Professional Theatre

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead : the National Theatre Live at the Old Vic

News from Capital Critics Circle

ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD – National Theatre Live from The Old Vic
April 20, 2017 (Live), and May 27, 2017, Coming to Cineplex theatres in Ottawa!
Directed by David Leveaux; Starring Daniel Radcliffe, Joshua McGuire, David Haig

Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter, Equus), Joshua McGuire (The Hour) and David Haig (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The Witness for the Prosecution) star in Tom Stoppard’s brilliantly funny situation comedy, broadcast live from The Old Vic theatre in London. David Leveaux’s new production marks the 50th anniversary of the play that made a young Tom Stoppard famous overnight.

Set against the backdrop of Hamlet, two hapless minor characters, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, take centre stage. As the young double act stumble their way in and out of the action of Shakespeare’s iconic drama, they become increasingly out of their depth as their version of the story unfolds.

Derek Walcott, a Mighty Poet, Has Died- by Hilton Als (The New Yorker)

News from Capital Critics Circle

Derek Walcott, a Mighty Poet, Has Died
By Hilton Als March 17, 2017

Walcott’s poems explored, among other themes, the sea, memory, and the joys and terrors of physical love.
Derek Walcott was a complicated person and a great poet, and often those things are not divisible. The time I spent with him and his beautiful German-born partner, Sigrid Nama, in Derek’s native St. Lucia changed my life in ways that extended past the New Yorker Profile I wrote in 2004. I felt as though I had always known him—not known him, exactly, but seen him, been in his aura, his history, because, like my father, Derek was the product of a profound world, a distinctly Caribbean world with its history of colonialism and its imperceptible change, and home to so much more, including mothers who spared no amount of love to make you understand that you were their bright boy. Derek’s mother, Alix Maarlin, a schoolteacher, helped him publish his first poems, and it was the light of that first love that Derek always stood under; it made him shy about intimacy, while closeness was something he always sought. The first Mrs. Walcott believed in him with a pride that eclipsed the great honor of his 1992 Nobel Prize for Literature because she was the first to say, if only in her mind: “Why not be Shakespeare?” Anything was possible, and where you were from was just part of the story. (more…)

Lawrence Aronovitch’s Finishing the Suit an insightful portrayal of grief and mourning

Reviewed by Kat Fournier

Photo: Andrew Alexander

This is a true heartbreaker. In Bear and Co’s latest offering at the Gladstone Theatre, Ottawa-based playwright Lawrence Aronovitch pens a script that delves into the grief of lost love. This world premiere is largely set in a tailor’s shop in 1070s New York, where being a publicly gay man is criminal. A young, nameless tailor works on a bespoke suit for a funeral. In the midst of his work, his mind wanders to his life’s greatest loves – the Duke of Windsor and a fiery Irish actor – who are now both dead, and suddenly conjures their ghosts onto the stage. (more…)

Precious Little: A Play with a Lot to Say

Reviewed by Jane Baldwin

Photo: A.R. Sinclair

The theme that holds together Madeleine George’s somewhat disparate plot in Precious Little is language. Brodie the protagonist, a linguist beautifully played by Lee Mikeska, has devoted her life to finding and preserving disappearing languages. When the play opens she is forty-two and realizes that in the process of building her academic career has let the personal side of her life slip. An unmarried lesbian who is feeling middle age encroaching, she made the decision to be artificially inseminated. Because of her age she undergoes amniocentesis to determine if all is right with her pregnancy. The results point toward retardation but are inconclusive. Part of the play revolves around Brodie reaching the decision to keep the baby, although she does not discuss abortion. (more…)

The Gladstone unveils a fine new play with Finishing The Suit

Reviewed by Jamie Portman

Photo: Andrew Alexander

Lawrence Aronovitch’s new play, Finishing The Suit, comes to us simply, without pretension. But this tender drama about a lonely gay tailor coming to terms with a crushing personal loss deserves attention from anyone who cares about good theatre.

This Bear @ Co. Production is at the Gladstone until March 11, and it may be recommended not only for a beautifully written 70-minute script, a piece both psychologically and culturally observant, but also for a trio of strong performances from Matt Pilipiak, Isaac Giles and David Whiteley. (more…)

Infinity: outstanding production of a problematic play

Reviewed by Jamie Portman

Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann

In terms of production quality, Infinity is probably as good as anything we’ve seen on an NAC stage in a while.

There’s Ross Manson’s excellent direction — responsive to the dramatic demands of Hannah Moscovitch’s script, adroitly managing its fluctuating rhythms and moods, seeking to give it substance and fluidity despite the authorial ambushes lying along the way.

