As of January 7, 2013, this website will serve as an archive site only. For news, reviews and a connection with audience and creators of theatre all over the country, please go to The Charlebois Post - Canada.

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Review: Macbeth

The Play Which Dare Not Speak its Name with the best intentions...
by Émilie Charlebois

Sunday Feature: Michaela di Cesare on remounting 8 Ways

Testing the Scripture 
Possible outcomes of a remount of 8 Ways my Mother was Conceived among its very subjects
by Michaela Di Cesare

Then Jesus told them, "A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family." – Mark 6:4

When I was invited to a meeting with the National Congress of Italian Canadians at the gilded monument we call the Leonardo Da Vinci Center in St-Leonard, shortly before my run at FRINGE had begun, I thought only one of two things could happen:
  • I’d walk through a large, ornate door that would shut mysteriously behind me, after which I’d find myself facing the back of a tall chair. Following my tentative hello, the chair would swivel slowly, revealing a fat gangster chewing on a cigar. With a subtle gesture he would then summon his goons, willing them to appear from where they had been lurking in the shadows. At which point they’d put a bag over my head, tell me I had dishonored my people and must be silenced. And before I knew it, I’d be swimming with the fishes… Or this more pleasant version:
  • I’d walk through the door, swivel, yadda yadda—but then I’d be offered a bazillion dollars to make the play a propaganda piece for the Italian community and tour the world with it, accompanied by my very own pair of goons who I’d affectionately name Sal and Vinny-- following a soul-searching pondering of my artistic integrity, of course.

Sunday Feature: Paul Hopkins on creating Macbeth

Notes on Building Macbeth
Paul Hopkins, Repercussion Theatre’s Artistic Director, will be playing the lead role of Macbeth for this summer’s Shakespeare-in-the-Park tour.
This collection of notes I’ve written is a musing on my experiences building Macbeth’s character over the past how-many-ever months. Everything I write may not be true. Everything I write may not even make sense. This is just intended to be a collage of consideration.
‘Horrid Image’ vs. ‘Nature’  – that’s fucked! How is anyone in the audience supposed to get that the Horrid image is the murder of Duncan. What’s the horrid image to me? I think ‘nature’ is the thought of actually the murdering someone is repellent, against nature – if you really think about it, the actual act of it.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Theatre For Thought, July 30, 2011

Are programmes a thing of the past?
joel fishbane

Friday, July 29, 2011

Blog: Johanna Nutter and the Journey of My Pregnant Brother (Part VII)


“How goes darling?”

These three words posted on my Facebook page by my friend Lucinda Davis just made me burst into tears. And I can hear her now, asking; “But WHY?!!” Because the fact that someone would take time out of her busy schedule, make room in her on or off-line social life to inquire after my well-being touched me. There must be something seriously wrong with me if I cry when people are nice to me.

The Friday Five, July 29, 2011

...and you're welcome.
by Jessica Wei

CharPo's Real Theatre!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

CharPo's Picture of the Week, July 28, 2011

From Montreal Shakespeare Theatre Company's
Not a great achievement in photographic arts, this is, nevertheless,
a perfect example of a "story" photo: it has something for
those who know the play, and something for those who don't. The juxtaposition of 
food (almost a perfect symbol of peace) and the knife (violence) intrigues and
frightens at once. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Beyond the Fourth Wall, July 27, 2011

Picnic Weather
By Estelle Rosen

Aug. 4
7:30pm - Theatre de Verdure Parc LaFontaine
NFB Documentary by Garry Beitel – The Socalled Movie  

Aug. 5
9pm  - Open Air Screening - Quartier des Spectacles 

Knowlton - Theatre Lac Brome
Val David - 1001 Pot
St-Sauveur - Arts Festival

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Blog: Johanna Nutter and the Journey of My Pregnant Brother (Part VI)



Trees have always been a very important part of my life. See, I was raised by the Lorax.

