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Posts Tagged ‘nancy kenny’

Filming the Fringe

In Fringe Fest, Theatre on December 9, 2016 at 1:38 pm

A few years ago famousactress Nancy Kenny got a particular bee up her bonnet….a documentary bee, specifically, and it was her Fringe bonnet it was poking around in (I’m going somewhere with this, please stay with me). Being the stick-to-it type of gal she is, Nancy corralled talented pals Cory Thibert (of May Can Theatre fame) and Natalie Watson, crafted a plan, put on her producer hat (yes, overtop her fringe bonnet, she can wear both at the same time because she’s THAT TALENTED) fundraised and fundraised and then fundraised some more, and set out to film her (and many other Fringe artists) adventures on the 2014 Fringe Festival tour across Canada, from London to Vancouver.

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The end result is ON THE FRINGE, a feature-length documentary I finally got to see this past week. It is the first true pop-cultural record of the madness and magic that is the Fringe tour, inspired by Edinburgh but distinctly Canadian (in my mind, the most truly unique aspect of Canadian Theatre PERIOD, but never mind me). The film follows not on Nancy but Jem Rolls, Chase Padgett, Stacey Hallal, Robert Grier, Grahame Kent, Morgan Murray, Danielle Spilchen, Martin Dockery, Vanessa Quesnelle and a multitude of others as they arrive in a new town, set up their show, flyer, perform, drink, bunk with strangers, succeed, fail, then pack up, hit the road and start it allover again somewhere else. Trying to capture the essence of fringing is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle, but director Thibert and editor Watson succeed admirably. Their months of footage, painstakingly carved down to just 90 minutes, hit on all the successive highs and lows of this lunatic theatrical rollercoaster lifestyle…performance anxiety, fickle public and critics, financial hardships, friendship (and romance), fleeting fame and much, much more. Special shoutout to the beautiful soundtrack, much of it coming from Fringe artists seen in the film (including some of the achingly gorgeous AIDEN FLYNN score).

I’ve been involved with Fringe as a fan since 2008 and as a performer since 2013, so I’m not exactly giving an outsiders’ perspective here. As a relative insider, this flick gave me all the feels times a thousand. It gave me roaring newfound respect for these fearless artists, and made me all the more driven to join them on this most blissfully Quixotic of quests. Fringe is a very special thing in the world, and it’s beyond time that hard proof was made available to attest that fact. Thanks forever to the team for making this happen.

Now…why am I writing this? This movie isn’t available for rent or download yet, it’s playing at no local theatres for you to run and check out, limited tour screenings like the recent one in Ottawa aside. So what CAN you do? Help them out, that’s what. The filmmaking process is an arduous and EXTREMELY expensive one, postproduction included, and this journey isn’t finished yet. I donated some cash to the project’s early indiegogo campaign years back, and it was clearly some of the best money I’ve ever spent. I URGE you to click on their campaign page link and do the same, if you’re able. I want…no, I NEED my special edition 2-disc blu-ray of this movie, and that won’t happen without some cash. So feel the Christmas spirit, gather up those defunct pennies, and help make a Fringe miracle happen.  Because Fringe miracles are pretty much the best kind, I say.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid

Montreal FRINGE-COMA 2014 : Preview!

In Theatre on June 9, 2014 at 8:36 pm

A few years back in 2011, I took a major Theatrical road trip to Victoria to cover their Fringe Festival for the Visitorium. It was a smashing success, and over the course of the fest I met and befriended Montreal theatre bloggers Al Lafrance and Victoria Laberge of the awesome BLOODY UNDERRATED. We had a time, and one of the results of meeting them was that I suddenly found myself on a Montreal theatre media list that I get merrily inundated with around Fringe time. For the last 3 years the good folks at the MONTREAL FRINGE FESTIVAL have been inviting me to come visit for some reviewing fun…and I’m happy to say that, this is the year I finally am able to take them up on it.

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From the 13th to 16th of June, I’ll be heading over to see what Quebec does with a Fringe festival, and also how drunk I can be and still write reviews. I’m still trying to manage a show schedule…I really need a hard copy of that thing in my hands, ya know what I mean? But boy, are there some amazing looking shows in their lineup. Here’s just a few of the things I want to see, am curious/excited about, and some I absolutely refuse to miss.

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GOD IS A SCOTTISH DRAG QUEEN II from Delcon. I got sold-outted on Delamont’s first blasphemous stand-up show in both Victoria and Toronto, and I swear I’m finally gonna see him in action this time around!

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PALEONCOLOGY from Moon Dinosaur. Kira Hall’s one woman show about dinosaurs and cancer looks awesome and, quite frankly, she had me at dinosaurs.

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4.48 PSYCHOSE from Peregrination Productions. This show was intended to be the 3rd play of the season for the graduating class of Ottawa Theatre School this year, so it holds a bit of a special resonance for me. Can’t wait to see it tackled, in French even!

