Photo: Barb Gray.
One of the most important plays of the contemporary American repertoire (created in 1962) has resurfaced at the Gladstone these days and we should be grateful to the theatre for daring to programme this work. Luckily they were able to bring in a fine director such as Ian Farthing who during his years as artistic director of the Saint Lawrence Shakespeare Summer Theatre company , put the theatre on the map in Prescott. Even the Globe Theatre from London, with its travelling version of Hamlet, made its only Canadian stop in Prescott to perform in the festival arena by the river. (Continue reading » )
Photo courtesy of The Gladstone
Director John P. Kelly has built something of a reputation for himself in Ottawa as a master of comedy. His take on a more serious production, Tuesdays with Morrie is thought-provoking, engaging and emotional. Cast and crew come together for a rich production that does credit to the heart warming, true story.
Originally written as a memoir by Detroit sports journalist Mitch Albom, Albom later adapted the play for the stage with co-playwright Jeffrey Hatcher. In it, he narrates his reconnection with Morrie Schwartz, his college sociology professor and friend. They lose touch after Albom graduates and goes on to become an extremely successful sports journalist. He spends his life running from one sports event to another, one deadline to the next. That is, until he sees his old professor as a guest on Nightline. The now 78-year-old has Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) and Albion goes to see him to pay his respects. The two start talking and, little by little, that visit turns into 14 consecutive Tuesdays of sitting and talking with Morrie.
Director Kelly captures the essence of the beautifully simple text down to every last detail. Under his hand, a play that ostensibly talks about death brims with life, joy, and laughter. From the first moment Mitch introduces Morrie on the minimalist stage, the audience feels an instant connection with him. A sense of warmth permeates the entire production, as Kelly lets the sentimentality of the subject speak for itself, but never lets it become overwhelming or cheesy. David Magladry’s simple, but symbolic set and lighting compliment Kelly’s direction, as he helps set the atmosphere perfectly. (Continue reading » )