Igloofest is what happens when you take North America’s only UNESCO City of Design, fill it with the continent’s most important digital arts scene, toss in some neon-glow ice cubes and then blend at full throttle – to the beats of some of the world’s best and biggest DJs come to play for Montreal’s notoriously fun-loving crowds.
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.
Where is the United States headed? At best, it is trapped in stagnation, in the view of both George Packer and Niall Ferguson, though they offer…
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.
From the moment that actor Toni Servillo enters the stage with a dastardly grin you know that Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty will be a wild and wonderful ride. Fans of Italian cinema might remember Sorrentino’s 2008 masterpiece Il Divo, where Servillo played the stoic, reptillian real-life politician Giulio Andreotti. In contrast, The Great Beauty follows Servillo as Jep Gambardella, a disillusioned Roman socialite, as he meanders through Rome, reflecting on a life of partying and unfulfilled artistic promise.
Watching I am Divine, the feature-length documentary about the late legendary performer, I was struck with a powerful, overwhelming sense of nostalgia.
2014 marks the 40th anniversary of ABBA’s Eurovision win with vintage hit single “Waterloo.” Despite consistently topping the charts for nearly a decade thereafter and selling over 400 million records worldwide, the legendary group remain a bit of an unknown quantity to fresh-faced listeners.
A young Jack White once ironically asked an audience at a White Stripes concert if going to a rock and roll concert was the same as going to a museum. For my part, Ron Mueck has enthralled me, Dale Chihuly filled me with wonder, but the Bass Drum of Death show last Sunday at Casa del Popolo rocked me to the core.
If you’ve yet to hear of local performance artist Chun Hua Catherine (Cat) Dong, let me introduce you. Cat, originally from China, was schooled at Emily Carr and holds an MFA from Concordia. Her performances have spanned the globe—from Lithuania to Italy to Germany—and her work has been exhibited in North America, Europe and Asia.
The Award winning 1986 film, Dark Lullabies, winner of five international awards and selected as one of the 50 best documentaries of all time, has had a recent spurt of popularity. Made by Montreal husband and wife team Abbey Jack Neidick and Irene Lilienheim Angelico’s DLI Productions, in collaboration with the NFB, it just completed a four night well-attended run at the Cinema du Parc. This was inspired by its out of the blue selection last summer to be the first film to ever be programmed at the Stratford, Ontario Shakespeare Festival.
Peter Hinton is an award winning playwright and director. From 2005-2012, he was Artistic Director of English Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa; prior to that he was an associate artist at The Stratford Festival for seven seasons and then more recently directed at the Shaw Festival. For the Segal Centre, he directed A Night in November by Marie Jones, Buried Child by Sam Shepard, and his own adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House. Peter was the 2012 English recipient of the National Theatre School of Canada’s Gascon/Thomas Award for significant achievement in Canadian Theatre, and in 2009, he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. I met Peter in the lobby of the Segal Centre.
Hours before heading on a Greyhound bus to New York City, my first trip to the US in almost 9 years, I expressed some concern about dealing with customs agents. My interactions with arrogant, large, refrigerator-like dudes with bulletproof vests has never been pleasant; what is it about buzz cuts that can induce such swagger? When I aired these concerns to friends I got two bits of advice over and over: “Just don’t lie” was one and “Stop worrying, you’re white” was the other. Considering that the Charter of Values is keeping the media busy in Quebec, both seemed appropriate. So, I thought approaching the US customs as an honest white man was a pretty good plan.