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Posts Tagged ‘arts court’

undercurrents 2018

In Theatre, Undercurrents on January 31, 2018 at 2:52 pm

I already wrote a post about the regularly scheduled theatre goings-on in Ottawa this  February, but there’s one big chunk of programming I thought deserved its own post!

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Always the big event in Ottawa’s February, the undercurrents Festival (always in lowercase, they’re real sticky on that point, holy cow) is back for its 6th (7th? 8Th? More than 2, I’m almost positive) incarnation, and director Pat Gauthier has put together another stellar lineup! I mean, okay, there’s no FASTER THAN THE SPEED OF DATING this time around, but it’s still pretty good, I guess. But seriously folks, come on out to the newly renovated Arts Court (and in one show’s case, the National Arts Centre) and enjoy the party with the following hit lineup of shows! The programming runs from the 7th to 17th, full festival schedule and lineup available at the fest website!

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Photo Credit Japhet Alvarez

THE PIPELINE PROJECT from Savage Production Society and Itsazoo Productions. Native rights, land claims, big oil and climate change collide for a show about as topical as you can manage, and featuring brand new AD of  Indigenous Theatre at the NAC Kevin Loring, along with Quelemia Sparrow and Kevin Archibald.

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Photo Credit Barbara Havrot

FORSTNER AND FILLISTER PRESENT: FORSTNER AND FILLISTER IN: FORSTNER AND FILLISTER from F&F Theatre. Dave Benedict Brown and Will Somers are the titular Forstner and Fillister (or perhaps Fillister and Forstner…wouldn’t THAT be something!) in this comedic tale of brotherly woodworking gone desperately wrong.  Starring two of Ottawa’s funniest and talented gents, and featuring direction from the wonderful Madeleine Boyes-Manseau, it’s gonna be a night of cabinetry and comedy to remember Beware of flying sawdust.

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Photo Credit Japhet Alvarez

LITTLE BOXES from Little Boxes Collective. A brand new creation from Gabbie Lazarovitz and Brad Long, starring Gabbie Laz and Carter Hayden, and directed by Adam Paolozza. A suburban thriller that sounds mucho intriguing, and Gabbie Laz is a local treasure who must always be seen when onstage. ALWAYS.

 

THE TWILIGHT PARADE from STO Union. At Arts Court Theatre. A Puppet-based true-life magical adventure film with live performances and contributions from over 70 people, and the sentence I just typed is so insane I cannot WAIT to see this piece.

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Photo credit Emily Cooper

HOW TO DISAPPEAR COMPLETELY from The Chop. Itai Erdal’s celebrated one-man show (co-created by himself, James Long, Anita Rochon and Emilia Semington Fedy) combining his artistry for lighting with the true story of his Mother’s final days. A multi-award winning show that will surely be a festival highlight (pun sort-of intended)

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Photo Credit Alejandro Santiago

DAUGHTER from Quiptake and Pandemic Theate. Described by NOW Magazine’s Glenn Sumi as a ‘strong, disturbing play’, this one-manner starring Adam Lazarus and directed by Ann-Marie Kerr tackles fatherhood, patriarchy and misogyny, putting it head to head with THE PIPELINE PROJECT for most topical show at the festival. It’s also the one that ducks out of Arts Court, with just 2 showings at the NAC Rossy Pavillion. UPDATE: Daughter is now down to just ONE showing on the 10th at 7pm, at the NAC Fourth Stage.  Topical AND rare!

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Photo Credit Japhet Alvarez

THE SHIT SHOW from Emergence. The first of two late-night shows in the Studio, Luna Allison (last seen on the undercurrents stage with her amazing FALLING OPEN) returns with this show about, you guessed it, poop. So okay maybe not going for most topical, but be honest, you’re intrigued, aren’t you? And Allison is a gifted performer, so whatever she’s got planned…it ain’t shit.

SnackMusic_IngridHansen_CredLaura Dittmann

Photo Credit Laura Dittman

SNACK MUSIC from SNAFU and the Snack Music Collective. Late night show for week 2 brings us the return to undercurrents of Ingrid Hansen (LITTLE ORANGE MAN) with the terrific Elliot Loran and Andrew G.Young in tow for this storytelling food-based improv extravaganza (you can also catch Snack Music this weekend at the NAC for their kid-friendly TABLE TOP TALES).

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Photo Credit Japhet Alvarez

INDIGENOUS WALKS. Returning from last year’s festival, the guided walking tour of downtown Ottawa once again points out areas and landmarks of specific indigenous meaning and history. As good a reason as you’re going to get to head outside this month!

NEW PLAY TUESDAY on the 13th. A one-night tradition, this year’s crop of exciting new staged readings from local playwrights includes FOUR WHORES AND A PRO by Joanne John, UNRESOLVED by J.Katrina Wong, and COACH OF THE YEAR by Pierre Brault. A Free event, along with the opening and closing night parties!

So that’s it for the nuts and bolts of this years festival…but reading about it ain’t nothing compared to seeing it, trust me. The always-in-lowercase undercurrents is a very special and vibrant part of the Ottawa cultural scene, and if y’all are not going, you’re missing out large. I hope to see a ton of you there. You’ll be glad you went. Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

the Benevolence of Evil

In Theatre on May 7, 2014 at 8:43 am

Last night I saw two great pieces of theatre. The first was actually a movie, Jim Jarmusch’s MYSTERY TRAIN that I caught at the Bytowne cinema while I had some time to kill, and I can’t believe I hadn’t seen this ‘89 beauty yet. It was so cool and so great that I already forgive Jarmusch for the goddam vampire movie he directed, whose trailer preceded the film. Fucking vampires…come off it. But MYSTERY TRAIN? That was pretty boss.

But as noted, I really only hit the movies to fill up some time between work and theatre, the usual two sole modalities of my existence (besides drinking alone, but I’m only human). This night I was off to good old Arts Court to catch the latest from Counterpoint Players, least seen hosting a few performances of Bronwyn Steinberg’s delightful one-hander OCCUPY ME. Bronwyn, Counterpoint’s artistic director, directed this latest ambitious production, thee world premiere of Darrah Teitel’s CORPUS. I lucked out and bumped into OTS superstar Alexis Scott en route to the theatre, so we got to take in the tale together. And damn, what a tale.

Sascha Cole as Megan in CORPUS.  Photo by Kathryn Reeves.

Sascha Cole as Megan in CORPUS. Photo by Kathryn Reeves.

CORPUS takes place in two times and places. One of those places is Auschwitz, and the time is. You guessed it, WWII, or the waning days thereof. Here we meet young SS wife Eva (Colleen Sutton), whose husband, smelling blood in the water, has arranged for a Jewish prisoner (Eli, played by Eric Craig) to teach her Polish. But Eva has bigger plans than that, including escape for her and Eli both.

Meanwhile, 60 years later in Canada, excitable undergrad Megan White (Sascha Cole) is stalking war criminals in online chatrooms, and happily letting her mentor Homer (John Koensgen) take all the credit. Enter Heinrich (Daniel Sadavoy), a German squeegee kid and hacker who tracks Megan down and begins an online affair with her, but with an ulterior motive…his grandmother is none other than Eva herself (Laurie Fyffe) and she want to tell her story before it’s too late. But will she tell the REAL story?

