Reviewer: Laurie Fyffe

Laurie Fyffe
Laurie Fyffe obtained her M.A. in Theatre studies at the University of Ottawa. She is a playwright and currently lives in Ottawa.

Needles and Opium: The Paradox of Promise and Pain at the CanStage Bluma Appel Theatre in Toronto.

Reviewed by Laurie Fyffe

Reviewed  from Toronto in December, 2013

Categories: Professional Theatre, Théâtre français

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Lepage’s Needles and Opium begins with a paradox, that of acupuncture points that when activated by needles relieve pain, but were discovered in the search for maximum effect during torture. However, the more exquisite paradox of Needles and Opium is present in the dislocation of the human heart as it searches for relief from the suffering of love denied, suspended in the space between longing for the object of one’s desire and the knowledge that such love is now forever beyond reach. Remembered love holds both promise and pain. Thus begins a journey through space and time of the tortured soul buffeted by the physical and emotional gravitational forces of memory and longing.

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Ottawa Fringe 2014. Women Who Shout at the Stars.

Reviewed by Laurie Fyffe

Women Who Shout at the Stars written and performed by Carolyn Heatherington, directed by Kathryn Mackay, dramaturgy by Judith Thompson.

Heatherington’s reminiscences are a not to be missed emersion in the distance past of the 1930s.  The characters of her mother Gwen and childhood nannie Edie float across a landscape ravaged by war and lost loves in which the lovely and vulnerable Heatherington was as often her mother’s savior as her child.  Sensitively written by Heatherington, the play allows a daughter to speak for her mother, and make peace with her, while never becoming sentimental. Shaped by bold choices these are women who courageously embrace the consequences of those choices. Heatherington’s performance is by turns gentle, then swift and sharp, but always imbued with humour, and the portraits are unforgettable.  – Snapshot on the Fringe by Laurie Fyffe

Plays at the Leonard Beaulne Studio.

 

    Ottawa Fring 2014 : A Mind Full of Dopamine

    Reviewed by Laurie Fyffe

    A Shapshot on the Fringe:

    A Mind Full of Dopamine written & performed by Rory Ledbetter

    An energized, speedy and focused performer, Ledbetter knows a thing or two about how to win at cards. But the key to this mile-a-minute tour of the poker table is that he also knows about losing, and the monkey mind set that compels the desperate to pile up their chips and swim with sharks. When debt meets desperation, Ledbetter is a consummate performer, driving for his life with the devil in his rear view mirror. What he makes visible in this descent of man into hellish habit is the terrible thrill of fighting for your life as you crash headlong into a disaster that just keeps giving. You can almost see the piles of poker chips amid the smoke and taste the double lattes. We want Rory to stop, but somehow can’t pull ourselves away as we experience the terrifying rush of actually watching a human being plunge into self-inflicted chaos – again and again. What level of will power, luck, or mysterious divine intervention does it take to re-claim your life when you’ve given it over to an all-powerful force – that lives inside you. Here’s the deal – place your Fringe chips on Dopamine. – Snapshot on the Fringe by Laurie Fyffe<=

    Plays at Arts Court Library

    Ottawa Fringe 2014: A Universal Guide to Loving Your Shadow:

    Reviewed by Laurie Fyffe

    A snapshot on the fringe !

    A Universal Guide to Loving Your Shadow written & performed by Sylvia Kindl

    When Sylvia Kindl came to Ottawa a strange thing happened, she found herself followed, stalked, and well shadowed by an alter ego, an unexpected interloper who was a lot more aggressive and – imagine the audacity – attractive to young, skinny men than her corporeal self. Teetering between a stand-up comedy routine, sprinkled with highly amusing observations, and a story telling monologue that peels away a curiously dark side of Ottawa, Kindl addresses her audience in an intimate and personable way. But she sometimes loses the thread, and we don’t hear enough from ‘the shadow’. When her shadow launches into a rant, Kindl shuts her down too soon. Sylvia’s shadow is an altered personality complex with something to say and, I suspect, deeper and darker Ottawa secrets to reveal.  A play that will tell you “you’re not alone” if you think Ottawa, in addition to having a lovely canal and a thing about tulips, is sometimes a weird city to live in! 

    PLays in Arts Court Library

    Ottawa Fringe 2014: Oceans Apart- snapshot on the Fringe.

    Reviewed by Laurie Fyffe

    Oceans Apart by Alain G. Chauvin, dramaturgy by Catherine Ballachey, featuring Alain G. Chauvin with Daniel Groleau Landry and Rebecca Laviolette. Haunted by memories of combat, a solider returns home to Canada and the “real world” now made strange. While the text handles the subject with sensitivity, the main character’s determination to conceal his pain creates a distance that sometimes blurs the picture. Still, moments of revelation colour the narrative, such as when the character reveals why he chose to leave his family and make his cross Canada trek, or contrasts the physical landscape of home with that of Afghanistan.

