Nick Cartell as Jean Valjean in the prologue
It was the opening night in Ottawa of this newest 2017 version of Les Misérables. The original French text of the stage presentation first appeared in 1987 ( Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel). Later adapted for the English language stage by James Fenton , Trevor Nunn and John Caird,) both musical versions have been seen at the NAC. The production is under the general direction of Laurence Connor and James Powell. (Continue reading » )
On Words in Motion: Brodsky / Baryshnikov. Photo: Janis Deinats
In scholarly debates on contemporary theatre, the question about language has primary importance. Critics as well as scholars, interested in diversity on stage, often discuss the advantages and the limitations of using two or more languages, the working of surtitles, and the rules of hospitality when a producing company decides not to translate their productions to the host audience. (Continue reading » )
887 Robert Lepage, Photo Erick Labbé
Robert Lepage’s 887, named after his childhood home address, deals with the unstable, vague nature of personal and collective memory. It’s an autobiographical show, in which he recalls his childhood in Québec City during the turbulent 1960s.
Details about his father and his immediate surroundings, as well as the Quiet Revolution and its consequences, frame his childhood and shape his identity, to an extent that surprises even Lepage. The snippets of story are nestled within the frame of the artist’s struggle to remember the words to “Speak White” By Michèle Lalonde, a poem dealing with the cultural and linguistic imperialism of the English-speaking world. (Continue reading » )
887 Robert Lepage, Photo. Erick Labbé
887 Playwright, Designer & Director Robert Lepage
Like pinpoints of light scattered across the map of shows I have attended over thirty years, a Robert Lepage production always stands out as something special. His reach into the subject matter of any endeavor he conceives, develops, and then as much as embodies as performs, triggers all the receptors in the theatrical brain. (Continue reading » )
Photo Manuel Harlan
The story by Theodor Seuss Geisl (Dr. Seuss) that has made its way through various forms of animated cartoon films, is now playing at the Royal Alex in Toronto, after an opening performance in October 2017 in London.
Yes indeed!! We have all been watching the National Theatre Live bringing performances at the Old Vic and the New Vic, into Canada via satellite. This time, the David Mirvish production of The Lorax brings a whole British cast and creative team from the Old Vic into one of its own theatres in Toronto for a perfectly executed and utterly polished performance of the Lorax live without the camera! The experience is so completely exciting it had the little ones and the older ones glued to their seats for almost two hours and 15 minutes including the intermission. (Continue reading » )
Photo Rachael McQuaig
First of all do not read Pushkin’s work before seeing this. Although the show is apparently set in Russia, it includes the main characters in the novel, it moves from Saint Petersburg to Moscow and back and there are references to Byron which one finds in Pushkin’s text. However, a knowledge of this early 19th century romantic novel which has become one of the great works of Russian literature will only confuse you. Just arrive at the NAC with no great expectations, think of what we are told that this is not an opera, relax, forget the ballet, and you will probably enjoy this very much because it is clearly geared for a 21st century sensibility where existing operatic, theatrical , pop music and musical theatre conventions have all been thrown to the wind. (Continue reading » )
Tartuffe :Tom Rooney, Orgon: Graham Abbey
Photo: Lynda Churilla
STRATFORD, Ont. — Let’s get down to the basics. The Stratford Festival’s new production of Moliere’s Tartuffe has company mainstay Graham Abbey delivering one of the best comic performances in this venerable theatre’s history. And no, he’s not playing the title character — he’s not the oily religious hypocrite and con-artist who ingratiates himself into a wealthy Parisian household and causes mayhem.
On the contrary, Abbey has the role of Orgon, the gullible head of the household and a man bewitched by Tartuffe’s bogus odour of sanctity. (Continue reading » )
Photo: Cylla Von Tiedemann
STRATFORD, Ontario — Our first encounter with the mythic polar bear dominating the Stratford Festival’s stunning production of The Breathing Hole comes at the very beginning when a widowed Inuit woman takes an orphaned one-eared cub into her care.
Our last sighting of of Angu’juaq — for that is the name bestowed on this creature — comes 500 years later, and the moment is heartbreaking.
By the end of the evening, we’re aware that Colleen Murphy’s remarkable play is making an ecological statement. But unlike The Madwoman Of Chaillot, another late-season Stratford offering with the environment on its mind, it radiates genuine heart when it comes to environmental matters. The self-congratulatory aren’t-we-being-clever flavour of Jean Giradoux’s satirical fantasy has no place in the sensibility of The Breathing Hole. It is an intensely human play tinged at the end with a melancholy that is palpable.
(Continue reading » )
Seana McKenna as the Madwoman. Photo by Cylla Von Tiedemann
STRATFORD, Ont. — The stage of the Tom Patterson Theatre has become a fantasy place — of colourful jugglers, exultant wordplay and somersaulting paradoxes, of imaginary dogs, lifeguards who can’t swim, cops with a weakness for cribbage — and a madwoman who isn’t mad.
Seana McKenna, who has the title role in the Stratford Festival’s new production of The Madwoman of Chaillot, gives us a character who confidently exists in her own reality — or is it her own unreality?
The flamboyant costumes designed for her by Teresa Przbylski certainly reflect a certain dotty elegance, but it is ultimately McKenna herself who really brings this quality into topsy-turvy focus with her performance as Aurelie, the Madwoman of Chaillot.
(Continue reading » )