired by and using so much of the original reboot at Valiant, from the ‘Dinosaur Hunter’ tagline on Turok right down to having Bob Layton do BWS-inspired cover riffs for Solar. But it’s all good, and I’ll keep buying for the time being. But I could probably do with a little more indie street cred in my weekly haul…any rec’s for me? Let’s get some comment threading going, comic-discussion style!

#VISI4IUM: Still edging towards the big anniversary party on June the 1st! Had my first proper rehearsal last night, getting what will be my second vocal masque (a term coined for our end-of-semester presentations at the Ottawa Theatre School) off the page and onto its feet. And as always when that happens, I learned a lot right away. Even played a bit with some of the Laban techniques that Alix Sideris drilled into me at her workshop last week, something I plan to do with scripts until the day I die. I’ll need to do some wardrobe shopping for the second masque, and will need some help with that part. But at least mine won’t be the only OTS style vocal masque appearing that night…esteemed graduate Madeleine Hall will be performing HER epic final masque, and I can’t wait for y’all to see this one. I’m pretty obviously at this point an OTS keener, and me and Maddy aren’t the only alumni who will be representing at the party. The fantastic Hannah Gibson-Fraser and Jodi Morden have teamed up and created Pretty Ugly Productions, and will be performing a sneak peek into their new Fringe show RACHEL AND ZOE. Likewise, my second year heroes Alexa Higgins and Phil Merriman will be previewing their show GETTING THROUGH (Written by another OTSer, Aidan Dewhirst!). Plus the inimitable Nick Wade himself, Nick Fournier will be going solo in a piece all his own that I can’t wait to see. It’s gonna be a killer night, and I really hope you pack the joint. And if anyone is still interested in being part of the performance, give me a shout at visitor.tba@gmail.com , still room on the bill!

GT Fringe

TACTICS: Okay, so I till haven’t seen CORPUS, and shame on me. I hear it’s faboo, and I’ll be there early next week to catch it. That’s the latest show from the Counterpoint Players, as mentioned earlier, who are also spearheading a new multi-show initiative starting later this year, called TACTICS. Featuring four shows from four different companies in a very cool sounding season, the first show will be a welcome return for local fav’rits Evolution Theatre (fresh off some Rideau award honors for HROSES) with their latest, THE YOUNG LADY IN WHITE. A new translation by Maureen Labonte of a play from Dominick Parenteau-Lebeuf, I managed to catch a free reading of the piece this weekend at Arts Court. I don’t wanna spoil much about the plot this early in the proceedings, but the reading by Catriona Leger, Zachary Counsil and John Doucet was just goddamned lovely and the story, featuring a beautiful and original look at the history of the last century or so through some very unique eyes, is gonna be a showstopper. I’m dying to see how Chris Bedford ends up staging the whole thing (I couldn’t help but get some ideas of my own during the reading), and also wonder if this will be the final cast or if auditions will take place. Not that there’s anything wrong with the dream team they had up there already…most directors would kill for a trio of that calibre. The show proper will apparently go up this November, so start making life plans to be nearby when that happens NOW. It will be worth it.

MENTAL HEALTH: I had a whole bit written about the state of my heart/mind mashup lately and why it kept me from going out to ‘Bout Time tonight, but it was getting all kinds of dark that might make somebody call someone, and then someone would come over and take away all my sharp things that I totally need for cutting baloney and tomatoes and stuff (reminder: I am a PROFESSIONAL COOK, dammit), so let’s just say IT’S BEEN BETTER, and here’s Maria Bamford on Doctor Katz:

And on that fantastic note…same time next week, yeah?  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

 

Monday Foofarah!! – April 28 2014

In Foofarah on April 28, 2014 at 9:15 pm

I know, I know…you never thought it’d be back. You HOPED it’d never be back. But you can’t keep a good Foofarah down! Also, it’s Monday, I haven’t been posting much lately and I’m kinda bored. FEEL THE LOVE!!!

Lots to get to, especially as it’s been about two fuckin’ years since I bothered doing one of these, but as always, first things first…what’s going on in Ottawa Theatre this week?? Well, we’ve got MY BRILLIANT DIVORCE at the Gladstone. HUFF at the NAC studio. CORPUS at Arts Court Theatre. ALBERTINE EN CINQ TEMPS at the NAC Theatre. LE PROJET TURNADOT at Studio Leonard-Beaulne. MAURITIUS at Ottawa Little Theatre. YOUNG LADY IN WHITE (a reading) at Arts Court Studio. And THE WEDDING POOL at the Avalon Studio. It’s a good full and fun week, folks, and I plan to hit at least 4 of these this week.  And once I see them, I’ll have shows to write about!  But in the meantime, I got other stuff to say.  Read on if you will!

ALIX’S LAB(AN): I recently finished up a three-evening workshop, under the tutelage of that most amazing of superwomen, Alix Sideris. I’ve been blessed to know miss Alix for some time now, and had been very, very much looking forward to her being one of my instructors in my second year at theatre school. But, well, that didn’t play out like expected, so I jumped at this next-best-thing opportunity, when she offered this intensive workshop on Laban. For those not in the know, Laban is a sort-of theory of physical theatre created by dancer and architect Rudolf Laban back in the day. It’s intriguing and demanding and exhausting, and I really should have booked some time off work around it, but in I dove anyways. Happily I was surrounded by good folks, each far more talented and beautiful than I, who lent me their inspiration for the duration of the ‘shop.

