Friday, September 30, 2011

The Friday Five, September 30, 2011

Top 5 Parts for Little Person Actors.
There’s an old saying in theatre, “there are no small parts, only small actors”. But that’s not exactly true, is it? First of all, the expression itself was only made up to bullshit theatre divas into thinking their shitty parts were actually worth a damn. There are indeed small parts, small insignificant parts that no self-respecting actor would be caught dead playing. But there are also small actors. Not “small” as in petty or shallow (all actors are petty and shallow), but small as in little. The following are the five best parts for little person actors. 
By Matt G of Matt and Kyle and Matt

CharPo's Real Theatre, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: (Montreal) Adopt This!

First-Person: Kate Newby on directing True Love Lies

(Photo courtesy of Trudie Lee Photography)

The Truth in True Love Lies
Having performed in Fraser's works, an artist finds directing him is a case of finding balance
Kate Newby

When approached by ATP to direct “True Love Lies” I found myself surprisingly keen to explore Brad Fraser’s work from the director’s perspective. My past experiences with Fraser’s work have always been as an actor, having survived two tumultuous, yet highly successful productions of “Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love,” a wild fringe production of “Chainsaw Love” and two fabulously unique productions of “The Ugly Man.” I know from past experience, Fraser’s work can be challenging on a variety of different levels. Depending on the play, his work is often interpreted as risky, titillating, witty, and sometimes superficial, yet like Noel Coward, Fraser’s work has tremendous depth and a large dose of truth. In each of Fraser’s plays you will find an undercurrent of pain, betrayal, desire and need. 

CPC's Picture of the Week, September 29, 2011

The gorgeous poster art for the upcoming 
(We don't know about you but we may have 
nightmares about that scary-ass clown.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

After Dark, September 27, 2011

I Confess
Reflections on Springer, reality TV, tragedy and theatre
By Gaëtan L. Charlebois

I am going to be attending and reviewing Dan Bingham's play, Adopt This!, later this week. Bingham's piece played the Fringe here, made a lot of noise (we gave him five Charpies out of five - our rating system) and he decided to revive it. It is the story of living as an adopted child and then meeting the biologicals. In it, I've been told, he reveals his heart.

But he does it with humour. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

News: Shaw Fest Executive Director retiring.

Openings We're Tracking This Week, September 26-October 2, 2011

Perhaps no character in opera is more poignantly tragic that Gilda, in Verdi's Rigoletto (opening this week at COC). Michael Levine's sketches for the production in Toronto tell the story of Gilda's sad descent - from woman in a proper dress to one in a loose shift.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Abominable Showman, September 25, 2011

The importance of being Oscar
Wilde, Elvis, Thornton, Constance and Montreal
By Richard Burnett

Oscar Wilde once famously noted, “"The only duty we owe history is to rewrite it." 

But surely he did not mean this:  A new play called Constance – "the world premiere of the only unproduced Oscar Wilde play" – opened on Sept 23 at The King's Head theatre in Islington, north London.  And everybody is up in arms, especially Wilde’s grandson, Merlin Holland.

Holland told the Guardian newspaper that his grandfather only wrote a "minimal" scenario – just a few paragraphs – for a drama called Constance, which Wilde wrote in a letter dating back to 1894. "He never wrote a word of the play," Holland says.

Review: (Montreal) Anna sous les tropiques

Review: (Quebec City) La nuit des rois

Réjean Vallée, Jean-Jacqui Boutet, Denis Lamontagne and Kevin McCoy
(Photo: Vincent Champoux)

The Thread, September 25, 2011

The Thread

Everything opened this week and as much as it is nice for the theatre community to sing-We-Are-The-World-hold-hands-and-sway, the fact is that people have limited amounts of money for the purchase of theatre tickets. So competition, for good or ill, enters into it. How should theatres compete with each other? Discuss.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Theatre For Thought, September 24, 2011

The thrilling conclusion to my life in theatre school…
joel fishbane

During my second year of theatre school, I read “True and False”, a book by David Mamet that should be required reading for anyone contemplating a life in the arts. Mamet abhors theatre schools but I have to give mine credit in one respect: if it wasn’t for them, I’d never have decided to be a writer.

