September, 2012

The Tempest Replica: If Only the Second Half Had Lived Up To Its Opening Promise

Reviewed by Iris Winston

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The opening sequence of Crystal Pite’s latest work is a stunning multi-media tempest and shipwreck.

It immediately makes one forget the silly Brechtian opening of Prospero, clad in black-street clothes, sitting on the edge of the stage making paper boats, while audience members take their seats.

The Canadian premiere of Pite’s The Tempest Replica (first performed in Frankfurt, Germany, in October 2011) continues with white-bandaged, faceless dancers presenting Shakespeare’s storyline, with projections of scene numbers interjected.

Manipulated by Prospero, their early movements are puppet-like, bringing to mind similar movements by a faceless character in the television advertisements for an arthritis medication.

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Déluge: une poésie verbale et visuelle qui possède le spectateur

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

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Anne-Marie White est un talent dramaturgique très spécial dans le paysage franco-ontarien! Son œuvre Écume (voir le compte rendu ici) nous a déjà révélé la particularité de son écriture, à la fois dramatique, poétique et surtout prête à rompre les contraintes habituelles d’un texte destiné à la scène.

Ce quasi-monologue, interrompu de temps à autre, par les voix qui viennent du voisinage ou par des figures fantasmatiques de la famille, nous fait entendre la réaction d’une femme, appelée Solange, plongée dans un trauma profond, provoqué par la mort d’un enfant. Les obsessions proférées par une voix qui est à peine la sienne, mais qui semble émerger des profondeurs d’une psyché blessée, prennent possession de ce corps de femme « ordure », « déchet » « pourriture », un corps réduit à

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The Tempest Replica : An Extraordinarily Original Intermedial Performance That Engages The Spectator From The First Moment

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Kidd Pivot Frankfurt Rhein Main "New Work"

Photo: Jurg Bauman

It begins almost as a game, as a man, who looks as though he just stepped out of the audience, pushes little paper boats downstage along a strip of blue. A young woman moves into his sight, there are some words exchanged, there are also words projected on the screen. Suddenly, in a highly dramatic gesture and a loud rough voice, the Magician comes to life and orders his young slave, (a fragile but powerful Ariel) to cause a shipwreck. Then all hell breaks loose!

Violent lighting effects, intensely evocative sound effects, human-like figures being tossed about in what looks like wind, rain, huge waves and the most terrible lashing out of natural elements. The storm becomes the psychic shock that will send us hurtling into the world of Crystal Pite and her creative team, and never let us go. From the very first moments, we see that this is going to be a visually exciting event where dance, images, sound, music, film, corporeal forms and costumes, intersect in the most unexpected way to create an intermedial artistic event that is extraordinarily original and highly charged with creative and physical energy.

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Snapshot By Gruppo Rubato: This Tenth Anniversary Production Takes the Company On A New Path.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

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Peter Froehlich and Kate Smith in Snapshot. Photo: Andrew Alexander

To celebrate its 10th anniversary, Gruppo Rubato has chosen a play that tells us the company is moving into much more sophisticated territory.

Sitting on two sides of the small upstairs space in the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre, the audience focusses on the lone figure of Dalton. As played by Peter Froehlich, his reaction is intense, unsentimental, but entirely engulfed in his enormous grief that almost paralyses him. Dalton is talking to his wife who has just died, he seems to be calling her up, saying they will soon be together again. The ultimate gesture is already very clear in the opening monologue as Froehlich slowly picks up the brown case where Dalton has stored his revolver. He sits down and puts the gun to his head! Suddenly his grand-daughter Charlie (Teddy Ivanova) arrives. But does she really?

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Private Lives: Marital storms and reruns at Kanata.

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Very overrated, honeymoons — especially if you run into your ex-spouse on the adjoining balcony of the honeymoon hotel. Even more so when your stormy first marriage ended with an acrimonious divorce and the intensity of emotion is still simmering.

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Dianna Renee Yorke carries Hay Fever to its theatrical heights.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

exhbiit11  View of the exhibition of OLT history in the  Foyer of the Little Theatre.