Day one got us all into playing with some of the opposite motions that seemed to excite Rudolf so much…pushing and pulling, falling and rising, high and low, heavy and light, direct and indirect, bound and unbound, etc. All the while we were encouraged to play with a monologue we had been instructed to have ready, to see how the different modalities affected how the text came out. I dug falling and rising the most, even if my butt is still sore from a few of my more excitable falls.

Day two we got into a little ‘circles of speech’ territory, which gave my classmate Kathryn ‘Laban Mouse’ Reeves a big giddy smile. The three circles of speech range from 1st (inward), 2nd (conversational), and 3rd (outward). It’s cool, as the 1st and 3rd are both essentially rhetorical, but for completely different reasons. Our play this day ranged from shouting like lunatics to the heavens at the top of our lungs, to shriveled, fetal balls hugging the walls, whispering to ourselves. It was a trip. Then we got back into Laban proper and met some of the ‘characters’ of the technique, like the Puncher (who is goddamned tiring), and the Floater (or was that day 3? I was awfully tired after the Puncher).

Day three started with me getting a good deal more intimate with Nick Amott than I had ever planned (not complaining), then playing with a few more Laban ‘characters’, most notably the Wringer. This involves deliberately and painfully contorting yourself on the ground like a dishtowel being wrung out, and I highly recommend it to everyone. After a bit more play we had some time to work on our monologues again before actually resenting them to everyone, using a little of what we had learned. Then Alix got into it, doling out some awesome directorial flourishes to bring even more out of us. For my part, I ended up a drunken Iago having a loud session at the pub with my boys, while glaring Desdemona down across the room. Many thanks to Madeleine Hall for playing along on that one.

It was an intense and VERY emotional three days…Laban work like this doesn’t allow for much to be held back, and the day after it was all I could do to not burst into spontaneous tears on my brunch shift at work. I was inspired, however, and I feel like I got about a month’s work of theatrical instruction in less than half a week.  But eternal thanks to Alix Sideris for conducting this I hope to Hell there’s another one coming soon, and next time…time off work for SURE. And epsom salts. LOTS of epsom salts. Again, ouch. The best kind of ouch.

AWARDS: I was so beat up and woozy after my Laban workshopping, plus regular old work and an evening volunteering with Vacant House Theatre, I just could not make myself spend another night doing anything but going to bed early. So it was with some regret that I passed on this year’s PRIX RIDEAU AWARDS GALA…something I was initially supposed to be performing in (long story), but scheduling conflicts boggled that. Still, I would have liked to have seen the show, and I hear it was a swell evening all around. Looking at some of the photos swirling around the net from the night, it’s likely just as well that me and my ugly mug stayed home, because people was dolled UP, yo. Also, apparently some awards got doled out somewhere along the line:

Hroses

My old pals at Evolution and MiCasa Theatre cleaned up, with lots of well-deserved love for the amazing HROSES: AN AFFRONT TO REASON, winning for AL Connors’ great sound design, Katie Swift’s great acting, and Emily Pearlman’s great directing. The WE GLOW gang got a nice collection too, with wins for Brad Long’s smashing acting, as well as a best original creation nod. Again, so well-earned.

Best overall productions went to Same Day Theatre’s IN THE NEXT ROOM (THE VIBRATOR PLAY) and Theatre la Catapulte’s IK ONKAR. I sadly missed that production, as my French theatre habits are a little down in the numbers recently. But at least I did catch FOOL FOR LOVE, which picked up the Franco nod for best male performance for Yves Turbide. Plenty of other amazing people won well-deserved awards…Melanie Karin, Magali Lemele, Lissa Leger, David Whiteley, Tina Goralski, Caroline Yergeau…there are full lists out there, but you’re probably way cooler than me and were at the gala anyhow. Much love to all the nominees, attendees, organizers, and a special shoutout to my fellow OTS orphans who did end up performing that night…send me some pictures, and I’ll post’em right here if ya like!

#VISI4IUM: And what better reason to resurrect the Foofarah, however briefly this lasts, but to pimp the upcoming 4th Anniversary Foofarah LIVE! Coming on Sunday June the 1st downstairs at the Clocktower Bank street, this will be the event that 4 years of dull-witted bloggery have been leading up to, and hopefully it won’t be the disappointment you’re rightfully expecting. But HOW COULD IT BE? Seriously, have you seen the talent I somehow talked into being a part of this thing already? I feel like I just personally assembled the Avengers over here. Check it out…we got Tony Adams and Tess McManus teaming up, as well as Cory Thibert and Mado Manseau, because I couldn’t bear it if all of May Can weren’t there for this special evening. Them AND Little Green Hat? That’s a show right there.

visi4ium banner 2

But there’s MORE! OTS keener that I am, there’s plenty of classmates and alumni on hand to entertain. Hannah and Jodi of Pretty Ugly productions will be there, as well as Alexa and Phil from Loose Cannons Collective, both I think performing previews of their upcoming Fringe shows! Plus Nick Fournier (aka Nick Fuckin’ Wade), goin’ solo which is gonna be amazing. AMAZING.