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WATCH OUT WILDKAT! From Sex T-Rex. One of the best improv troupes on the damn planet is back, with a Western. So yeah, you wanna see it.

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HIGH TEA from Life and Depth. Comedy duo James and Jamesy have crazy good buzz following them around, and this follow-up to their smash 2 FOR TEA should be a guaranteed good time.

AIDEN FLYNN LOST HIS BROTHER SO HE MAKES ANOTHER from Theatre Howl. After rocking Ottawa with the wonderful MATCHSTICK last year, Nathan Howe and the gang are back fringing with their latest, and I’m all excitable to see what they’ve come up with now!

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CROOK OF MY DREAMS from Generation Goat rocket. A Vaudeville-style musical crime caper , created by sisters Phina and Sophie Pipia!

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LOTUS from Hopegrown Productions. I got to share a venue with the ladies of Hopegrown last year when they brought the great AROUND MISS JULIE to Ottawa Fringe. The new one looks terrific.

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MY PLAYWRIGHT SISTER. Johanna Nutter returns with a follow-up to her acclaimed MY PREGNANT BROTHER and this time she’s brought her Brother with her for what just might be the most personal show at this year’s festival.

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BANANARAMALLAMADINGDONG from Flapjack Cadallac. Two dudes and a dame doing wacky sketch comedy, possibly with bananas, which are a good source of potassium. Who could ask for more?

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12 TONGUES from Radiant Moxie. I saw Yana Kesala’s delightful UKRAINIAN DENTISTS DAUGHTER in Victoria and it was a definite highlight. She’s a fun and engaging performer, and the tale of her new show sounds fantastic.

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THE QUITTER from Al Lafrance. It’s Al, for fucks sake!

…and so many more, like IMO (IN MY OPINION) from Jess Salomon, SHIRLEY GNOME: SHE’S PRESENTING from Heartichoke Arts, REAL DEAD GHOSTS from Shelby Company out of NYC, HOUSEBUM: A SUPERHERO ON TRIAL from Mask vs.Title, IN MEMORIAM: THE WAKE OF CHEDDAR FANDANGO from Sermo Scomber Theatre, THE DYSMORPHIA DIET, TALKING COCK, OVER IT, SHADOW WALTZ, STRAPLESS, DRAG UEEN STOLE MY DRESS, SENSE GENTLE, tons of amazing dance shows, cool ass French productions, Sam Mullins, Keir Cutler and SO MUCH MORE! Argh, why am I only going for 4 days??

CROSSOVER!! With schedules between cities a little more back to normal this year, there are once again a host of crossover shows that will be hitting both Montreal AND Ottawa Fringes. Here are a few I might just try and catch in MTL and get the jump on everyone back home…

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JEM ROLLS – ONE MAN TRAFFIC JAM. Jem Rolls is a Fringe legend and a goddamned masterpiece of a spoken word poet/performer, and I can’t wait to see him again after too long an absence.

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ME AND MY MONKEY from Bradley Spann. This solo story of growing up in South Central in the 70’s, indeed with a monkey, has me WAY too intrigued to risk missing.

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IREDEA from Woo Me Myth. A live, Philip K.Dick-inspired sci-fi rock opera, from the same mad geniuses who created THE DUCK WIFE. Miss this one at your peril!

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THE DEVILS CIRCUS from Wishes Mystical Puppet Company. Evil magic puppets…kind of what Fringe is all about, in the end.

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LES CHERRIES.  In Montreal with LES CHERRIES ON FONT DE L’OEIL, and then hitting Ottawa with CHERRY ON TOP, I get the feeling this a cappella chanteuse trio is gonna steal some hearts, and knock some socks off.

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KITT & JANE: A SURVIVAL GUIDE TO THE NEAR POST-APOCALYPTIC FUTURE from Snafu Dance. I’d pay good money to watch Ingrid Hansen do her taxes. Seeing her and co-star Rod Peter jr. as hyperactive 8th-graders in this stand-alone sequel to the legendary LITTLE ORANGE MAN? It’s almost too awesome to contemplate.

YOU NEED TO SEE THIS!! And here are three shows I’ve already seen (more than once in some cases) that the rest of you would be fucking nuts to miss…

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WOLVES>BOYS from May Can Theatre. May Can are hometown heroes here in Ottawa, slowly building an amazing rep as tireless creative forces over the last few years (especially this year, when they’ve challenged themselves to create a new special theatre event every month of the year…so far, they’re on par), and they’re ready to spread their wings and take this country by storm. WOLVES is probably their strongest show yet, and you’re gonna love them more than candy.

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SPITTING IN THE FACE OF THE DEVIL from Bob Brader. I caught Bob Brader’s autobigraphical one-man punch to the gut back in Victoria, and I still feel the goddamn chills from it. Directed by the amazing Suzanne Bachner, this is powerful, powerful medicine. You need this show.

