Posts Tagged ‘the gladstone’
Posted in Festivals, Ottawa, Theatre, tagged a man walks into a bar, anton in show business, avant l'archipel, darrah teitel, equity in theatre, indietheatrepanel, macbeth muet, national arts centre, ottarts, Ottawa, Patrick Gauthier, rachel blair, the gladstone, Theatre, undercurrents, undercurrents festival on February 22, 2016 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in Dance, Festivals, Ottawa, Theatre, tagged Arthur Milner, arts court, Betroffenheit, canada, electric company theatre, Just Another Gala, national arts centre, Ottawa, Ottawa arts, Ottawa Fringe, ottawa theatre, Patrick Gauthier, podcast, Sarah Waisvisz, the gladstone, Theatre, undercurrents festival on February 15, 2016 | Leave a Comment »
Today my friend and colleague Kat Fournier and I launched the very first episode of Just Another Gala: Your Ottawa Theatre Podcast. Ottawa’s theatre scene has exploded in the last few years, and we feel that some thorough on-air discussion is in order. Join us!
Check out the podcast below, and let us know what you think!
Posted in Dance, Music, Ottawa, Theatre, Visual Arts, tagged A View From the Bridge, Canada Dance Festival, Chamber Theatre, dale smith gallery, Don't Blame the Bedouins, Doubt, Evil Dead, Hintonburg, jonathan hobin, mother goose, Orpheus Theatre, Ottawa Little Theatre, Peer Gynt, Sock 'n' Buskin, the gladstone, third wall theatre company, Women in Leadership Foundation, World Theatre Day on March 1, 2009 | 2 Comments »
Greetings arts fans!
I have been having a truly great time with the Ottawa Arts scene these days: whether it’s an all-night poetry and music party at the Library and Archives, or an amazing show at The Gladstone, or meeting up with charming photographers – the fun never stops!
This month I’m really excited to be celebrating a number of chill holidays, including Women’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and World Theatre Day. You can count on a matching event for each special day… well, except maybe that Irish one, but I expect you’ll all be hitting the pubs by three in the afternoon (or earlier) anyhow.
ONE NIGHT ONLY
The Dale Smith Gallery presents ‘Mother Goose’
Vernissage: Friday, March 6 from 7 to 10pm
Fascinated with the darker side of childhood, Ottawa native Jonathan Hobin has created a photo exhibit entitled ‘Mother Goose’ that depicts young children in odd fairytale scenes based on a handful of carefully selected nursery rhymes. I had the chance to meet and interview Jonathan last week, and we had a great chat about children and their dark, dark thoughts. Check out my article about the artist and his exhibit (on display until March 31) in Capital Xtra’s upcoming issue!
Women in Leadership Foundation presents ‘Gala – a special celebration of all women’
Sunday, March 8 (International Women’s Day) from 6 to 8pm
Bronson Centre, Mac Hall
Do you long for a fabulous evening of fine food and enchanting music among women in leadership positions? Are you looking for an opportunity to celebrate Women’s Day in style? Are you interested in an intimate networking event? Women in Leadership Foundation Carleton Chapter is hosting the first ever GALA to celebrate all women! Don’t miss guest speakers Claire Beckton, Deputy Minister for the Status of Women Canada, and Dr. Runte, President of Carleton University, as well as performances by Erin Felepchuck and Musk Ox. Oh right, and I’m the MC!
(Limited seating – book your tickets in advance!)
Canada Dance Festival’s Fine Wine Evening
Wednesday, March 11 at 5:30pm
Hampton Inn Ottawa & Conference Centre, Ottawa
Don’t miss a magnificent evening that benefits the Canada Dance Festival, featuring fine wines, delectable food, wine and food celebrities, fascinating exhibits and demos, live jazz music, and unparalleled silent and live auctions. The outstanding auctions will boast hard-to-find wines from private cellars, everyday drinking wine and spirits, and unique wine-themed gifts and getaways. Support the Canada Dance Festival and give opportunities to our contemporary dance artists!
There is A LOT of great theatre this month, and I felt rather obligated to include as much as I could. But in the spirit of overcrowdedness (not actually a word, according to my spell-check), I thought I would do some thematic pairing up. So humour me.