And two of my fantastic Laban Workshop-mates round out the current bill…Madeleine Hall has graciously agreed to remount her fantastic final Vocal Masque for the evening, and Derbygirl extraordinaire Nancy Kenny will be doing…something! It’ll be great!! (it actually will be, trust me)

And then there’s me. I suppose since it’s my damn blog and all, I have to do SOMEthing at my own party. Well, I’m beating that by doing TWO somethings. I mentioned ‘vocal masques’ above, which is OTS speak for a performnace piece we had to do at the end of semester. I’ll be remounting the one piece I ever managed to get out in my short time there, a little ditty (silent, despite the word ‘vocal’ in the descriptor) I call The Flower. And then, because I’m buts, I’ll be debuting what WOUDL have been my 2nd semester masque, going by the few groundrules I ever was told about it. Those are: 5 minutes long. Solo. Spoken, but with text culled from 3 different published plays, strung together in a single narrative. I have my script ready, and there may be a prize for anyone who can guess the 3 sources I used. I’m starting to get nervous about the whole thing, actually…thank goodness I’ve just brought Rebecca Laviolette on board as official Foofarah Wrangler for the event! With her help, the party just might actually happen after all. Stay tuned!

CROWDFUNDER OF THE WEEK: Because who knows, maybe I’ll keep doing these again! Smooth Tim Oberholzer, longtime friend and fav’rit of the Visitorium, had himself a bit of a show at the Gladstone recently. You may have heard of it, or even just heard it if you were standing within ten blocks of the theatre, because HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH rock loud and hard. It was a short, micro-run from his newly minted Vanity Project Productions, a labor of love, and also one of the best, most exciting and absolutely picture-perfect shows Ottawa is gonna see this year. And it’s not just the Foofarah that is making a comeback, folks, because this show too is gonna happen again. This October, like Superman and Batman before him/her, Hedwig Returns! By popular demand…hell, even the people who SAW it are demanding a remount…Tim and the band will be back to rock the capitol in this brilliant fucking show, that is absolutely a game-changer for Tim Oberholzer. This is a take-it-on-the-road-and-get-famous kinda show, and you gotta, GOTTA catch it while you can. But Hedwig isn’t the best with finances, and needs a little help. See your way to spotting a measly 25 buck to the fundraising campaign, and you’ll secure your seat for the remount! That’s as good a deal as anyone needs. Help make this magic happen, folks…seriously, Montreal WISHES they were cool enough to have this show in their town.  Click the link, and do the right thing: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/hedwig-and-the-angry-inch-returns-to-ottawa#home

Well, that’s all I got for tonight folks…I have to make a bowl of soup and finish watching IRON MAN 2.  Hope you enjoyed the return of the Foofarah, and I’m gonna try and keep it coming at least for this month, in the runup to the anniversary show.  So as always, good people of the internet, this has been Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston).  Highwaymen…play me out:

Monday Foofarah! — February 25 2013

In Foofarah on February 25, 2013 at 9:36 pm

And another missed week, ho ho ho…thank Heavens no one with anything better to do reads this!

IN THEATRES THIS WEEK:

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Until March 2nd!  Go cheer for Liz and the Bennet sisters!

GOD OF CARNAGE at the Irving Greenberg Theatre (GCTC), from Third Wall Theatre.  Until March 2nd too! Pick your side (Vallon or Reille), and watch the tulips fly!

OULIPO SHOW at the NAC Studio.  From the 27th to March 2nd (in French).  A ‘dazzling choreography of the endless possibilities of language’…sounds good to me.

INNOCENCE LOST at the NAC.  Previews start on Feb 27, premiere on March 1st.Beverly Cooper’s dramatization of the true story of Steven Truscott.

OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN at the Ottawa Dance Directive Studio (Arts Court).  The 28th to March 2nd, some ODD dance goodness.  And speaking of goodness, here’s this sweet ’79 tune I just found, from The Dogs:

UNDERCURRENTS REVISITED:  So we’re into the crappy half of February now, and suddenly we’re all noticing how cold and shitty is outside.  Has it always been like this?  Yes, yes it has…it’s just that UNDERCURRENTS was running for the first two weeks, and everything seemed so much better.  And yes, I was SUPPOSED to write about this last week, but my Foof got sidetracked by an emergency 12-hour shift at the drudgery.  And then I was gonna do something  DURING the week, but depression won that battle.  February, am I right?