Now right off the top, I know what you’re thinking…a play about the holocaust? HEAVY. But step back, McFly, because there’s a lot more to CORPUS than meets the eye. The play does delve quite merrily into murky philosophical ground like the nature of evil and how our circumstances shape our reactions, and offers more than enough food for thought to fuel many and after-theatre conversation for hours. And certainly, the war-year scenes are tense as Hell, with Colleen ‘Ridergirl’ Sutton positively fucking chilling as the calculating Eva. And Eric Craig, who last impressed the Heck out of me at the Extremely Short Play Festival, is just jaw-droppingly good as Sonderkommando Eli, a walking contradiction who find himself in another impossible moral scenario against his will. Laurie Fyffe bridges the gap between the eras beautifully as the frail, failing elder Eva, haunted by the ghosts of her past with the aid of some brilliant staging by Steinberg.

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But I have to say, the thing that shocked me the most about this show wasn’t the charged content or subject matter, but the relationship between high-strung and dorky Megan and the weirdly endearing Heinrich. What starts off as a strange bit of cyber-stalking subplot turns very smartly into one of the best 21st century love stories I’ve yet seen on a stage. Sascha Cole is ridiculously loveable as Megan, especially in a fantasy sequence in which she imagines her success as revenge against all her mean old middle school profs. Her and Heinrich (a marvelous Daniel Sadavoy, giving the play much needed joy) are an utter delight with every interaction, almost always staged using projections to reflect their faraway, online status so you can choose whether to watch them in real-life or onscreen. And while Megan’s relationship with Homer was a touch too reminiscent of GOODNIGHT DESDEMONA for comfort (this sort of mentor/student abuse must happen all the damn time), this is the most fun I’ve seen John Koensgen having on stage in a while, and I loved it.

To sum up…CORPUS is one of the best shows of the year, in a year that’s already had some amazing shows. Miss it at your peril, my friends, these are theatre pros at the top of their game and they came to play. Utterly engaging, wonderfully directed, and potentially bitterly divisive…what more could you ask for? Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

 

 

 

The Road to Acceptable Appearance

In Theatre on February 25, 2014 at 1:33 pm

About two months ago now, or close to it, the Ottawa Theatre School shut its doors forever, halfway through what was to be my inaugural year there.  Me, and a lot of fellow students, were left rather adrift and heartbroken and wondering what the Hell to do with our lives all of a sudden.  It was a bit of a dark time, to say the least…but brightened considerably by some of the amazing people in our theatre community who immediately reached out to us in different ways.  And this week, one of those ways finally sees the light of day (so to speak).

Not long after the news of the school’s closing broke, I and all my fellow students got a message from alumni and superstar Victoria Luloff, who was busy co-writing a brand new show with Patrice Forbes for local theatre toughs Dead Unicorn Ink (Playing Dead, Space Mystery…from Outer Space, Chesterfield, etc.).  Victoria immediately offered a spot in the play for any and all of the students who wanted in…whoever was available, they’d write us in and make it happen.  It was a stunning offer, and it buoyed this old heart of mine considerably just when it needed it most.  Before long, those of us who had the availability met up for a first read of what quickly turned into a cool and funny new script, complete with the usual DUI flair for visual theatrics.  This Thursday, we finally open, and I couldn’t be happier.

Bobby Robert (back only), Aaron Lajeunesse, Victoria Luloff and Patrice Ann Forbes i THE ACCEPTABLE APPEARANCE THEORY from Dead Unicorn Ink (photo by David Pasho).

Bobby Robert (back only), Aaron Lajeunesse, Victoria Luloff and Patrice Ann Forbes i THE ACCEPTABLE APPEARANCE THEORY from Dead Unicorn Ink (photo by David Pasho).

 

Bobby, myself, Nadine, Chelsea and Kathryn...the OTS Orphanage Players in ACCEPTABLE APPEARANCE THEORY (all photos courtesy of David Pasho and ONSTAGE OTTAWA)

Bobby, myself, Nadine, Chelsea and Kathryn…the OTS Orphanage Players in ACCEPTABLE APPEARANCE THEORY (all photos courtesy of David Pasho and ONSTAGE OTTAWA)

Part of the mini-festival TROIS at the Arts Court Studio, our show is THE ACCEPTABLE APPEARANCE THEORY, written by Victoria and Patrice, directed by…well, I’m gonna say Sylvie Recoskie, with a few able assists from Tony Adams and Jeremy Piamonte and the technical wizardry of Ted Forbes, and starring Victoria, Patrice and Aaron Lajeunesse.  Joining the Unicorners on the stage will be five ready, willing and able survivors of the Ottawa Theatre School…Bobby Robert, Nadine Cayer Gonzalez, Chelsea Young, Kathryn Reeves, and Kevin Reid (who eagle-eyed readers will spot as me).  It’s a treat and a thrill to be sharing the stage with these folks…Tony referred to our show as ‘the OTS orphanage’, and I’m totally OK with that moniker.   This will be my first return to the stage since last Fringe’s TRAGICALL HISTORIE OF NICK WADE (AND OTHER FUCK-UPS), not counting some improv appearances right here in the studio at MY SUMMER CRUSH.  It’ll be really, really good to be back, and I think you’re gonna love what we’ve come up with.  It’s been a truly collaborative effort with some cool, creative people…y’all are gonna LOVE my fellow OTS gangsters, and I’m so happy Ottawa is finally gonna see some of them on a stage, strutting their stuffs.  And what’s the show, and the evening about?  Well, aside from being a great night of local, DIY theatre, we’ll be sharing the stage every night with local heroes GRIMPROV and MAY CAN THEATRE with all new stuff as well.  I’ll let the official press release speak for itself:

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Trois (Three) is an evening of great revelation, astounding theatre and cold beer. Dead Unicorn Ink, MayCan and Grimprov would like to invite you to enjoy some thrilling new works from each company.

Dead Unicorn Ink, in association with some of Ottawa Theatre Schools brilliant former students presents The Acceptable Appearance Theory, a new work by Victoria Luloff and Patrice-Ann Forbes. What if your whole life history was imprinted on your skin, for everyone to see? Would you wear it proudly or out of shame, search to eradicate every single scar? Ms. Cadence and her group of like-minded individuals have that power, and as much as Dana loves Mark, is she willing to give up her identity for him?

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Ottawa theatre sensation MayCan will be exploring a new work at Trois (Three), What About Horses. Magic and death laced with high time philosophy and grit to boot by Tony Adams and Cory Thibert. A MayCan Theatre original work. “Like Sounds from a Turtle Shell if anyone in that show had balls or any sensibility, or lack thereof.”

What About Horses

Grimprov presents: Start Start Energy Officers!
Sounds like a Power Rangers show… but its not (due to copyright issues)! Totally different. This show follows unsuspecting teens who have to save the world with super powers, coloured spandex and easily marketable mecha-bots. Come watch GRIMprov create another masterpiece without a script as the show is created in front of your very eyes! See these Terrible Transmuting Energy Officers kick some butt and save the world!