During out first year at school, I penned the books and lyrics to a musical in the hopes of one day finding a composer. I gave it to one of my teachers, David Warrack, a man who has been the lifeblood of Canadian musical theatre for almost forty years. Later, he told me that the musical was one of the best things he had read in years. Having reread it recently, I see he was just being kind, like when you give a drawing of a stick figure to your mother and she hangs it on the fridge. But the result was the same. I had been encouraged and if you’ve ever been bored during one of my plays, David Warrack is partly to blame (so is my mother, but that’s another story).

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Friday Five, September 23, 2011

Five Theatre Superstitions Explained
The theatre has a storied history of tradition and superstition, with most contemporary theatre companies still abiding by age-old superstitious practices. Many would call this kind of behaviour childish or naive, and many more would probably call it superstitious, traditional or age-old. Before you start throwing around hurtful labels, join me on a journey into the past as we uncover the truth behind these hugely stupid delusions.
by Kyle Gatehouse of Matt and Kyle and Matt

CharPo's Real Theatre!, September 23, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Review: (Montreal) Cantate de guerre

Paul Ahmarani in Cantate de guerre at Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui (photo: Valérie Remise)

News: (Toronto) Luminato Names new Artistic Director

Review: (Montreal) Theatre For One

First-Person: Jacob Richmond on Ride the Cyclone

It’s Just A Ride 
(About the creation of “Ride the Cyclone”)
Jacob Richmond
The initial seed of the idea for writing “Ride the Cyclone” was my desire to dramatize an accident.
I seem to recall Aristotle said in the Poetics there was nothing dramatic about an accident, or a natural disaster… that structurally there is nothing interesting about such events, for they have no real rhyme or reason, and the best they could achieve is a form of spectacle.

CPC's Picture of the Week, September 22, 2011

Rick Miller's hit solo Bigger Than Jesus, opening next week
(Photo: Cylla von Tiedemann)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

EVENT: (Toronto) Amelia: The Girl Who Wants To Fly

CPC's Video of the Week, September 21, 2011

The acclaimed Ride The Cyclone - big winner at this year's SummerWorks - 
is beginning a national tour; 
it starts in Vancouver this week, goes on to Whitehorse and continues
on to a highly anticipated run in Toronto at Passe Muraille.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Breaking News: Shaw announces new season.

Feature: Nicole Cabell, soprano

(Photo: Devon Cass)

The reluctant diva
American soprano Nicole Cabell brings star-wattage to L’Opera de Montreal’s season-opening production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro
By Richard Burnett

Montreal audiences have been clamouring for American soprano Nicole Cabell since she made her one-shot appearance at L’Opéra de Montreal’s Gala back in 2005 – the same year Cabell won the Cardiff Singer of the World competition.

Cabell now finally makes her company debut as La Contessa Almaviva in Mozart’s masterpiece The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which originally premiered at Vienna’s Burgtheater in May 1786 and was last produced at L’Opéra de Montréal in 2003.

After Dark, September 20, 2011

The Dark Comedy of Forbidden Words
Comedy goes where theatre fears to tread
By Gaëtan L. Charlebois

I entered into an email correspondance this week with a highly talented young theatre artist who refered to my editorial, from last week, and how much he had liked the quote from Patton Oswalt. He added that in his life he finds himself quoting standups more often than he quotes theatre.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Blog: Paradise Lost's Journey to Atlantic Fringe (Part IV)

The Abominable Showman by Richard Burnett, September 18, 2011 (New Feature)

Jeannotte and Patricia Summersett just before
THE scene. (Photo: Andrée Lanthier)

Much Ado About Dick
When you've got really hot guys like Lamont or Jeannotte stripping onstage, believe me, you can hear a pin drop. As well as a few jaws.
By Richard Burnett

There’s nothing quite like making a grand entrance. Just ask Montreal theatre legend Louis Negin, the first actor to ever appear nude on a legitimate British stage, in John Herbert’s Fortune and Men’s Eyes in London’s West End back in 1967. But if London audiences gasped when Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe appeared nude in the West End revival of Equus in 2007, imagine the reaction to Negin 40 years earlier!

