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, September 30, 2012

Tour Whore, September 30, 2012

by Cameryn Moore

I did a show last weekend with 6 people in the audience, two of them paying. The next night was spectacular, relatively speaking: 17 people in the house, 14 of them paying. That’s an increase in paid ticket-holders of 600 percent. Holy crap! Wow!

I’m back in The Land of Tiny Houses.

TLoTH, for short. I don’t know if you can pronounce that, but I wanted to put a name on it. As soon as I put a name on it, I have something to hang my explanations on, to try to make you understand. I think it really captures the parallel-universe feel out here. I mean, doesn’t TLoTH sound like an alien city that you’d find in a near-future, off-planet, pulp-fiction novelette? That’s EXACTLY how it feels. The cars look pretty similar, but I suspect the people-looking people around me actually are hiding an external brain, or at least a USB port, at the nape of their necks and WHY DO THE HORSES ON MARS HAVE SIX LEGS. 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Theatre For Thought, September 29, 2012

joel fishbane

When you see a guy reach for stars in the sky, you can bet that he’s doin’ it for some doll. But when you see one of Canada’s best known directors take on one of musical theatre’s most iconic shows, you can bet that she’s got other things in mind. “It scared me,” admits Diana Leblanc as she talks about taking the reins of a new production of the Loesser / Burrows musical Guys and Dolls. “But it was too wonderful an opportunity. And at my age, you can’t afford to turn things down.”

One of Canada’s best known artists, Leblanc is a founding member of Toronto’s Soulpepper Theatre and has become known for her work as an actor and director for numerous theatres including Stratford, Canadian Stage and Théâtre Français de Toronto. She’s also forged a long term relationship with Montreal’s Segal Centre: Guys and Dolls will be her eighth time working with the theatre. It will also be the first time she’s ever directed a musical.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Review: Les Dishwasheurs

Steaming Panych
by Nanette Soucy

A path through St. Henri is not unlike the trip to the bathroom in a Montreal restaurant. Walking by dark alleys between oxidizing industry, covered in graffiti - like going down the steep stairs into the damp basements of eateries and hearing the dishwashers curse - gives the sense of catching a glimpse at the back end of things; of having gone behind a door marked “Authorized Personnel Only.” At Atelier Jean-Brillant, Théâtre Momentum sets its translation of Morris Panych’s Dishwashers in precisely the type of damp, poorly ventilated, concrete and steel room that makes up the engines of the neighbourhood’s fancy restaurants.

Picture of the Week, September 27, 2012

You know this artist. She always combines images of performance, commentary on art itself, and provocation. It is Jana Sterbak, creator of the (in)famous Meat Dress (or, more correctly: Vanitas - Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorectic). We particularly liked her performance/video work, Sisyphus III. This piece, Artist as Combustible, is now on display at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Art Gallery at Concordia as part of an exhibition called Interactions. (Photo credit: Richard Max Tremblay)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Review: Waiting For Godot

Rachel Resnik and Martin Law (photo credit: Eric Chad)

Bang The Old Toy Around
by Caitlin Murphy

You gotta give props to any young theatre company kicking off a season of classics with Beckett’s most angst-ridden modern masterpiece, Waiting for Godot.  And, of course, you have to expect said company – in this case, McGill Player's Theatre –  to want to bang that old toy around and see what else it can do.

In Godot, two unfortunates, Vladimir (Rachel Resnik) and Estragon (Martin Law), desperately try to pass the time as they wait for the elusive Godot.  Momentary diversions from their dull fate – word play, story-telling and the arrival of others –  at least help them maintain “the impression that they exist”.  Not for weak-willed plot-lovers, of course, the play circles, repeats and explicitly addresses its own tedium.  (No coincidence that Vivian Mercer once called it “a play in which nothing happens, twice.”) 

In one of Director Isaac Robinson’s playful revisions, Beckett’s minimalist set of “A country road.  A tree,” becomes the brick-walled back alley of a bar.  Godot’s bar, in fact, as the sign on the delivery door tells us.  And though it affords some really fun choices, such a distinct setting also kills the ‘middle of nowhere’ factor that feels so central to our anti-heroes’ predicament.  That said, it was actually the decision to do away with the tree – gestures towards it felt not so much minimalist as confusing and ill-defined – that I found disappointing.  