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ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL from Broken Turtle Productions. Recently revamped after several years of great reviews and delighted audiences, Nancy Kenny is taking her feel-good hit on a major road tour, AND filming a major feature length documentary about the Fringe circuit while she’s at it(read all about ON THE FRINGE here!).  I recently re-reviewed the newest iteration of the show, check it out if you care to.  But more importantly, check out this show.  You can thank me later.

All the apologies to the tons and tons of incredible performers I’ve left off this too-short list…there are just so darned MANY of you!!  And HUGE thanks to the Montreal Fringe for inviting me, putting me up, and being such swell all-around hosts.  I can’t wait to hit town, walk the venue trail, and get my Fringe-Coma on just a little bit earlier this year.  A Bientot, Montreal…I’ll see you soon.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

 

So You Wanna be a Rollergirl (Redux)

In Theatre on June 7, 2014 at 9:58 pm

Okay, so confession time…I’ve seen the fabulous one-woman comedy ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL a grand total of six times, if you can believe that. SIX.  Even more unbelievable, this last time? Was the first time. Again. Lemme ‘splain.

Local Ottawa Theatre Heroine Nancy Kenny has been making waves with this show since it debuted at Ottawa Fringe in 2011 to great houses and well earned acclaim. It has toured to several cities, been treated to repeat performances, and gotten the enthusiastic backing of Roller Derby leagues across the country. And ya know I loved the bejeezus out of it. But heading into 2014, Nancy somehow wasn’t satisfied, and went back to the drawing board. Having already added a new soundtrack courtesy of ace composer and sound guy Steven Lafond, she started revisiting the script, working with director Tania Levy to streamline, tweak and ultimately (hopefully) improve on what was already a very solid crowd pleaser of a show. And recently, just before heading to London to embark on a major cross Canada tour of the show, she debuted it at a one night-only Ottawa fundraiser party. The party was sold out in advance…a taste, one hopes, of things to come.

The story follows meek Amy, an underachieving nerdgirl who’s just turned 30 and still hasn’t really accomplished much besides memorizing the lines from her favourite BUFFY episodes, and harbouring a niggling resentment towards younger sister June, who continues to surpass her in every field with what appears to be minimal effort. June’s latest conquest is roller derby, and as a peace offering she invites her little (older) sister to a match. Amy is baffled but intrigued, and without understanding why exactly, finds herself signing up for a recruitment drive. And then it all hits the fan (or, as it were, the track).

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DERBY has, I can safely say, indeed been improved by the rework, just as funny and endearing as previous but with a newfound strength at its heart that lifts it up throughout. This is a show that has done some SERIOUS core work, folks, and it shows. Amy’s strained relationship with sister June is brought beautifully to the fore, as are her increasingly complex feelings for her Amazonian derby trainer Diana. The laughs are still plentiful (especially in a wonderfully awkward moment of overdrinking halfway through), the new score rocks, and the stakes are higher than ever as Amy’s struggle to find herself takes some sharp, and occasionally painful turns. It’s a show that does your heart good, folks, and it’s gotten a little wiser as it has grown.  I can’t imagine how nerve-wracking it must be to go back and rework an already proven and acclaimed show like this…yet one more reason why Nancy Kenny is kinda my hero.

And here’s a good reason why she’ll soon be yours, too…on top of touring the show, Nancy and her team will also be filming for a feature length documentary, ON THE FRINGE, following life on the Canadian Fringe Festival circuit. It’s an ambitious and insanely exciting project and I already can’t wait to see the finished product, and neither can you! So do yourself a major favour if you’re anywhere along her path across Canada this summer…check out the show, smile for the cameras, and just maybe save your soul while you’re at it. What the Hell, it’s a great song anyhow.

Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid (and Winston)

 

ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL will be touring Fringes across Canada this summer, including London, Montreal, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Victoria and Vancouver.  Check the website for all the info!  #rdsms  #onthefringe

Coming Up in May 2014

In Theatre on May 2, 2014 at 9:39 am

A day late with this post, but still time to see lotsa stuff!  But now you might have to hurry, so read fast, okay??  Let’s do this!!

 

MY BRILLIANT DIVORCE at the Gladstone Theatre, from Seven Thirty. Divorce, comedy style! Until the 17th.

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CORPUS at Arts Court Theatre, from Counterpoint Players. Counterpoint brings the premiere of this hugely anticipated drama from Darrah Teitel, and director Bronwyn Steinberg. The 1st to 10th.

HUFF at the NAC Studio. Cliff Cardinal’s justly celebrated one-manner about life on the Rez, until the 10th.

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MAURITIUS at the Ottawa Little Theatre. Thrills, chills and postage in a strong showing from OLT. Until the 17th.

YOUNG LADY IN WHITE (a reading) at Arts Court Studio, from Evolution Theatre. The Evolution gang hosts a free reading of their next production by Dominick Parenteau-Lebeuf and translated by Maureen Labonté. See what they’ve got in store! 5 pm on the 3rd.