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Doors and bar open at 7:30 shows start at 8;00pm.
Tickets: $20
Online: $18.00
Run time: 30min+30min+30min
Beer: $4 =1 or $10=3

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Hope you all come out to play with us…it’s gonna be a real fun time. 🙂  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, aka The Visitor, aka Daniel (and Winston)

Tsum

In Theatre on January 24, 2014 at 11:08 am

Mon Dieu, but it’s been too long since I caught me some French Theatre.  How long HAS it been?  I can hardly recall…it’s like I got busy with something the last three months or so.  It’s all a blur, I tell you!  But even though I’m still an Anglo, and my French remains passable at best, I still adore seeing la theatre Francais, and I still maintain that any fellow Franco-deficient theatre fans out there should get themselves out to the odd production themselves.  Why?  Because the French just attack theatre differently, is all…there’s this crazy sensibility that seems to come with the territory that makes the shows great to watch, even IF you don’t really know what the Hell is going on (I know that’s a generalization, but I’m hoping the fact that it’s a favourable generalization will earn me a pass here).

All of which is a long-winded way of saying I was at Arts Court this past evening to catch the new spectacle from Groupe des Deux, Richard Leger’s POP FICTION.  Co-Directed by Benjamin Gaillard and Natalie Joy Quesnel, I’d heard some enticing and amazing things about this production, especially from the design side of things, and was stoked indeed to check it out.  Arts Court studio was laid out in a merrily new way for the show, not unexpected, and every chair was outfitted with a pair of headphones.  Sort of unexpected.  Enter Benjamin Gaillard, seemingly here to act as spokesperson for some sort of business conference, but something seems to be troubling him.  Even with my poor French, I could tell he was stressed about…

…and what it was, I just really don’t want to tell you, but believe me, you want to find out for yourself.  Aided by a trio of backstage translators (Chancard Lemvo, Julie Lotrice Grethen and Sebastien Lajoie), Gaillard is joined onstage by three, um, guests, played by Nancy Kenny, Michelle Leblanc and Chantal Tokarky.  He attempts to greet them politely which only half works, and things rapidly start going from bad to worse.  Apologies for being vague here, but the surprise WILL be worth it.  And there’s also a good helping of English throughout the production, if some of my fellow Anglos are trembling with fear at the thought of the language barrier.

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This is one of the coolest looking live shows I have ever done seen, and the G2 gang have really outdone themselves on the design front.  From makeup, costumes and props to several slick satirical videos (and even one Skype call), there are incredible things going on visually in POP FICTION…it’s a hell of a sight to see.  Shoutouts to the design team of Isabelle Belisle, Julien Lelievre, Francois Oliva, Benoit Thibodeau and Jacynthe Tremblay, as well as anyone I might have missed (I forgot to grab a program the night I was there, horrors!).  Ben Gaillard makes a very engaging lead, struggling to maintain his tenuous hold of the situation as things spiral out of his nervous clutches.  Nancy, Michelle and Chantal are awesome as the eclectic trio, doing great work under trying conditions (just GO SEE IT, you’ll see what I mean!) and creating what will be some of the most memorable onstage personas of 2014.

I of course only half-followed all the specifics of the story, my lapses in French and some Arts Court echoes causing some interference in my head, but this was just a killer fun time no matter how many words I missed.  This is a production of rare ambition, and one that deserves to be admired by a nice, wide audience.  Get your butts to Arts Court, because it’s playing in the studio until February 1st and you really want to check out this cool, poppy production while you can.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

CRUSHED! My Summer Crush 2013 Preview!

In Improv, Theatre on August 13, 2013 at 9:44 am

The first time I saw Crush Improv was way back in the summer of 2010.  It was as a part of the now defunct (or at least comatose) SUMMER FLING series being put on then by Arts Court.  I’ll be honest…it was not only my first time seeing Crush, it was also my first time at an Improv show, period.  Their show was called MY SUMMER CRUSH, and I loved it to bits.  The Summer Crush has been back in different forms since then, but this year it’s undergone a major growth spurt and is back at Arts Court for three whole weeks of much-needed summer comedy mayhem!  Not only will the current expanded series feature performances by the core Crush gang themselves – AL Connors, Dan Lajoie, Tim Anderson, Desiree Connors-Warmington, and of course, Glen Gower on keys – but they’ve invited some of their most talented pals along for shows and workshops all throughout the event…we might even see a few first-timers on the stage, thanks to the Thursday evening Performance Ensemble workshops, designed for just such a purpose.  I’m excited as an electric poodle for this shindig to get underway, but rather than do too much blathering myself, I dusted off my uber-lazy ‘5 Questions’ interview bit from Fringe and went straight to the brains of the Crush operation, Heather Marie ‘HM’ Connors to get the scoop on just why MY SUMMER CRUSH is the most important thing in your life.

HM, reflecting on her works.

HM, reflecting on her works.

– What is your role with Crush Improv (besides being AL’s boss)?

– Despite popular opinion, I am not actually AL’s boss. We do collaborate on a lot of projects together, as co-producers of Crush Improv. And that is ideal in so many ways, as our skill sets are very complimentary.

– MY SUMMER CRUSH started as part of the Arts Court SUMMER FLING series back in 2010.  How has it grown since then?

– Yeah…did I mention I named My Summer Crush? I did, in 2010. The Arts Court Foundation had asked for pitches from people, AL pitched his idea (which I named My Summer Crush, still very proud of that) where there would be workshops and shows, and it became part of the Summer Fling series. I think that was the first time Crush realized the appetite that was out there for this kind of programming; not only for audiences but for talented performers who just needed the opportunity to be seen. It ran for two years under the Summer Fling banner, and then in 2012 My Summer Crush was a series of weekly shows out of the Elmdale Tavern. This year we (I) decided that My Summer Crush had the potential to be so much more, and we wanted to bring it back into Arts Court, and back to the idea of doing a mix of workshops and shows, with the added element that we would collaborate with other improv and theatre companies to present a full series of summer comedy.

– How hard was it to decide which awesome guest-stars to invite (and how awesome are they)?

– Choosing the line-up for My Summer Crush was super fun. I really did start from the premise: who do we have a crush on, who we think hasn’t been seen by Ottawa audiences? And then beyond that, who do we know who can both perform and teach? Obviously there aren’t a lot of improv performance opportunities in Ottawa, but more importantly, there aren’t a lot of opportunities to learn different styles of improvisation, or as an improviser, to expand your tool kit beyond the basics of communication and playing games.  So that’s what I was looking for: shows that we love that haven’t been to Ottawa, and performers who also teach.

The swell lads of UNCALLED FOR.

The swell lads of UNCALLED FOR!

Crush has had a long standing love affair with the Montreal sketch/improv company Uncalled For, so they were naturally at the top of the list, but where we have brought them to town multiple times for improv shows, this time we asked they bring a sketch comedy show to be part of this series. On top of that I really wanted Anders Yates to teach a sketch writing workshop. Again, this is something you just don’t have access to in this town, and yet I know there are talented writer/performers here who are interested in getting into sketch comedy. Programming this workshop, taught by someone who regularly writes, performs and teaches sketch comedy, is my attempt at kick-starting some sketch comedy writing to happen here in Ottawa.

