September, 2010

Das Rheingold. Lepage’s staging at the Met overpowers the performers.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

met_ring_acrobat_900083cl-8

(photo by : Richard Termine/The New York Times)

 

Watching the opera beamed in live is an exhilarating experience simply because  we are  thrust on stage with the camera and the view is spectacular.  e get huge close-ups of the faces. We hear their voices perfectly, (which apparently was not the case in the theatre itself where we heard the  Met audience booing tenor  Richard Croft  because he could barely be heard.  We had no  trouble hearing him  in the Coliseum and in fact his voice, and that of  baritone Eric Owens,  were the most dramatic  performances of the evening. James Levine’s majestic  reading of Wagner created a lot of excitement as well and the technology of HD  was the perfect venue for Wagner’s music.

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Das Rheingold: A Production of the Metropolitan Picked Up by the Ciné Plex in Ottawa. lePage’s Staging Overpowers the Singers.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

                               met_ring_acrobat_900083cl-8                                                                                

 

(photo by : Richard Termine/The New York Times)

Watching the opera beamed in live is an exhilarating experience simply because  we are  thrust  on stage with the camera and the view is spectacular.  We get huge close-ups of the faces. We hear their voices perfectly, (which apparently was not the case in the theatre itself where we heard the  Met audience booing tenor  Richard Croft (Loge) because he could barely be heard.  We had no  trouble hearing him  in the Coliseum and in fact his voice, and that of  baritone Eric Owens,  were the most dramatic  performances of the evening. James Levine’s magnificently majestic  reading of  Wagner created a lot of excitement as well and the technology of HD  was the perfect venue for Wagner’s music, which might not be to  everyone’s taste but which was given the perfect context in this performance.

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Turandot at the National Arts Centre:a Brilliant Staging Helped erase the Weak Stage presence of Calaf (Richard Margison).

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Puccini’s opera about the cruel Chinese princess, who beheads her suitors to avenge herself on men for killing an ancestor, is based on Carlo Gozzi’s play Turandotte (1762) but actually the legend of Turandot has nothing to do with China. It was originally Persian. The composer died before the opera was  first produced in 1926 , leaving unfinished fragments of music and libretti that had to be rewritten and reworked, (with the collaboration of the original conductor Toscanini) to capture the spirit of what  the Maestro might have created himself if he had lived.  Just to show that the genesis of this work is worthy of a Puccini opera itself.

The production by Opera Lyra currently  playing in Southam Hall at the National Arts Centre is a sumptuous and magnificent spectacle, where  the unidentified prince, known  as Calaf, longs to possess the divine beauty of the the  frigid princess whose  repressed sexuality (“No man will ever possess me!”)  explodes into murderous acts of blood and  torture  as the excited crowds  flow about her feet singing the emperor’s praises and waiting for the executioner’s axe to fall on the next unlucky suitor, proudly exhibited here as an almost Christ like Persian prince, a sacrificial victim in a white robe. In fact the whole  axe grinding  ritual in Act I with the  appearance of the tattooed and muscle bound executioner became a heightened  stage moment of  pain and pleasure   that  director Brian Deedrick seemed to relish immensely, as it signalled the beginning of a superb piece of stage  design that brought much of the  strength to this production.

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Macbeth au Centre Segal à Montréal : une lecture haïtienne par le fils de Victor Hugo interposé

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Macbeth_4

Photo: Amy Keith
Acteurs gauche à droit (left to right)
Cynthia Cantave, Charles-Smith Métellus, Vanessa Schmit-Craan

Devenu au fil des années un des hauts lieux du théâtre professionnel anglophone à Montréal, le Centre Ségal – autrefois le Centre Saiyde Bronfman – situé près de l’Université de Montréal, reçoit désormais des spectacles en français.

En effet, depuis 2007, lorsque le Centre a transformé sa galerie d’art en deuxième salle de théâtre, il continue sa programmation anglaise dans la grande salle, alors que le nouvel espace, plus petit celui-là, est désormais ouvert aux troupes de toutes origines. La nouvelle vocation multilingue du Centre Ségal offre des possibilités inouïes pour des troupes et des acteurs, souvent marginalisés par les structures institutionnelles de la scène québécoise.

La metteuse en scène Stacey Christodoulou, directrice artistique et fondatrice de la compagnie montréalaise The Other Theatre (l’Autre théâtre) qui réalise des spectacles en anglais et en français, a déjà monté, entre autres, des œuvres d’Arrabal, de Heiner Muller, de Peter Handke, de R.W. Fassbinder et de Sarah Kane. Elle est aussi à l’origine d’une création collective intitulée Human Collision/Atomic Reaction présentée au Festival de théâtre des Amériques en 1999. Sa feuille de route est solide et ses choix révèlent un désir d’explorer des auteurs parmi les plus importants du répertoire contemporain.