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THE WEDDING POOL at the Avalon Studio, from Boxed Wine Theatre. Marital hijinks from some new kids on the block! Plays the 2nd through 4th.

NUNSENSE A-MEN at Academic Hall, from TotoToo. A restrained and sober look at sisterly life, I’m sure, from the 7th to 10th.

THE FULL MONTY at the Russell High School, from RAPA. Okay, further out than my usual purview, but my man Alex is in this musical adaptation of the sleeper hit movie, so ROAD TRIP! From the 7th to 10th.

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE at the NAC 4th Stage. Sendak’s beastly classic, up close and personal. Roar! The 9th and 10th only.

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INHERIT THE WIND at the Ron Maslin Playhouse, from Kanata Theatre. Evolution vs Creationism, round 1! From the 13th to 24th.

OIL AND WATER at the NAC Theatre, from Artistic Fraud of Newfoundland. Boss Jillain Keiley directs this true Newfie tale, closing out the 2014 mainstage season! The 14th to 31st.

THE ARRANGEMENT, THE MARRIAGE AND ME at the NAC 4th Stage, from Ottawa Storytellers. Sexuality and culture clash in a one-woman show from Kalyani Pandya…the 15th only.

EMPTY SPACE SERIES: CLASSIC OTTAWA II at St. James Church – 650 Lyon Street South, from Third Wall Theatre. Readings of works from local writers…why the Hell not? Only on the 14th.

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‘ART’ at the Gladstone Theatre, from Same Day. Fresh off a smashing win at the Rideaus, Same Day returns with Yasmina Reza’s hit to entertain y’all. From the 23rd to June 8th!

9 TO 5 at Centrepointe Theatre, from Orpheus Musical Society.  Musical theatre, Dolly-style, from May 30th to June 8th.

Nancy in ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL.pic by Richard Gilmore.

Nancy Kenny in ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL.pic by Richard Gilmore.

ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL at Arts Court Theatre, from Broken Turtle Productions. A one-night only fundraiser performance of Nancy Kenny’s hit one woman show, before embarking on a major cross Canada tour (during which she’ll be filming a full-length documentary about life on the Fringe circuit that you can contribute to HERE!). Come out and show your derby pride! On the 30th.

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LIFE IN THE WAR YEARS at Billings Estate, from Ottawa Storytellers. A travelling tent show with stories and music about the soldier’s life and more…only on the 30th!

ROALD DAHL’S LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD at NAC Southam Hall. May 31st only for two performances, an orchestral journey for the family.

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WOLVES>BOYS at MacDonald Gardens Park, from May Can Theatre.  Around 745 on the 31st, or whenever it gets dark-ish, a one night only site-specific performance of Cory and Tony’s Fringe hit before they go on summer tour!  Head on over to their hose for a farewell party afterwards!  Good enough for me.

DIAL M FOR MOUNTIE at the Velvet Room, from Eddie May Mysteries. Every Saturday, Scarlett’s dinner theatre brings you some fun murder mystery theatre, plus food. This one directed by the man Andy Massingham himself!

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The YOUTH INFRINGEMENT FESTIVAL at Arts Court Theatre. A week of shows written, directed by and starring the most perilously awesome kids of Ottawa Theatre! Featuring CLASSIC HORROR MOVIE MISTAKES, THE EVER-PRESENT WITNESS, THE ANOMALY, LOVE AND WAR, LUCY, and BLAZER. Always fun, always fresh, and thiss year featuring a curated art presentation to boot! Everything runs from the 13th to 17th!

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The OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL CHILDREN’S FESTIVAL featuring shows like FROGZ, THE CITY AND IRIS, UNDER THE STARS, PINOCCHIO IN MY SUITCASE, KAPUT, I ON THE SKY, DINOSAUR ZOO and much more, from all over the world (plus local faves like 100 WATT will be around)! Everything unfolds at Lebreton Flats from the 9th through 14th. Definitely bring the kids.

     – THEATRE FRANCAIS

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ALBERTINE EN CINQ TEMPS at the NAC Theatre. Classic Michel Tremblay, until the 3rd.

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

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

LE PROJET TURANDOT at Studio Leonard-Beaulne, from le Theatre Tremplin. A superfun retelling of the Turandot legend, until the 10th.

FAUSSES RUMEURS at Theatre de L’Ile. Neil Simon, translated for Franco-fun!  The 14th through June 21st.

LE PROMENOIR . Starting at the NAC studio, this walking tour show will take you all over, with stories and song along the way! From the 14th to 17th.

GRETEL ET HANSEL at NAC Studio. A retelling of the classic fairy tale, from the 24th to 25th.