Anyhoo, I wanted to take a moment and reminisce on the festival that was this year, the third Undercurrents, and just maybe the best?  Hard to quantify, but I loved the shit out of almost every show.  My adoration of LITTLE ORANGE MAN spans two years and several provinces, and it was wunnerful having both performer Ingrid Hansen AND director Kathleen Greenfield in my town for the show.  HIP HOP SHAKESPEARE LIVE MUSIC VIDEOS was likewise dandy to catch again, and I think I’m starting to get the hang of this hip-hop jazz (pro tip: it actually is NOT jazz).  Theatre Columbus seem to have scored the hit of the fest with their fully sold-out THE PUBLIC SERVANT, which was pretty worth the buzz…and hopefully it’ll be back again in some capacity.  Same can be said for SKIN, the gorgeous and brilliant piece from our own Deluxe Hot Sauce.  Amazing movement in that show, something it had in common with Skeleton Key’s moody-cool LADIES OF THE LAKE.

Seth, stop making Ruby so agitated..!

Seth, stop making Ruby so agitated…she’s trying to bake!

Of course there was the delightful lobby show BREAD  from Geoff McBride and Karen Balcome, that had lots of satisfied attendees eating well during the festival.  And my pick for the sleeper of the festival, the amazing and haunting LITTLE ILIAD from Evan Webber and Frank Cox-O’Connell, taking theatre and technology to a truly special place.  But I suppose I’ve talked about all of these shows at length in my previously posted reviews.  What else is there to say about Undercurrents 2013..?

…oh right, the PARTIES!  That’s right, there were not one but TWO Undercurrents shindigs, and yours truly (not exactly a social butterfly, but maybe sort of a social parasite or barnacle or something) was at both of them.  The first one, the ‘opening’ party, took place upstairs at the GCTC on the first Saturday.  DJ AL Connors was spinning his usual fine tunes, and a sweet spread of schwarma fixings was laid out for the eating.  I’d already stuffed myself earlier on at the FACE2FACE closing party at Arts Court (Social parasite, definitely), where I’d come from with Ingrid and Kathleen.  I soon joined fellow superfan Rich Hemphill in some oversized bottles of Beau’s, but not before experiencing the secret, final performers of Undercurrents 2013…Two Little Birds and RECESS.  Travelling through the crowd with an oversized fortune-teller (or Cootie Catcher, or one of the other dozens of names it’s known by), the Birds cornered various partygoers to help them navigate their fates.  That’s right, folks…if you missed this party, you didn’t experience ALL the theatre that Undercurrents had to offer this year.  Sneaky, hey?  After receiving my commemorative catcher, I settled in to the party and had some fun…okay, I wallflowered it for a spell and then embarrassed myself on the dance floor, but who’s keeping track?  I ended up splitting after last call with some of my future castmates (more on that another day) and vaguely recalling having a great time.

Party #2 was the ‘closing’ party, held one day prior to closing the festival (who wants to WAIT to party??), at the splendid home of Pat’n’Kate.  A more traditional BYOB, and soon enough packed to the rafters with performers, creators, theatre elites, and, well, me (parasite!).    It was a fine and friendly affair, with ace foodstuffs provided by darlin’ HM Connors (COOKIES!!).  Spent quality time with awesome people (including my future director…more later!!), almost hit on a couple of girls, but didn’t (you’re welcome, ladies), and had a pretty darn nice walk home after missing the last bus.  I do believe I have failed to properly thank Pat and Kate for hosting this amazing party, so in that spirit THANK YOU!!  And thanks double to Pat Gauthier for assembling this amazing lineup for Undercurrents 2013.  Can’t wait to hear official numbers on the festival, and what we might expect next year…hopefully some of this will be forthcoming on April 15th when GCTC big man Eric Coates announces the 2013/2014 lineup, about which I am SERIOUSLY excited.  So congrats again to everyone involved for an incredible Undercurrents.  And now there’s less than four months til FRINGE!

Oh phooey, that’s enough for this one, late or no.  I was hoping to write about the dandy shows I caught weeks ago at the MFA director’s workshop series at Ottawa U…namely Martin Glassford helming Paul Rainville and Nick DiGaetano in AUDIENCE, and Sarianna Monette-Saillant directing Nathaly Charrette and Sasha Dominique in CATOBLEPAS, but a little too much time has passed for me to get my thoughts down proper. Suffice to say, the shows were night and day in setting and style, featured great performances that really deserved to be seen, and Martin and Sarianna are gonna be forces to be reckoned with.  Also, I think my French is improving!  And shoutout to Danielle Savoie, who handles a sound board with the best of them. 🙂  Until next time, kids…peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Monday Foofarah! — February 11th 2013

In Dance, Foofarah, Theatre on February 11, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Have you ever noticed that 6:15 pm happens at almost the exact same time EVERY day?  That can’t be a coincidence.

IN THEATRES THIS WEEK:

METAMORPHOSES at the National Arts Centre. Last week for the incredible, watery, mythical ride!

V COMME CANARD at Theatre de L’Ile.  Last week as well, get your Franco-comedy fix right here!

RABBIT HOLE at the Ron Maslin Payhouse, from Kanata Theatre. One more week for the family drama out Kanata way.

BILLY BISHOP GOES TO WAR at the Gladstone Theatre, from Plosive Productions.  Chris Ralph’s one man tour-de-force in the Canadian classic!

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  The NAC had their go, now it’s OLT’s turn at being Austen-tatious (I will never get tired of that). Starts on the 12th.

