Theatre Schools / University Theatre

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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Les Reines de Normand Chaurette: on retient surtout le merveilleux travail des comédiennes.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

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Un décor gris de désolation  balayé par un vent ronflant qui glace le sang… On entend la tempête qui fait rage, et des lambeaux de tissus, pendus sur un alignement de châssis peints, laissent deviner de fantomatiques créatures, rongées par le désir le plus viscéral du pouvoir. Les six figures féminines font leur apparition et nous projettent aussitôt dans un paysage mental inquiétant. Une création efficace, vu la difficulté du texte, et l’expérience limitée de ces jeunes actrices, inscrites au programme de formation  théâtrale à l’Université d’Ottawa.
Conçu par Normand Chaurette, dramaturge et romancier québécois, (le seul qui ait eu les honneurs de la Comédie-Française), cette pièce, collage d’extraits de Titus Andronicus, Henri VI, Richard II, et surtout Richard III de Shakespeare, regroupe des femmes qui ont joué un rôle important dans l’histoire anglaise, telle que l’a vue William Shakespeare.
L’auteur transforme cette  représentation historique en matière psychique, ce qui change évidemment la vision que l’on a de ces femmes à la scène,  alors qu’ici on ne voit jamais les hommes… Le roi Édouard IV se meurt, et les reines attendent la suite. Ici, elles font le tour de la scène dans une attente quasi-hystérique, déchirent  la syntaxe, et crachent leur rage, leur jalousie et leur désespoir, puisque leur avenir repose, malgré tout, entre les mains des hommes!

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Tough! A solid and enjoyable production

Reviewed by Patrick Langston

When George F. Walker wrote his 1993 play about three 19-year-olds battling a life stacked against them, he imbued it with passion, anger, intelligence and a hedged faith in the future. This Algonquin College Theatre Arts production does all those elements proud.

Set in a garbage-strewn inner city park (design by Attila Clemann), the play focuses on sharp-tongued Tina (Cynthia Guard) and her perpetually befuddled, self-absorbed boyfriend Bobby (Mitchel Johnson). She’s pregnant, he’s the father, and neither one is exactly ecstatic over the situation.

The difference between the two: Tina has the smarts and self-awareness to make the best of a bad deal whereas Bobby – self-pitying but with a sensitivity and a vague desire for a better life that appeal to Tina – falls apart anytime anyone looks at him sideways.

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Marat-Sade: An energetic, well-balanced production of Peter Weiss’ play

Reviewed by Rajka Stefanovska

 

Photo: Marianne Duval

Photo: Marianne Duval

It took about a hundred years for Marquis de Sade (Donatien Alphonse François de Sade) to become a figure of great interest and even greater controversy. His sadistic nature (the expression sadism is derived from his name due to his writings and behaviour) and immoralitym completely unacceptable by any social standards, caused him imprisonment more often than not. He spent his last years of life incarcerated in Charenton asylum (Val-de-Marne, France), where he wrote and directed plays with its inmates as actors.

In the 20th century, artists celebrated him as a founder of free expression in erotic literature; Guillaume Apollinaire even called him “the freest spirit that has yet existed.”

His writings, full of sexual fantasy combined with philosophy of pornography with an emphasis on violence, repel some and fascinate others to this day.

Sade’s life and philosophy inspired many, among them German writer Peter Weiss, who wrote the play The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade (shortened version “Marat-Sade” ) in 1963. The plot is set inCharenton asylum  in 1808, where Marquis de Sade directs a play about the death of the popular French Revolution leader Jean Paul Marat. Conceptualized as a play within a play, this sharp political theatre deals with abuse of power and the meaning of revolution. In the wake of  Artaud and Brecht vision of theatre, he uses the environment of chaos and madness to show human suffering and class struggle, as well as to question the role of the true revolution – should it change socity and where should the change come from: from the histrorical event itself of from ourselves? (more…)

Marat-Sade: A compelling interpretation of Peter Weiss’ play

Reviewed by Patrick Langston

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Photo: Marianne Duval

Director James Richardson has given us, as his thesis for an MFA in Directing at the University of Ottawa, a creative, focused and altogether compelling interpretation of Peter Weiss’ Marat/Sade.

The insane asylum that Richardson and his cast of student actors conjure is a fevered and dangerous place, a bubbling pot of injustice and brutality that constantly threatens to boil over.

Except for Charlotte Corday (Emma Hickey) – the narcoleptic who rouses herself long enough to murder Marat (Jeremie Cyr-Cooke), the revolutionary idealist with a really bad case of the itches, as he rests in his bath – the stage seethes and jitters with the non-stop twitches and outbursts of the patients. If ever there was a warning to iron-fisted leaders, whether they be political, cultural or of any other stripe, that repression has a limited shelf life, this is it.