     – IMPROV

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CRUSH IMPROV has a busy month planned, starting with their regular ‘BOUT TIME show on the 5th at the Heart and Crown in the market (Mother McGintey’s stage). Then there’s a workshop with focus on long form work on the 23rd at Arts Court, to be immediately followed by the first ever CRUSH IMPROV SHOW, which should be as awesome as it sounds.

GRIMPROV as always will be performing at the Cock and Lion the first and last Wednesday of every month, so check out THAT good stuff for sure.

CRYSTAL BASEMENT performs at the Atomic Rooster…what is it, the last Tuesday of every month?  I’ll refresh my memory on that one, but I’m pretty sure.  I’m so professional.

More updates to come!!  In the meantime, get on out and see all the stuff, okay?  Okay.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

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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)

The New Zoo(fest) Preview

In Theatre on July 15, 2013 at 8:43 am

All aboard  for the NEW ZOO PREVIEW!  And for those of you too damnably young, here’s the source of that hilarious play on words:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dwJQ6G7Z_II

Christ, that was terrifying.  Where was I..?  Oh yeah, I was about to yammer a bit about a theatre/music festival in Montreal, the epic ZOOFEST that’s already underway and continues until the 28th.  There’s a whole merry whack of programming on the go, and it looks like tremendous fun all around.  But I’ll admit that I’ve never been to Zoofest, and am not going this year either, so listen up because I know what I’m talking about! No, really! Because it’s time for…

     5 SHOWS YOU DARE NOT MISS AT ZOOFEST THIS YEAR:

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#1: THE BIRDMANN IN THE EVENTS OF MOMENTOUS TIMING.  Because it’s the goddamn Birdmann, who is indeed a man like no other.  Caught him in Victoria two years past, and you can’t duplicate madness like this.  At Cabaret du 4e du Monument-National.

Cameryn Moore...pic by Caleb Cole.

Cameryn Moore…pic by Caleb Cole.

#2: SLUT (R)EVOLUTION.  I first caught Cameryn Moore a few years back at the Ottawa Fringe Festival with her show-stopping PHONE WHORE, a show no one who has seen will ever forget. She’s one of the most unique and fearless performers around on the theatre circuit, and this year she returned to my town as a last-minute addition to Ottawa Fringe with a newer show, SLUT (R)EVOLUTION…and folks, Cameryn Moore has upped her already considerable game.  A high stakes, no punches pulled sprint through Cammy’s sexual beginnings…steamy, outrageous, and gloriously unapologetic.  See it.  At les Katacombes.

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#3: LET’S START A COUNTRY.  Full confession…I have never seen this show.  Further information…I suck for not having seen it.  Garnering raves and applause every time it appears, the latest incarnation of this show from Gerard Harris, Shane Adamczak and Holly Gauthier-Frankel features secession from Canada and the ground-up creation of a brave new country.  Every NIGHT, folks.  I wish I weren’t stuck in Ottawa for this one, so you all have to see it for me.  Deal?  And say hi to Shane for me!  At Theatre la Chapelle.

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#4: UNDERBELLY.  Jayson McDonald is one of my theatre heroes…his BOAT LOAD at my very first Fringe in 2008 rocked my notions about what acting was, and especially about how fun 1-man shows could be.  And when I finally saw his celebrated GIANT INVISIBLE ROBOT, it was easy to see what the hype was about.  But with his fantastic new show UNDERBELLY, inspired by the life and words of beat icon William Burroughs, he’s shattering people’s ideas of what ‘a Jayson McDonald show’ can be.  A masterpiece of a script and incredible performance, no fucking fooling. At Caberet du 4e du Monument-National.

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#5: ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL.  Saving my hometown hero Nancy Kenny for last (and perfectly numbered, as I just saw this one-woman show of hers for, yes, the fifth time this past week during a special pre-zoofest performance).  I’ve known and admired the Kenny ever since I saw her show NO EXIT UPSTAGE in 2009 at Ottawa Fringe, and she’s consistently been one of my fav’rit local actors ever since. She recently won best drama at Fringe for her criminally underseen French translation of DOLORES, but she’s probably best know these days for her laugh out loud, pop culture rollercoaster solo show ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL.  The story of timid housegeek Amy and her tentative adventures into the world of derby, RDSMS has already been embraced by local Rollergirls, and I expect no less in Montreal.  You’re gonna love this, Montreal.  At Cafe Cleopatre.

There’s doubtless much, much more that you also should not miss…Hell, I just realized I forgot to mention DIE ROTEN PUNKTE!I hear great things about the fest every passing day, and curse my not-being-there-ness more and more.  I think we need another theatre festival in Ottawa for July/August, dagnabbit, I’m forming a committee!  In the meantime, for all you with Montreal access…get to the Zoo!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Coming Up in July ’13

In Theatre on July 3, 2013 at 8:23 am

Fringe is over, but Theatre marches on!  And happily, there’s still a good lot of stuffs going on in July to ease those post-courtyard separation anxieties:

NOISES OFF at the Ottawa Little Theatre.  Supposedly the funniest thing in the history of ever, the OLT’s 100th season barrels on with this comedy by Michael Frayn.  From the 2nd to the 20th.