Beyond the Fourth Wall, September 26, 2012

Shows of interest this week
by Estelle Rosen

Journées de la  Culture – Free Events – Sept.  28, 29, 30:
National Theatre School
Open House
Sept. 29 11am-5pm

Contemporary Dance Workshop for Non-Dancers
Agora de la Danse
Sept.  30  12pm-4pm

Documentary Theatre Interactive Workshop
Porte Parole
Sept. 30 – 2pm-5pm

Place des Arts
Excerpts from Thérèse et Pierrette à  L’école des Saints-Anges
Sept. 28  5pm

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

After Dark, September 25, 2012

Chronicle of a Death Foretold
We know it's coming, why aren't we prepared?
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

When I was 15 I was an apprentice critic at Quebec City's Chronicle Telegraph - North America's oldest newspaper. It was a weekly, then, when before it had been the daily of the not-so-tiny Quebec City anglo community. Things happened. One of the biggest employers of my school-mates' dads, Anglo Pulp and Paper (yes, that was its name), became less Anglo. High-schools and primary schools closed down. Our hospital, Jeffrey Hale, became more bilingual. When I left, one of the last bastions of anglophony, St. Brigid's Retirement Home, became quite, quite franco. (When I was a boy we would take little St. Patrick's Day shows into St. Brigid's.) The community died, moved away to bigger cities for opportunity or because of politics, or was assimilated. According to the Chronicle Telegraph's website, there are more places to buy it in Montreal, now, than in Quebec City. Some consider what happened to Quebec's anglo community a tragedy  - a death foretold. Others (myself included) think of this as an evolution. A transition. Adaptation.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The Question, September 24, 2012

What is the Role of Social Media in Promoting Plays?

[ESTELLE ROSEN, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: This is the first in a new Monday feature - The Question - which will replace The Upstage Interview.]

The comments below originated in a panel discussion on Upstage, Thursday, September 20, moderated by Sarah Deshaies. Participants included Andrea Elalouf, Public Relations Coordinator for Segal Theatre and Cassandra Togneri, Communications Director for Quebec Drama Federation.

You need to understand the differences between Facebook and Twitter. Facebook targets community and your followers; more of a personal nature. Twitter targets more people and is less personal than Facebook. Stats indicate one in 10 tweets should be about your product. Develop a dialogue about what is related to your show.

The goals of a message should be geared [specifically] to blogging, Facebook or Twitter.  All have different audiences. Over-notificaton puts people off. It's important to send people to your website; therefore website info is crucial. It's necessary to build up followers as early as two years before putting up a play. Use Twitter creatively. (One company had their actors tweet in the voice of their characters.)  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

First-Person: Chris Moore on playing Hamlet

The Real Question: Why Not?
Facing one of the biggest challenges in theatre literature
by Chris Moore
A couple of years ago Persephone Productions presented Shakespeare’s “Henry V”. One year before that Artistic Director, Gabrielle Soskin asked me if I would be interested in co-directing with her. I agreed, but remarked "that means I couldn’t really audition for Henry" and she said "no. I think that would probably be a lot on your plate." I agreed and said, "Well alright then I guess you can make it up to me by casting me as Hamlet." She chuckled and we left it at that. A little time later we went back to the joke and she asked, "Why not?" and I agreed. 
The first time I ever saw Hamlet was Kenneth Branagh’s full version when I was in high school. I didn’t understand a lot of it, but I remember loving it. I can even remember thinking I wanted to wear the tuxedo that Branagh wore for my prom. Since then, my exposure to the play hasn’t been very high. I saw “Hamlet Solo” when it came to Montreal and last year I watched a version with David Tennant. This is a testament to how much of the play has seeped into our culture. Without seeing full productions as often as one might think, one is already thoroughly familiar with it. Many of Shakespeare’s characters have remained iconic and perhaps none more so than Hamlet. It would be silly for any actor playing Hamlet to think "well it’s best not to think about it, just ignore it and go on with your work". There are certain realities that go along with playing certain roles. The over saturation isn’t necessarily something to be feared. I won’t let past productions get in the way of any role and certainly won’t with this one. I’ll be influenced by past Hamlets as much as I’ll be influenced by myself and the artists I’m working with. 