After Dark, July 26, 2011

Theatre, Cooperation and the Fragile Creatures
PR has to be considered from the very start of the process of creation and someone has got to be assigned to deal with it.
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Upstage Interview: Karl Graboshas (Repercussion's Macbeth)

Slide show of rehearsal shots of Repercussion's Macbeth

Banquo Speaks

Upstage Host Eric Sukhu spoke with Karl Graboshas, one of the actors in Repercussion Theatre’s Shakespeare In The Park's Macbeth. Below is an abridged version of interview edited by Estelle Rosen, CharPo Editor-in-chief.

Is this your first time performing with Shakespeare In The Park? 

First time with Repercussion Theatre.  Have done Shakespeare In The Park in Toronto.  Excited and having a lot of fun. 

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Blog: Johanna Nutter and the Journey of My Pregnant Brother (Part V)


“I’m on the edge of glory”.

Mum was singing this to herself while making coffee the morning after seeing my play. I asked her who sang the song, and she told me: Lady Gaga. She thinks it could be my theme song right now.

Surprised and delighted, once again. Actually, that about sums it up. Opening night was surprising, and delightful, and magical. It was also full of dragons, but magic tends to be that way. 

Sunday Feature: Beyond The Mountain

Paradise Lost

Montreal to the World

Beyond the Mountain presents its mandate
by Danielle-Ariel Caddell-Malenfant

On July 5th 2011, Beyond the Mountain Productions celebrated its launch at the Rialto Theatre in Montreal.

Beyond the Mountain is a non-profit Montreal based theatre company. Its mission is to use methods of new technology as well as live performances to internationally disseminate works by Montreal artists while bringing new productions from around the world to the city. By touring emerging artists, working with schools and making use of new social media to circulate our work, the company aims to raise Montreal's cultural profile and aid its artists to create a larger impact on the international art scene.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Theatre For Thought, July 22, 2011

That Scottish Curse!
joel fishbane

While Harry Potter fans flock to see the final battle between Harry and You Know Who, Montreal audiences are preparing to face their own dark lord whose name cannot be said. Next week, Repercussion Theatre will premiere Shakespeare’s Scottish play, a work so cursed that just by speaking its name (or writing it, as the case may be), I would risk bringing forth grave harm and ill-fortune. The most clear-headed actors I know tremble before the power of this curse, referring to the play as “Mackers” and spitting over their shoulders whenever someone inadvertently quotes from the text. 
Over at Repercussion, Paul Hopkins and Co. are cautiously optimistic: although director Arianna Bardesono came down with the chicken pox during rehearsals, the rest of the production, according to publicist Greg Stone, has been blessed (that’s his word, not mine).  Still, one can only hope the cast and crew are taking precautions to defeat the evil eye, which has loomed over the Scottish play for almost four centuries. Since its first production in 1606, those involved with Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy have been maimed, strangled, burnt, killed and / or crucified by the critics. The very first actor to portray the title character’s wife took fever on opening night and had to be replaced by Shakespeare himself. 350 years later, Diana Wynyard, in the same role, walked off the stage and fell fifteen feet.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blog: Johanna Nutter and the Journey of My Pregnant Brother (Part IV)


I was hazed by a crow on the way to the theatre. All the way there, it kept diving at me; swooping within an inch of my head. I finally stopped and asked the bird; how did you know? Yeah: it’s opening night. I had to go to the theatre earlier because I had “somehow” forgotten to put aside two tickets for my mum and my brother. Who are both coming tonight.  Back in Montreal, Jeremy and I had a discussion about this, and we agreed that they could come on any night BUT opening. We figured I should crack the ice at the Cultch before I had to skate over such fragile territory. But once I got here, I just decided that they have both waited long enough. So… here we go.

Review: About Freakin' Time (Zoofest)

The Adorable Unknown
It jumps from topic to topic, from trash talking two-year-olds to the pros and cons of lesbian relationships...
by Valerie Cardinal

DeAnne Smith had me charmed when she climbed onstage at Underworld with an old-fashioned alarm clock around her neck, and completely won me over when she pulled out a ukulele. I love my comedy neurotic, energetic and slightly self-deprecating, and Smith’s About Freakin’ Time delivered just that. She finds just the right balance between a comedian’s ego and insecurity, managing to relate to the audience all while twisting the familiar into something unexpected. Smith is already a pretty well-known local performer, having been listed as best comedian #3 on the Mirror’s Best of Montreal list this year, but I had never heard of her before. I left this show wondering how in the world I hadn’t.