The Gladstone presents ‘Doubt’
Until Saturday, March 14 @ 8pm
OLT presents ‘Wrong Turn at Lungfish’
Until Saturday, March 14 @ 8pm
Alright, I’m getting off to a strange start here. These plays really don’t have much in common, except for the fact that they’ve already opened and they finish on the same day. But I tried! Anyway. For the Ottawa Little Theatre show: a blind and bitter college professor, a streetwise woman and a dangerous boyfriend all clash in this edgy contemporary comedy; it is adorably rated PG.
I purposely avoided seeing the movie until this production opened. John Patrick Shanley’s play (after having seen the show, I really think it was meant to be a play) looks at the notion of uncertainty by examining the possibility of an inappropriate relationship between a priest and his young black student. Don’t miss stellar performances from Mary Ellis, Kris Joseph, Emmanuelle Zeesman, and (what an incredible find!) Natalie Fraser- Purdy.
Unicorn Theatre presents
‘l’Ours’ & ‘Dark Lady of the Sonnets’
March 5 to 7 @ 8pm
Studio Léonard Beaulne
Drama Guild presents
‘Don’t Blame the Bedouins’
March 17 to 21 @ 8pm
This connection was easy: both events are being presented at the University of Ottawa! Scouting for new talent, or just looking to see a great show? Come see our amazing students in action.
MFA Directing students Sarah Waisvisz (director of Chekhov’s ‘l’Ours’) and Bronwyn Steinberg (director of Shaw’s ‘Dark Lady of the Sonnets’) present a FREE bilingual evening of one-act plays, featuring fellow students in production and stage roles.
For the university’s mainstage production, director Kevin Orr is taking an unusual approach to an equally unusual play. A Governor General Award-winning play, ‘Don’t Blame the Bedouins’ will be presented in a style which borrows heavily from the graphic novel. The story itself includes Heroes and Heroines, Intellectual Geeks and Monsters, Stalin, Lenin and Santa Claus.
Third Wall Theatre Company presents
March 10 to 21 @ 7:30pm
Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre
Two classics of the world repertoire come to Ottawa, staged by two companies reputed for taking chances and showcasing great local talent.
Chamber Theatre, the company that specializes in putting on plays in Hintonburg’s historic taverns brings Arthur Miller’s classic tale of Eddie Carbone’s tragic love to the Elmdale House Tavern. Directed by Lisa Zanyk, this show features a stunning performance (according to Alvina Ruprecht’s CBC review) by Don Laflamme.
Henrik Ibsen often described his play Peer Gynt as being “impossible” to mount. Looks like Third Wall director James Richardson is crazy enough to take up the challenge! The lines between fantasy, reality and the conscious mind blur as we follow Peer Gynt around the world from Norway to the Kingdom of the Trolls and through the deserts of Africa. Don’t miss this new adaptation of Peer Gynt by Henry Beissel, starring local marvel Andy Massingham in the eponymous role.
Orpheus presents ‘Nunsense the Musical’
March 6 to 7 & 10 to 14 @ 8 pm
Sock ‘n’ Buskin presents ‘Evil Dead the Musical’
March 12 to 14 and 19 to 21 @ 8pm
Kailash Mittal Theatre in Southam Hall
Time for some musical theatre!!!
‘Nunsense’ is a hilarious spoof about the misadventures of five nuns trying to manage a talent fundraiser to bury their dearly departed. The show offers a cornucopia of hilarity for the whole family, proving conclusively that nun rhymes with fun! You can also catch 2pm Sunday matinees on March 8 and 15.
‘Evil Dead the Musical’ is a laugh-riot, as it simultaneously pays comedic tribute to and pokes fun at Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead franchise (Evil Dead, Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness), along with all B-movies in the horror genre. This show contains strong language, blood effects and suggestive content – yes, my kind of show!
That’s about all for now! But don’t forget that World Theatre Day is on March 27, and the Company of Fools uuusually has something planned for that day. So stay in touch with them at www.fools.ca
Visit my website at www.jessicaruano.wordpress.com to check out continuous updates throughout the month. I will post more upcoming events in the Press Releases section. Thanks very much for reading, and have a great time engaging with the Ottawa Arts scene!
