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.
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):
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.
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)