UBU SUR LA TABLE at the NAC Rehearsal Hall A. The 12th to 16th from the NAC French Theatre, an amazing sounding puppet show, that apparently actually travels!

THE SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS from Algonquin College Theatre Arts. The new season kicks off!  More about this show, that runs from the 13th to 17th, a little further down.

GOD OF CARNAGE at the Irving Greenberg Theatre (GCTC), from Third Wall Theatre. Back on stage in go big or go home style, Third Wall brings the controversial hit to the GCTC mainstage!  Preview on the 12th, premiere the 14th! And speaking of previews:

PAPER BAG PRINCESS AND OTHER STORIES from Ottawa Theatre School. Family theatre fun Munsch-style, from the 16th to 24th. Locations and showtimes HERE.

SANCTUARY SONG at the NAC Studio. An opera for young audiences, from the 16th to 18th.

– An evening of double-bill directing exercises, hosted by Ottawa U’s Unicorn theatre, and spotlighting the work of Martin Glassford and Sarianna Monette-Saillant!  Not sure what shows they’ll be doing, but this FREE series (got your attention now) runs from the 14th to 16th st Studio Leonard-Beaulne, and features performances by Nick diGaetano, Paul Rainville, Sasha Dominique and Nathaly Charrette.

– …and Week Two of the UNDERCURRENTS festival in the GCTC studio! Still time to catch SKIN, LITTLE ILIAD, LITTLE ORANGE MAN, LADIES OF THE LAKE, THE PUBLIC SERVANT, HIP HOP SHAKESPEARE LIVE MUSIC VIDEOS, and even bake a little BREAD! Don’t miss out, folks.

FACE 2 FACE 2 FORESKIN:  This past week was a busy one, theatre-wise.  Aside from seeing and reviewing all seven shows in UNDERCURRENTS, as well as BILLY BISHOP which I still have to get written up, I decided to expand my usual horizons a touch and take in some dance action.  It’s something I’ve wanted to branch out into for a while now, mostly since I enjoyed the hell out of HETEROLLECTUAL at Ottawa Fringe last year, from Pollux Dance.  I still felt pretty dumb about dance though, and not exactly ready for the Winnipeg ballet or anything like that…but fortunately, the NAC and the ODD (Ottawa Dance Directive) had a small series that looked right up my alley.  Called FACE 2 FACE, they had combined and put together 4 shows by four different companies, representing different countries, and each show a duet, ie: two dancers.  Sounded wicked cool, I bought myself a pass and headed on out Saturday after work ended.  It was an incredible night, I gotta say.

First up was THE MOST TOGETHER WE’VE EVER BEEN from Public Recordings and Provincija…specifically, the wonderful Ame Henderson and Matija Ferlin.  A Canadian/Croatian team-up with a twist, and staged in the ODD Studio at Arts Court, this oddball show featured Ame and Matija, sunglasses locked in place, entering and exiting the stage repeatedly, with a different micro-performance every time.  Devilishly charming, sometimes speaking, sometimes dancing, occasionally growling around on all fours, and very seldom predictable, it was a show with a dangerous amount of negative space in it, so to speak, but I found the time flew by, right up until the most intriguing show ending I’ve ever experienced.

Next was HOW ABOUT YOU? in the Arts Court Theatre, from choreographer Phillipe Blanchard and featuring the identical twin Stifani Brothers, if you can believe that.  Opening on one of the brothers frozen onstage in mid-stride, the show was an amazing look at how two people could create a whole world in front of our eyes.  Amazing music accentuated the Brothers’ constant freezing/interacting, as they set crowded nightclub and concert scenes with apparent ease, used one another as human dolls to explore dark themes, and just generally impressed the Hell out of me.

Off at a bit of a sprint to the NAC Studio for the duet double bill from Netherlandical Dance company T.R.A.S.H., who punched a few good holes in my senses with their ENCHANTED ROOM and T + BERNADETTE.  Spotlighting dancers Oona Doherty and Joss Carter, with concept and choreography from Kristel van Issum and Guilherme Miotto, both shows featured live onstage music…one with singers Michal Bitan and Joao Paixao providing vocal accompaniment straight out of David Lynch’s darkest fantasies, and the other with Cellist Jacqueline Hamelink.  It was heady, frenetic stuff, kids.  Check it out:

Back to Arts Court (where I met up with Ingrid Hansen and Kathleen Greenfield of LITTLE ORANGE MAN, yay!) for the last show of the evening, but for fucking sure not the least…STILL STANDING YOU from Campo, featuring the incredible Pieter Ampe and Guilherme Garrido.

Contemporary Dance.

Contemporary Dance.