Tour Whore, September 23, 2012

What the Fuck Just Happened?!
by Cameryn Moore

At this time of year, especially, my FB feed dies down a little. It’s not that all my Fringe colleagues ran out of shows to promote; I personally have gigs upcoming in eight different cities. No, I think it’s because everyone is taking time to assess what the fuck just happened. 

It’s a valid and legitimate part of the touring model: there needs to be some post-mortem. Or pre-vivem. I need time to figure it out, process it, make it fit into my future plans for global domination. Or not fit. That’s okay, too. For sure there were mistakes and glitches and bad luck, and things that I hope to God will never happen again. (Getting the artificially jaded reviewer in Calgary, or developing laryngitis opening weekend.)  But mostly we are all in a quiet moment, the calm before the storm whips up again.

As I write this, Vancouver Fringe’s Pick of the Fringe holdover programming is winding down, early-bird deadlines for the Orlando and Montreal 2013 Fringes have come and gone, and those touring artists who flung themselves out past Edmonton to the last Canadian Fringes of the tour—Victoria and Vancouver—have begun the annual … migration? Diaspora? I don’t quite know what to call it. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Theatre For Thought, September 22, 2012

joel fishbane

The twin corpses of Montreal’s independent papers (the Hour and the Mirror) are still fresh in their graves and meanwhile some other news has just come down the pipeline: according to a memo being circulated by the Quebec Drama Federation, the Montreal Gazette will no longer publish theatre reviews other than for productions by the Centaur or Segal, Montreal’s two major regional theatres. “This decision will have a serious impact on our community,” reads the memo, which goes on to say that there needs to be “a concrete and positive approach which could demonstrate that the community would be active participants in finding solutions.” 

For those of you in the rest of Canada, it’s important to realize that in Montreal there’s only one major English language daily along with a smattering of community papers. Getting press for theatre is difficult in any city, but here it can feel like a Sisyphean task. Given this, the time has come for theatre companies to shift focus and take advantage of the media outlets still available to them. Paramount among these is the university press. With the last surviving professional papers devoting less space to culture, the importance of The Link, The Concordian, The McGill Daily and The McGill Tribune has just been underscored and circled in red. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Review: Richard III

Metachroma presents a murderous, mad Richard III
by Rebecca Ugolini
A production of Richard III is an ambitious project to undertake for any theatre company, let alone one presenting its inaugural feature. Metachroma Theatre, a young Montreal-based theatre company whose mandate is to address the lack of visible minorities in Canadian theatre, deftly handles the long and complex Richard III by paying equal respect to the play’s violent, tragic, and humourous themes. 
Jamie Robinson is everything a Richard should be—perfectly hateable and yet irresistible, glib, sly, and as the Acts move on, increasingly terrifying and detestable. Whether he occupies the centre stage or stalks along in the background of a scene, he is the one to watch, and in those mute moments, his freakish, funny facial contortions speak almost as loudly as his acid-laden speeches.

CharPo's Real Theatre! September 21, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Picture of the Week, September 20, 2012

The most ill-fated royal family of them all from the most exciting company to hit the Island in years. Metachroma's Richard III.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Beyond The Fourth Wall, September 19, 2012

An epic tale played on a human scale.
Usine C
Oct 4

Shows Of Interest this Week
by Estelle Rosen

Is there a rift between art and the public? 
Interactions exhibition investigates.
Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery
Concordia University
To Oct. 27

Each performance includes classic and new songs
Au Plaisir
Anne Sylvestre 
Théatre Outremont
Sept. 28

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

News: QDF autumn calendar launch

Acme Burlesque (photo credit: Andrew Gryn)

joel fishbane

Another theatrical rite of passage passed through the Montreal theatre community on Monday night with the latest QDF season launch. Hosted by Dance Animal, Robin Henderson’s infectious troupe of comedic dancers, the evening’s entertainment consisted of 18 “commercials” for shows from the professional, independent and non-professional worlds. While the quality varied, there’s no doubt that Anglo-Montreal is in for an atypical season: in a city known for its commitment to original work, there’s a large focus on classics and contemporary standards.

