Its another slower-than-seems-usual week, but we’ll get to that shortly. We’ve got some news to catch up on that’s been building up while I haven’t been able to get to it. First, though, two quick notes.
One, for those wondering, the Undercurrents hand-off article, why this might be a positive step, is still pending. I haven’t had too much extra time to make a go of it and since it isn’t super timely, I’m not rushing through it. I’ll probably sit on it until after the Ottawa Fringe Festival at this point, leaving all Ottawa Fringe focus on the rapidly approaching festival.
This brings us to number two, which is a call to Fringe artists in particular. I almost certainly will be profiling shows on On Stage in the days leading up to Fringe, so if you’re a Fringe artist in this year’s festival, drop me an email to make sure to have a chance to be included in what’s being tentatively planned. And, please, if you know Fringe artists who may not be members of our mailing list, please pass the message along. (Especially to national and international artists who definitely have no reason to be on this list.)
Now to a bit of news. Actually, a lot of news. I’m hoping to post the full press releases on all of these soon but for now, here’s what’s been happening in Ottawa Theatre recently.
The Gladstone Announces its 2014/15 Season
Announced last week, here’s what you can expect to see at The Gladstone Theatre, starting in September:
- The School for Wives, by Molière, translated by David Whitely, directed by John P. Kelly as a co-pro between SevenThirty Productions & Plosive Productions. (Sep 12 to Sep 27)
- The Hunchbacks of Notre Dame, created and performed by Matt Chapman, Josh Matthews, and Sarah Petersiel, produced by Black Sheep Theatre. (Oct 22 to Nov 1)
- The Glass Menagerie, by Tennessee Williams, directed by Eleanor Crowder, produced by Bear & Co. (Nov 21-Dec 6)
- The Radio Show: The Gift of the Magi, featuring works by O. Henry and others, directed by Teri-Loretto Valentik and David Whitely, produced by Plosive Productions. (Dec 10 to Dec 14)
- Two, by Jim Cartwright, directed by Stewart Matthews, produced by 100th Monkey Productions. (Jan 16 to Jan 31)
- Bankrupt, a new comedy by Stéphanie Turple, directed by Kevin Orr, produced by Plosive Productions. (Feb 27 to Mar 14)
- Venus in Fur, by David Ives, directed by Chris Ralph, produced by Plosive Productions. (Apr 9 to Apr 19)
- The End of Civilization, by George F. Walker, director TBD, produced by Same Day Theatre. (May 15-31)
PLUS, for limited runs, two Vanity Project Productions musicals:
- Hedwig and the Angry Inch, being remounted by popular demand in October (1st through 4th), directed by Stewart Matthews.
- The Rocky Horror Show, next April (1st through 4th), directed by Stewart Matthews.
Glengarry Glen Ross coming to The Gladstone
In additional Gladstone news, David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross will be gracing its stages at the end of June. With special pricing of $20 for all tickets and running June 24th through July 5th, this sure to be a summertime smash stars Steve Martin, John Muggleton, Chris Ralph, David Whitely, Leslie Cserepy, Tom Charlebois, and Dale MacEachern. It will be directed by Geoff Gruson.
More, they’ll be having “Party Backs” after every Friday and Saturday night show that will see The Gladstone Theatre transformed into a night club where you can hang out, dance, and drink with the cast and crew for only an extra $10 on top of your show ticket.
The St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival Announces New Artistic Director
On May 14th, the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival announced that, after a four month search, Rona Waddington, director of last year’s Hamlet for the festival, would be replacing Ian Farthing as the festival’s artistic director at the end of this season.
From the official release: Waddington has an impressive background, including work as an actor at the NAC and directing credits at theatres across Canada and in Europe. Her administrative experience as an Artistic Director includes time at Port Stanley Festival Theatre, Lunchbox Theatre in Calgary and Artistic Associate at Drayton Entertainment.
She is currently working at the Stratford Festival as part of the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Directors and will also be directing King Lear at the New Open Space Company in Paris before joining the Festival officially in December.