The Thread, September 18, 2011

The Thread

Many theatre artists believe the form does not need critics. However, stats at CharPo-Canada and CharPo-Montreal are clear: traffic goes way up when reviews appear on the sites. So SOMEONE likes this stuff!  Just how important are critics to the dialogue that is theatre? Discuss.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Theatre For Thought, September 17, 2011

More thoughts, comments and failed love affairs from my days in theatre school…
By Joel Fishbane

There were about sixty students in my school and most of them were girls, and by girls I mean dancers and by dancers I mean that subspecies of femininity known for their agility, athleticism and grace. There were nine other boys in the school and many of them were gay and I’m told that those who weren’t have since come out of the closet. I’m the last hold out and every now and then I get an email that’s completely blank except for a question mark. They don’t need to write the question; I already know it.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Review: (Ottawa) Amelia: The Girl Who Wants To Fly

The Friday Five, September 16, 2011

Did you know that the word “theatre” is actually an acronym? Most people don’t know the history. The name given to this form of live performance was originally written as “T.H.E.A.T.R.E. T.H.E.A.T.R.E.”. When deconstructed, it spells out sentences explaining the discipline. The following five historic couplets have defined an art form for eons - literally millennia.
by Matthew Raudsepp of Matt and Kyle and Matt

CharPo's Real Theatre!, September 16, 2011

Thursday, September 15, 2011

News: (Edmonton) Richard Winnick dies.

Dr. Richard Winnick, a workhorse in the community theatre scene, has died at the age of 60, Walterdale Theatre announced. Winnick directed over 50 productions at several community companies across the region.

Read his obituary.

Review: (Montreal) Equus

EVENT: (Toronto) The Life and Times of Mackenzie King

EVENT: (Ottawa) Amelia: The Girl Who Wants To Fly

Review: (Montreal) Unfit For Bears

Emilia Alvarez in Unfit For Bears
(Photo: Danielle Demers)

First-Person: J. Kelly Nestruck on revivals

(Nestruck and Baby, credit: Gillian Goerz,

Canadian revivals on the rise.
Starting from Soulpepper's White Biting Dog...
by J. Kelly Nestruck

Judith Thompson's White Biting Dog won a Governor General's Award for drama in 1984, but does that actually mean it's any good? A new revival at Soulpepper Theatre Company has allowed Toronto critics to argue the question.

In his review of Nancy Palk's production for the website Stage Door, critic Christopher Hoile - who lost his mainstream regular outlet when Toronto weekly Eye recently morphed into critic-less The Grid - wondered how such an "absolute mess" could have ever won the G-G. "It was certainly not Soulpepper’s intention, but this revival of Thompson’s play with a cast who give it their all only demonstrates that it really is not 'the great Toronto play' that people have claimed it is," he wrote.

CPC's Picture of the Week, September 15, 2011

Dan Bingham standup becomes Dan Bingham story-teller/actor in Adopt This, coming back to Montreal after it's successful run at the Fringe. Read CharPo's rave here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

News: (Montreal) David Laferrière helms Centre des auteurs dramatiques

David Laferrière is taking over as director general of the Centre des auteurs dramatiques. He replaces Marc Drouin who has led the organization for five years. Laferrière was director general of  the Corporation de la Salle de Spectacle de Sept-Îles (Salle Jean-Marc-Dion). The CEAD counts 250 playwrights as members and is organized to support, promote and disseminate their works.

