Capital Critics' Circle
Le cercle des critiques de la capitale

Reviewing Theatre in Canada's Capital Region
La critique théâtrale de la région Ottawa-Gatineau

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

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region.   ,

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.

(Continue reading » )

Seeds: A play with a Haunting Challenge

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region  

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. (Continue reading » )

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

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre, Théâtre français  

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.

(Continue reading » )

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

Reviewed by on    Theatre in Ottawa and the region   ,

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.

(Continue reading » )

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

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre  

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’.

(Continue reading » )

Earnest goes to Bollywood at Plosive Theatre.

Reviewed by on    Professional Theatre  

Plosive Theatre certainly knows how to get your attention. Ottawa’s newest theatre company has taken to the Gladstone’s stage with a curiously layered rendering of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest set in British colonial India. This may require pausing a moment to review director David Whiteley’s extensive glossary of terms, time better spent enjoying the view of Andrea Robertson’s set, as lit by John Solman, with its collage of dusty colours, hinting that the streets of Calcutta lie somewhere beyond. Pretty as the set is, however, it doesn’t give the actors much room to move about, and the empty space between stage platform and curtain creates a physical and metaphysical gap that not all the performers are adept at negotiating. {Is this a play within a play? Are the bored colonials staging a performance?} The result is that Wilde’s comedy of manners feels a bit cramped, with both Garret Quirk’s Algernon and Stewart Matthews’ Jack forced to elbow it out on a small bench for almost the whole of Act One. They really do seem to be talking to themselves.

(Continue reading » )