Recently programmed for next season by World Stage in Toronto, SSY features the utterly charming duo slowly but surely beating the merry shit out of each other in a playful, lyrical, and before long completely naked fashion.   I’m oversimplifying the action, but in my defense I have no idea how to properly describe the inspired insanity of this show.  Featuring horseplay on an epic scale, uses of the human body most of us haven’t even dared to think of, and the clear theatrical high point of the year (the bearlike Ampe bellowing a deafening barbarian roar straight into Garrido’s urethra), I’m not even sure where to go from here.  All I know is these lads are totally fucking fantastic, and now I want a pair of Superman underwear just like Pieter’s (which, I’m told, actually went missing after the final performance..!).  Nothing but respect for these two maniacs.  Enjoy your poutine, gentlemen.  You’ve earned it.  Also, this:

And now, in my very eager anticipation of the upcoming SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS at Algonquin College, and utilizing as few of my feeble interview skills as humanly possible, I now present you with FIVE QUICK QUESTIONS WITH CATRIONA LEGER (the director of the show, dont’cha know, and an incredibly good sport for going along with this on such short notice, as she’s working two shows at once just now because she’s awesome):

Catriona!

Catriona!

What is the show about, in a nutshell?The Servant of Two Masters takes us to Venice where young Clarice (Shannon Collins) is about to marry her true love Silvio (Jean-Luc Carrie), rather than the recently deceased Federigo Rasponi, a rich stranger whom her greedy father Pantalone (Jenna L. Brown) originally arranged to be her husband.  Silvio’s father, the clueless Dr. Lombardi (Curtis Kupkee), Clarice’s wily maid Smeraldina (Amanda Ricketts), Brighella a crafty Innkeeper (Souness Rathedi) and Pantalone all believe the lovers are set for matrimonial bliss.  That is until Truffaldino (Ryan J. Nadon) arrives to announce that his master, Federigo Rasponi, is outside, eager to claim his bride.  Unbeknownst to everyone, “Federigo” is really his disguised sister, Beatrice (Melanie Grant), come to Venice to search for her long lost love, Florindo Aretusi (Jonah Lerner). This twist sets the characters spinning into the realm of the ridiculous, setting up an evening of slapstick and physical comedy almost suitable for the entire family. Think: Bugs Bunny goes to Italy!

Did you pick this show yourself? – No I did not.  It was selected by a committee at the Algonquin College theatre department and I was approached with an offer to direct.  However, I love this show and am thrilled to be working on it.

How are the Algonquin students rising to the Commedia Dell’Arte challenge? – The students are rising to the challenge of Commedia Dell’Arte quite well.  They receive a solid foundation in the elements of mask play and Commedia in their first year of training at Algonquin so I am thrilled that these second year students are being given an opportunity to put the skills learned in the classroom to practical use.  Commedia can be a challenge for even the most skilled performer – it demands precision and skill with respect to the form and physicality of each individual character – honouring over 400 years of tradition – along with a sense of comic timing, improvisation and irreverence required to appeal to a modern audience.  In essence, Commedia requires the form and discipline of a good student and the spirit of a naughty student – something that each of the actors in this cast embody to a tee.  I think this style and production have been well suited to the students involved.
Why is student theatre important?  – I try to avoid using the term “student theatre”  because it can devalue the hard work that the actors and production team put into a show.  In every school I’ve taught at, the students are training to become our next generation of theatre professionals and each one is held to a rigid standard both in the rehearsal hall and on the production side.  These productions give future theatre artists an opportunity to showcase where they are at in their individual process and development as well as allowing them the chance to practice what they have learned in a gentle, supportive environment that eases the transition the classroom to the profession.
Are you finding directing a more fulfilling pursuit than acting these days? – It depends on which day you ask (today the answer is directing).  I often find myself wishing I was acting in the shows I am directing and directing the shows I am acting in!  Classic dilemma of “the grass is always greener.”  In all seriousness though, ultimately, I am really fortunate to be able to strike a balance between acting, directing and teaching given that so often in our profession we find the need to pigeonhole artists into one role.  The most fulfilling work of all however, is the type of work I am doing now on Servant – it is a gift to be able to mentor emerging artists  – and I am always grateful for the opportunity to help carve the way for future theatre professionals.
ServantTwoMasters
SERVANT OF TWO MASTERS kicks off on the 13th at the Algonquin Campus Theatre, runs until the 17th.  Shows at 7:30 nightly, except for the 2pm matinee on the Sunday the 17th.  Only Ten bucks!  Do yourself a favour and get on out, kids.  And now, here’s JAMES BROWN on Soul Train, because why the hell not?
That’s it for me tonight…I know these Foofarah’s are becoming pretty irregular, but that’s just the nature of the Foof, it seems.  Hopefully I’ll be back this time next week with a look back at UNDERCURRENTS, and a status report on how several of my New Year’s resolutions are already in serious jeopardy, yikes!  Peace, love and soul,
Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Monday Foofarah! — January 14 2013

In Foofarah on January 14, 2013 at 10:25 pm

SO wiped out right now.  A winter cold has been variously kicking my ass for weeks now.  I just finished a return-to-drudgery weekend in which I had to work practically open to close two days in a row to cover for missing workmates.  I is exhausted, yo, and I’m not sure this is exactly gonna be the bestest Foofarah ever as a result.  In fact, let’s just say it’ll suck right now, so worst case scenario you’re ready for the disappointment to come.  Are you in that mindset?  Grim isn’t it??  Here we go!

IN THEATRES THIS WEEK:

MRS.DALLY HAS A LOVER at the A.C.T.Studio.  Extended for a whole extra week!  At the ACT theatre in Vanier, off Palace street, behind the pizza joint, through the heavy iron doors in the parking lot.  Password is ‘Contagion’.