Read the CEAD announcement (in French)

CPC's Video of the Week, September 14, 2011

Rick Miller's brilliant and critically acclaimed MacHomer

PWM's Tadoussac Residency

Found in Translation
Tadoussac Residency 2011: a marriage of two solitudes
joel fishbane

Playwrights are converging on Fletcher Cottage this week, an out of the way reserve in Tadoussac, Quebec. With them is an army of artists of a different sort, ones who have the difficult job of making sure their work is never noticed. These are the translators, those oft-forgotten wordsmiths who ensure that dialogue glides off the page in a tongue the playwrights don’t speak (or at least, don’t speak well). Many metaphors can be given to describe the relationship between author and translator but at Tadoussac only one really applies: it is a marriage of two solitudes. Not English and French, but writer and writer. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

News: (Ottawa) Fondation Awards announced

(Story submitted by The Charlebois Post Ottawa editor, Natasha Gauthier)

This evening, La Fondation pour l'avancement du Théâtre francophone (The Foundation for The Advancement of francophone theatre) has announced its merit awards for 2011. The awards were given for national and regional achievement. The prizes came with bursaries of $5000 to $8500

News: (Toronto) Soulpepper announces fall season

Soulpepper Theatre has announced that they will be adding several production to their repertoire this fall including a remount of Neil Simon's rollicking comedy The Odd Couple (Albert Schultz will play slob Oscar with Diego Matamoros as fussy Felix) and a new production of Ibsen's Ghosts, translated by Morris Panych.

Read the Soulpepper press release.

News: (Ottawa) Third Wall Cancels season

(Story submitted by Ottawa Editor, Natasha Gauthier)

Labouring under an accumulated deficit of $60,000, Ottawa's Third Wall Theatre has cancelled it's three-play season. The company intends to do a year of fund-raising and will move forward, says management, "with renewed vigor."

Read the Third Wall release at their site.
Read the Ottawa Citizen story.

After Dark, September 13, 2011

Enough With The F*&?@#$ Circuses, Already!
The goddam song says, "Picture yourself" not "Picture us"!
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

"Cirque du Soleil is catnip for old people...[It's] what a Gay French dude sees in his head when he's tired and horny. There's a naked guy in a trapeze with his dick flapping around and there's a hedgehog with a boner on a tricycle and three clowns are jerking off on a ghost...everything in Cirque du Soleil is wet and French and Gay and on fire at the same time." Patton Oswalt

*  *  *

Monday, September 12, 2011

News: Next Stage Festival Lineup announced

TAPA (The Toronto Alliance For The Performing Arts) has announced the line for January's Next Stage Festival. Among the productions being presented are Hypnogic Logic (photo), Living With Henry, Lovesexmoney. The Festival takes place at Factory Theatre spaces.

Read the TAPA press release here.

Openings We're Tracking This Week, September 12-18, 2011

Rick Miller at Factory Theatre, Toronto

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Feature: Opera across the country

Love From Afar, coming to the COC
(Photo: Annemie Augustijns)

Opera Nation
Canadian opera companies juggle Italian masterpieces with mainstream Broadway fare for their 2011-2012 seasons
By Richard Burnett

The upcoming 2011-2012 opera season across Canada continues to rely on old Italian classics by such tried-and-true composers as Giuseppe Verdi, Rossini, Puccini and Leoncavallo.

The Thread, September 11, 2011

The Thread

There is considerable disgruntlement in Canadian artistic circles about artists' lack of control of their institutions. Over and over again, artists seem to be stymied by a system of cronyism, board stagnation, and companies run by people who know nothing about the arts. (This subject was discussed between publisher Gaëtan L. Charlebois and artistic director Guy Sprung in episode 6 of This Is The CPC.) Clearly it is time for change. But...

