Bent Phillip Merriman in the foreground.
Photo Peter Whittaker
There are moments in TotoToo’s production of Bent that are as good as anything that this enterprising company has ever done.
Indeed, the excellent performances of Phillip Merriman and Mike Rogoff as two doomed young lovers provide a compelling reason for theatregoers to seek out this sometimes problematic revival of Martin Sherman’s 1979 play about Nazi persecution of homosexuals. (Continue reading » )
Herbie Barnes, Katie Ryerson,
The spark for Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion, says playwright Drew Hayden Taylor, was “the Aboriginal equivalent of an urban legend.”
So, with his experience as a standup comic, as well as accolades as a playwright, at the fore, he delivers a road-trip comedy about an attempt to retrieve a medicine bundle now exhibited in a British museum. The method will be arranging an exchange with the bones of Canada’s first Prime Minister — to be dug up from Sir John A’s final resting place in Kingston. (Continue reading » )
Martin Sherman’s Bent is a story that examines the persecution gay people in Nazi Germany. It is also a story of the importance of love and how it can continue to endure in the most horrific and challenging of circumstances. It is an acclaimed piece since it’s premiere in London in 1979 and has continued to be recognized for its powerful sensitive understanding of the evil of fascism and the strength of the human spirit in subsequent incarnations. It is a brave choice for any theatre to tackle and explains why ToTo Too is recognized as one of the finest community theatre companies in Ottawa. Bent is not an easy play to watch much of the time, but it is an important play that will always be relevant to people, unfortunately made more timely because of the resurgence of hate groups attacking Muslims, Jews, the LGBTQ community and anybody that is perceived as different. (Continue reading » )
Now in its fifth year, Fresh Meat Festival is all about letting artists do what ever the thing is that they want to do. As evidenced by this set of five shows on Thursday, October 12, what artists in Ottawa want to do adds up to a heady mix of theatrical innovation and talent.
La disparition : Opening the evening with La disparation (She’s gone) created & performed by Marc-André Charette and Anie Richer, en Français with English surtitles, the packed Arts Court studio was treated to a poetic meditation on a mother gone, or swiftly fading. Unsentimental, as they wield their spare, poetic text with keen precision, Anie and Marc-André tell us, “It’s with my mother I spent the most hours of truth.” Here we have a loving family suddenly conscious of a mother’s “budding fragility”. The stage is bare but the picture that emerges of the woman they are losing is beautifully vivid. She’s Gone is a well paced and tightly choreographed presentation that is both homage to love, and to the theatre as a medium in which the audience is pulled into the all consuming embrace of a shared experience. In both the writing and performances, She’s Gone is magical.
(Continue reading » )
Bent photo Maria Vartanova
Bent by Martin Sherman, directed by Josh Kemp. a TotoToo Theatre Production
Arbeit macht frei (Work sets you free.)
The horrible irony of the slogan above the gates of Dachau and other concentration camps in Nazi Germany where millions died deepens with the demonstration of the futility of the type of forced labour imposed on the two prisoners at the centre of Martin Sherman’s 1979 award-winning drama Bent.
For 12 hours each day, they must move rocks from one pile to another and then move them back again, all the time under threat of death from an armed guard. It is clear that the most likely escape from the mind-numbing and pointless repetition is death. But, along the way, Sherman aims to show that the human spirit and love survive in the face of cruelty and subjugation. (Continue reading » )
OTTAWA, October 10, 2017 – The Capital Critics Circle today announced the nominees for the nineteenth annual English-language theatre awards for plays presented in the National Capital Region during the 2016-2017 season.
The nominees are:
Best professional production:
Candida by George Bernard Shaw, directed by Laurel Smith, Classic Theatre Festival
Children of God written, composed and directed by Corey Payette, an Urban Ink (Vancouver) production in collaboration with NAC English Theatre, in association with Raven Theatre (Vancouver)
Kill Me Now by Brad Fraser, directed by Sarah Garton Stanley, a Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (Winnipeg) production in collaboration with NAC English Theatre
The Last Wife by Kate Hennig, directed by Esther Jun, a GCTC/Belfry (Victoria) co-production
Outside Mullingar by John Patrick Shanley, directed by Dave Dawson, Black Sheep Theatre
Vigilante written, composed and directed by Jonathan Christenson, Catalyst Theatre (Edmonton) in association with the NAC.
(Continue reading » )
photo Andrew Alexander
The first play in the studio series this year at NAC is Sir John A: Acts of a Gentrified Ojibway Rebellion. It is also the first commissioned work for Artistic director Jillian Keiley. The play is about an indigenous man’s quest to retrieve his grandfather’s medicine bundle. When all conventional efforts fail he has to resort to a bold act of resistance: Steal the bones of John A MacDonald and trade them straight up for the medicine bundle. I was intrigued by the idea of making a comedic social satire out of such a story. (Continue reading » )
“>You’re told you can’t do this. I’ve tried to go: yes we can’