The Friday Five, July 22, 2011

Schwartz's: The Musical (photo:

Just because the movie worked, doesn't mean that cramming it up the ass with dancing hobbits and LED lights will.
by Jessica Wei

It's not an old problem, not enough people do go see theatre of any kind. However, the high production value of musical theatre, and the fact that it's intellectually the most accessible kind of performing art (simple story lines, catchy songs) makes that particular genre an easier one to sell. But in the past few years, we've seen an influx of shameless advertising ploys in favour of Broadway never before employed. From shitty television to adapting cinematic classics to the stage, these big-shot producers are really gunning for this generation of teenyboppers. So hold on to your wallets, people, because what's coming up is merely a warning for what to avoid if you don't want to get caught in the Broadway trap. Here's Five Cheap Ploys To Get (More) Young People Interested in Musical Theatre. 

CharPo's Real Theatre!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blog: Johanna Nutter and the Journey of My Pregnant Brother (Part III)


Remember how I said my family was dependably unpredictable? If I had been asked to predict how things were going to go with my Mum, I probably would have described her as being slightly frazzled, certainly grumpy about the growing hordes of motorists on the Island, and, due to the new wrinkle of my writing about her, probably prickly and stand-offish. She was none of those things. In fact, the person who met me at the Long Harbour Ferry was a beaming little wood nymph.

We took the Salt Spring Island bus to her place. There was a time when I would come to Salt Spring, not knowing if she would meet me at the ferry, or even where she was: she’s been on the island for almost 25 years, but she didn’t always have a phone, or even a home. If she had a car, it was always a bit of a surprise if she could get it running. Hitch-hiking is de rigueur on the island, but I get nervous any time I feel I may be imposing on anyone in any way, and those rides were white-knuckled affairs for me. Now, there’s a bus. And Mum even brought the necessary toonie for my fare. There was a toddler in the front seat riding the bus for the first time, and clearly not enjoying it. Mum got all us passengers singing, “the wheels on the bus go round and round” and he settled right in.

Blog: Johanna Nutter and the Journey of My Pregnant Brother (aggregator)

News: Griffith (Griff) Brewer dies

(From the CTE)

(This article has been corrected) It is with enormous sadness that I have learned of the passing, last week, of Griff Brewer. Griff was a well-known actor who began his career with the fabled Montreal Repertory Company, but he will probably be best remembered as prop-master at Centaur and a presence in the lives of everyone who worked there.

I first saw Griff in a production at Centaur, when I was a student subscriber. It was a very controversial play, Trevor Griffiths' Comedians, and Griff has the key role. When, later, I would write his biography for The Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia, it was mostly with the memory of that performance in mind: "His acting and professional style are marked by an understated intensity and generosity of spirit." Many who saw him in it, though, will probably tell you that his greatest performance was in the premiere of David Fennario's On The Job, where he played a worker marked by age and ruined by the company.

If you worked at Centaur, and you wanted to find the man between productions, you could be sure he was in the prop room, in the basement, putting order in a decade's-worth of bric-a-brac and furniture. He knew where everything was and, if you got him talking (he wasn't a big talker) he would tell you the story behind the item and the production it came from. He had been there for everything.

His funeral will be Monday, 5pm in NDG. He is survived by his daughter Diane (his wife, Marie, having passed in 1999, his son, David, in 2010.)

by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

CharPo's Picture of the Week, July 21, 2011 (Video)

Valerie Baron and Greg Stone's rehearsal shots from the upcoming

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

EVENT: Chekhov's Children, July 27-30, 2011

Review: Zip & Wick #72: Endings (Podcast)

(Photo from the Fringe 2011 production of Zip & Wick)

A Little Less Super
A Fringe show doesn't fly well for C'est La Vie
by Rachel Zuroff
Zip & Wick #72: Endings is this season’s final production by the podcast theatre group C’est la vie. It is the story of the apocalypse as told by two superheroes waiting for the end of the world in Paris. The story of Zip & Wick remains primarily a conversation between the two title characters. As Zip and Wick wait for the end of the world, they alternately bicker, reminisce over the past and discuss their lives from childhood, to falling in love, to saving lives, to whether any of it is worth the trouble and heartache it has caused. While waiting for the end, Zip and Wick further discuss what it is like to be a superhero, the responsibilities and privileges entailed by such powers, their own ontological status and their relationship to humans.

