New Years Day is a great time to take a glance at the upcoming season, to rejoice in the changes, the improvements, the optimistic endeavours occurring in the local arts scene. As per usual, the theatre scene is blooming with a variety of new and classic works to be performed on stages across the city. I’ve also picked out a couple of exciting dance/music and literary events that should not be missed.
Aside from wearing my bike helmet more regularly and improving my French language skills, I suppose my main resolution this year is to make some significant attempts to increase awareness of the many fantastic events happening in Ottawa. Yes, you’re probably thinking: um, okay, what’s new? But I am realizing more and more that local events are not being covered in many media outlets to the extent they deserve. This is not always the fault of the press: sometimes it is a matter of finances, or readership interest, or space and time. Regardless, I miss reading luxuriously lengthy theatre previews and profiles: should not the arts be celebrated for their artistic merit rather than be used for “general interest” or “news” stories?
I plan to make some efforts through this newsletter and also in a website being run by CBC radio’s Alvina Ruprecht as well as numerous theatre critics in Ottawa and across Canada. On this website, you can access theatre (and other arts) reviews, information about companies, and critical articles about the state of the arts in Canada. You can also get involved by sending letters to the editors, some of which may be included on the website. Stay tuned for more information!
And without further ado, here are some upcoming events…
Every year the Company of Fools presents a reading of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the National Arts Centre 4th Stage with hilarious and talented local actors. Conveniently enough, this past summer the Fools performed that very play (directed by Margo MacDonald and featuring Al Connors, Karol Czarny, Richard Gelinas, Tracey Guptill, Stavros Sakiadis and Emmanuelle Zeesman ) for their Torchlight Shakespeare series. So, they already have a full-blown performance ready to go! If you missed this summer’s show, be sure to check it out on January 5th. And if you’ve already seen it, well… you know you want to see it again! For more info, check out www.fools.ca
Dusty Owl Reading Series hosts a couple of literary events every month at Swizzles Bar and Grill on Queen Street. Even if I don’t include them in each newsletter, I would encourage everyone to visit their website at www.dustyowl.com for more updates. Same goes for the Tree Reading Series and Bywords! But I wanted to highlight a couple of guest readers coming up this month. On January 6th, don’t miss Scottish-Canadian writer Kate Sutherland , author of All in Together Girls; on January 20th, check out poet Michelle Desbarats (fun fact: Desbarats’ poem “Skating” was featured in the OC Transpo’s Transpoetry!)
While I was postering downtown a couple of days ago, I came across this very attractive notice for a show called Tres Mujeres, a flamenco music-dance performance inspired by the works of Garcia Lorca. Three dancers/choreographers present thematic interpretations accompanied by musical instruments and interspersed by Andalusian folk songs by a musical group from Winnipeg. Claudia Carolina from Toronto focuses on Yerma; Juliana Pulford from Ottawa looks at Bodas de Sangre; and Claire Marchand from Winnipeg finds her inspiration in La Casa de Bernarda Alba. The performance takes place at the National Arts Centre Studio Theatre on January 11&12. Check out http://www.nac.ca/en/whatson/results.cfm?EventID=5410 for more info.
Speaking of great posters, check out that stunner for Macbeth ! The title in large, looming letters – who needs any more convincing? The National Arts Centre English Theatre presents another fascinating show by Peter Hinton and featuring one of the most enticing cast lists I’ve seen in awhile. Check this baby out: as Macbeth and his lady, we have straight from the Stratford Festival Benedict Campbell and Diane D’Aquila; and as for a local cast, WELL, we have Pierre Brault, Peter Froehlich, Kate Hurman, Kris Joseph, John Koensgen, and Todd Duckworth. Oh my goodness, talk about talent overdose. The show runs January 11-26 (Jan 8 Pay-what-you-can); check out http://nac-cna.ca/en/theatre/index.cfm for details.
7:30 Productions has become a major force in the Ottawa theatre community over the last few years. Only last month, the company was awarded Capital Critics Circle Best Director (John P. Kelly) and Best Actor (Pierre Brault) for their production of “A Night in November.” Full details about the awards can be found on my website. Their most recent production “The Good Father” had great success as the first guest company in the new Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre studio theatre. This month, catch their upcoming show, Molly Sweeney, by Brian Friel and directed by John P. Kelly. The play runs January 22- February 3rd at OSSD, 294 Picton Avenue in Westboro. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 613 – 567 6788 or visit www.seventhirty.com
Another great new company is Ottawa Chamber Theatre Co., now with an exciting new production of Tennessee Williams’ Confessional . Now, I’m a huge fan of Tennessee. I actually directed this amazing opening scene from his “Sweet Bird of Youth” in high school. He writes amazing dialogue and creates intense scenes, a perfect workout for talented actors. And speaking of talent, check out the group of artists involved in this show: director Lisa Zanyk and cast Mary Ellis, Lorne Pardy, Don Laflamme, Brian Stewart, Bob Reynolds, Mark Muntean, Garrett Quirt, and Laine Johnson. Don’t miss seeing these folks in action! Check out the show at the Carleton Tavern (Hamilton and Parkdale) from January 23-February 2. For more information, phone: 613.791.4471 or look up the company on Facebook.
To finish off this month of great theatre, TotoToo: Ottawa’s Gay and Lesbian Community Theatre presents David Lohrey’s Jigsaw Confession, which explores a young man’s attempts to reconcile his and his father’s sexuality. Directed by Jim McNabb (my high school teacher!), this production features Chris Bickford, Nancy Kenny, Cheryl Jackson, Lawrence Aronovitch, and Denis Schryburt. Check it out at the Arts Court Theatre, 2 Daly Avenue from January 30-February 2 . For more information, visit www.tototoo.ca or read my article about the director at www.xtra.ca
That’s all for now! But see below for important AUDITION information for Evolution Theatre. This is your chance to get on stage with a thriving new company! Visit my website at www.jessicaruano.wordpress.com for more updates during the month. Feel free to post comments or suggestions, especially ideas for shows happening in February: theatre, dance, literary events, music, and anything else you can possibly think of.
Happy New Year!
Performance Arts Enthusiast
Publicist, Critic, and Theatre go-er
2008 GENERAL AUDITIONS
Saturday January 19th, 2008; 1 hour blocks, starting at 10:00 am
Location will be given once your audition time is confirmed
You will be auditioning for roles in:
The Ventriloquist by Larry Tremblay, translated by Keith Turnbull
April 20th – May 3rd, 2008
– 2 Females
– 2 Males
This is a Play by Daniel MacIvor
June 19th – 29th, 2008 as a BYOV at Ottawa Fringe Festival
– 2 Females
– 1 Male
The Dishwashers by Morris Panych
August 31st – September 13th, 2008
– 4 Males
This is a cold-read, group audition. Dress in clothing you can move in. The audition will last approximately 45 – 60 minutes to allow us a chance to see everyone in action for several reads.
All are welcome to apply, we prefer candidates with theatre experience.
Please send headshots and resumes to firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternately, you can reach Chris Bedford @ 613-864-3386
*Alternate audition times can be arranged in special circumstances*