Visiting Prescott for the announcement, Waddington said: “I’m delighted to be returning to the St. Lawrence Shakespeare Festival in a more permanent capacity and to the beautiful town of Prescott. It’s such a welcoming community! I began my career in Ottawa and have worked, over the years, at many of the area’s regional theatres so this feels like a coming home for me. I look forward to building on the excellent work that Ian, the staff, and the theatre’s many volunteers, have accomplished, and to producing exciting and entertaining shows that further the Festival’s reputation as a destination theatre.”
Opera Lyra Announces 30th Anniversary Season
Going back to season launches, Opera Lyra Ottawa announced its upcoming season back at the end of February leaving no better time than the end of May (?) to tell you about that.
From the official release:The company opens its 30th anniversary season with Giacomo Puccini’s enduring masterpiece, Tosca, a taut political game of deception and betrayal. The production stars Canadian Soprano Michelle Capalbo is the fiery singer Floria Tosca, Newfoundland’s own Baritone David Pomeroy is her lover, the patriot and painter, Mario Cavaradossi. American Baritone Todd Thomas is Baron Scarpia the Chief of the Secret Police who manipulates & betrays Tosca. The all-Canadian supporting cast has Bass-Baritone Giles Tompkins as Angelotti the escaped political prisoner, Baritone Dion Mazerolle and Tenor James McLennan as police agents’ Sciarrone and Spoleta. The Opera Lyra Chorus is led by Laurence Ewashko. Maestro Tyrone Paterson, the company’s outgoing Artistic Director, cast the production and returns as guest conductor to lead the Tosca company and the National Arts Centre Orchestra. (September 6, 8, 10, 13. Southam Hall, NAC)
In the spring, the mood lightens considerably with Mozart’s great comedy, The Marriage of Figaro. In this innovative production set in the Edwardian era, household servants Figaro and his fiancée Susanna are pitted in a battle of wits against their master. Plots and romantic misadventures ensue in this lively, Downton Abby-themed production. Ottawa Sopranos Wallis Giunta as Cherubino and Mirielle Asselin as Susanna lead a mostly Canadian cast, with Baritone James Westman as Count Almaviva and his long-suffering wife Soprano Nathalie Paulin as Countess Almaviva. American Baritone John Brancy is the frustrated bridegroom Figaro. Baritone Peter McGillivray is Bartolo, Mezzo-Soprano Lynne McMurtry is Marcellina. Tenor Aaron Ferguson is Basilo and Soprano Johane Ansel is Barbara. Bass Baritone Sean Watson as Antonio, and the Opera Lyra Chorus is led by Laurence Ewashko. Opera Lyra’s Artistic Director, Kevin Mallon, will conduct the National Arts Centre Orchestra. (March 21, 23, 25, 28. Southam Hall, NAC)
TACTICS, A New Collaborative Theatre Series
And yet more seasons to announce. Recently formed by Counterpoint Players, TACTICS is an initiative somewhat similar to that of The Gladstone theatre’s collective of member companies. Several companies band together, in this case being selected by series curator Bronwyn Steinberg, pooling resources to allow everybody greater access to support and material than they would have on their own, and to collectively hold one full season of theatre. The shows that are part of TACTICS will all take place at Arts Court Theatre.
- Evolution Theatre’s Young Lady in White, by Dominick Parenteau-Lebeuf, translated by Maureen Labonté, running in November 2014.
- Lisa Jean’s Light, running in January 2015.
- May Can Theatre’s Happiness, running in March 2015
- Dead Unicorn Ink’s Under Derek’s Bed, running in April 2015.
On Stage This Week
And with that we’re caught up on the news, so let’s get to this week’s listings.
Roller Derby Saved My Soul (one night only!)
Nancy Kenny brings her hit (and heavily revised) show, Roller Derby Saved My Soul to Ottawa for one night only before she takes it on tour across Canada – all the while she’ll also be filming a documentary about life on the fringe circuit.
That one night is this Friday, May 30th, and the show takes place at Arts Court theatre. Seriously, folks, this is a show well worth checking out. If you’re not there, you’re really missing out.
Amy is a shy comic book geek who envies her younger sister’s exciting life. June is strong, brash and plays extreme sports. Through June, Amy discovers roller derby, gains confidence and finally grows into the person she’s always wanted to be.
