Monday, April 1, 2013

Openings We're Tracking This Week, April 1-7, 2013

Nobody is going to tell you that Peer Gynt is an easy play to mount. Indeed, its own writer, Henrik Ibsen, intended the sprawling, insanely long, insanely complex work to, primarily, be read for the verse it was. Since Ibsen, however, this has not detered directors and this includes Peter Batakliev who is leading a student cast. But even Batakliev has said, "It's a monster... But this monster has so many hidden qualities that can be quite interesting to discover and explore as an artist." Batakliev is adapting. Will the verse survive his treatment? (BTW, it was 27 years ago when two contributors to this site played in the very same play in the very same theatre.) (Montreal)

Whoa! Here it comes! The Mamet train heading right at one of the biggest companies in the country. And - Whoa! - rather than keep the possible shitstorm quiet, the company has cast TV star, aging-nicely pretty-boy and daredevil Jason Priestly in the lead. But for those of you who think RACE is a stunt and Priestly is stunt-casting let's say two things: despite his idiot political ideas, Mamet is a great playwright, and Priestly was quite, quite fine in one of the most underrated films of the last two decades, Love and Death on Long Island. Add to this that Daniel Brooks - one of our great directors - helms. It will be white-knuckle, especially since this will be Mr. Priestley's first forray into theatre. (Toronto)

Aboriginal playwright, Drew Hayden Taylor - like Tomson Highway - would do just fine even without the descriptive "Aboriginal." Both playwrights return to their roots for themes but the works resonate far beyond the cultural borders and speak with humour and blunt-as-bolts dialogue even as those themes might suggest a dominant Native lyricism. With this production of God and the Indian, Taylor once again explores the devastation caused by federal politics towards Aboriginal integration, when a woman confronts a priest from the days when she was in a residential school. More? The sublime Tantoo Cardinal stars. (Vancouver)

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