To be sure, there’s still some new work to be seen: Music Theatre Montreal will present a concert version of Frayne McCarthy’s new musical The Virgin Courtesan on September 22, while Geordie Productions will tour two new plays, one by Marcus Youssef and the other by Attila Clemann. Hudson Players Club will present the world premiere of Donna Byrne’s the Widow Schwartz while Shayne Gryn and Seska Lee are producing a two-night only event called Acme Burlesque, a show who advertised their work by giving us a dazzling burlesque number featuring a memoir of a Geisha that you definitely haven’t seen before. 

After Dark, September 18, 2012

I Want To Live!
Potboilers and our lives
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

When I was a kid, my mother plunked me in front of our TV and made me watch a potboiler called I Want to Live! Starring Susan Hayward, it was ostensibly a true story about a woman committed to death row for mere fringe participation in a crime that went wrong. She is executed at the end in a moment I remember as being vigorously realistic. My mother tended to plunk us in front of "lesson" movies - racism is bad, justice is harsh, the Holocaust was not nice. She helped me develop a wide streak of leftism (even as she continued to be a mad-ardent Catholic - arguably the least leftist church on the planet).

The lesson I took away from I Want to Live! was that life isn't fair.

I think it's a lesson that hit me again this week when my medical life went swirling around the toilet bowl again. Now, before you turn away from what looks like a poor-me piece, I promise it is leading to a point that I hope will have more universal resonance.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Review: La Traviata

Alfredo (Roberto Di Biasio) shames Violetta (Myrtò Papatanasiu) (photo credit: Yves Renaud)

joel fishbane

Grand and glorious, La Traviata arrived at Place des Arts this week with five different sets, an immense cast, a full orchestra and one of Giuseppe Verdi’s most famous scores. Opéra de Montréal has aimed to make a splash with the opening production of their new season and they’ve succeeded admirably, creating a great pageant of song and spectacle that brought the first nighters to their feet almost before the final curtain fell.

Most people of any wisdom don’t go to the opera for the story, which is a good thing when sitting through La Traviata - the less said about the “plot” the better. Suffice it to say there’s the requisite lovers (Myrtò Papatanasiu and Robert de Biasio), a father who drives them apart (Luca Grassi) and a little tuberculosis to threaten things just as the lovers are getting reunited. It’s a silly plot which provides ample room for sweeping arias, gorgeous recitives and chorale numbers that leave you breathless, all of which Opéra de Montréal are more than happy to provide.

Interview: Paul Flicker, Segal Centre Artistic Producer

An Artistic Producer on Producing Art
by David Sklar 
(photos by Paul Ducharme)

CHARPO: Why do you have the title of Artistic Producer and not Artistic Director of the Segal Theatre?    

FLICKER: There are a few reasons why I wanted that. One is, I am not a director of plays. I also wanted to establish a distinction between my predecessor who had been so well known in her job here. But because of that, there are now two parts to my job.  First is the overall artistic direction of the theatres and then producing the other activities that take place here such as our dance, music and special events. So while I feel I have a more territorial role with the direction of the theatres, the actual producing role takes equal importance.

CHARPO: So run me through a typical day at the theatre. 

FLICKER : Well, the great thing is, there is no typical day here. There are weekly occurrences such as production, sales and marketing and manager meetings.  But most days are completely different. I am rarely at my desk. Almost never. And notoriously difficult to reach.  So if people need to get in touch with me for productions, they call my assistant.  

Sunday, September 16, 2012

First-Person: Frayne McCarthy and Blair Thomson on The Virgin Courtesan

Catherine Savoie (photo credit: Andres MacLeod)

''I've got it, man. It's #*?#! awesome!"

The Virgin Courtesan is an original musical play, written and composed by Frayne McCarthy and Blair Thomson, produced by Music Theatre Montreal as part of its New Works Initiative.