Performing Arts Enthusiast
Publicist, Critic, and Theatre go-er
That’s what I love about seeing so much theatre: two plays in one week can throw me into two entirely different directions. What an emotional jump from the satirical fringe piece Conservatives in Love in the Arts Court Library to a modern day kitchen-sink drama Rabbit Hole, presented at The Gladstone.
I’ll start with a brief account of the former piece from the Leave the Pants at Home Equity Co-op. Actually, the company title pretty much describes the overall tone of this production: pure cheese. Dave Carley’s play is a tongue-and-cheek look at what our world might be like under the majority leadership of the Conservative government (*shiver*). Art galleries would be used solely for receptions and young Conservatives’ meetings. The Minister of Culture and Winter Sports would miss art openings to cut the ribbon at a new ice rink. Ford Motors would be the #1 creators of fine art. You get the picture.
Enthusiastically directed by Pat Gauthier (numerous Gruppo Rubato productions), Conservatives in Love features over-the-top performances by Margo MacDonald, Kate Smith, Geoff McBride, and Ian Travis. It was very impressive how often the four actors changed characters, costumes presumably flying about backstage, and constant close-misses from scene to scene. Despite the script’s extreme silliness and Gauthier’s rather witty staging, the performance did not elicit much laughter from the audience members. Still, considering the current political season in Ottawa, I think this production provided some much needed therapy, a light-humoured break from the seriousness of the upcoming election. I, for one, was very grateful.
Conservatives in Love runs until October 18th at the Arts Court Library.
Rabbit Hole was something altogether different. Upon walking into the theatre, I couldn’t help but notice the gorgeous set; and, I swear, before even looking in the program, I knew this was the work of Ivo Valentik.
Before I comment on The Gladstone production itself, I would like to whine momentarily about the tragic exclusion of Mr. Valentik in the recently announced Capital Critics Circle Awards nominations. A professional architect, Mr. Valentik designed an extraordinary set for last season’s Iron, directed by John P. Kelly. It was evident how much effort had been put into the creation of that set, and everyone agreed this was a work of art. Unfortunately, not many people saw this production – but, frankly, that’s all the more reason his accomplishments should have been recognized.
But I digress.
After a four-year-old child is killed in a car accident, his parents and relatives try their best to pull themselves together and come to terms with what has happened. The set drives home the point by situating the child’s empty room high up at centrestage, and places the kitchen and living room on either side, thus showing how the characters’ lives now revolve around this unfortunate death.
I saw a play with similar themes (heck, this is the stuff of most television drama) earlier this year, and I didn’t enjoy it quite so much. But this rather new play by David Lindsay-Abaire had something special about it: thanks to a small hand-full of subplots and some much-needed comic relief from younger sister Izzy (Nancy Kenny), the play did not focus entirely on the lost child, but rather looked closely at the people involved. This saved the production from becoming too hard-hitting and angst-ridden, and instead made it a very watchable piece of theatre.
Director Janet Irwin clearly took her time working with each character to ensure that their humanity came through in performance. I was already familiar with the work of Maureen Smith (Becca, the grieving mother) and Kenny (Becca’s sister), both at very different stages in their careers, yet both very accomplished actors. I was glad to be introduced to Michele Fansett (Nat, Becca’s mother) and formerly-of-Toronto actor Brie Barker (Howie, Becca’s husband), who were both fascinating as the two people from whom Becca is trying to distance herself. She finds comfort only in the unfortunate murderer of her son: a 17-year-old high schooler named Jason (Jesse Griffiths).
I was so impressed with Griffiths’ performance. Even though he was a few years too mature to play such a kid role, he pulled it off with grace and innocence. One of the things I loved about this set-up was that the child was not killed by some evil drunk driver, but by this lovely young guy who hit the child only because he was swerving to avoid the family dog. Truly, the accident was no one’s fault. When Griffiths first appears onstage, he is reading a letter he wrote to the family, wondering if he could meet with them. His efforts are so sincere, so heart felt, that you can’t help but fall in love with him. I could feel the audience excitement whenever that actor walked into the family home: his shy person somehow changed the entire scene; causing tension, offering relief, bringing answers. The character’s subtle inclusion is the real key to this play, and this particular performance makes it so worth seeing.