Comics, fandom and the struggles of the introvert: In a world of tropes, one woman gets off the couch and unleashes the hero within in this critically acclaimed action-adventure comedy on roller skates.
Learn more: https://www.facebook.com/events/310262919122088
9 to 5, the Musical (opens this week!)
Girl Power Rules in the Orpheus premiere of 9 to 5; The Musical, opening Friday at Centerpointe Theatre. Crafted from the 1980s movie, 9 to 5, is a witty take on still-relevant issues such as office politics, workplace harassment, pay equity, and the ubiquitous “glass ceiling”.
Pushed to the boiling point by their boss, three female co-workers concoct a plan to get even with the sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot they call their boss. They conspire to take control of their company and learn there’s nothing they can’t do — even in a man’s world.
9 to 5, The Musical: Produced by Orpheus Musical Theatre, runs at Centrepointe Theatre, May 30th through June 8th. Learn more: onstageottawa.com/9to5
A decades-long friendship is put to the test when Serge spends 100,000 Euros on what his friend calls a white piece of crap in Same Day Theatre’s production of “art” now running at The Gladstone.
From Caitlin Oleson’s review: Given that he’s not directly part of the main conflict, Yvan may sound like a supporting role, but not as played by Andy Massingham. His physical prowess was astonishing: even when he was outside of the spotlight, I couldn’t take my eyes off his actions and reactions. Yvan can be at times pathetic and insecure, sycophantic and desperate, or just downright crazy and Massingham shows these instabilities with ease without ever losing the audience’s sympathy. (onstageottawa.com/artreview)
I liked “art”, I believe, more than Caitlin did in the end, but I didn’t love it.
I did love the performances. All three cast members were strong and engaging throughout. Andy Massingham in particular has a monologue mid-show that is so vibrantly-insane and hilarious as to be worth seeing the show for on its own. Seriously, at its end, there was that ever elusive mid-show round of applause.
Here’s what I wasn’t too keen on though. While the script was generally well written and enjoyable, I’m a fan of shows that go somewhere. While “art” was at times hilarious, at times thought-provoking, and at times uncomfortable (in the good, this feels too much like a real friendship imploding, kind of way), in the end it all felt meaningless. I didn’t feel that anybody changed, grew, or learned anything. This was just a moment – albeit a big, giant, memorable one – in these characters lives and now that it’s over they’ll just be continuing on the same course as if it never happened. In fact, it wasn’t even really evident what it was that ever bonded these friends together. Just a lot of zero-ing in on the things dividing them. Maybe if we felt the connection, we would have been more invested in seeing them work through their relationship, rather than just being bystanders to the train wreck, but, I guess as is the case with some art, I just didn’t get it. Or maybe I just think about the nature of friendship and what connects us far more than I should.
Either way, it isn’t even a bad thing per se. Your mileage will vary depending on your personal tastes. In the end, it just wasn’t for me.
“art” runs at The Gladstone Theatre until June 8th. Learn more: onstageottawa.com/art
Oil and Water
From the NAC: A compelling true story of rescue, rebirth, and salvation. Barely surviving a WWII shipwreck, U.S. sailor Lanier Phillips becomes the first black man to appear in St. Lawrence, Newfoundland. Long accustomed to racism back home, Lanier’s life is forever altered by the kindness and generosity of local residents. Hopeful and haunting, bleak and beautiful, Oil and Water’s tale of transformation – of baptism, cleansing, and awakening – delivers a powerful dramatic punch.
From Sarah Stack’s review: Director Jillian Keiley put together a stunning production. The minimalist stage was set with a triangular step ladder structure, and some buckets and wooden planks that created a table. That was all that was needed to transition between locations and storylines. With all the actors on stage during most of the show, this minimal approach worked as the spotlight directed the audience to which story was next. Although this was a little confusing at first, since there were no pauses to think between scenes, the nonstop momentum eventually lead to a captivating final half. Truly, Keiley elevates Oil and Water with her outstanding creative vision. (onstageottawa.com/oilandwaterreview)
Learn more: http://nac-cna.ca/en/englishtheatre/event/5068
F – 23 …
As always, I’d love to hear what you’re seeing, what you’re loving, and what you’re up to. Join the discussion in the comments below.