Frayne McCarthy, playwright and artistic director
The Virgin Courtesan amounts to just so many words and notes on paper, unless we have story-tellers to bring it to life.  Music Theatre Montreal has provided Blair Thomson and me with this tremendous opportunity to work with exceptionally gifted performers who are sharing not only their talent, but also their instincts, their ideas, and their support for this creative initiative. Their steady and positive feedback along with the continuing guidance of my dramaturge, Kevin John Saylor, is helping to strengthen the story being told. 

Tour Whore, September 16, 2012

by Cameryn Moore

Hardcore Fringer. Any artist who has more than one Fringe city under their belt falls into this category, in my mind.

It means that you have been in at least one city where you don’t know anybody, where you are sleeping in a stranger’s house. It means that you have had to take special steps to unplug yourself from normal life, asked for time off from work, possibly had issues with cell phone access, been apart from your lover for at least two weeks or more, and you have modified your life seriously in many other ways—expectations, planning, supplies, wardrobe—to accommodate your Fringe tour.

I am not saying that companies or artists performing only in their hometown are not having an awesome and legitimately challenging Fringe. I’ve never had that experience, though. I find it much easier to get along with other artists who live or have lived through that same rootlessness, for however long; they have had that same experience of being out there alone and not alone at the same time. I can bond better with them, because we have many of the same experiences. We are Hardcore Fringing.

What else goes along with that? I asked my cohort of touring Fringe artists for their thoughts (credit given where appropriate). But you know, a lot of these came up on their own, in my tour-fevered brain…

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Theatre For Thought, September 15, 2012

Your Canadian Theatre Fall Preview
joel fishbane

There’s a chill in the air and the other day I had to cycle wearing gloves: I don’t know what’s going on in the rest of the country, but here in Quebec autumn is making itself known. For the theatre world this means the start of another season of shows: the 2012-13 season is upon us and actors everywhere are shaking away their tans to step once more into the footlights. It would be impossible to cover everything going on in Canadian theatre between now and Christmas but here are just a few of the highlights. 

Chris Abraham, who last season helmed Annabel Soutar’s Seeds (now playing in French in Montreal), will return for a double bill, at least if you feel like crossing the country. At the start of November you can catch his production of my favourite John Mighton play, The Little Years, over at Tarragon (Toronto). Two weeks later, all the way over in Gateway Theatre (Richmond), Abraham teams up with Marcus Youseff and James Long for Winners and Losers, a devised piece in which a harmless game turns into a ruthless dissection of the players’ intimate lives. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Review: Where the Blood Mixes

(photo credit: Mateo Hernandez)

the bitter winter seeps in through the cracks
Teesri Duniya forces us to pay attention
by Jessica Wei

Canada's a fairly unassuming country. We're known for confusing politics, casual beers, icy temperatures and warm smiles. However, any true Canadian – especially anyone who lives in Quebec – knows, when it's hot, it's sweltering and when it's cold, it numbs to the bone. Some of our history is like that, too. We love our proud moments in history: the invention of insulin, the Battle of Vimy Ridge,  passing universal health care in '62, our tumultuous road to victory during the Summit Series in '72 against the Soviets, the entire Vancouver Olympics in '08 (including our tumultuous road to victory in Men's Hockey)... warm, friendly, glowing moments engraved on our currency, celebrated in our newspapers on anniversary years, boasted in our textbooks. 

But the bitter winter seeps in through the cracks. Those are times we just don't comment on the weather. If you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all, and most of us just don't say anything at all. 

CharPo's Real Theatre! September 14, 2012

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Picture of the Week, September 13, 2012

You wanna have a blast in a theatre this month? We've got the horse right here, it ain't named Paul Revere - it's Guys and Dolls - and it can do, can do... At the Segal!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Blog: Donald Rees on The Laramie Project - Ten Years Later Part II

Blog: Laramie Project - Ten Years Later PART II
by Donald Rees

Be prepared.

Those two little words are the best piece of advice I could give to any director setting out to tackle The Laramie Project or its sequel The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later. Of course, that's good advice for any director on any project - and a good idea for most people in general but Laramie required a special commitment to preparedness that I'm happy I gave myself ample time to uhm...prepare for.

Both the original script and the sequel have numerous characters pop in and out over the length of the story. Last time I counted, there were 70. I say "counted" because the sequel script that we're working from came with no character list. My first order of business was sitting down and compiling a list of all the characters in order to proceed with casting.

