I sincerely hope you’ve had a wonderful summer filled with enjoyment and relaxation and maybe a bit of creative productivity.
The new theatre season starts up in earnest in Ottawa this week, and with it a new season of theatre coverage. We’ve made a few changes here at On Stage and the way we do things in order to make our coverage even better for this new year. Here’s a couple highlights.
- Now all information on the home page is cleanly broken up into different sections, making it easier than ever to find the type of coverage you’re looking for on every visit.
- Starting this season, we’re now letting you rate the shows you see. Alongside every review we publish there’s going to be a place for you to give the show a rating from one to five stars. One click is all it takes to have your opinion counted.
- Videos are coming back to On Stage. Thanks to a partnership with the Acting Company and Avalon Studio, we’re going to be once again talking to the artists behind the shows coming up to find out what they’re all about. As we get further into the season, the show format will expand to include broader table talk topics, round tables and the occasional longer panel discussion. If there’s anything you want to see us talking about on the show, let us know.
With those and more changes for you to look forward to, a couple of things haven’t changed. Namely our dedication to being the most thorough source of theatre arts information in Ottawa, both as it relates to all the shows coming up as well as the wonderful people and companies that create them. More listings, more reviews, more feature articles. Basically, everything you want to know about Ottawa Theatre.
On Stage This Week
I’ve kind of missed typing that heading over the summer. Let’s get right to it.
Tosca (Four Nights Only!)
Opera Lyra gets the honour of kicking off the theatre season with Puccini’s political thriller, Tosca, presented for four nights only at the National Arts Centre.
Opera Lyra’s 30th season begins with Giacomo Puccini’s enduring masterpiece, Tosca, a taut tale of deception, betrayal and courage. This opera is a taut tragedy whose majestic music sweeps us along from its opening chords until the final harrowing line. Opera singer Florai Tosca is caught in the political intrigues of Baron Scarpia, head of Rome’s secret police. Her love for the patriot and painter, Mari Cavaradossi, and her anguish as she tries to rescue him from Scarpia, make Tosca one of opera’s most captivating heroines.
Tosca runs September 6th, 8th, 10th, and 13th at the National Arts Centre. More details: onstageottawa.com/shows/tosca
The School for Wives (Opens This Week!)
The Gladstone’s season gets underway with a co-production between Plosive Productions and SevenThirty Productions, a new translation of a classic comedy by David Whitely, and an all-star cast featuring some of Ottawa’s most talented actors.
Our hero thinks he has concocted an ingenious plan to create the woman of his dreams. He is afraid a smart woman will cheat on him so he enlists the help of a local convent to raise a pretty girl in ignorance and isolation. In his mind she will be docile, adoring, amorous on demand. The perfect wife. Or is she?
The School for Wives, directed by John P. Kelly, a man who knows his comedy, opens on September 12th after two nights of previews on the 10th and 11th. More information: onstageottawa.com/shows/theschoolforwives
Countries Shapes Like Stars (One Night Only!)
Mi Casa Theatre is bringing back their uber-popular Countries Shapes Like Stars for one night only in a special fundraiser on September 10th.
The story of Gwendolyn Magnificent and Bartholomew Spectacular starts with demanding dragon fruits and ends with heartache whispered into the ears of birds and constellations. With spoons, water glasses, whirly-winds and a mandolin, they create the sounds and images of a landscape forever altered by regret. Part storytelling, part concert, this is a tale of love heard best through a tin can telephone.
This is a show I’ve consistently had the shame of missing every single time it’s been presented in the past. Time to see if I can change those fortunes.More information: https://www.facebook.com/events/1472411276340492/
The Lights of Shangri-la (One Week Only!)
ToTo Too is bringing the work of a local playwright to the stage of Academic Hall for one week only with The Lights of Shangri-La.
Retired actor Crockett Sumner gives the performance of his life when he’s forced to reconcile a recent HIV diagnosis with an already fractured romance and his big sister’s dubious cancer remission. Will a heartfelt confession be enough to save them, or has Crockett already lost the two people he loves most?
The Lights of Shangri-La runs for one week only, September 10th through 13th, at Academic Hall. More information: onstageottawa.com/shows/thelightsofshangrila
Soul Preservation (One Night Only)
The Ottawa Storytellers present the first in their (un)Told series of storytelling events featuring four original works.
Emily Pearlman hops on the bus to a dark destination,
Kyle Cunningham stares into the cold eyes of a man-eating beast,
Jacqui Du Toi charts a spiritual course from village to urban jungle,
and Rachel Elliott (almost) gets swept away by a raging river.
The evening of storytelling is preceded by a free panel discussion about the art of the solo-show. More information: onstageottawa.com/shows/souldpreservation and onstageottawa.com/news/soloviewdiscussion
And there we are. Welcome to the 2014/15 Theatre Season in Ottawa. Have yourself a wonderful week. Let me know what you’re seeing, what you’re loving, and what you’re thinking. It’s your feedback and support that keep this column going. You can get in touch with me through any of the usual channels: in the comments below, or on twitter @thatmackeyguy
Until next time, I’ll see you at the theatre.