Julie Dumais is another long-time crush of ours, and she now runs Bad Dog Theatre in Toronto – one of the biggest and most popular theatre and improv companies in that city. Bad Dog does a lot of genre-based improv shows, as well as a lot of training. We of course wanted to get them here, and we’re lucky they could find a weekend that wasn’t already jam packed with their own programming, where they could actually come to town and play with us.

The lady Miss Kirsten Rasmussen!

The lady Miss Kirsten Rasmussen!

Kirsten Rasmussen is known for her solo work in theatre, as well as for being one of the founders of Montreal Improv. We brought her in a few months ago to teach a workshop and it was the most well attended workshop I think we’ve run to date. Kirsten is an incredibly talented performer who also happens to be a great teacher, so she was an obvious ask for My Summer Crush. Ottawa audiences haven’t had a chance to see her solo work, so I was thrilled when she said she could do “Tough!” for us on Aug.17th.

I would characterize our relationship with Montreal Improv as more of a budding romance – because of our proximity, we’re finding there’s all sorts of opportunities for our two companies to collaborate – both for performances and workshops. I had heard about the popularity of  “Easy Action”, as that is a show Marc and Brent have been doing for a while – I am excited to bring that one here because it means I finally get to see it!

As for the local components to our line-up: I’ve been talking to Andy Massingham literally for months about offering a movement workshop specifically for improvisers. As you know, improv shows very often take place on blank stages, so the improvisers’ bodies are not only their tools, but also their set and props! Also improvisers like to get physical with one another on stage – picking each other up, or contorting into weird shapes – I love that sort of thing but want to make sure we’re teaching people to do it safely – so, these are the conversations I’ve been having with Andy, and My Summer Crush became the perfect opportunity where he can come in and work with our ensembles – and they can incorporate what they learn into their shows.

Tony and Cory of MAY CAN THEATRE!

Tony and Cory of MAY CAN THEATRE!

I kept a spot in the first weekend of My Summer Crush open for a local show. AL and I went to local Fringe shows, to scout something out. When we saw “Happiness” by May Can Theatre, we knew we had found it. I’ve had a crush on the May Can Theatre boys for a couple of years now, but “Happiness” is also perfect because the premise is it takes place at a seminar, and I feel like the studio environment matches perfectly with the conceit that the audience is attending a seminar. When I started to talking to Cory and Tony, they told me how they were taking “Wolves>Boys” to Fundy Fringe, and they wanted to do some kind of public performance of it before taking it on the road. “Wolves” was one of my favourite 2012 Fringe shows. We realized we had a mutually beneficial opportunity here to do both shows, and we decided to make the first Friday a May Can Double Bill. Thank goodness these guys are young and have a lot of energy, ’cause those are two very different shows to do in one night! But I think it’s a great opportunity for the audience to see the range of what May Can is doing, and that’s what makes it exciting.

– Are workshops something Crush Improv is committed to continuing beyond this series?

– Yes, definitely. I’ve been on this kick about workshops since September, and since then we’ve been offering on average a workshop a month. It’s something I’m really passionate about, I think if we’re to grow the scene here in Ottawa, we can’t just keep looking to each other and repeating the same things over and over. It’s important to know what is happening elsewhere and to capitalize on the opportunity to work with other artists when they are in town.
There’s also clearly an appetite for accessible improv workshops – there are a few places in town offering improv classes, either as a social thing or as a resource for becoming a better communicator – and those are great to have – but Crush is the only professional improv company offering workshops taught by performers. We get asked all the time when the next workshop will be offered, so we know this is something people are looking for. We have a whole series of workshops already lined up for the fall, so stay tuned.

– Where do you see MY SUMMER CRUSH in 5 years?

– It’s hard for me to say right now what I see My Summer Crush becoming – this is a pilot year for the idea of producing a line-up of shows as well as a workshop series. I’m going to learn a lot throughout the run of this series, and it will of course influence where I want to go with it. But the potential exists to keep growing it as a summer series, to look for more partnerships and interesting collaborations – to look further than Montreal and Toronto – there are obviously more companies we’d love to work with, from say Edmonton or Vancouver, or Atlanta or New York. For now I am just extremely thrilled to finally launch the programming that I’ve been crafting in my head for the last two years. It came together this year in an amazing way, and I got a lot of my first choices. I can’t wait for people to see what we’re doing in Arts Court Studio! And how cool is it that Kichessippi came through as a beer sponsor? Yeah…how about we just enjoy these next three weeks, and then I’ll think about the next five years?

my-summer-crush-knife-poster-FINAL-web

There ya have it, folks…if you’re not excited yet, contact your programmer and ask him to switch on your emotion chip already.  I’m signed up for at least 8 of the killer workshops being offered, and fully plan to blog the living shit out of MY SUMMER CRUSH, as foolishly and drunkenly as I can manage. The action gets underway this very night with the first Foundations workshop, from the man Dan Lajoie himself,  I’ll be there the next night, and so should you.  It’s gonna be good, yo.  See you at Arts Court!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Youth Infringement 2013 – Four Shows in!

In Theatre on May 10, 2013 at 11:25 am

Well, you know it’s almost Fringe time again when its bratty little sibling YOUTH INFRINGEMENT starts causing trouble around town, ad as always I wouldn’t miss it.  This year is the 15th anniversary of the little festival that could, and this year’s producer Christine Hecker (with help from two assistant producers Lily Sutherland and Robin Thomas) has expanded the showdates and count for the occasion.  Featuring ten shows over two weeks, all by local theatre hoodlums 25 and under.  I’ve seen some lovely talent emerge at this festival in years past…Jenny David, Tess McManus, and a little theatre company by the name of May Can, among others.  Time to see what this year’s got to offer!  Here’s what I caught on opening night…

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A BATTLE OF DEMONS
-from Writer Euan Wheaton (of recent Sock’n’Buskin glory) and director Ryan Nadon.  DEMONS tells the merrily intense tale of a small-town Ontario clash of wills, as a hipsterific new librarian (Garret Brink) is transferred over, and immediately begins inflicting his big-city style lust for the sex books and the violence movies upon the populace, putting him into direct head-butting range with well-coiffed town elder MacArthur (Louis Alexandre Boulet), who makes John Lithgow’s character in FOOTLOOSE look like the president of the local Libertarian party.  And once Macarthur’s never-named son (Kainer Mazhar) begins to fall under that dirty hippie’s spell of video games and THE HANDMAID’S TALE, things escalate dramatically.  QUITE dramatically.   The only voice of reason is Mrs MacArthur (Kassandra Pick), who is hard-pressed to get a word in edgewise as husband and librarian begin a tug-of-war for parental rights between themselves.  The cast throws themselves headlong into the material which, okay, goes over the top pretty damn quick, but it makes for a very fun ride.  Will MacArthur burn that filthy library down, Geisha books and all?  Will  poor ‘boy’ ever get to just chill out and read himself some HARRY POTTER?  Come and see!

