Posted on Artsfile.ca on November 3
The key to life in the big city? Ignore the big and celebrate the everyday.
It sounds trite, but Ordinary Days – Adam Gwon’s thoughtfully empathetic chamber musical about four young people adrift in New York City – is just the opposite of pedestrian, as the Great Canadian Theatre Company’s winning production of his show proves.
Directed by Eric Coates, the sung-through piece tracks the lives of two women and two men as they grapple with loneliness in the city and struggle for everything from artistic recognition to freedom from a past that warps the present. (Continue reading » )
It doubtless started out as a viable, if overstuffed, idea.
Write a comedy about the erosion of Chinese culture and tradition when it’s transplanted to contemporary America. Illustrate the resonant theme of cultural identity by making the two main characters the likeable Larry Yee, a 60-year-old father who honours tradition, and Lauren Yee, his thoroughly westernized, Ivy League school-educated daughter who makes her living as a playwright.
Weave in a loving-but-fraught relationship between father and daughter and a search for personal identity. Set the whole thing in Chinatown, say it’s a true story, and call it King of the Yees. (Continue reading » )
Poster: fresh meat theatre festival
Now in its sixth year, Ottawa’s Fresh Meat festival brings 12 short shows over two weekends to invariably enthusiastic Arts Court audiences. The following were reviewed during the first weekend.
Le Crip Bleu
Featuring brave, generous and very funny performances by Alan Shain and Frank Hull – both wheelchair-using actors who celebrate the “able” in disabled – Le Crip Bleu is a wordless burlesque show that reminds us that humour and the glory of the human body in all its guises matter far more than shallow, contemporary conventions of beauty. The two perform a mating dance using their chairs, taunt and tease the audience with stripteases (the show does count on hooting, cooperative viewers), and generally carry on in cheeky, envelope-pushing fashion. One suspects the show could touch the heart of even a die-hard Republican.
Marc-André Charette and Anie Richer blend words, movement and song with deep love and compassion in this textured tale of a mother sliding into fragility. Performed with English surtitles on a bare stage with hundreds of sheets of paper as props, La disparition (She’s Gone) is authentic, satisfyingly choreographed and – whether you’ve ever watched your mother slip away into the unknowable world of dementia or not – both powerfully resonant and oddly hopeful. (Continue reading » )