ALL MY SONS at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  Arthur Miller’s whimsical tale of a loving family consumed by the bitter flames of regret, but with a pretty sweet lightning effect.

BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL at the Gladstone Theatre, from Black Sheep. Will this make me forget DOCTOR HORRIBLE was supposed to be premiering this week?  Cool people tell me that yes…yes it will.

THE ROCKY HORROR SHOW at Kailash Mital Theatre (Carleton University campus), from Sock’n’Buskin.  Whaa?  MORE musicals this week?  Sock’n’Buskin does Frank’n’Furter, and all is well with the world.

BLUE BOX at the Great Canadian Theatre Company, from Nightswimming and Carmen Aguirre. An UNDERCURRENTS flashback, but now in a noticeably larger room.

V COMME CANARD at Theatre de L’Ile. A new French show!  I think it’s a comedy!  Probably…who cares?   It’s French theatre, which is bon theatre.

CHURCH OF KARAOKE: THE MUSICAL at Shenkman Centre.  …wait, what?  Seriously, I have NO idea.  But it seems to be happening, so we’d better go.  Just a musical kinda week, I guess.

Phew…that actually took me a long time to write up (I had dinner and watched a pretty moving episode of THE FLYING NUN in there too, so I’m not totally lazy or anything).  For afterwards, here’s a band that the lovely Jen C told me to go see this weekend, and I didn’t.  But I should have, because just listen:

FRINGE:  Okay, so we’re finally out of December, widely acknowledged as the worst of all months on account of it’s as far away as you can get on a calendar from FRINGE.  But now, the countdown is officially ON.  And my loosely defined plan to see, like, twenty thousand Fringe plays this summer continues to simmer in my skull, and I’m getting increasingly concerned at how little ACTUAL PLANNING I’m doing for it.  But more on that another day.  For now I’m mostly content to sift through my huge piles of handwritten lists of Fringe lottery winners from various cities (Come ON, Victoria, you’re holding up the parade! Seriously.)  Lots of cool and exciting new performers have already got me excited to see their shows…definitely looking forward to meeting THESE clowns:

rocket_sheshells-sofa1

That’s Rocket and Sheshells of SMALL MATTERS Productions outta Edmonton, coming this year to Ottawa and other lucky towns along the Fringe circuit if all goes well…can’t wait!  Also, if every single human being planning on getting a BYOV in any Fringe anywhere in Canada this year could keep me updated with their status on that, it would be much appreciated. And one more question I’ve been kicking around in my head, and this is a somewhat earnest query…concerning my review format during Fringe.  Here’s a typical page of my show reviews from this last year’s Ottawa Fringe Festival:

https://thevisitorium.com/2012/06/15/fringe-coma-2012-day-one/

Dazzling, witty and brilliant, right?  I know.  But here’s my question (and this goes out to Fringe performers in particular): Is that format basically okay, or would you prefer it if I broke the reviews up into their own post apiece?  Okay, they’d be shorter for sure, but it would also make it a lot easier for travelling performers to link to them, without having to add those pesky ‘halfway down the page’ riders at the top of the weblink.  And while I would miss my ‘Fringe-Coma’ posts outlining my day of Theatre, I’d sacrifice it if it made life easier for you famous actors out there (not sarcasm, btw).  So please, drop a line, weigh in, wave really loud, whatever, just let me know what you think might be better.

While you’re all busy totally not replying to that question, here’s the reason why I drink Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, Texas gubernatorial candidate Richard Kinky ‘Big Dick’ Friedman:

I had more sort-of planned to say, but I’m gonna cut out here because I’m tired, lazy, sick, and that FLYING NUN disc ain’t gonna watch itself.  Okay, my teevee fetish may be rearing its ugly head again..I’m am for sure treating myself to the complete series of THE MUNSTERS this week, not because I deserve it (I don’t), but because I kinda sorta want it (I do).  Seriously, I’ll post fanfiction here if you ask me too, I will.  Please don’t ask me.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, aka The Visitor

Monday Foofarah! — January 7th 2013

In Foofarah on January 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Phew, it’s been a while!  Sorry I missed so many Foofarahs in December, but December did a pretty good job of sucking my will to live (anytime I’m not blogging a lot, it can only mean bad news).  Still, brand new year now, eh?  And not off to a bad start…I’ve already caught a few shows, and this will be my sixth post in seven days…we’ll see if I can keep THAT pace up for very long (hint: no I cannot).  Got a few things I wanted to yammer about this time around, so let’s get right to the getting-to-it!

IN THEATRES THIS WEEK:

MRS.DALLY HAS A LOVER at the ACT Ottawa Studio.  Playing from the 9th thru 12th…get outta the cold and into a hot, steamy show!

ALL MY SONS at Ottawa Little Theatre.  Arthur Miller’s wartime drama continues the 100th season, premiering on the 8th.