MOUNTAINS
– from Writer Maddie Stephens, and Director Alis Goddard.  One that hit a touch close to home for me, MOUNTAINS tells three separate tales of mental illness in a nicely staged and well done production…it even starts with a pretty sweet musical number by a lovely lady whose name I do not know yet to credit (little help here..?), and there’s even a lighting effect going on!  Over the course of the show we see Tessa (Leah Careless), struggling with an increasingly crippling OCD and a well-intentioned boyfriend Simon (Adrian Manicom); Chronic depressive single Dad Xavier (Arun Smith), unintentionally letting his daughter Eliza down despite himself; and Nora (Shannon Collins), a lawyer with some damaging body issues that are driving a wedge between her and wife Miriam (Robin Thomas).  It’s tough subject matter all around, occasionally a touch too on the nose (but how would you even avoid that?) but still powerful stuff, and not all the tales end happily.  Some performers to watch out for in this one.

NEBRASKA
-from Writer Tony Adams, and Director Matt Hertendy.  One of two plays in YI this year from the May Can lads, Tony’s play brings us the tale of Matt (Chris Jaworski), a twenty-something city boy with a particularly tricky problem to navigate.  Without spoiling too much, it involves two women (Kate Boone and Maddie Vezina), some potentially useless advice from brother Ryan (Mark MacDonald), and the inappropriate use of a telephone help line.   Along with some classic Canuck teevee lore woven in throughout. NEBRASKA does a good job looking at the perpetual boyhood of the modern male, and the havoc that can cause if left unattended.  Big laughs are balanced with some emotional gutpunches as the story progresses, and the cast carries it all off very well.  Special shoutout to Kate Boone, who does some hilarious double duty in the show, and Mark MacDonald for probably the best onstage entrance of the festival.

BEARSNAKE
– from Writer Matt Hertendy and Director Emma Clarke.  A whimsical piece indeed, set up as a mock Nature Show, with a curiously bitter host (Matthew Godin) as our narrator as he brings us in for a clinical survey of a pair of Newlyweds getting hopelessly lost in the desert.  Young and pretty dimwit (or is she..?) Kandi (Julia Allen) and her new husband, creaky retired professor Nigel (YI mainstay Jeremy Jones) seem very poorly suited indeed to ‘roughing it’, and when our somewhat sinister narrator introduces his specially bred pet (the titular Bearsnake, a scene-stealing Robin Thomas) into the mix, things go from bad to just flat-out ridiculous.  Plenty of laughs in this one, especially a knife fight that must be seen to be believed.  And I continue to be impressed with Julia Allen (dammit, Janet!), who plays dumb very smartly indeed.  A silly romp, and just what I needed to cap off a four-show night.

That’s it for now…I’m back at the Festival for more goodness tonight, including three more shows and a very cool sounding panel discussion with the likes of Pat Gauthier, Eric Coates and Kristina Watt!  Be there or be at another theatre seeing a show (WHITE RABBIT RED RABBIT and TRIANGLE FACTORY FIRE PROJECT are literally playing in the same building right now, so Arts Courts is THE theatrical place to be this weekend).  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in May 2013

In Theatre on May 2, 2013 at 11:04 am

Gadzooks, it’s May and festival season is gearing up!  Is that Fringe I see on the horizon..?  But first things first, as there’s plenty of goodness in May to get through first!

ENGLISH THEATRE

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW at the Gladstone Theatre, from Bear and Company.  Until the 4th!  Last chance to see a cool all-dude cast turn the tables on of Billy Shakes’ least feminist production.

A TASTE OF THE WILDCAT at the Museum of Civilization, part of Northern Scene.  Also until the 4th, a sweet-sounding bilingual recreation of a genuine Northern diner.  Check the site for times in French or English!

BIG MAMA! THE WILLIE MAE THORNTON STORY at the National Arts Centre.  Big brash blues bonanza that’ll get ya on your feet.  Until the 11th.

COME BLOW YOUR HORN at the Ottawa Little Theatre.   Also until the 11th, OLT does the 60’s and holy Hell, I haven’t seen this one yet!

JUSTICE at Arts Court Theatre, part of Northern Scene.  More SCENE goodness, from the 2nd to the 4th!

Freuds-Last-Session-postcard

FREUD’S LAST SESSION at various locations, from 9th Hour Theatre.  CS Lewis vs. Freud!  Come see the limited public performances of this touring show, check here for venues and times.

TULUGAK: INUIT RAVEN STORIES at the National Arts Centre Studio, part of Northern Scene.  Two performances on the 4th (which according the the NAC website are already sold out, so take heed), family friendly native tales with performers from Nunavut to Greenland.

SCI-FI DOUBLE FEATURE at the NAC 4th Stage, part of Northern Scene.  Ingenious live puppet performance from Ramshackle Productions!  Two performances on the 4th.

wrrr

WHITE RABBIT, RED RABBIT at the Arts Court Library, from a Company of Fools.  The Fools get serious with this groundbreaking play, featuring a new actor doing a cold read every night.  Check the schedule and pick your fav’rit performer to turn out for!  From the 7th to 25th.

THE BEST MAN at the GCTC.  The annual Lawyer Play for charity returns, so get on out to see some local bigwigs take their turn on the stage for a good cause, with some help from director Pat Gauthier.  From the 8th to 11th!

TRIANGLE FACTORY FIRE PROJECT at SAW Gallery, from Red.Collective.  More verbatim-style goodness from the Reddies, from the 9th to 12th.

A FLEA IN HER EAR at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre.  A hearty farce to get your springtime underway.  From the 14th to 25th.

MISS CALEDONIA at the National Arts Centre Studio.  Melody Johnson charmed the shit out of me with this show at Summerworks, and you better believe I’m coming back for more.  From the 14th to 25th!

vibplay
IN THE NEXT ROOM (or THE VIBRATOR PLAY) at the Gladstone Theatre, from Same Day Theatre (with Plosive and Counterpoint).  Bronwyn Steinberg returns to direct this, the secret origin of the vibrator. You know you want it!  15th thru June 1st (preview 14th).

EMPTY SPACE FINALE at Glebe St. James United Church (650 Lyon Street South), from Third Wall.  A local touch for 3rd Wall’s final reading series of the season, spotlighting Ottawa Authours.  The 22nd only!

STEEL MAGNOLIAS at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  The 100th season continues!  Beauty parlor gossip  fun starting on the 28th.

CAROUSEL at Centrepointe Theatre, from Orpheus Musical Society. Starting on the 321st, Orpheus gives a classic a new spin.

And that’s not all…

The 15th Annual YOUTH INFRINGEMENT FESTIVAL is back, bigger than ever!  Producer Christine Hecker’s upped the show count and extended the run for this anniversary year, so there’s no excuses to not get out and see what the excitable, hopped-up rugrats of Ottawa Theatre have up their sleeves.  On the roster this year…THE PRETENDERS by John Ryan, FINAL SPARKLE ASCENSION by Victor Armstrong, A BATTLE OF DEMONS by Euan Wheaton, IT’S WHAT DR.JENKINS WOULD HAVE WANTED by Matt Hertendy, EVERYBODY LIMBO! By David Coleman, BEARSNAKE, also by Matt Hertendy (who’s just showing off now, honestly), NEBRASKA by Tony Adams, MOUNTAINS by Maddie Stephens, THE PERFECT PITCH by Cory Thibert, and PRIDE AND JOY by Kyle Cunningham.  All shows have three performances over the fest run, from the 8th to the 18th at Arts Court.  And one of’em is going to win a remount at Fringe in June!  Get on out and support the kids, eh? And speaking of kids…

oicf2013

The OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL returns to Lebreton Flats from the 28th to June 2nd, with a sweet roster of family-friendly shows from all over, and amazing performers (including some homegrown heroes).  Shows include Mi Casa’s wonderful COUNTRIES SHAPED LIKE STARS, WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE (already programmed as part of  next year’s NAC season) from BC, GHOST AND LADDERS and EVOLUTION OF BBOYING from Quebec, A SONATINA from Denmark, and STEP AFRIKA! From the US of A.  Bring the little ones!