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Jeux de Massacre: la peste est arrivée à l’Université d’Ottawa

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

Jeu de massacre - Théâtre de la Licorne - UO

Photo: Marianne Duval

Cette production remarquable de l’œuvre d’Ionesco, mise en scène par Sariana Monette-Saillant, sous la supervision de Tibor Egervari, révèle les talents de cette jeune femme ainsi que ceux de l’ensemble des étudiants qui suivent le programme de mise en scène à l’Université d’Ottawa. Monette-Saillant a saisi l’importance d’une vision stylistique intégrée dans l’écriture dramatique et surtout, elle a fait en sorte que cette vision domine l’ensemble de son travail.

Jeux de massacre, œuvre créée en 1970, est un clin d’œil à Artaud, au théâtre en général et à des scénarios apocalyptiques revus et corrigés par un désir de situer la fin du monde dans un grand carnaval scénique.

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The Bald Soprano: une mise en scène à repenser.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

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La cantatrice chauve  (The Bald Soprano – traduite par Donald M. Allen) d’Ionesco, une production du Théâtre de la Licorne, est  présentée par les  étudiants  du Département d’études théâtrales à l’Université d’Ottawa. Le metteur en scène, Martin Glassford, étudiant en 4e année du programme MFA, a voulu tout faire sauf écouter le texte. Le rythme traine, les comédiens font tout et n’importe quoi, et l’orchestration de la parole qui est au coeur du spectacle est négligée.  Le décor de Marcelo Donato fonctionne comme il faut,  les costumes de Vanessa Imeson tiennent le coup, l’éclairage de M. Coderre-Williams est efficace, mais de  manière générale le tout est un peu pénible.

The Bald Soprano continue jusqu’au 8 mars, à la Salle Académique, 133, rue Séraphin Marion à 20h00.

Princess T. – Imaginative interplay of tragi-comic grotesqueries

News from Capital Critics Circle

Princess T

Princess T, Photo by Annie Thomas

Review by Dimitri and Vildana Stanisic-Keller

University of Ottawa Drama Guild’s production of Princess T. that runs from October 29th to November 02nd (at 8:00pm) is a richly conceived and daring drama..

Tuesday, opening night, it was close to 7:40pm. when we approached the Academic Hall entrance. There was a sense of confusion due to a locked door with a sign “Silence! The show goes on”. People, spread around as cautious loners, were reading fliers and suspiciously gazing at newcomers. And before you could ask your partner “What’s going on?”, there is a storm of Czech cabaret style clowns (dressed and made-up for Halloween party) surrounding you and whispering “Are you here for Princes T.?”, pulling out some folded paper and thrusting it in your hands. We only glanced at ‘CENSORED’ stamped over the newspaper article with the heading “To ensure peace in the country”.

The psychology of conspiracy is in the air .We don’t say a word but follow them quietly around the building to the back door. The atmosphere of restricted solidarity, boosted by the descent into the catacombesque underground, continues after a door opens and we are back-stage. Quiet, because of the rehearsal that is apparently going on, we look for the next instruction that will tell us what to do. The auditorium is covered with some dirty sheets, except for the first two rows where most seats are marked ‘reserved’. (more…)

Princess Ivona : A Perfect Portrayal of our Inner Torment.

Reviewed by Rajka Stefanovska

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Photo. Marianne Duval

Ivona is probably the most unlikely bride-to-be for a prince. She is a commoner, ugly, slouchy, highly unsociable, and has no manners at all. Still, the young prince, bored with the every-day palace life, chooses her for her fiancé. At first she serves as an object of practical jokes for courtiers and the reason for despair for his royal parents. As time goes by, it seems that this insignificant creature gets in everybody’s way. It is not the inconvenience of her presence or her sloppy ways that bother the courtiers. Day after day, gradually, Ivona manages to bring out their worst in her peers, and even worse, she begins to remind them of their own carefully hidden faults. By the end, she is too much for everybody’s comfort, and the decision is unanimous: Ivona must die.

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Three Sisters: A Lively Production by the Drama Guild at the University of Ottawa.

Reviewed by Alvina Ruprecht

This contemporary  adaptation of Three Sisters which fore grounds all the  potentially bitter sweet  humour in Chekhov’s world, brings  together comedy,  pathos and even  near  tragedy  in a  lively production  by the Drama Guild at Ottawa University, directed and adapted by Peter Froehlich.   One of  Chekhov’s most important plays, Three Sisters,  written near the end of his life (first produced in 1901), has not been  shortened, according to the director,  although given the snappy pace of it all and the comic relief laced with drama that carries it along, one has the impression that this version is much shorter than other versions have been.

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