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THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR from a Company of Fools. Torchlight Shakespeare enjoys its 10th anniversary with this lesser-seen bit of Billy Shakes with a killer cast, and directed by Catriona Leger!  Starts on the 2nd, check the Fools Website for a show in a park near you!

A COMEDY OF ERRORS from Bear and Company.  The new touring company in town is back with a western spin on the bard, directed by Anna Lewis.  Starts on the 4th, and the Bear and Co. website has all the goods on where they’ll be showing up next!

Victoria Grove in SAPPHO...IN 9 FRAGMENTS.  photo by Robert Piwko

Victoria Grove in SAPPHO…IN 9 FRAGMENTS. photo by Robert Piwko

SAPPHO…IN 9 FRAGMENTS at Arts Court Library, from Troupe de la Lune/10th Muse.  The Fringe smash is back for a short return engagement, and you do NOT want to miss this powerhouse performance from Victoria Grove in a play by Jane Griffiths and director Jessica Ruano.  The 4th to 6th only!

THE ST.LAWRENCE SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL is back with another doozy of a double bill out Prescott way. Featuring HAMLET and the original comedy MAID FOR A MUSKET, as well as a bunch of extra programming peppered throughout the runs.  MAID kicks off on the 12th with HAMLET debuting on the 16th…check the SLSF website for all the details!

Nancy in ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL.pic by Richard Gilmore.

Nancy Kenny in ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL. pic by Richard Gilmore.

ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL at Arts Court Theatre!  Nancy Kenny’s one-woman wonder of a show is headed on cross-Canada tour, and she’s bringing it home to us for one night only to get ready.  July 13th at 7:30, advance tickets available HERE.

ARMS AND THE MAN in Strthcona Park, from Odyssey Theatre. Some Geroge Bernard Shaw, masque-style, for your parkbound entertainment pleasure!  Directed by the man Andy Massingham.  Starts on the 25th!

IDOMENEO at the Church of St.John the Evangelist, 154 Somerset West, from Boutique Opera.  A little class in your July, with some classic Opera on the 18th at 7pm!

The Gladstone Theatre’s ONE NIGHT ONLY SERIES continues after its June debut, running every Thursday thru Saturday this month with a variety of music and theatre each evening.  Full rundown at the website, but here are some of the Theatrical highlights for July:

summerof34redux
SUMMER OF ‘34:REDUX from Backpack Theatre.  An expanded version of the play Jonah Allingham debuted at last year’s FRESH MEAT festival, this slice of Canadiana hits the Gladstone on the 4th, then moves to the Happy Goat Coffee Company for the 5th thru 7th!  Facebook event page HERE.

2 WOMEN IN A 1 WOMAN PLAY by Silvia Kindl and Rachelle Todd.  Double billed with SUMMER OF ‘34 on the 4th, and featuring Todd with Lina Vilskid!

HELVETICA BOLD’S HOSER BURLESQUE (a variety show tribute to Canadian content) on the 5th, and featuring a solid roster of local improv and burlesque talent!

THE LARAMIE PROJECT: TEN YEARS LATER from Red.Collective.  Following up on their presentation lst year of the stunning verbatim theatre piece, this follow-up shows us the divided town of Laramie a decade after Matthew Shephard.  Plays the 11th.

BUBKUS from Jesse Buck.  A one-man clown show from a man who knows how to clown.  Last seen in Ottawa as Puck in A MIDWINTERS DREAM TALE.  Plays on the 12th, and double billed with Artbeat Theatre’s musical BARELY EVEN THERE, recently seen at the Ottawa Fringe Festival!!

NAAN BREAD by New Ottawa Repertory Theatre.  Doug Phillips’ tale of an immigrant-run convenience store in Ottawa, directed by Paul Dervis.  Plays on the 18th, double billed with FROM THE COMIC AND THE BIZARRE…TO THE ROMANTIC – ITALIAN STORIES AND FOLKTALES by Christina Kindl!

THE GODDESS from Moment-M, billed as an original 1950’s musical comedy!  On the 19th.

crazy
CRAZY by Hazel Hutton, double billed with JP Chartier’s 2020 from last year’s Fringe, on the 25th!

And July 26th CRUSH IMPROV hits the Gladstone for their ONE NIGHT STAND…and I’ll tell you what else they have going on this month as son as my computer lets me access their website again (it won’t right now, the darned thing).

All I’ve found so far for Theatre Francais is L’AMOUR A L’AGENDA from Theatre de L’Ile, which I’m sensing is a bit of a rom-com.  Starts July 3rd.  If there’s anything else going on, please, Franco-friends, let me know and I’ll pass it on!