And don’t forget KLEO’S WAKE, part of the Ottawa Stilt Union Fundraiser on the 10th at the New Ediburgh Community Centre, 255 Mackay st.  Wake was one of the highlights of last years SubDevision, don’t miss this chance to catch it again (and other fun stuffs)!

Also, May 29 at 10 AM in Arts Court, get set for the official OTTAWA FRINGE FESTIVAL LAUNCH!!  Yes, the best time of the year is almost upon us…come on out and see what’s gonna be rocking your world in June!

*** THEATRE FRANCAIS ***

hamlet

HAMLET at Studio Leonard-Beaulne, from Theatre Tremplin, avec Theatre la Catapulte. A French translation of the bard’s most famous bit of angst, and I can’t hardly wait.  From the 1st to 11th.

IK ONKAR at Academic Hall, from Theatre la Catapulte.  One night only on the 4th!

LA NUIT JUST AVANT LES FORETS from NAC French Theatre, venue to be announced!  More great French Theatre, from the 14th to 18th.

LA PORTEUSE DE PAIN at Theatre de L’Ile.  Not sure yet what this one’s about to be hones,t but the Ile always puts on good stuff.  From the 15th thru next month.

L’ARCHE DE NOEMIE at Au Cafe Show.  Reprise of an amazing show presented recently at Ottawa U, from the 15th to 24th.  Facebook event page right here.

*** IMPROV ***

CRUSH IMPROV is back with ‘Bout Time on Monday the 6th, and this month they return to familiar ground at the Elmdale Tavern Oysterhouse!  I wonder if I can still bring in Hintonburger..?

More updates as I get showtimes, from good folks like MISSION IMPROVABLE (MI-6), GRIMPROV and CRYSTAL BASEMENT!

More to come and updates as I discover stuff, or you tell me about it!  See you out there this month, hey gang?  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in March 2013

In Theatre on March 1, 2013 at 5:59 pm

Whee, another Theatre month begins in O-Town, and the skies have sent a fluffy blanket of snow to celebrate! Lots to look forward to, so let’s start looking!

— ENGLISH THEATRE —

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at the Ottawa Little Theatre.   Ending on the 2nd, a jolly fun rendition of Austen’s hit.

GOD OF CARNAGE at the Irving Greenberg Theatre (GCTC), from Third Wall Theatre. Until the 3rd, Third Wall’s return to the big time with a vicious and inspiring Ontario premiere of Yasmina Reza’s biting look at the civilized world.

ABSURD PERSON SINGULAR at the Gladstone Theatre, from Seven Thirty Productions. John P.Kelly directs Alan Ayckbourn’s play, with a killer cast (including recent Prix Rideau Award-nominee Michelle leBlanc!).  From the 5th to 23rd.

INNOCENCE LOST at the NAC Theatre.  Based on a true story, so probably both amazing and depressing at the same time.  Until the 16th.

ivona

PRINCESS IVONA at Academic Hall. Directed by MFA candidate Ekaterina Shestakova, a dress-to-impress extravaganza from the 5th to the 9th

ROCK OF AGES at NAC Southam Hall.  Some Broadway style hair metal,  all big and loud and stuff!  From the 5th to 10th.

HROSES: AN AFFRONT TO REASON at the Ottawa Dance Directive Studio (Arts Court), from Evolution Theatre and Mi Casa. My own personal pick for show NOT to miss this month, two of my fav’rit companies team up to bring what is sure to be an amazing show.  From the 7th to 16th.  And don’t worry, it’s fine to just pronounce it ‘Horses’.

THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES at Bronson Centre, from VDay Ottawa. A kickin’ annual tradition to celebrate Women and their awesomeness, this time on the 8th and 9th.

THE DROWSY CHAPERONE at Centrepointe Theatre, from Orpheus Musical Society.  Big time musical theatre from the people who know how it’s done, from the 8th to 17th.

lll

LOVE’S LABOURS LOST at the Kailash Mital Theatre (Carleton University Campus), from Sock’n’Buskin.  Following their ROCKY HORROR success with some Billy Shakes, and I’m pretty stoked.  From the 13th to 16th only!

MFA 4th YEAR DIRECTORS SERIES at Studio Leonard-Beaulne, Ottawa U campus.  A regular occurrence, and one of Ottawa’s best-kept secrets..free shows put on by the best of the best of Ottawa U’s directorial crop, this time featuring Team Visitorium superstar Danielle Savoie, plus a French show from director Alex Beraldin!  Open dress on the 14th, proper shows on the 15th and 16th, starting at 8 pm.

DEATHTRAP at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  I remember seeing this movie as a wee little thing, and it spooked the crap out of me…kinda excited for a rematch!  From the 19th through April 6th.

33 SWOONS at Algonquin College.  A trio of short plays by Anton Chekhov and director Mary Ellis, with a perhaps inordinate amount of swooning.  You be the judge.  From the 20th to 24th.

THE WIZARD OF OZ at the Greely Community Center, from the Greely Players.  Put some Baum in your theatre month with this fun-sounding show in ye olde Ottawa Valley.  From the 20th to 24th!

HARVEY at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre.  The classic tale of man’s best friend, a giant imaginary rabbit.  From the 26th through April 6th.

fa

FALSE ASSUMPTIONS at the Gladstone Theatre, from Ottawa Theatre School and Plosive Productions.  The latest From Lawrence Aronovitch, and starring the current crop of 3rd year OTS gangsters, this world premiere about Marie Curie runs from the 26th to the 30th only, so don’t miss out!

THE OTTAWA THEATRE CHALLENGE at the NAC 4th Stage. A multi-theatre company event/battle in celebration of World Theatre Day!  Details to come I hope!  On the 27th.

BECKETT’S BRIEFS at the Glebe St.James United Church.  Also on the 27th, the latest in the Third Wall Empty Space reading series, this time with some of Sam Beckett’s dandies.  Featuring Todd Duckworth, James Richardson and Kristina Watt!

— THEATRE FRANCAIS —

OULIPO SHOW at the NAC Studio.  Ends on the 2nd!

L’AMOUR EST AVEUGLE at Theatre de L’Ile.   Starting on the 6th and playing through til April 6th, another gooder from Theatre de L’Ile, just nominated for best French Production BOEING BOEING in the Prix Rideau Awards!

LA VOIX HUMAINE at Studio Leonard-Beaulne.  From the 7th to 9th (6 pm start time), and I don’t really have much more information than that!  Except it’s a Jean Cocteau bit, and he seemed to have some talent to spare, so there’s that.

