This epic Aeneid is both timely and fabulous. Olivier Kemeid has transposed some of the story to modern settings and his refugee camps and underworlds are as horrific as anything imagined by Virgil. With war almost imminent in the Crimea, this play hits harder into our collective consciousness than any other.
Oren Safdie, 22 years a playwright, is enjoying a successful run of his first script to be produced in Montreal, his hometown. A riveting drama about a young woman seeking legal against her former boss for sexual harassment, Unseamly continues at Infinithéâtre through March 9th. I spoke with the writer just before he attended a performance at the Bain St. Michel, during his recent visit from Venice Beach, California, where he lives.
Motherhouse is a brave marriage of political story telling and popular theatre. Holly Gauthier-Frankel takes the stage and kibitzes with the audience, quickly launching into the story of the woman who works at a munitions factory in Verdun during the First World War. There are three other women on stage who provide fiddle music, songs, very short comments as various caricatures, and move the (big and confusing) set around.
All plays about the holocaust are difficult to watch. This particular tale, of a wealthy Austrian woman who manages to survive but loses much on the…
The Walnut Tree, by Geoffrey Ursell, is based on a semi autobiographical novel by Martha Blum. In a gripping two hours, it relates in a mix of dream sequences and starkly realistic confrontations, yet another story of the few survivors of the nightmares that swept Europe in the mid 20th century.
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”George Bernard Shaw. I do not know if Eugene Ionesco, the Romanian-French “Theatre of the Absurd” playwright knew of this quip when he wrote The Bald Soprano, his first play in 1950, the year of Shaw’s absurd death at 94 while climbing a tree. In any event, the play carries non communication to a heightened level, abandoning even an illusion thereof.
The ancient Greeks said it all. Not only in philosophy, but in theatre. Some 500 to 400 years BCE, the Greek dramatists Fab Four — Aeschylus, Aristophanes (my favorite), Euripides and Sophocles — ruled the roost with deep observations that traverse the centuries, unmatched by anyone until Shakespeare.
She’s young and beautiful. Her skirt is terribly short but otherwise there’s nothing about Malina (as played by Arlen Aguayo Stewart) to suggest she’s a scheming seductress bent on destroying her ex-lover, a charismatic corporate genius. Such is the power of Oren Safdie’s provocative new play Unseamly that you don’t know what or whom to believe.
Unseamly is a very difficult play to watch; it deals with the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace and the possible complicity of the victim. And Howard Rosenstein’s performance alone merits a trip to the freezing Bain St-Michel.
The wonderful folk at the Freestanding Room have squeezed a major initiative into their tiny 3rd story performance space. This is the inaugural run of the Shortstanding Festival of Short Performances. Eight creations of its collectivity members are featured in a wide variety of small but mighty presentations, lasting 30 minutes or less.
I know that we are supposed to be impressed. This was a very successful French play, even winning the Governor General’s award for dramatic literature. I may also be a little hard on it because I recently saw Carmen Aquirre’s Blue Box, unquestionably one of the greatest one women shows ever.
There were so many reasons to find The Book of Bob astonishing. Job is not one of my favourite biblical stories. Just because Satan has a beef with the Almighty is not sufficient reason to do awful things to Job and his family. It seems utterly unjust that no one consults Mrs. Job about the testing of her husband. Arthur Holden has created a modern humanist secular persona who also suffers, seemingly at the hands of a female God. That in itself is a great improvement. Even Satan in this play is a female.
Verily, I have gazed upon this work of Arthur and it pleaseth me much. In The Book of Bob, Arthur Holden’s clever script is inspiringly performed by Ron Lea as Bob and Lucinda Davis as – are you ready? – God, Satan, a troublesome student, a university administrator, a cantankerous father, Bob’s wife and Bob’s son’s street wise gal friend.
One of the characters in The Seagull says that theatre is medicine and the audience needs healing. In the case of the Seagull, the medicine is both delicious and effective. The play is long, but one only notices that after it is over, the standing ovation ends, and you glance at a watch. In theatre time it transpires in a flash. This is first class medicine from some world class practitioners.
It is indeed happening at the intimate Theatre Ste. Catherine, for an all too short run of four nights. The imaginative Third Eye Ensemble presents five short plays involving 27 characters played by 15 talented actors as a fund raiser for their autumn show.