Thank you for reading On Stage Weekly, your weekly look into what’s going on in Ottawa theatre for the next week.
Last Tuesday, Ontario Today, CBC Radio One’s noon-hour call-in show, ran with the topic “Why is Live Theatre Dead to You?” You can listen up here if you missed it: http://www.cbc.ca/ontariotoday/2014/02/04/tuesday-why-is-live-theatre-dead-to-you/
The spin was pretty obviously negative. It was leading enough towards automatically negative callers that Torontonian, Alexander Offord went to change.org to start a petition asking CBC to start a new, and not negatively spun, conversation about live theatre and the challenges it faces as a counterpoint to their first discussion.
If you have an interest in live theatre – as I have to suspect you all do – then it’s worth taking a few seconds to check out the petition, which breaks it down better than I could without simply copying and pasting, and perhaps lend your signature to the cause.
Beyond that, it raises the question I have for you this week. That being, basically, why does live theatre matter to you?
Why do you choose to go see a live show instead of checking out a movie? How do you choose where to spend your entertainment time and dollars? Equally, what is it that keeps you from seeing more theatre and under what circumstances would you get out to see more live theatre? What could companies do to get your bums in seats more often?
I’m interested in your thoughts on both sides of the coin. Leave us a public comment or question on the web version of the weekly, or hit me up on Twitter @thatmackeyguy. If you want to keep your thoughts between us, send me an email reply.
Congratulations to Greg Patterson who won our pair of tickets to This Is War, running at the Great Canadian Theatre Company until February 23rd. See below for the reasons you need to get out to see this show.
Greg won his tickets to by being selected as comment of the week over at On Stage with a mini-review of NORT’s Empire of Dirt. Check it out on our look at Empire of Dirt.
This week we’re giving away tickets to the opening night of Underbelly, being produced by Black Sheep Theatre and running at The Gladstone from February 26th through March 8th. For your chance to win, leave us a comment over at On Stage, or on Facebook. It’s that easy. Tell us what you’re seeing and what you’re thinking about it, or jump in on the question of the week that I asked earlier: Why does live theatre matter to you?
We’ll select a comment of the week next Sunday and the author will win two tickets to Underbelly’s opening night on February 26th.
(Note, only public comments are eligible. Not email replies)
On Stage This Week
Undercurrents (Opening This Week)
Undercurrents starts today! Did you hear me? Undercurrents starts today! That gives you five chances to see each of six wonderful shows up in the GCTC Studio. Plus an interactive show running as an interstitial in the lobby, a Pitch Party hosted by A Company of Fools designed to encourage collaboration on new work, and a revisitation to my favourite show from the 2012 Undercurrents, Live from the Belly of a Whale.
In short, if anybody wants me, they can find me at the GCTC. You, can find out the full details on all the shows over on On Stage. (onstageottawa.com/undercurrents2014lineup)
7 Stories (Opening This Week)
As if Undercurrents wasn’t enough, The Algonquin College Theatre Arts grads open their first of three shows this spring with 7 Stories. Since The Servant of Two Masters, presented by last year’s grads, was one of my favourite shows in 2013, I’m very eagerly looking forward to this.
7 Stories is a dark comedy about a man perched on the edge of his life and the edge of a seven story drop. It’s an emotional and wacky adventure as the man’s path intersects with seven other dramatic and absurd stories. (onstageottawa.com/7stories)
The Irish Curse (Opening This Week)
Do Irish men have small penises? That’s the question at the centre of TotoToo’s upcoming production of The Irish Curse, a play about body image as well as themes of masculinity, sex, and social status. (onstageottawa.com/theirishcurse)
This Is War
This Is War opened last week at the Great Canadian Theatre Company and the general consensus is that it’s fantastic.
There’s nothing better than being almost fully engaged in a show to the point where your mind is on nothing but the world unfolding on stage for the duration. That’s what This Is War was able to do, telling its story of four members of the Canadian Armed Forces recounting the moments leading up to a major botched joint operation.
This Is War is a hard yet crucial look at the lives our armed forces lead and the things they go through, physically and psychologically, during the course of their service. For those of us who will never experience anything nearly as extreme as what our armed forces have to deal with, This Is War, is a must attend just from a point of beginning to understand an alien world where the lines between right and wrong are twelve shades of blurred and choices that lead to unintended and perhaps disastrous consequences are par for the course.
This Is War is guaranteed to give you a lot to think about and you should do everything you can to try and get out to see it.
From Matthew Champ’s review:
“This play was truly cathartic for me as I struggled with the inner demons of my own opinions of the military and war and saw both the the pros and cons contrasting on stage with such passion.” (onstageottawa.com/thisiswarreview)
Age of Arousal
While I wasn’t personally at Bear & Company’s opening weekend for Age of Arousal, I did get to see how passionately our lead reviewer felt about it. From her and from the other buzz I hear, it seems like this one is fantastic, too. And sexy, being described as a startling and imaginative, modern look at forbidden Victorian desires.
From Valerie Cardinal’s review:
“Age of Arousal is thought provoking, discussion-starting, sexy, witty and entertaining. Combine an engaging script, strong performances from a talented cast, great staging and fantastic costuming and you have the best production I’ve seen so far this year. It’s a must-see if you’re a feminist, a fan of Victorian England or just a lover of smart theatre.” (onstageottawa.com/ageofarousalreview)
Perfect Wedding (Last Week)
If you’re in Kanata or want an excuse to trek west, Perfect Wedding is a side-splitting, modern farce that takes place on the eve of Bill’s wedding and sees Bill and his best man attempt to cover up the debaucheries of Bill’s bachelor party. (kanatatheatre.com)
Empire of Dirt (Last Week)
From what I’ve heard, NORT’s Empire of Dirt is a great show. So much so that it will actually and sadly becomes the first show I’m going to be sorry to miss this year. You guys should get out there in my place.
Empire of Dirt is a complex story of family ties and addiction where each character is on their own roller coaster ride and the audience gets to peek into their private family home, witnessing things that should stay behind closed doors – and are, in thousands of homes in Canada today. (onstageottawa.com/empireofdirt)
One might say it’s a busy week for Theatre in Ottawa. Me, I’ll be at the GCTC Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday for Undercurrents, as well as checking out The Irish Curse on Wednesday and 7 Stories on Thursday. Before you ask, hey, what about Friday? Friday I’ll be out at the Mayfair theatre for the 5th annual Painted Lips and Lolly Licks. Billed as the sexy film festival, it features a collection of, um, mature themed, short films curated from local and international entries.
So, yup, no rest until Monday for me, but I’m happy to have it. Let me know what you’re seeing and looking forward to. And let me know what you have to say about the question of the week. Make it a comment over at On Stage for your chance to win two tickets to opening night of Age of Arousal.