LE 20 NOVEMBRE at the NAC Studio. Don’t know what it’s about, but the posters crack me up!  From the 12th to 16th.

APPELS ENTRANTS ILLIMITÉS at the NAC Studio. Formerly known as PORTES.  From the 20th to 23rd.

— IMPROV —

CRUSH IMPROV – The classic three on three ‘BOUT TIME show returns on Monday the 4th at Westboro Masonic Hall, a new venue for the gang and yes, the bar will be open (still trying to find out if we can bring Hintonburger).  Plus the Crush gang will be performing their latest SPOTLIGHT ON… show at the Gladstone on the 11th, with special guest John P.Kelly (and there’s a cat you just KNOW has some good stories to tell…).

GRIMPROV – JCPI: Jesus Christ Private Investigator on Wednesday the 6th at the Cock’n’Lion.  If that doesn’t intrigue you, nothing will.

CROSS-CANADA SHOWCASE at Studio Leonard-Beaulne.  Hosted by Crush Improv and featuring guest stars from coast to coast, I’ll update with names and details as they come in!  Sounds like a pretty goddam good way to spend a Monday, tho.

MI-6 – Wednesday March 13th: Lunenburg Pub 7:30PM-9:30PM, Pay-what-you-can, Whose Line Is It Anyway style. fb event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/464481860288222/   And Tuesday March 19th: Maple Sugar Festival Improv night at Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre, 300 des Pères Blancs Avenue, 7PM-9PM. Free admittance, bilingual show! Event details: http://www.museoparc.ca/en/general/une-soiree-dimprovisation-dans-le-cadre-du-festival-des-sucres/

CRYSTAL BASEMENT…let me know when your next shows are, and I’ll put them here, deal?  Deal.  That goes for any other of you little Improv Bastards who pop up.  WHO’S ONLINE ANYWAY, I’m looking at you…

— OTHER —

OUTSKIRTS OF TOWN from Ottawa Dance Directive, at their studio (Arts Court).  Until the 2nd…dance show!

LA TRAVIATTA at Southam Hall (NAC), from Opera Lyra.  An ‘in concert’ opera, so the whole gang…cast, orchestra, thee works…are all up on stage together.  Should be a musical night to remember, gang.  The 21st and 23rd only!

MARX BROTHERS and RAY HARRYHAUSEN FILM FESTIVALS at the Mayfair Theatre.  Too cool not to mention, check the main Mayfair website for showtimes and details!

NAC DANCE has some good stuff coming too (including the ballet of SLEEPING BEAUTY from the Royal Winnipeg), so check out the link for all the details!

Did I miss anything?  Of COURSE I did!  Let me know what it is!!  I WANT TO KNOW!!!  Right, I’m off, gotta eat, gotta see a show, gotta write about the show, gotta sleep, gotta go to work…you know the drill.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in May 2012

In Theatre on May 1, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Another month, another coming up list, whee!  I keep trying  to make these lists a little more comprehensive AND easier to follow, which I hope is working.  As always, any feedback would be appreciated, and if you know of any shows I’ve missed (the end of the month feels a little light to me…) drop me a line!  I want to know it ALL

(Likewise, I’m also trying to maintain what I hope is just about the most comprehensive theatre links list in Ottawa, down there along the sides of the page…want to be added?  Let me know!  And it wouldn’t kill ya to link back to me, now would it?  I thought not. 🙂 )

SHAKESPEARE’S DEAD from a Company of Fools.  Playing from the 1st to to 11th (Mondays to Fridays) at various locations listed in handy chart form on their website, and payable in traditional pass-the-hat style. A sure thing, Shakespeare as only Scott, AL and their merry band of Fools can muster.

BEYOND A JOKE at the Ottawa Little Theatre, from the 1st to the 19th, tickets $25.  A classic farce with a high body count, what more do you want?

THE EXTREMELY SHORT PLAY FESTIVAL from New Theatre Ottawa, at Arts Court Theatre.   Previews on the 1st and 2nd, regular run from the 1st through 12th.  11 short plays, all from local authours (including Geoff McBride, Lawrence Aronovitch and Pierre Brault, among illustrious others), back to back each and every night.  Set to become an annual event, so get in on the ground floor!

DEATH AND THE MAIDEN from Plosive Productions, at the Gladstone Theatre.  Preview on the 1st, runs from the 2nd through 19th.  The promo pix alone for this one look harrowing…I can’t wait!

POINTE DE FUITE at La Nouvelle Scene. A Series of poetical texts (in French), woven into a unique night of theatre.  From the 2nd to the 12th.

NATHAN from NAC French Theatre, May 2nd to 5th in the Studio.  Also UNE LUNE ENTRE DEUX MAISONS from the 23rd to 27th…I think that one is part of the youth series, but both look amazing.

SCHOOLHOUSE from the Lakeside Players, at the Ron Kolbus Theatre.  Playing from the 3rd to the 6th, and I think there’s some tasty dinner theatre in there somewhere too.  Check it out!

LA ROBE DE GULNARA from Bandeladouze at L’Ecole Beatrcie-Desloges, 1999 Avenue Provence, Orleans.  Good buzz about this show, and I’m starting to look into ways to rearrange my schedule so I can get out there.  From the 3rd through 5th.

KING LEAR at the National Arts Centre.  Yay, a show I didn’t just talk about yesterday! Starring an all-Aboriginal cast and directed by outgoing Artistic Director Peter Hinton, this one’s gonna sell like hotcakes.  Previews start on the 8th, run goes from the 11th though 26th.  Don’t miss it!

THE EMPTY SPACE FINALE from Third Wall Theatre, at Cube Gallery.  The last in their series of readings/fundraisers, Third Wall presents an evening of Oscar Wilde short stories with James Richardson, Henrietta Southam, and Prix Rideau Emerging Artist 2011 Katie Bunting!  May 9th, one night only!

MY MOTHER’S LESBIAN JEWISH WICCAN WEDDING from Goya  Theatre, at the Centrepointe Studio Theatre.  Worth it for the name alone, no?  From the 10th to 13th.

SUBDEVISION at St.Pauls Eastern United Church (437 Cumberland).  A Three-day event from the 10th to 12th, featuring music, drinks, and original short site-specific works from EIGHT local theatre groups (MiCasa, Two Little Birds, Ottawa Stilt Union, May Can, Counterpoint Players, Deluxe Hot Sauce, Gruppo Rubato and Skeleton Key…phew!), THIS is the must-see-and-be-seen-at shindig of the month.  I’m calling it.  Facebook Event Page HERE.

ROMEO AND JULIET from Kanata Theatre, at the Ron Maslin Playhouse.  Yes, I’m FINALLY getting out to Kanata to catch one of their shows, because Leslie would never forgive me if I missed his Mercutio! From the 15th to 19th, and 22nd to 26th.

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN at Centrepointe Theatre, 25th and 26th only (2 performances on the 26th).  Dig yourself some Mel Brooks musical madness?  This is your destination.

CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.  Not to be trumped by Hinton’s LEAR, Outgoing GCTC AD Lise-Ann Johnson is helming this production, starring Andy Massingham, Sarah McVie, John Koensgen, Mary Ellis and Catherine Rainville.  From the 22nd through June 10th.

And, the surest sign that Fringe season is almost upon us…

THE 14th ANNUAL YOUTH INFRINGEMENT FESTIVAL at Arts Court!  Running from the 15th through 19th, the festival features the best and most excitable of Ottawa’s young performers and creators, letting it all hang out with original works.  The lineup of new plays for this year’s fest are:
LONG DIVISION by Kyle Cunningham

BEST LEFT UNSAID by Colin Giles

BLIND DATE by Matt Hertendy

JUDGEMENT DAY by John Ryan

PLEASE SAVE THE QUEEN by Maggie Matian

THE RESTAURANT by Lucas Armstrong

HYDRANGEA by Kyle Cunningham (thanks to Andrew for clearing up my confusion on this one!)

But wait, there’s more..!
***   IMPROV!   ***

As the first of what I plan to be a regular feature on the ‘Coming Up’  posts, here’s a rundown of the local Improv schedules around town (I might be missing a LOT here, I dunno, so feel free to smarten me up, as ever)

CRUSH IMPROV -At the Elmdale Tavern the first Monday of every month, this time on the 7th for their ‘BOUT TIME team vs.Team style-showdown.  UPDATE: The teams have been announced…it’ll be ALL THE SINGLE LADIES (Brooke Cameron, Kristine Shadid and…Tim Anderson, sure, why not?) versus the good lads at GRIMProv (Mike Kosowan, Drew McFadden and Joel Garrow…more on them below).  Do the right thing, and get a Hintonburger before the show!

INSENSITIVITY TRAINING -Currently homeless, as their odd-numbered Sunday shows at Yuk-Yuks have gone bye-bye. 😦  If you see them on a street corner, please spare a chuckle.

CRYSTAL BASEMENT -Still (I think) doing a show at the Atomic Rooster the last Tuesday of every month, this time on the 29th.  Go see Jody, Thea and the gang and have a drink or two while yer at it.

GRIMProv -This Wednesday the 2nd, the Grimsters (just Mike and Drew, as I understand) will be givin’er at the Imperial, with special guest stars Tim Anderson and Brooke Cameron (all also appearing at this month’s CRUSH show)!  Get there early!

…and if you’re in Toronto, and speak French (unlikely, I know, but still…) you can stop in at the Fox and Fiddle for LES IMPROBABLES PRESENTENT: BLEUS VS JAUNES and cheer on Nancy Kenny for me!  Vas-Y les Jaunes!

There’s more, I know, but I’m forgetting something…who are those new Ottawa U kids again?? This is here you come in, people!  And while you’re jogging my memory, boost my ego as well and ‘like’ my Facebook Page!  Because I clearly have self-esteem issues (come on, let’s at LEAST crack a hundred!).

Also, update your bookmarks, because Nadine Thornhill has an Adorkable New Home on the web!  Don’t get lost in the move!

Right, that’s really it…Anything else you’d like me covering in this segment?  Dance, spoken word, whatever?  The Visitorium is here for you, yo.  See you all at the theatre, awright?  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)

Is It Blue? – Evolution Times Two 1 of 2

In Evolution Theatre, Theatre on April 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm

As is often the case these days, I’m a little under the gun with this post. REALLY should have written and posted these reviews last night, but I didn’t get home til after midnight, and I just don’t have those Fringe-levels of reckless energy at my disposal just yet (Curious aside..less than TWO MONTHS UNTIL FRINGE!!!).  And now I have two reviews to try and write up before I have to leave the homestead I only just got back to after work, to head out to my third show of the week.  Which I’ll then have to try and review before going to bed, or I’ll be right back in the same stoopid position tomorrow.  No WONDER people try and get paid for this jazz.

Yesterday WAS, I must say, a solid Theatre day.  Lunch with Adorkable ™ Nadine Thornhill and visiting Ottawa expatriate Nancy Kenny (more on her in a few moments) was as delightful as it sounds.  Then I had the privilege of sitting in on some rehearsal time with New Theatre of Ottawa as they worked on a few pieces from their upcoming EXTREMELY SHORT PLAY FESTIVAL.  What I saw looked pretty cool…but more on THEM in another post (and don’t forget to enter the Extremely Short Story Competition too, over on Aronovitch‘s Blog!).

Then I had a brief, weird thing where it seems like I may have made a date…with a GIRL…which I’m fairly certain I must have imagined, so let’s just move on.  What else did I do that day..?

Right, Theatre!  That’s a thing that I do! And yesterday was the premiere of Evolution Theatre‘s ambitious double-bill production of Berni Stapleton’s MARY MAGDALENE AND ADVENTURES IN SOBRIETY, and Darren O’Donnell’s [boxhead].  I had an inkling of what to expect, having interviewed Both Casts a few weeks earlier about the shows.  At least, I thought I had an inkling.  But as soon as I stepped into the Arts Court venue, I realized they had more than a few surprises waiting.

This woman just stole all your cupcakes. Surprise!

The first part of the bill was MARY MAGDALENE, a solo show starring Nancy Kenny (Who I mentioned already, remember?  That’s called Foreshadowing!) and following the highly engrossing personal misadventures of an alcoholic street person who claims to be the actual Mary Magdalene, still around after all this time, and looking a little rough around the edges.  The show starts off at a nice, manic pace, and one can quickly see why Nancy Kenny was so keen on this show, and this character in particular, as it seems tailor-made just for her.  The part fits her like a glove, and director Andy Massingham has crafted a particularly impressive show (with some ace help from designers Pierre Ducharme, Jess Preece and Steven Lafond) around her.

Following Mary as she rushes headlong from one boozer to another, bonds with a potted plant, and tries to come to grips with maybe the most famous personal loss in religious history, MM is an often absolutely hilarious show that also damn near had me in tears by the end. You really can’t help but completely adore the character Nancy and Andy create for us, stumbling often blind as she does through the 10 commandments, the 12 steps of AA, and however many stations of the Cross she decides is correct that day.    It’s a wonderful and utterly human performance, and a really fun and exciting production of Stapleton’s terrific script, balancing cheekily on the edge of blasphemy for most of its hourlong running time.

And let me just get it out of the way…yes, I’m biased.  Nancy’s a dear pal (certainly Winston the Cat has a soft spot for her), and I was really excited to see her in this.  So if you don’t believe me when I say she blew me away and made me all proud and stuff, then that’s totally fair enough.  Or, no, wait…fuck you.  That’s what I meant to say…Fuck you, Nancy was flat-out AMAZING, and that’s that!

Oh yeah. She cool.

This show easily would have been entertainment enough to have justified Evolution’s ticket price, but they weren’t done.  By a LONG shot.  And since it turns out I won’t have time to write the second review right now after all, I’ve split this one up (it WAS 2 shows, after all), and will be back later tonite to finish up with a look at [boxhead].  So hats off to the MARY M gang, for what is easily one of my new fav’rit shows this year, and it’ll be one of yours too.  An absolute joy.  Go now, and tell Nancy the Visitor sent you.  She’ll know what it means.  Peace, love and soul,

The Visitor (and Winston)