Rabbit Hole runs until October 25th at The Gladstone.
(Prime Minister Stephen Harper, September 23rd)
Isn’t it beautiful??? It was such a rush walking into that gorgeous, newly renovated theatre on Thursday for opening night at The Gladstone. Outside there was a crowd of elegantly dressed people holding their complimentary drinks and appetizers, socializing, and buzzing with excitement over Ottawa theatre’s hot new item. This former home of the Great Canadian Theatre Company has been completely refurbished with a larger box office, a spacious black-and-white lobby with tiled floors and crystal chandeliers, and a red curtain surrounding the proscenium stage. Instead of tickets, the box office staff handed out stylish programs with each guest’s name on the back. All these small details made the guests feel very welcome, like they were not only seeing a show, but being treated to a complete evening of entertainment. Everyone was in a wonderful mood, congratulating owner Steve Martin and manager John Collins on their fabulous work on the building.
You may be wondering: sure there was plenty of hype over the new digs. But how was the opening show?
In my opinion, absolutely fantastic. And I’m not just saying that because I had a couple glasses of wine before, during, and after the show. Though I am generally more appreciative of comedy under those circumstances. Maybe that’s why the staff was offering all those complimentary drinks. Ah, I see: very, very clever…
Either way, this production had everything: a hilarious script (“How the Other Half Loves” by Alan Ayckbourn), an intuitive director (the award-winning John P. Kelly), engaging staging and design (more about that in a bit…), and a cast of top-notch LOCAL actors (Pierre Brault, Kris Joseph, Michelle Leblanc, Teri Rata Loretto, Andy Massingham, and Alix Sideris). Just reciting those names makes my heart leap a little.
Perhaps those of us looking for an intellectual theatre experience might be turned off by the subject matter of this play, which depicts 3 couples of various social standing confronted by deception, confusion, and misunderstanding surrounding an adulterous relationship. Haven’t we all seen this before? Perhaps – but I’ve discovered that, despite his choice topic of common British farce, Ayckbourn is an incredibly clever playwright, and I’m going to tell you why.
The remarkable thing about Ayckbourn is not the subject matter he chooses for his work, but how he chooses to approach it in his work. Hasn’t it been said that “there are no dull subjects, only dull writers”? Theatre enthusiasts soon learn that content is only just the beginning when it comes to creating theatre. Some of the most interesting theatre creators today are focusing not on content, but on creative form and style. You will enjoy “How the Other Half Loves” for its witty dialogue, fast-paced action, and kooky characters, but you will remember it for its unique staging.
At any given time, two scenes are occurring simultaneously, and without any sort of split screen set. Characters from one scene move across the entire set that represents their home. Meanwhile, characters from another scene are using the same set to represent their own home. They interact only with the characters in their own scene, and pay no mind to the characters in the other scene. Often one actor would pass another actor (from a different scene) without even noticing, nearly missing each other. This takes an insane amount of sharp choreography to make the “close-calls” seems natural and to prevent any accidental collisions. This staging became even more challenging when the third couple comes for dinner at both homes, and has to interact with the other two couples at the same time.
The artistic team manages all these challenges with grace and skill. Kelly, who is familiar with the show having directed it twice in the past, guides his actors in exactly the right direction. On the opening night, they were confident, charismatic, and clearly having a hilariously good time. It was a joy to watch. And unlike most shows with a larger cast, there was no one actor that stood out as being superior to the rest: they were all undeniably professional, and they all brought something special to the scene.
One more thing: I found Ayckbourn’s trick especially appealing because I realized that it could never be successful in film. It is a technique that is unique to the stage and would not work anywhere other than the stage. That is something very special. It shows that this perceptive playwright knows his theatre very, very well. It shows that theatre is capable of producing something that no other art form can possibly produce to the same degree and effect. It shows that attending a play can provide a truly exceptional intimate experience. And I would like to personally thank The Gladstone for sharing that experience with me.
But enough gushing — just go see the darn play!
“How the Other Half Loves” runs until October 4th at 910 Gladstone Avenue (at Preston). For more information about The Gladstone, please visit their swanky website at http://www.thegladstone.ca.