Who should be leading the charge to change the board system in Canada's arts companies (PACT, Actors Equity, The Canada Council?), and why? Discuss.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Theatre For Thought, September 10, 2011

In which I continue to reminisce about my days in theatre school….
joel fishbane

My acting teacher’s name was Ron and he passed on a lot of practical information, most of which I was still use. A typical class involved a student performing a monologue and Ron pointing out all the ways she could make it better. That was how it was: you were never “wrong”, but you were always in need of improvement. But though I admired Ron, I would be lying if I said we got along. We did not. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

The Friday Five, September 9, 2011

Five Unconventional Characters that should make it to Broadway
Most Broadway shows these days are adapted from movies and TV shows. Even Pee-wee Herman has his own Broadway show (a kids’ show host, inextricably linked to taking his penis and balls out in public). If he can it make to the Great White Way, then there’s plenty of room up there for these unconventional fun-loving characters. 
By Matt G of Matt and Kyle and Matt

CharPo's Real Theatre!, September 9, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Review: (Montreal) The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Processed Theatre spells success with Bee musical 
A spelling champion manqué contemplates the glories of Putnam County
by Sarah Deshaies

I’m a spelling bee champion manqué. Always an overachieving know-it-all in elementary and high school English, I now copy edit my campus newspaper, own my own special edition of Strunk and White’s Elements of Style, and follow the AP Stylebook on Twitter. Sad to say, I narrowly avoided the advent of the Canspell competition. 

CPC's Picture of the Week, September 8, 2011

(photo: David Cooper)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

First-Person: Rick Miller on the meta-realities of his HARDSELL

“I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. 
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.”

“Breakdown inevitably leads to breakthrough”
Marshall McLuhan

I’m the father of two girls.  I’m also the father of many shows.  Though my biological offspring will always trump my creative offspring, they are intimately connected, always informing each other.  For better or for worse, my life and my work are like intertwining threads of my DNA, and how much control I have over the evolution of each has been a constant preoccupation for me. 

The Thread, September 4, 2011

The Thread

Hudson Village Theatre, a company off the Island of Montreal which is known for its summer fare, has become ground zero of a discussion that has national implications. Two weeks ago the artistic director of the company, Andrew Johnston, was told that his contract would not be renewed. A Facebook group was formed to support Johnston, with much of the discussion taken up by anger at the board, which had decided to change the model of the house and invite, instead, guest artistic directors to helm the summer season. An editorial appeared on this site, followed by a lengthy letter from well-known director Guy Sprung, now artistic director of Infinitheatre (read his comment following the editorial). Briefly: the editorial said, referring to the board, "...[it] takes[s] a village for a theatre...any theatre from Stratford to Village, from Ship's Company to The North Vancouver Community Players. And like it or not, the village cannot survive without some damn good bean-counters." Sprung riposted with "The only solution (for the moment) is for the artists themselves to build their own Boards. To surround themselves with a group of caring individuals from all walks of life, who mirror and represent the theatre’s audience and who are there for the Art not for their own egos." The question: Should artists have complete control over subsidized houses - why or why not? Discuss.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

News: Playwright Michel-Marc Bouchard wins Prix de la dramaturgie francophone in France

Blog: Paradise Lost's Journey to Atlantic Fringe (Part II)

First-Person: Jacoba Knaapen on surviving a crisis at TAPA

From Here to There: A short story of the rebuilding of an arts service organization
We recently found ourselves at a critical juncture in our history.
by Jacoba Knaapen

How we reflect on our past has an impact on how we move forward. I am often asked about the past decade at TAPA, and the revitalization that has taken place at the Alliance.  TAPA was originally formed in 1977, and officially incorporated in 1979 as an arts service organization. Today, we represent nearly 200 professional theatre, dance and opera companies in the City of Toronto.  We recently found ourselves at a critical juncture in the history of our organization.  

Theatre For Thought, September 3, 2011

joel fishbane

It’s September now and with so many returning to school, hopefully you’ll forgive me for doing the same. Today’s column marks the first in a series in which I reminisce about those days when I was young, impressionable and believed theatre school was useful in any way.