Temperatures are in the positives and spring is finally taking hold. Can it last?
For two weeks, I’ve been teasing talking about one-person shows. I realized I can really sum this up a lot shorter than I thought I would be able to. The main question I have is: where are all the guys hiding?
This was an observation I had back in January, talking with somebody about one-person shows when I remarked that almost all of the best one-person shows I had seen were one-woman shows. After more thought, it was still hard to find as many one-man shows that stood out as remarkable. Certainly the ratio we ended up with of really good, really strong, one-person shows – the kind you’re ready to see over and over – heavily favoured female performers.
Note of course, I’m very specifically talking about the Ottawa scene. I was reminded and assured through conversations following my initial question to everybody that if you look nationwide, the ratio is pretty evenly split – which I’m glad to hear.
But that re-begs the opening question: where are all the guys hiding?
Why are (seemingly) the majority of one-person shows, especially really good one-person shows, being created by women here in Ottawa? Even now, at this very moment, I can think of six women who are (a) finishing runs of a wildly successful show, (b) getting set for touring a proven and successful show, or (c) working on shows that, based on their pedigree, are likely to be fairly to very successful. I can’t think of one local male performer who fits any of those categories.
Of course, I don’t know everybody in Ottawa, or what everybody’s working on. I’m only commenting on what I’ve observed.
Is it because of the general understanding that there are already more roles for men in theatre, so women are out there making their own? Are women in theatre, for that reason or any other, more ambitious than men? More willing to take creative risks? Are the men in Ottawa just complacent, or risk-averse? Is it to do with the nature of one-person shows and being on stage by yourself?
I would really love to hear whatever thoughts you might have. What have you observed? What do you think the reason is?
Are the female performers in Ottawa just more talented and/or confident than the men, and so more ready to take on sole show responsibility? I don’t think that’s the case. So maybe I should turn this question into a challenge. Guys, where are you?
Quotes from Coates: An On Stage Profile of GCTC Artistis Director, Eric Coates
And indeed, Coates’ particular brand of medicine appears to be agreeing with Ottawa’s audiences. The plays constituting Coates’ first season, now nearly at an end, have been very well received. “I was especially pleased that You Fancy Yourself did so well. People are resistant to one-person shows but Maja Ardal took care of that. And it was a real thrill to produce Michael Healy’s Proud for Ottawa’s politically savvy audience – I could always tell when any Conservative staffers were in the house by the intensity of the laughter.”
Read the full article: onstageottawa.com/quotes-from-coates
Next week, the GCTC launches their 40th season. We’ll be there on April 8th and will be publishing an article about the 2014/15 season as soon as the launch event ends, along with exclusive comments from Eric Coates about the shows in the season.
If you have an idea or suggestion for an upcoming feature or profile article, send me an email.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch opens this week at The Gladstone, and it’s time to give some tickets away.
For your shot at winning, I asked you to identify the local actor playing Hedwig in the production, shown in the photo that accompanied the last Weekly. All the correct respondents knew that the actor in the photo was none other than Tim Oberholzer.
Their names were all dropped into a hat (actually an Apple Store bag) and the winner was drawn, making it my pleasure to congratulate Laura Hall as the recipient of a pair of tickets to Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
The Best Theatre Company in Ottawa
Before we jump into what’s on stage this week, I want to congratulate Geoff McBride and Karen Balcome of THUNK Theatre, winners of the Rubber Chicken Award, and the title of the best theatre company in Ottawa, after their win at last week’s Ottawa Theatre Challenge celebrating World Theatre Day. They beat out twelve other teams to take home the chicken(s), including last year’s champs, The Gladstone Theatre.
On Stage This Week
Two new opens this week, joining four other shows still on stage. As always, check out our event calendar for full listings for the week to come and every week after.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (one week only)
As mentioned, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, starring Tim Oberholzer, opens this week for a one week run at The Gladstone. Fans of rock operas like Rocky Horror Picture Show or REPO: the Genetic Opera, this is the one you’ve been waiting for.
It is the journey of ‘internationally ignored’ East German rock-goddess Hedwig Schmidt on a gender-bending quest for ‘The Origin of Love’, after a botched sex change operation raises questions about identity and individuality. Funny and touching, outrageous and inspiring, this powerful and thought-provoking rock musical will prove that ‘to be free, one must give up a little part of oneself.
Learn more about Hedwig and the Angry Inch: onstageottawa.com/hedwigandtheangryinch
Drama at Inish
Life and art mix like oil and water in the latest from Ottawa Little Theatre when a group of eccentric actors set up shop in a sleepy Irish town in Drama at Inish by Lennox Robinson.
From Caitlin Oleson’s review: Some may criticize Drama at Inish for being predictable and unsubstantial, but that’s the point. This show pokes fun at the pretensions of actors and questions the role of performing arts: are all good works necessarily those that intellectually challenge, inspire and educate or can a show be worth watching if it is merely entertaining? This is a question that will be relevant as long as theatre is performed, and in the case of Drama at Inish, the answer seems to be: why can’t a show be both? onstageottawa.com/dramaatinishreview
Drama at Inish continues its run at the Ottawa Little Theatre until April 12th: onstageottawa.com/dramaatinish
Starring Eric Peterson of Corner Gas fame, running at the National Arts Centre.
From Valerie Cardinal’s review: I must admit that I judged a book by its cover when it came to Seeds; based on the subject matter, I was expecting a dry and academic legal drama. The last thing I was expecting was one of my favorite productions this season. onstageottawa.com/seedsreview
Seeds continues its run at the NAC through until April 12th: http://nac-cna.ca/en/englishtheatre/event/5067
Dancing With Rage
Managed to get tickets yet? Keep trying. One week left before Mary Walsh closes out her long sold-out show.
From Valerie Cardinal’s review: There’s no question that Mary Walsh is an extremely charismatic performer. No one can make characters come to life like she can. Throughout the one-woman show, Walsh becomes various members of Marg’s family, a sex-obsessed cab driver, a nun with a speech impediment and more. onstageottawa.com/dancingwithragereview
Dancing With Rage runs until Sunday. onstageottawa.com/dancingwithrage
Murder in Noirville
I wish I had better to say here. Sometimes a show just doesn’t hit.
From Sarah Stack’s review: Murder in Noirville didn’t push the comedy, relying on cliches instead. By the end, I simply wasn’t interested in the climactic reveal. The play’s flaw is not finding the right balance of serious melodrama and comedy. onstageottawa.com/murderinnoirvillereview
Murder in Noirville runs at Kanata Theatre until Saturday. onstageottawa.com/murderinnoirville
The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine (opens this week)
Vacant House Theatre launches its inaugural production The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine at The Ottawa Backpackers Inn. We bring you into the basement apartment that started it all! Come with us as we share in the love, laughter and – of course anger of our unique twist on this wonderful play. This is a theatrical experience you will not want to miss out on.
The Anger in Ernest and Ernestine runs through until April 27th. http://vacanthousetheatre.webs.com/
As always, let me know what you’re getting out to see and what you’re loving. You can find me at the other end of this email address, or on twitter @thatmackeyguy
Until next time, have a super delightful week, and I’ll see you at the theatre.