    – Snapshot on the Fringe by Laurie Fyffe

    Seeds: A taught docudrama deals effectively with a most complex topic

    Reviewed by Laurie Fyffe

    Liisa Repo-Martell and Eric Peterson, in Seeds. Photo: Guntar Kravis

    Liisa Repo-Martell and Eric Peterson, in Seeds.
    Photo: Guntar Kravis

    In the world of documentary theatre Seeds may reign supreme as one of the most complex topics ever incubated for the stage. The story is one well suited for the headlines-as-dialogue, taunt teaching moments, and characters-as-points of view form of theatrical presentation docudrama uses to construct its world. The little guy – and they don’t get much smaller than the individual farmer – is suddenly and it would appear unjustly targeted by a multi-national corporation because their genetically modified seeds have capriciously settled on his land producing a crop resistant to the weed blasting properties of Round Up herbicide. That’s the simple plot.

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    Seeds: A play with a Haunting Challenge

    Reviewed by Laurie Fyffe

    Liisa Repo-Martell and Eric Peterson, in Seeds. Photo: Guntar Kravis

    Liisa Repo-Martell and Eric Peterson, in Seeds.
    Photo: Guntar Kravis

    Seeds
    By Annabel Soutar
    A production of Porte Parole Theatre
    Presented at the Frederick Wood Theatre, Vancouver, as part of the PuSh Performing Arts Festival, January 2014.

    Seeds plays at the National Arts Centre, English Theatre from March 6 to April 12, 2014.

    In the world of documentary theatre Seeds may reign supreme as one of the most complex topics ever incubated for the stage. The story is one well suited for the headlines-as-dialogue, taunt teaching moments, and characters-as-points of view form of theatrical presentation docudrama uses to construct its world. The little guy – and they don’t get much smaller than the individual farmer – is suddenly and it would appear unjustly targeted by a multi-national corporation because their genetically modified seeds have capriciously settled on his land producing a crop resistant to the weed blasting properties of Round Up herbicide. That’s the simple plot. (more…)

    Needles and Opium: the paradox of promise and pain at the CanStage Bluma Appel Theatre in Toronto.

    Reviewed by Laurie Fyffe

    needles-400x200

    Lepage’s Needles and Opium begins with a paradox, that of acupuncture points that when activated by needles relieve pain, but were discovered in the search for maximum effect during torture. However, the more exquisite paradox of Needles and Opium is present in the dislocation of the human heart as it searches for relief from the suffering of love denied, suspended in the space between longing for the object of one’s desire and the knowledge that such love is now forever beyond reach. Remembered love holds both promise and pain. Thus begins a journey through space and time of the tortured soul buffeted by the physical and emotional gravitational forces of memory and longing.

    (more…)

    The Public Servant and Skin: two comments on the Undercurrents Festival

    Reviewed by Laurie Fyffe

    The Public Servant

    GCTC’s Undercurrents festival of new works kicked off Tuesday night with a glimpse into what’s simmering under the surface in Ottawa’s theatre community. The news is good. First, every laterally re-situated, hastily bought out, or abruptly terminated servant of the public take note – Ottawa’s recent and ongoing gutting of those who toil in service of the passive Canadian public is now a very personal and highly political play, The Public Servant. Theatre is a subversive art form. No where more so, than when a group of smart, talented and extremely forthright women venture into the fray of tattered emotions and downgraded expectations of policy gone wrong – and make the audience laugh, while leaving the theatre fully cognizant of the joke.

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    The Real World. Tremblay’s Play at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto.

    Reviewed by Laurie Fyffe

    A searing and emotional examination of the power of memory and writing, Michel Tremblay’s The Real World? is set in two separate realities, one the here and now, the other the imagined world written and conjured into existence by Claude (Matthew Edison), the youngest of two siblings.

    Characters crisscross though time, acting out confrontations between Claude, his mother, Madeleine, sister Mariette, and father, Alex, in the present – which may or may not be ‘the real world’ – and a past Claude has embellished in his play, a work of fiction he has – perhaps mistakenly – given his mother to read. Weaving his way through numerous arches, set against the sky blue backdrop of Charlotte Dean’s so real-you-can-smell-dinner, middle class living room, Claude is an occupant of two worlds, the present and his own envisioned past, the world of his play that his mother insists he created in a vain desire to be ‘interesting’.

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