Photo Ian Whalen
Semperoper Dresden Ballet company
The renowned Semperoper Dresden Ballet under the artistic direction of Canadian Aaron S. Watkin, has just whirled through Ottawa this past weekend with their moving romantic performance of Swan Lake, one of the world’s most famous narrative ballets.
Set to the music of Tchaikovsky, performed by the orchestra of the NAC under the direction of Mikhail Agrest, the tragic story inspired by Russian folk tales concerns the handsome prince Siegfried who falls in love with Odette, the young woman bewitched by an evil magician who can only retain her human form for a brief time every day but who can be released from the spell if she has the true love of a human. (Continue reading » )
The Rite of Spring, Wuppertal Tanztheater at the NAC
Photo Alexandra Campeau
The ghost of Pina Bausch was no doubt fluttering with excitement around the NAC last night as the contemporary formation of her company brought us all back to the very origins of the idea of Tanzteater , dance that incorporates words, foregrounds a heightened form of theatricality and much much more. All that came through very strongly last night in the Opera of the NAC before a packed house, waiting religiously to see the company from Wuppertal perform works that most people have not seen before in Ottawa. (Continue reading » )
Yerma at the Young Vic
photo Johan Persson
Yerma in London, as the subtitle states, is a contemporary adaptation of Federico García Lorca’s Yerma, a work by one of the great 20th Century Spanish playwrights. It was written in 1934, two years before the tragic assassination of the writer by Franco’s forces. Director Simon Stone’s reworking of the play sets it in an Expressionist design environment where the young couple, (she and John as they are mentioned in the cast) are enclosed in a glass case that creates a mirror effect for the audience. (Continue reading » )
Photo Rachael McQuaig
First of all do not read Pushkin’s work before seeing this. Although the show is apparently set in Russia, it includes the main characters in the novel, it moves from Saint Petersburg to Moscow and back and there are references to Byron which one finds in Pushkin’s text. However, a knowledge of this early 19th century romantic novel which has become one of the great works of Russian literature will only confuse you. Just arrive at the NAC with no great expectations, think of what we are told that this is not an opera, relax, forget the ballet, and you will probably enjoy this very much because it is clearly geared for a 21st century sensibility where existing operatic, theatrical , pop music and musical theatre conventions have all been thrown to the wind. (Continue reading » )
Les Beignes: toute la compagnie
Théâtre populaire d’Acadie
Le festival Zones théâtrales, évènement biennal qui met en vedette les spectacles issus des communautés francophones des régions, est de nouveau parmi nous. Désormais sous la direction artistique de Gilles Poulin-Denis, le festival comporte sept spectacles, six lectures publiques ainsi que des Zones « chantiers » soit des laboratoires de recherche où le public est invité à assister aux répétitions et à découvrir les technologies les plus récentes intégrées à la création scénique. (Continue reading » )
Nicholas Dave Amott in Awoken
Photo: Lorraine Payette
Awoken created and performed by Nicholas Dave Amott
A monologue which becomes a sleepless delirium, bringing together sounds of familiar voices, a nightmarish confusion between illusion and reality, and a clear sense of a character performing himself in front of an audience, opened last night at the Gladstone Theatre for a 5 day run.
This very talented young man with a beautiful voice, enormous stage presence and an excellent sense of theatre, plays out his delusional world of the insomniac as it shifts back and forth from his contacts with the doctor, his conversations with his mother, his need to express himself through music, and his flights of confused fantasy into the world of popular culture where batman, ironman and many more appear and disappear. He is suffering from an incurable form of sleeplessness and there is nothing anyone can do for him. He uses points of light created by lamps not only to transform his face into multiple theatrical masks but also to bring the audience into his semi-hypnotical state of dizziness and exhaustion as he winds down to the inevitable ending. (Continue reading » )
Photo: by Venetia Lawless. Zoe Georgaras
An evening that begins in Geoff Gruson’s cozy sitting room design with enormous wooden bookcases, a warm fireplace, posters and paintings coming to life under David Magladry’s soft lighting that heats up the room in its friendly glow. A writer’s paradise. Three friends, David, (Michael Thompson), Sam (Tahera Mufti) and Robert (Chris Torti) are gathered in Roberts sitting room discussing the life and death of Paul, a successful writer friend, author of horror fiction who recently passed away. Robert also laments the death of his own wife Tara Waters, a talented writer whose memorabilia is spread out over the walls and around the house and whom, according to Robert, is not really dead! What kind of presence does he sense in the room?
(Continue reading » )
Beneath. Charlie Ebbs
This world premiere of a one act play by Doug Phillips is a work of futuristic hyper-naturalism that grabs us by the jugular because it seems perfectly logical and almost too plausible.
The remnants of a poor family sit around the table discussing family matters that almost seem banal. In the first few minutes, Phillips sets out his clues. The family is steeped in misery, water is lacking and there are fires in the area which has become a sort of agricultural waste – land managed by sharecroppers. Something weird is happening in the barn behind the house, as the scraping sounds ignite our curiosity. Then, there is some terrible secret hanging over them all. We meet the family members at that point and it doesn’t take us long to see that sister Ellen is suffering the loss of a loved one, that young Kelsie is waiting for her new date, that Charlie her father is also Ellen’s brother and he is the tortured head of this “natural” family. The atmosphere suggests Eugene O’Neil’s grungy realism especially since the characters could possibly be the actors themselves and we wonder where this is going. (Continue reading » )
Photo: Stephen Wild. Taran Kootenhayoo and Joelle Peters.
Drew Hayden Taylor is a prolific playwright, also well known for his stand-up comic routines which bring out his corrosive and provocative humor as well as ideas that stimulate much thought. Published in 1998 and winner of the 1996 Dora Mavor Moore Small Theatre award for Outstanding New Play, Only Drunks and Children tell the truth was first produced in Toronto (1996) by Native Earth Performing Arts. This new production in Gananoque gives us a chance to see the work of an author who has not yet had enough exposure on the mainstream theatre circuit in spite of his many plays that have already been published. (Continue reading » )
Sasha Dominique (le Docteur), Sylvain Sabatié (le Barbouillé). Photos: © Martin Cadieux
Sylvain Sabatié et toute son équipe de professionnels bien connus dans la région nous plongent dans un des moments les plus marquants de l’histoire théâtrale française : la rencontre entre Molière et les comédiens italiens avant même que Scaramouche et la commedia dell’ arte trouvent leur place à la cour de France. Les Italiens avaient déjà laissé des traces importantes sur le jeu de Molière en Europe, lorsqu’ils jouaient sur la place publique. Ce modèle du jeu grotesque et vulgaire, l’essence même du théâtre populaire, du théâtre de la foire et tout ce qu’il y avait de plus divertissant et attirant des spectacles de la rue (Continue reading » )