Let me know what else is going on…I’m still a little Fringe-dazed and I know I’ve missed a tidbit or gem here and about.  Take care, and I’ll see you at the Theatre!  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

Fringe-Coma 2013 – DOLORES

In Fringe Fest, Theatre on June 22, 2013 at 11:39 am

I’m certainly off my pace for seeing shows at this year’s Fringe…but then, as of day two of the festivities I’ve now taken to the stage in two performances of my own debut show THE TRAGICALL HISTORIE OF NICK WADE, so I hope can be forgiven if I’m lagging a tad on my blogging duties.  Trying to make up for it here on an early Saturday off before I start up at the theatre again, and I’m happy to have a good one to write about just now.  Of the four I’ve managed to see, actually, I’d have to say this one was my fav’rit.  And I didn’t even understand all the words.

Martine Roquebrune et Nancy Kenny dans DOLORES (pardon my French)

Martine Roquebrune et Nancy Kenny dans DOLORES (pardon my French)

Tucked away in the downstairs kitchen of St.Pauls on Cumberland (where Two Little Birds played at last year’s SubDevision), Edward Allan Baker’s DOLORES from Broken Turtle Productions is probably the most intimate affair the Fringe has seen in a good long while.  The audience sits in the room for this French-language production starring Martine Roquebrune as Sandra and Nancy Kenny (who also translated the play into French herself) as the title character.  Nancy’s ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL pal Tania Levy directs, and the result is something incredible.  My French is still a tad rusty despite all my franco-theatre outings, but the story follows fastidious Sandra as she receives a sudden, frantic visit from her sister Dolores, who is hiding out from her abusive husband.  Amidst reflections and recriminations over Jos Louis’ and coffee, a few awful secrets are brought to light, and the real reasons for Dolores’ sudden visit hit home.

Dramas aren’t always a big draw at the Fringe, but DOLORES proves why that’s a dumb thing indeed.  At a short-ish runtime of just over half an hour…which is perfect, because in that reach-out-and-touch-the-actors space there isn’t even room to squirm in your seat when things get dire…this show packs the emotional wallop of shows three times its length.  Martine Roquebrune is an absolute revelation as Sandra, and if she and Nancy Kenny don’t have you fighting off tears at the end then you may very well lack the capacity to cry.  They work wonderfully together, sharing sweet sisterly moments as well as some all-too-real sibling rivalry.  Kudos to the brilliant and risky choice of venue, a site-specific microcosm that fits the show to a T. It has a ton of shows left (see the link below) so there’s no excuse to miss one of the most heartwrenching and beautiful shows the Fringe is likely to see this year.  Peace, love and soul,

Kevin Reid, the Visitor (and Winston)

http://ottawafringe.com/tickets/dolores/

5 Fringe Questions with NANCY KENNY

In Fringe Fest, Theatre on June 20, 2013 at 12:28 am

I’ve been following (not stalking..!) Nancy Kenny for a while now.  I’ve seen and been impressed by her in shows like THIS IS A PLAY, LITTLE MARTYRS, MARY MAGDALENE AND ADVENTURES IN SOBRIETY (all with Evolution Theatre, a company she co-founded) as well as Fringe shows like NO EXIT UPSTAGE and the hit ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL (Prix Rideau Award winner for outstanding Fringe production).  I am also roommates with her cat Winston, who says hello.  After a stint in Toronto she’s back in Ottawa for a spell, and she’s brought with her an original translation (into French) of the play DOLORES for this year’s Ottawa Fringe Festival.

Nancy Kenny and Martine Roquebrune in DOLORES.

Nancy Kenny and Martine Roquebrune in DOLORES.

 -Are you happy to be back in the Ottawa Fringe after a year away?

I’m thrilled to be back. I’ve been participating in Ottawa Fringe, in one way or another, since 2002 and last year was the first time I wasn’t here. This definitely feels like a homecoming. It’s also great to be working with Tania Levy again and yet to be doing something so completely different from Roller Derby Saved My Soul.

– What made you want to translate this play?

It started a few years ago as an acting exercise. I was assigned this play in a class and my teacher would often ask me to ‘say it in French’ which would immediately ground me more into the character. Makes sense since it’s my first language. Some people might be surprised to know that.

– Do you enjoy working in French more or less than English?  Does it make a difference?

I really enjoy both, but this is my first time working professionally in French since high school (if you don’t count my time this past year with a wildly successful French improv team in Toronto). For a long time now I’ve been wanting to get back to my roots and this production does just that  Does it make a difference? I don’t think so. Though I feel very blessed to be able to move easily between the two language groups.

– Tell us a bit about the rest of your cast and crew!

Well some of you may know my incredibly talented director, Tania Levy, who directed me in Roller Derby Saved My Soul and had a lot of success last year with Vernus Says Surprise. Every time we work together she surprises me more and more with just how good she is at this directing thing. She has a great eye for what’s happening on stage but still gives the actors an incredible amount of freedom to play and discover. Oh and she didn’t even blink when I told her I wanted to make this show site-specific, with a very small audience sitting all around us. I like how she indulges my crazy ideas. Everyone reading this should hire her to direct everything from now on and pay her lots of money to do so.