Discussion: David Sklar on Homegrown in Montreal

One Event, One City, One Dozen
The play doesn’t live up to its hype.
by David Sklar

On July 16th, I attended the public reading of Homegrown, in Montreal at Le Cagibi.  Originally, Montreal wasn’t on the list of cities planning to do a staged reading of this controversial play, but it would have seemed out of step had we not contributed to this cross-country support for artistic work. Montreal and Toronto artists Daniel Beirne, Katherine Cullen, Reuben Ward and Ned Zimmerman took to the obstructed stage a half hour late. Expecting a huge turn out, I showed up a half hour early but realizing that this was a last minute event (I got the invite from Facebook, the night before) no more than a dozen people showed up.  

Beyond the Fourth Wall, July 20, 2011

July 20 – 9pm  Ballets Jazz
Locked up Laura, Zip Zap Zoom

Weather forecast: Sunny & Hot = Outdoors events 
Ballet, Film, Videos, Music, Write in the park
by Estelle Rosen

July 23
3pm and 7pm 
Sound orchard – electro acoustic
Belvedere Lookout atop Mount Royal

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Review: Basic Training (Zoofest)

One Man’s Show of Many Talents
Beyond the mesmerizing technical aspects of Ashanti’s performance, the content of “Basic Training” itself is far from ordinary.
by Émilie Charlebois

The only thing basic about Kahlil Ashanti’s “Basic Training” is the actor’s costume. The black workout outfit he wears throughout his performance truly serves as a canvas for the spectrum of personalities that cross the stage in it.  This may have been a one man show, but this wizard of a performer effortlessly slips in and out of no less than 14 characters, without ever skipping a beat or running out of breath…even when he is literally running on stage and simulating drill training exercises. 

Blog: Johanna Nutter and the Journey of My Pregnant Brother (Part II)

July 18th, Pender to Salt Spring Ferry

Everything has a story. Remember Architect David of the Penthouse Sweet? Well, he just told me the last one I heard on Pender. I took a photo of this sculpture (above)—one of countless beautiful things in the home that he designed for he and Professor John on the island. The artist, Cathy, was married to a bad man. He drank and when he did, he got violent. He would go out to the barn and beat the horses. Well, one night, the horses had had enough: they trampled him to death. And that changed Cathy’s life. This sculpture is a self-portrait… There’s Cathy, in the middle, surrounded by the horses who saved her.

I love Islanders. Arguably, I am one. Yes, Montrealers, we’re Islanders, too. These 48 hours on Pender have been so full of beautiful stories told by beautiful Islanders I don’t know where to begin. Barb and Keith. That’s where. Barb and I were roommates in St. Henri—above the AA restaurant on Notre Dame—way back in the day. Montreal was full to busting with musicians then: Jerry Jerry and the Sons of Rhythm Orchestra, Three O’Clock Train, The Nils, Bootsauce, Me, Mom & Morgentaler… Montreal’s first wave of awesome bands was in full swing. And Barb swung the best parties. We had a long wooden veranda and it was always full of flowers, people, and wine. 