In this, Manson is beautifully complemented by designer Teresa Przybylski’s deceptively simple cycloramic setting, which at times seems to be dissolving into destinations unknown. And she is supported here by lighting designer Rebecca Picherack who is making her own valuable contribution to a world of shifting shades and textures. (more…)

Finishing the Suit: Bear & Co. delivers a sensitive and clear production

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Photo: Andrew Alexander

Finishing the Suit

By Lawrence Aronovitch

Bear & Co.

Directed by Joël Beddows

Coming to terms with the past is the only way to prepare for the future. Even then, putting grief to rest is incredibly difficult.

This is the theme of Lawrence Aronovitch’s fine play, Finishing the Suit, currently having its premiere production from Bear & Co. at the Gladstone.

The title is partly drawn from the reality of completing a morning coat (also referred to as a mourning coat in the context of the script). It is also a metaphor for sewing up the past through memory and conversation.

Directed with sensitivity and clarity by Joël Beddows, the three-person cast tells of the two people that have had the greatest impact on the tailor (Matt Pilipiak), The two, David (David Whiteley) —who is to wear the morning coat in death—and Jimmy (Isaac Giles) are both dead, but remain alive in the tailor’s heart and remembrance, almost to the exclusion of his daily existence. (more…)

Infinity: Ideas more interesting than unsatisfying whole

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann

Infinity

By Hannah Moscovitch

A Volcano (Toronto) production at the National Arts Centre

Director: Ross Manson

Clever rather than entertaining, playwright Hannah Moscovitch’s 2013 drama Infinity intertwines alternative theories of time with the affinity between mathematics and music overlaying the drama of a dysfunctional family.

At the centre of the storm of ideas and her inability to preserve relationships is Sarah Jean — at times an eight-year-old having a tantrum (three-year-old style); at other times, a serious graduate student in mathematics; but mostly, a confused and unhappy young woman trying to make sense of her life through unsatisfying sexual encounters and crude words and imagery. (more…)

Les Passants is an imaginative, deep, intelligent, disturbing, and beautifully performed

Reviewed by Rajka Stefanovska

 

Photo: Sylvain Sabatie

In his play “Les Passants,” Luc Moquen is, to put it simply, presenting us to us. This play has no classic storyline – there is no beginning or end, nothing develops and nothing happens in succession. It has no real solution – only a hint that maybe love, a simple hug can help us – but nobody seems to see it. The play implies many things, and one of them is the fact that we do not want to listen to reason or to nature. “Les Passants’ is a series of vignettes from average people’s lives. The author observes them, captures their thoughts, misadventures, anxiety, and confusion. Although these sketches seem to be random when taken out of context, put together they make a powerful testimony by capturing the essence of today’s life, which is filled with crazy rush through a myriad of meaningless tasks causing a detachment from everything and everyone around us. The leitmotif of the play is death – not so much physical, but a death inside us, caused by total alienation. Dante’s Inferno, killings on the streets, or killing the human inside of us – all these deaths have the same root – displaced values as the result of a disconnect from our true, natural existence. (more…)

Les Passants: Co-production suggests we are all together in modern, alienated world

Reviewed by Patrick Langston

Photo: Sylvain Sabatie

If everyone feels like an outsider, then is anyone actually an outsider? Les Passants – an engagingly adventurous, vignette-based co-production by GCTC and le Théâtre la Catapulte – doesn’t address that question directly, but in presenting its cavalcade of funny, poignant and vulnerable characters, people whose inner lives are constantly at odds with the outer world, it certainly suggests we are all together in this messy, often unhappy business of modern-day alienation.

Wobbly at the outset, the production soon enough gains traction as playwright Luc Moquin’s script unrolls in French with English surtitles. Four actors – Mélanie Beauchamp, Benjamin Gaillard, Andrée Rainville and Yves Turbide – play multiple characters, with Keith Thomas’s soundscape often becoming a character itself. That soundscape can be intensely disquieting, becoming at times a kind of howling white noise that underscores Moquin’s concern with the clamour of distraction that smothers our ability to think, judge and communicate about anything outside the ephemeral.

Caught up in this universe of fevered inconsequentiality, Moquin’s characters ricochet about, trying to connect with each other, with themselves, with anything that would provide a quiet, safe harbour. They fail to do so, of course, sometimes in exceedingly funny fashion. Such is the case when a couple, having attended some kind of flaky get-in-touch-with-yourself-and-each-other session, performs an interpretative dance meant to express the emotions they’ve long kept tamped down. It’s an absurd exercise in self-absorption, a cure that’s worse than the illness, but also the kind of lazy solution to a deep existential calamity that’s so appealing precisely because it entails little real effort or risk. (more…)

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