Ottawa Fringe 2016

How iRan: A thoughtful and intriguing production

Reviewed by Patrick Langston

Disruption and reconstruction: That’s the experience of regular immigrants and refugees alike as their lives are first scrambled and then rebuilt in a new land. It’s also to some extent what those in the host country experience as the existence they’ve always known is challenged by people with different perspectives, beliefs and languages.

Now disruption and reconstruction come to the Ottawa Public Library’s main branch thanks to How iRan, a site-specific iPod play – well, actually three plays – by Calgary-based playwright Ken Cameron. The Ottawa Fringe Festival is presenting the production.

Based on interviews with new Canadians and a prisoner of conscience, Cameron’s text is about an Iranian man named Ramin who leaves behind his wife and son when he comes to Canada. Once here, he lands a job as a security guard in a library where he meets the librarian Emily. Complications, some serious and some humorous, ensue including the eventual arrival of his son Hossein and Ramin’s wife.

Cameron, who also directs, has made an audio recording of the narrative, which is played out in 25 scenes. He’s put the play on three differently coloured iPods, each containing about one-third of the entire piece. Audience members get an iPod with the narrative order shuffled and then, prompted by the recording, go to different stations in the library to listen to scenes in a random order. In effect, each audience member hears a customized play. (more…)

The Actor<s Nightmare: Entertaining with moments of brilliance.

Reviewed by Rajka Stefanovska

When a nightmare or the greatest fear actors can face strikes, what one can do? Improvise; find a band-aide solution or, go with the flow no matter what. After all, show must go on!

So, when a principal character on a performance night of a great show phones in with the broken leg, desperate crew replaces him with an understudy George. Only, it is not George on the stage, but an accountant who has little connection with theatre, even less with acting. As it happens, everybody is full of their own problems, so that nobody listens to the poor accountant, and as a result, he has to go on the stage and to take a part in four well-known plays: Noel Coward’s Private Lives, Hamlet, of Beckett’s Happy Days, and Bolt’s Man for All Seasons.

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Fringe Festival 2016: Fugee a timely play with some excellent performances.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Fugee : Directed by James Richardson, written by Abi Morgan. A production of the Third Wall Academy

Third Wall Academy has made enormous strides in its theatre training this year, especially related to its actor training, with its production of this moving, and very timely play by Abi Morgan. It brings us into the world of child refugees from around the world, while emphasizing the horrors of Child Soldiers that have been discussed in much African literature recently, including the award winning novel by writer Ahmadou Kourouma (Allah Is Not Obliged 2007) from the Côte D’ivoire, also the country of origin of 14 year-old Kojo, the young French-speaking character at the centre of this performance. Kojo is submerged in the unfathomable noises of an English speaking refugee centre, as a narrative filled with flashbacks, confused memories of his family, gives us the background of this youth who is the focus of this play.

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Past Reviews