Beyond The Fourth Wall, September 12, 2012

Photo courtesy of Art 45
To Sept. 29

Shows Of Interest this Week
by Estelle Rosen

Quebec Writers’ Federation Workshop
Memoir: The Art of Personal Writing
Led by Joel Yanofsky
Oct. 3 –Nov. 21

Dancing through Life as Art
Music & Movement
Sept. 29  1-4pm
Shift Space

French version of The Dishwashers by Morris Panych
Les Dishwasheurs
Momentum Theatre
Ateliers Jean Brillant
Sept. 26-Oct.20

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

After Dark, September 11, 2012

The Language of Disrespect
Things have actually gotten worse
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Last week I wrote about how politics should be teaching us, in theatre, lessons about respect and civility. You just had to look at political campaigns in Quebec and the United States to understand that when we have grievances in the arts, we clearly should not be as rancorous. Firstly, because our community is too small to contain feuds and, secondly, because somewhere - down the line - most of us will have to work together. Grudges must die (or at least be set aside and painted over with a smile).

After I wrote that editorial two things happened:

- There was an assassination attempt on our premier-elect, allegedly by some guy spouting stupidity about how "The English are awakening!" What made the event more chilling and tragic was that there was an actual death during the attempt, a stage techie named Denis Blanchette.

- I received an open letter (email) about the crisis at Factory Theatre that I suspect I was meant to publish but where the content of the letter was so angry and uncivil I decided I would not put it up on the site. I stated that I would no longer publish pieces that did not advance dialogue that might resolve the situation.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Upstage Interview: Deborah Forde on BTW's YouthWorks Program

People need a place that is safe, well informed and connected to the market.
Upstage Co-Producer and CharPo Contributor Sarah Deshaies spoke with Deborah Forde, Black Theatre Workshop YouthWorks Program Director. Below is an abridged version of the interview edited by Estelle Rosen, CharPo Editor-in-Chief. 

UPSTAGE:  Could you give us a synopsis about the program and how it’s changed for this year’s session?

FORDE: What we do is work with young artists at two points in their career. One is aspiring artists when people know they want to be in performance, haven’t had training yet but know they have the heart and energy for it. 

That is our HeadStart Program which aims to help young people to either go directly to market, enter into a formal training program or to re-orient them into one of the other fields within the arts.

Then we have our JumpStart Program for young people who have completed their education, are starting their careers, have done a first or second gig, and need a hand up in connecting to the field and buildiing their network. Maybe more than anything else, they need a grounded place to discover what’s the truth about this thing called professional theatre; how do I go from being an apprentice to a professional.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

First-Person: Rahul Varma on Where the Blood Mixes

For the child taken, for the parent left behind
    “Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada” 
© Rahul Varma, Sept 7, 2012

Kevin Loring’s play Where the Blood Mixes started as a monologue, which he wrote for his theatre school graduation. The original title was The Ballad of Floyd, which portrayed Floyd, an aboriginal man celebrating his lost daughter’s birthday in, of all places, a bar. In 2001, Kevin performed this monologue at the Talking Stick Cabaret organized by Margo Kane’s Full Circle: First Nations Performance to a great admiration from the public. But Kevin was not satisfied. He decided to develop the play beyond its form and content. He gave himself a goal: “let this play teach me how to write and produce a play.”  Next, the monologue transformed into a one act play. What remained common between the monologue and the one-act was Floyd’s inability to escape from alcoholism. Kevin had set the play in a bar as a purgatory for Floyd, in which Floyd would go to the bar, lose his senses, and keep waking up again and again until breaking out of the cycle of alcoholism, and leaving the bar never to return again. This version of the play was work-shopped and read at the Factory Theatre’s Crosscurrent Festival of New Works, where highly respected Native actor Gary Farmer was assigned to read Floyd’s character. Which playwright would not be honored to have Gary Farmer read his character? But Mr. Farmer did more than reading a character, he gave Kevin a lesson. He slammed the script on the table, “Thirty five years in the business and here I am playing another drunken Indian in the bar. So what? So he is a drunk in the bar. So what now?”
So What Now? 
That day, this highly talented aspiring playwright was told out loud what no one had told him for the four years he was working on this play. “So what now?” from Mr. Farmer made Kevin understand what was wrong with the play and what to do about it?  The “so what now?” made Kevin embark on a journey to discover the greater story -- the story behind the story. What was behind the drunkenness, behind the pain and behind the isolation of Floyd? Why was he so damaged? What will happen to him? Audiences will find that out after seeing the play! What will happen to The Ballad of Floyd? It will become Where the Blood Mixes telling us the story behind the story.  What will happen to Kevin? He will go on to win the Governor General’s Award for Where the Blood Mixes.  