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Blackbird: A Melting Pot of Character Weaknesses and Social Pressures in This Dialogue of the Unspoken.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

 The  development  of the two protagonists (a young woman Una, and a middle aged man Ray)  shifts  directions so often that we are left  with the impression of a play  that has captured the very  essence of human relations: the intertwining of contradictory motives, of multiple influences,  of character weaknesses and social pressures . All these things come together in the melting pot of the human mind, to produce reactions that are unexplainable and certainly unforeseeable.

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Someone for Everyone: too much pathos as playwright G.A.D. Caplan carries us through the intiation of a nice young man trying to find a nice girl.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

 

This play comes to the conclusion that maybe there isn’t "Someone for Everyone", something we discover after a series of sketches that carry us  though the "case" of Steven Greenberg. This nice Jewish boy from  Montreal is desperately trying to find a nice girl who is willing to have sex with him because she  finds him physically attractive, and not because she wants to be "nice’ to him.  But, girls only want to be his friend, and he is fed up, frustrated and even quite desperate. Narrated by his alter ego, who speaks to audience members  as though we were the omniscient house shrink, in pure Woody Allan style, the story of Steven has moments of clever humour, (like the meeting in the confressional with Steven caught between a  Priest and a  Rabbi. or that encounter in the Jewish Dating service, or some of the scenes in first year university where Steven meets Girls! ). Some of the scenes do becomes repetitive, some even drag out the pathos a bit too much .

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Someone for Everyone: fringe-style show not strong enough for the 80 minutes it lasts.

Reviewed by Iris Winston

The quality of the direction and performances make the sad/amusing tale of Steven, apparently doomed to be everyone’s friend and nobody’s dream lover, as effective as possible.

The sharp corners that one of the characters turns are a reflection of the sharpness of the direction and the energy of the presentation. The visuals add a layer of interest to the content.

But. while Someone for Everyone begins well, the material in this fringe-style show is not strong enough for the 80-plus minutes that it lasts. Neither are such crudities as the graphic Portnoy’s Complaint segment warranted.

Ottawa, September 20, 2010

Someone for Everyone

by GATD Caplan 

Friends Not Lovers Productions in association with NightHowl Productions (September 15 to 25) 

Director: Patrick Gauthier 

Lighting design: Jon Alexander 

Video material: Kris Joseph 

Costume design: Jody Haucke 

Production crew: Gwen Davie

Cast: 

StevenGeoff McBride 

Beth et al:Sarah Finn 

Irma et al:Catriona Leger 

Narrator and alter ego:Jordan Hancey 

Reviewed by Iris Winston

ÉCUME d’Anne Marie White: Il faut respirer profondément, en se laissant emporter par la beauté de la scène

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Les cultures des peuples qui vivent près de la mer recèlent des figures mythiques issues des grands récits marins. En fait, dire qu’Homère, La Sagouine et Anne Marie White se côtoient, n’est pas tout à fait farfelu. L’auteure de ce texte qu’elle a aussi mis en scène, est originaire de l’Acadie, lieu où les chanteurs de la mer transforment les récits folkloriques en poésie visuelle et orale. L’Écume se situe à la confluence de plusieurs instabilités : celle du monde liquide qui noie ses secrets, celle des identités changeantes qui occultent des vérités indicibles. L’œuvre devient une sorte de quête « locale » qui se transforme en questionnement poétique de toutes nos certitudes quant à la nature du corps et quant aux rapports humains, minés sans arrêt par l’inattendu, l’incertain, l’inconnu.

Au départ, Écumes est une histoire d’amour entre Morgane, une fille jeune et belle, et Émile, un beau garçon « raisonnable » et sérieux. Les liens entre les jeunes amoureux sont sensuels, physiques, voir magiques. Dès la première rencontre c’était le coup de foudre.

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The List is marred by a staging which lacks insight.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

 

At first there is that bunker-like interior which greets us as we pass behind the set to gain access to our seats. A sandy, earthy coloured space with a narrow opening at the back that looks out on what appears to be a desert stretching out to faraway hills. A  lone tree with green leaves pops into view, The only living thing in sight. Perhaps an image of the woman herself who is caught in this set that reproduces her inner landscape :  a dry drab sterile place where she would rather not be because it is all  slowly devouring her.

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The List – An Immediate Cure for Insomnia at the GCTC

Reviewed by Iris Winston

 

Photo: Toogood Photography with Tracy Ferencz

  1. Seeing The List
  2. Try  not to be annoyed at being forced to enter the auditorium in an odd and    embarrassing way.
  3. Watch single character taking her shoes on and off, miming wall washing, climbing on and off the window seat and speaking in a monotone. Stay awake despite being utterly bored by the one-note production and the weakness of the script.

The year 2008 must have been an arid year for French drama for The List to win a Governor General’s Award. Admittedly, portraying boredom on stage is a risky business. It can all too easily become boring to watch. Certainly, this portrayal of a bored and self-absorbed woman recounting her banal existence qualifies on that account. But surely it does not have to be so completely uninteresting and sleep inducing from beginning to end?

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Past Reviews