After Dark, July 19, 2011

I am Furious...yellow
Where are the artists?
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

I have worked both sides of the linguistic divide, both sides of the artistic fence (creator, critic), more pure laine than me and you start going baa-a-a-a, but I will never understand artists in this province. We're an incredibly noisy bunch - protecting the environment with screams of protest, yelling about creating a nation, marching en masse to protest foreign wars but sometimes, when it is incredibly important and the stakes couldn't be higher, when we must speak with one voice, I question whether or not we actually have the yarbles.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Upstage Interview: Bryna Wasserman

Bryna Wasserman (centre, front) with her troops at the 
season launch last spring (photo: Randy Cole)

The National Yiddish Theatre – Folksbiene in New York will celebrate its 100th anniversary with their 2014-15 season. Bryna Wasserman, former Artistic Director of Segal Centre for the Performing Arts in Montreal, recently took over the Executive Director position of Folksbiene. Our mission is to preserve the Yiddish language but we need to broaden our audience base, said Ms. Wasserman. Her plans include adding film, music and other art forms to the theatre’s roster, and to bring in Yiddish-language productions from other countries. First indication of this plan will be the Fall production of Soul to Soul featuring two African-American singers and one Israeli-American singer – all performing in Yiddish. To expand Folksbiene mission, she will be commissioning new works by leading playwrights like Tony Kushner. July 10, 2011 source:
Upstage Producer and CharPo Editor-in-chief Estelle Rosen spoke with Bryna Wasserman shortly before she left Montreal. Below is an abridged version of the interview.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Sunday Feature: Trevor Barrette on Antigone

(Photo: Annie Yao)

ANTIGONE A new look at a classic story
...every time I read it or see it rehearsed, I am reminded of how poignant and true the story is...
by Trevor Barrette (Director/Producer)

This summer, a group of 20 students and recent graduates of the John Abbott College's Professional Theatre Program will be presenting Sophocles' 'ANTIGONE' at the JAC Casgrain Studio Theatre from July 19th to July 22nd.

It's an exciting and theatrical piece that deals with themes of violence, power, gender roles, religion and, most importantly, family; themes that create the fabric of our society today and remind us of how mortal we really are.

From the first time I read Antigone, I was taken by its powerful story and all of the interesting characters and profound relationships. I knew that I wanted the opportunity to explore it further. And still, every time I read it or see it rehearsed, I am reminded of how poignant and true the story is, even for a modern day audience. I truly believe that this play is as alive today as it was when it was first performed in Ancient Greece, thousands of years ago.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Blog: Johanna Nutter and the Journey of My Pregnant Brother

(The Charlebois Post is enormously proud to be presenting Johanna Nutter's blog about the journey of her celebrated solo, My Pregnant Brother, to Vancouver where it will be seen for the first time by people the piece describes. We think you'll be as delighted as we were by these first three installments and impatient for what will follow.)


I think there’s a point where fear gets so intense that it sort of blows itself up. Once this happens, all that’s left to do is step boldly from one moment to the next. I’m there right now. I just checked the bag containing my little white rocking chair and am now tangoing my way to British Columbia for the west coast première of My Pregnant Brother

For those of you who haven’t seen the show, it’s a solo piece in which I relive the experiences surrounding the birth of my niece. My brother (née my sister, transgender for over a decade, still in possession of reproductive parts) got pregnant and needed me at a time when I was trying to change my own identity by shrugging off the overblown sense of responsibility my childhood had helped to contrive. Of course, hilarity ensues…

The show’s doing well. It’s won some awards, toured a bit. In November, the French incarnation (translated by yours truly) will open at La Licorne, granting a longtime wish of mine to act en français. But the most beautifullest part of that is that they have asked me to also present the show in its original English language on Friday nights. This will be a fledgling attempt to bridge the two theatrical solitudes and I want to help it fly. Hence this blog: for the next week or so, I will be posting regular updates on the whole West Coast Experience.

What makes this experience blog-worthy is the fact that the two main characters in the play (outside of yours truly); my mother and brother, will be introduced to it for the first time. Up to now, all they have had to go on are the reviews, which have often resorted to over-simplifications, no doubt in the interest of keeping the word count within a prescribed ballpark. Calling my mother a “spaced-out hippie” gives the reader an easy image, but it doesn’t come anywhere close to describing the kaleidoscope of states she is capable of. But that’s what us writers have to do sometimes; generalize to save time and space—the great thing about blogging is; we can go on and on and if you run out of time, you can just stop reading.