Tour Whore, September 9, 2012

Gifting (or: The road to goodwill is paved with sweets and pastries.)
by Cameryn Moore

There is a delicate gift economy out here on tour, circulating a steady stream of largesse among the performers and the volunteers and the staff and the technicians and the patrons. There are no rules, it’s not predictable in the slightest, and yet it’s there.

Obviously some gifts are traditional, simple etiquette of long-standing usage: do something nice for your billet, give your technician booze. The form of the gift is not of the essence, just the gesture. So, for example, when I have been broke—which has been most of this year’s tour—I have simply cooked extra dinner one night and shared with my host. It really is the thought that counts.

(Booze for the tech is somewhere between a gift and a bribe, actually. Or a gift and deliberately sought-after goodwill, in the same way that my signature peanut-butter fudge gets made and circulated at least one day during most Fringes, or that my monkey bread makes an appearance at a special pre- or early Fringe brunch. The road to goodwill is paved with sweets and pastries.)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Theatre For Thought, September 8, 2012

joel fishbane

Many young artists have made bold pacts after a night of too many beers, but every now and then the promises remain even in the harsh light of day. Such was the case for the founders of Metachroma Theatre, Montreal’s newest independent theatre company. Comprised of some of Montreal’s most talented actors – Tamara Brown, Lucinda Davis, Mike Payette to name a few – the company was created to promote a singular mandate:  to produce theatre that normalizes the presence of cultural minorities on stage. 

“This is an idea that we have all had in our heads for a long time,” said Julie Tamiko Manning, a Company member who's playing several roles both onstage and off. A third-generation Japanese-Canadian, Manning can relate to the idea that sparked the Company’s creation: How come we never see minorities on the stage unless it’s a culturally specific show?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review: Grain(s)

Guy Thauvette (photo credit: Maxime Coté)

Grain(s) is Verbatim (through filters)
by Nanette Soucy

As no one can live without it, everybody gets to be an expert about food. Whether you’re choosing all kale and brown rice all the time, or larding up your trucker’s breakfast three times a day, with the variety available to the average North-American, the media obsession with dieting and obesity - by sheer necessity we have to form an opinion about what we put in our mouths.

The environment of Porte Parole’s Grain(s) is unusual. There are cameras and cables and shelving and neon lights and things growing. Upon entry, there are smiling people in lab coats mingling around, alternately engaging in deep discussion with the audience and reassuring its terrified looking members. As the show begins, members of the audience are interviewed and projected on a screen above. The polled audience has well thought-out opinions on GMOs, which is, by some cultural osmosis, actually informed by the story of Percy Schmeiser and Monsanto that they’re about to hear verbatim. Not from the mouths of those involved directly, but through filter upon filter of translation, accents, and interpretations.

Picture of the Week, September 6, 2012

Short, but ever so sweet - Opéra de Montréal's promo for La Traviata.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Beyond The Fourth Wall, September 5, 2012

Body movements remain at the heart of Dvorezky’s process.
Galerie D’Este
Sept.  6 – 26 (Above: The Hoop)

Shows Of Interest this Week
by Estelle Rosen

Friday Nocturnes / Exhibitions, music…
Musée d’Art Contemporain
Sept. 7

Is the oil on the mechanic’s hands blood stains? 
Le Méchanicien 
Théatre d’Aujourd’hui
Sept. 11 – 29

Exhibition exploring forestry and its uncharted relationships with planning and design. 
First, the Forests
Canadian Centre for Architecture
October 4 – Jan. 12