In this 100th anniversary year of the OLT, and the oldest community theatre in Canada, the Canadian premiere of Hay Fever is clearly the perfect choice to start the season.  Performed by “home grown” Canadian Actors in 1926, one year after it premiered on the London stage (so the programme tells us),  it took place in the theatre of the Victoria Memorial Museum on Argyle St. (Now the Museum of Nature) and of course it was mounted by the Ottawa Drama League, which later became the Ottawa Little Theatre. Hay Fever is linked to more  Ottawa Little Theatre history because it was restaged in 1970, as part of the fundraiser for the new building (after fire  destroyed the original site of the OLT) and that performance featured the gracious and most talented Florence Fancott (who always reminded me of the French actress Delphine Seyrig). David Bliss was played by Roy Hayden-Hinsley, the eternally handsome leading man in OLT productions of that period who always left the teenagers, myself included, sitting awe struck in the green room during rehearsals. The programme notes brought back all that forgotten history  and it was quite a delight.

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Coward’s talent to amuse and Yorke’s stylish embrace of her role provide a very entertaining evening: a good choice for the opening show of OLT’s 100th season.

Reviewed by Iris Winston

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Zoe Tupling  and Penu Chalykoff. Photo: Alan Dean

Being part of the melodramatically inclined Bliss family may be alternately divine or tragic. Being a guest in the Bliss country house is simply a nightmare.

The stark contrast between the Bliss family’s theatricality and the more normal approach to social interaction of the guests is at the heart of Noel Coward’s 1925 comedy of manners/verging on farce.

Coward was inspired to write Hay Fever — it took him just three days in 1924 — after visiting the home of U.S. stage and silent movie queen Laurette Taylor. (The script apparently marked the end of their friendship.)

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Ottawa Little Theatre Makes a Valiant Effort with Hay Fever

Reviewed by Maja Stefanovska

Photo: Alan Dean. Hay1 A play that, in the author’s own words, has “no plot at all and remarkably little action,” Noel Coward’s Hay Fever is notoriously difficult to get right. While the playwright provides a sinfully witty script, the onus is on the actors to give meaning. Every phrase must be accompanied with a movement and a glance that is just so in this comedy of manners about a bohemian, slightly unhinged family who torment their unsuspecting weekend guests. The end result should be a comedy that resides in the half pauses and affected looks to be fund in between the words, rather than strictly the script itself. Tim Ginley’s production for the Ottawa Little Theatre is a valiant effort with some solid performances, but ultimately doesn’t quite live up to the script’s promise.

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Le Tour de l’Ile: Claude Naubert brille dans cet hommage à Felix Leclerc.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Félix-Leclerc

Voilà la musique de « mon pays » explique Claude Naubert alors que la scène s’allume et les interprètes investissent le petit espace du Théâtre de l’ile devant la salle de 119 places plein à craquer. Rendre hommage à Félix Leclerc, la voix exquise de la chanson populaire québécoise, n’est pas une mince affaire et l’équipe de Sylvie Dufour  y a presque réussi.

Bien sûr, il n’était pas question d’imiter le chanteur . Il n’était pas non plus question d’en  faire une grande production bien léchée, bien au-delà des moyens du Théâtre de l’île.  Il s’agissait surtout de cerner l’ambiance intime, parfois poétique ce cette musique qui chante Le petit  bonheur, la vie de tous les jours des petits gens de « chez nous », ceux qui inspiraient  la vie créatrice de Leclerc qui allait des années 1950 jusqu’à la fin des années 1970.

La soirée s’est divisée en deux mouvements, dont chacun avait une orientation très différente.

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The Secret Mask: Powerful Material Given Greater Punch Through This First-Class Production

Reviewed by Iris Winston

 

Rekindling memories and relearning language after a stroke are the paths to rebuilding a father/son relationship that has lain dormant for four decades. Ernie stepped out of his son’s life when his marriage failed, as his father did and as it now seems his son, George, is about to step out of his son’s life.

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Past Reviews