Posted in Dance, Music, Ottawa, Theatre, Visual Arts, tagged Byward Market, Evolution Theatre, Festival X: Ottawa's Photography Festival, Golden Cherry Awards, great canadian theatre company, guerilla magazine, Ladyfest Ottawa, Lafrenière & Pai Gallery, national arts centre, Ottawa International Animation Festival, Ottawa School of Speech and Drama, Savoy Society, the gladstone, Vision Theatre, Zucchini Grotto on September 1, 2008 | Leave a Comment »
Greetings arts enthusiasts!
Alas, our summer adventures are coming to a close. In our last few days we try to put aside a few hours for bike rides along the canal, strolls along Westboro beach, eating gelato in the Byward Market, or watching a sunset from Major’s Hill Park.
Wait… just a minute… I’m about to put a positive spin on this. Oh, RIGHT! We have arts events. Lots of them. September is always jam-pack full of show openings and quirky festivals and crazy events. I have to say, I’m very excited.
But there is something that has been worrying me lately. As many of you probably know, the government has cut a lot of funding from the arts. Canadian artists will suffer greatly from these cuts, and the changes will in turn affect Canadians in general. Some people think of the arts as a frivolity. I assure you that this is not the case. I think people take for granted what the arts do in a community: they increase tourism, general aesthetics, general health; they educate people and entertain them; and they define a community, a city, a country with its uniqueness. If this concerns you as much as it concerns me, please write to your Prime Minister directly or sign an online petition at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Canadian-Arts-Funding. Find out what the government is spending money on. I have a suspicion it’s not just public healthcare and other essentials. A rebellion might be nice, too, but I understand that people are busy.
Besides, I’d rather you spend time supporting the arts by actually attending all these amazing events. If there’s anything I’m missing, please let me know, and I’d be happy to include it on my website. Here goes!
The Zucchini Grotto Theatre Company is looking for a female performer/vocalist to round out the cast of its next “Centre Stage Cabaret”. Auditions by appointment will take place September 7. For more information, check out http://www.zucchini.com/.
Savoy Society is holding auditions for Gilbert & Sullivan‘s comic opera The Gondoliers. Auditions by appointment will take place September 13 & 14. Please visit www.savoysociety.org for more information.
Still yearning for satisfaction after a couple of Women’s Studies courses? Catch up on your feminist schooling by attending Ladyfest Ottawa (September 19 to 21), a weekend of arts and music from talented local ladies who believe that political action can be fun and creative. Discover some unique crafts at Not Your Grandma’s Craft Sale and participate in Take Back the Night, a downtown march led by females. Getting the vote in the 1920s was just the beginning: what’s next for womyn-kind in the world of art? For more, visit www.ladyfestottawa.com
Ottawa-Gatineau’s premier arts awards show The Golden Cherry Awards (September 5) features 50 categories, 5 hosts – including Peter Honeywell, Alex Munter, Oni the Haitian Sensation and Amanda Putz, 5 musical acts, and hundreds of artists from all disciplines at the historic Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts and Humanities. For more information and to check out the nominees, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=69800485439
Amanda Lewis, Artistic Director at the Ottawa School of Speech & Drama (OSSD), Ottawa’s pre-eminent theatre school, is opening the doors at OSSD to the public for its annual Fall Open House (September 6). From 10am-5pm, participate in mini workshops, take a tour of the studios, win great prizes, and register for fall courses. For more information, visit www.ossd.com
GuerillaLIVE #17 is Guerilla Magazine’s launch party at the Enriched Bread Artists Studios (September 12). Come celebrate my 22nd birthday and the magazine that features my awesome local-arts column, Arts Smarts. For more information, check out www.getguerilla.ca or visit their Facebook page.
Having lived in the Byward Market for exactly one year now, I’ve been discovering all these wonderful little galleries right around the corner from my home. Just walking down Murray or Clarence Street is a revelation in art and culture. One of my newest findings is the Lafrenière & Pai Gallery at 13 Murray Street. Just recently they featured works from a local art-jewellery design competition. This month they are showcasing the creations of two artists: Maude Bussières, an internationally recognized glass artist (my new favourite type of art work…) and Mary K. McIntyre, who takes her inspiration from the botanical world. While the artists will only be in shop on September 6th from 2-4pm, their work is on display until the 25th. Check out www.lapaigallery.com for details.