Unlike RDSMS, Dolores is a two-hander – as in, there are two people in the cast. A couple years ago, I saw Martine Roquebrune do a scene from a Chekov play in French in one of my acting classes. She just blew me away and I knew then and there that I wanted to work on this show with her. Oddly enough, she had also worked on the English version of Dolores in a class. We were originally going to play the same characters from class, but after reading through the script a few times, we realized that together we were better suited to the reverse. So I am now playing Dolores and she is playing my sister Sandra. Martine has done a lot of film work, but this is her first play. Ottawa theatre audiences are in for a very pleasant surprise.

And last, but definitely not least, there is my fabulous stage manager, Jess Clark. She came highly recommended and I can see why. I have no idea why I thought I could do this show without an SM because right now I can’t imagine ever doing this show without her.
– Have you set a record for the most performances scheduled in a single Fringe Festival?

HA! Maybe? I don’t know, I didn’t ask. 19 performances seems like a lot doesn’t it? Long story short, if I want to have any chance of covering my costs and paying these wonderful people who are working with me, I had to do more performances. The show is fairly short though, about 40 min, and we’ve been training with multiple runs throughout rehearsals so we’re ready for this marathon I like to call Fringe.

Nancy in ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL.pic by Richard Gilmore.

Nancy in ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL.pic by Richard Gilmore.

– bonus question: what’s happening with your previous Fringe show ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL?

Oh, I am so excited with this one! In July, I will be at Just for Laughs Zoofest in Montreal and in August I’m going to the Edmonton Fringe Festival and the Atlantic Fringe in Halifax. But stay tuned, Ottawa, there may be a one-off or two coming your way.

I also had a great time introducing the show at the Magnetic North Theatre Festival this past week. I made some great national connections and I hope that you haven’t heard the last of Roller Derby Saved My Soul just yet.

DOLORES plays at this year’s Ottawa Fringe Festival at St.Pauls Eastern United Church (473 Cumberland), in the downstairs kitchen.  Showtimes are:

June 20 – 19h00 & 21h30
June 21 – 19h00 & 21h30
June 22 – 15h00 & 19h00 & 21h30
June 23 – 21h30
June 24 – 21h30
June 25 – 20h00
June 26 – 19h00 & 21h30
June 27 – 19h00 & 21h30
June 28 – 19h00 & 21h30
June 29 – 15h00 & 17h30 & 20h30

Advance tickets available HERE at the Fringe website.  $10 at the door with a Fringe pin!  And Dolores is a proud sponsor of local women’s shelters L’Autre Chez Soi and Interval House of Ottawa.

For the Love of Derby

In Uncategorized on August 26, 2012 at 7:22 pm

This is just a bit of a quickie post, as I’m chilling out on a Sunday eve with Winston the Cat, trying to decide whether I’m going to watch GREATEST AMERICAN HERO reruns, or try and make sense of KNIGHT RIDER chronology (seriously, how does the KNIGHT RIDER 2000 tv-movie possibly fit in to the KR universe??).  This is all important stuff and is going somewhere, I promise!

But first, important roller-derby-themed business.

I would have done this in tomorrow’s Foofarah, but this is a bit of a time-sensitive issue and just couldn’t wait.  My most-viewed piece of theatre ever (I’m at 4 times now!), and the most epic piece of eight-wheeled adventure since Dazzler fought Doctor Doom, Nancy J.Kenny‘s ROLLER DERBY SAVED MY SOUL enjoyed a kick-ass run at Ottawa Fringe last year, and is planning to wheel across the country sooner than later.  But the lady miss Kenny (along with directorial superstar Tania Levy, and hardest working stage manager in town Nick Alain) want to put some solid work in on the show, give it the no-expense-spared workshop treatment so that folks get the derby-est Fringe experience possible when next the show takes to the stage.  There’s an online fundraising campaign set up at IndieGoGo (which I’m thinking of doing later on to help fund my OWN Cross-Country Fringe trek) which you should all click on and donate to RIGHT NOW!!!  The campaign ends in just a couple of days, and every little bit helps.

Defeating Doc Doom while wearing rollerskates takes serious cash, folks, so dig deep.

That’s it, just a plea for donations on other peoples behalf…but never fear, I think I might actually see a show or two and review them this week.  And as hinted, there might even be a regularly scheduled Foofarah tomorrow!  Kind of depends how much of it I get written before I get loopy at the Elmdale watching MY SUMMER CRUSH, which you should totally come and see with me, because I get so very lonely.  And lonely and funny don’t mix unless you’re watching it, so come keep me company!  And give Nancy some money, willya?  Winston would very much appreciate it…he still has kind of a soft spot for her.  Peace, love and soul,

the Visitor (and Winston)