…and that’s it!  Okay, the year is still getting over that Xmas hangover, give it a few days!  Sheesh.  Here, have some sweet 60’s garage rock to help you get over it:

BLACK BOX MUSINGS:  Of the three shows I’ve seen so far this month, Jayson McDonald’s UNDERBELLY was two of them.  Part of Black Sheep Theatre’s BLACK BOX SERIES at the Gladstone Theatre, it was a fantastic show and you’d have been nuts to miss it.  And from the numbers, a whole heaping lot of you were nuts.  As with the first set last March, the numbers of people coming out for these shows are definitely less than desired.  And the shows themselves are GREAT!  The aforementioned UNDERBELLY, as well as McDonalds’ first Black Box offering GIANT INVISIBLE ROBOT, Paul Hutcheson’s THIRD TIME LUCKY, and Ken Godmere’s VERNUS SAYS SURPRISE (note: Ken told me his show actually had pretty good houses, but he also has home turf advantage).  I desperately want to see this series continue, but I’m starting to doubt that’s going to happen unless some changes are made, and soon.  I think it might be time to up the ante, and turn this series into a proper festival…ie, make note of it in the season program at the Gladstone; proper media launch FOR the festival, with plenty of advance notice on scheduling; and for poop’s sake, start double-billing the shows together!  NOBODY wants to trek out to the Gladstone in the freezing cold to see ONE one-hour show.  Two shows, half-hour break in between WITH BAR OPEN mind you, and that’s a good night out nobody can argue with.  Four show over two weeks, two shows a week.  Sound good?  Sound dumb?  Hell if I know. maybe the whole works is too close to UNDERCURRENTS to be really viable, but I like to think if Montreal (with Wildside) and Toronto (with Next Stage) can have successful, full-blown theatre festivals in early January, then so can we.  Let’s just put a little more elbow grease into it next time around, promote the living shit out of it, and give Ottawa audiences all the quality theatre they can handle!  Again, just a thought.

DUDES DUDES DUDES: Fun side note…I got to hang out after the premiere of UNDERBELLY with Jayson McDonald himself (along with gentleman Jeff Culbert, the show’s director, and hometown hero Ray Besharah) at the Heart and Crown.  And can I just say how sweet it is that I can actually DO that?  I still get more than a little starstruck by actors, and Jay Mac is definitely one of my all-time theatre heroes.  So to hang out and raise a pint with the dude is a pretty big deal for me (Ray and Jeff ain’t no slouches, neither).  Likewise, I recently got to share a drink with our own Ken Godmere of VERNUS fame, who will sadly be leaving Ottawa all-too-shortly for the sunny (or, you know, warmer) shores of Vancouver.   Getting the chance to perform in VERNUS was a highlight of last year for me, and Ottawa will absolutely be poorer for losing one of the most talented and genuine human beings I have ever met.  VERY glad I got the chance to meet and know this fine gent (also, I get to see him do improv one more time tonight at Cafe Deckuf with Crush Improv, as soon as I’m done writing this post…you should totally come!), and I hope I get the chance to hang out with him in Vancouver later this year.  I know he’ll be running the place by then, right Ken?  Right.

And now, the original Dudes Shane and Al teach you how rapping be done:

RESOLVE:  Recently on the Face-Book (which is not a book, nor has it a face…dwell on this), I made the semi-joking comment that my New Year’s resolution was to stop asking girls out in so subtle a fashion that they don’t realize I’m hitting on them.  And while that IS a terrific idea of mine that I wish I’d put into effect a LONG FUCKING TIME AGO, I suppose I should probably toss a few more resolve-a-lutions in there for good measure.  I’ve already resolved to keep my homestead a little tidier on a regular basis…the Visitorium was getting pretty bachelor-ific, if you catch my drift (there’s shit everywhere, is what I’m saying).  I resolve to start actually identifying myself as me, Kevin Reid, on this site instead of hiding behind my ages-old net moniker of ‘Visitor’, which I think has outlived its usefulness, although the name Visitorium will, of course, remain.  I resolve to actually go on at least one real goddamned date, no matter HOW badly it will inevitably turn out.  I resolve to try and be more positive, as soon as this post is done.  I resolve to share more of myself with other people (that shit’s gonna be HARD, yo).  I resolve to drink just a LITTLE bit less, and eat just a LITTLE bit better.  I resolve to keep better track of the theatre that I see, and work even harder to get people out to see more shows.  I resolve to get out to see a show at the Mainline Theatre in Montreal as soon as I can.  I resolve to improve the Visitorium in noticeable ways before the end of the year.  I resolve to finish at least two full script for new plays.  And most importantly, I resolve that operation ALL YOUR FRINGE ARE BELONG TO ME will happen.  That’s the name for my planned 8-city Fringe-review tour, and if you’re rich and want to sponsor me, gimme a shout, willya?

Right, I think that’s enough cheques that my body can’t cash…here’s the king of rock’n’roll with an apropos sentiment:

I’m about done for this week…got that Crush show to head on out to, plus bought sweet dvd’s today, a final treat to myself on my week staycation.  Got Guy Maddin’s MY WINNIPEG, SWORD OF VENGEANCE (the first flick in the legendary LONE WOLF AND CUB series), and season one of THE FLYING NUN, because that’s how hardcore I is.  Peace, love and soul, all,

Kevin Reid