Ottawa International Animation Festival (September 17 to 21) highlights what’s new and interesting in the world of professional animation. Whether your interests lie in animated film, web comics, or graphic novels, this festival has a bit of everything to get your artistic thoughts flowing and your pencil crayons back on the page. Hands-on workshops are provided for kids, for teenagers, and for would-be animators. Check out http://www.ottawa.awn.com/index.php for details on this year’s great line-up of screenings in various cinemas and museums.
Only in its second year, Festival X: Ottawa’s Photography Festival (September 18 to 28) has already established a solid reputation in Ottawa’s visual arts community. Taking over numerous galleries in the capital, the festival offers workshops and lectures on photography, as well as providing space for established and emerging photographers to showcase their work. As an aspiring image-smith, I’m looking forward to learning from those with a keen eye and sharp focus. For more information, check out www.festivalx.ca
As most theatre companies are beginning a brand new season, Evolution Theatre is just finishing theirs. Always looking to challenge the conventions of theatre and produce thought-provoking plays, Artistic Director Chris Bedford leads a group of talented local actors – Lawrence Aronovitch, William Beddoe, Jerome Bourgault, Fletcher Gailey-Snell, Kel Parsons, and Chantale Plante – in the English premiere of Playing Bare (September 3 to 13), inspired by Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Check out www.evolutiontheatre.ca for more details!
The Great Canadian Theatre Company opens their season with I, Claudia (September 9 to 28), a critically acclaimed one-woman show about an intelligent young girl named Claudia and the important people in her life. I saw the film version of the original production a couple of years back, and I was very touched by the story. Definitely worth seeing: check out www.gctc.ca for details.
Back again in Ottawa with another great season of contemporary masterpieces is Vision Theatre with their production of My Name is Rachel Corrie (September 10 to 20). This is a play without a playwright, edited from the emails and journals of Rachel Corrie, a young peace activist. An American who went to aid Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, Rachel died at the age of 23, killed by an Israeli bulldozer while attempting to stop the demolition of a Palestinian home. Starring Ottawa’s own Sarah McVie and directed by her former teacher at Canterbury High School, Paul Griffin (also a favourite at Odyssey Theatre). For more information, visit www.visiontheatre.ca
Probably the most exciting thing to happen in Ottawa theatre this year, The Gladstone opens its doors this month with hilarious Brit Alan Ayckbourn’s How the Other Half Loves (September 11 to October 4). Owner Steve Martin plans on having the building open for theatre (and other performing arts) all year round and has already booked a dozen productions so far. He plans on hiring all local directors, actors, and designers, which means more work for our artists! For more information, check out their classy website at www.thegladstone.ca
The National Arts Centre English Theatre presents Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days (September 17 to October 4), featuring Tanja Jacobs and local actor Paul Rainville. It’s about a woman buried up to her waist in earth. Would you expect anything less from Beckett? Check out http://nac.ca/en/whatson/results.cfm?EventID=5544 for details.
NACO’s spectacular 2008-2009 season opens with the Mozart Brahms Festival — masterworks from these two classical titans will be performed from (September 23-October 2) at the National Arts Centre and in the Auditorium of the National Gallery of Canada. On September 23, the first concert of the Festival (in the NAC’s Southam Hall at 8:00 p.m.) features two close friends who are also musical superstars: conductor and violist Pinchas Zukerman and violinist Itzhak Perlman perform Mozart’s ‘Duo for violin and viola’ and ‘Sinfonia concertante’ and ‘Symphony No. 1’ by Johannes Brahms. For more information about the concert, the Festival, and numerous audience enrichment activities, please consult the NAC website at www.nac-cna.ca.
Didn’t get your homework done for class? Forget the “my-dog-ate-it” excuse, and just tell your teacher the truth: I was immersing myself in Ottawa culture. Don’t you want to encourage my artistic education?
Please remember that this newsletter is only just the beginning. My website also features handy advice and resources for those looking to get involved in the Ottawa arts community. I have also been contributing more frequently to my Ottawa Arts Blog, writing accounts of the various arts events I attend. And I always appreciate comments! Check out www.jessicaruano.wordpress.com for more.
Have a great September!