Just spent the past month at the Banff Centre, working with Against the Grain Theatre on some new opera. Joel Ivany is helping to forge new paths for opera in this country and it was a joy to be a part of it all, creating new work with some dedicated young singers in a gorgeous setting.
My main focus was a workshop production of James Rolfe and Anna Chatterton’s Crush, a commission of the COC, loosely based on Mozart’s Don Giovanni. It’s a challenging new opera, and I can’t remember the last time I felt so proud of a cast. As Jenna Douglas, the music director, said after the final performance, “I feel like I could lift a house.”
A detailed review is in the Calgary Herald here.
This new show officially launched last night at Western Canada Theatre. Runs until May 2 if you are in the area. Coming to Vancouver in September.
Here are some videos that gave me inspiration in thinking it all up:
Michael was one of the first people to give me some guidance in our community. He invited me to Calgary to come and see the High Performance Rodeo as a youngster still finding my way. He told me to come and stay in his basement and see as many shows as I could. He showed me the Internet. He showed me how the Rabbits made theatre, how they made a company, how they loved and appreciated and took care of each other.
Michael Green was a gifted compelling performer, a curator ahead of everyone, and a snazzy dresser He loved a good party. He was a weirdo, a generous soul, a visionary. Talking to Michael sometimes made you feel like you were talking in some mind expansive future. He lead the way for so many of us, he blazed such a bright bright brilliant trail. He made me feel unique. The world lost some colour yesterday.
Looking back on a year, an odd day today where nothing makes clear sense, so my thoughts are a bit all over the place. Funny to think back on a calendar year, when the theatrical year is more like the school year. We are at the Winter Holidays, halfway through, but we are not into a a new number of year. It doesn’t seem to line up. The media likes to make Best Of Lists for a Year, but we don’t necessarily organize our theatre seasons like that. It feels like we are comparing the end of last season, with the beginning of this season. But nonetheless.
So then some of the things really sticking with me from the past year:
Then She Fell by 3rd Rail, The Glass Menagerie directed by John Tiffany, and some personal projects: Craigslist Cantata at ATP, Citadel, NAC. The women who trusted me with their plays: Susinn McFarlen, Hannah Moscovitch, and the unforgettable Linda Griffiths. Another glorious East Van Panto.
I get weird this time of year. I think Emelia was able to write about it in great ways here and here.
Very happy and proud that this show continues on, and at such a prestigious venue. If you’re in Ottawa please come and check it out. I’m looking forward to seeing how Ottawa audiences are different than Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto. The folks at the NAC have made this a nice easy load in, the show looks really great in their studio space. And of course, if you need tickets, there are some on Kijiji.
Richard Rose’s production of An Enemy of the People is running at Tarragon in Toronto right now. I managed to catch it as I was in town for a workshop. This production is based on another production directed by Thomas Ostermeier that’s toured around a bit, but not to Canada. The most thrilling part of the production is the town hall section where the audience joins the debate. The night I attended, the audience was literally chomping at the bit, to have their say. It was like they knew their role and then relished it.
Playwright Daniel Karasik has some further thoughts of his own here.
The play we were workshopping was Daniel MacIvor’s Cake and Dirt, also at the Tarragon in February 2015. Watching the season opener I was thrilled by how political it felt, and am anticipating MacIvor’s play inspiring more such conversation.
Susinn McFarlen’s first play is running this week at Presentation House. It’s a big juicy overstuffed family comedy, featuring a glorious cast who never stopped making me giggle.
As almost always with new plays, the critics disagree. Mark loves the way the acts work together, Colin says the acts don’t work together, and Jo is an all out rave. Read for yourself, but more important, come see for yourself. We’d love to talk about it.
The Youtube is a CPR video which was helpful for research during rehearsals. Makes some sense if you see the show.
One of the things that I loved about Linda was that you never knew what she was going to say. She was a constant surprise. She was funny and scary. She was warm and prickly. I liked how mischievous she could be. She made you feel like she was telling you secrets. Being with her was like being at a really fun weird party.
She wouldn’t like this picture of her, but it’s how I remember her, working on her play Games at Daniel’s Hill House in Nova Scotia. Sharing ideas, laughter, me doing dishes at the sink, while two Canadian theatre titans schemed around the wood stove drinking tea.
Publicly she was born in 1956. I snuck a peak at her driver’s license once. It said 1953.
This creepy play by Hannah Moscovitch opens tonight at the Cultch Culture Lab. Daniel Arnold and Marisa Smith of Alley Theatre have been working with me for the past while. We’ve followed the same rehearsal model as when we did Tape a few years ago, althought this time we’re doing in a theatre space and not a hotel room. Hannah’s writing is sharp and weird and disturbing. We’ve been rehearsing part time for a bit, so I’m looking forward to seeing what an audience does with this suburban horror story. Only 6 performances, throughout the Vancouver Fringe.