Wednesday, April 11, 2012

News: (Ottawa) GCTC announces 2012-13, last Johnson season

Axis Theatre Company's Number 14 (photo: David Cooper)

Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC) launched what artistic director, Lise Ann Johnson, is calling "a season full of heart and humour."

Notable in the season is the return of Carmen Aguirre's Blue Box, which was featured in the company's undercurrents Festival last year and which brought much attention to the house when a CBC pundit called Aguirre "a bloody terrorist". Despite this, Aguirre's book - Something Fierce - won the Canada Reads contest. (Read our profile of Aguirre here.)

Vancouver's Axis Theatre Company returns for the holiday season. The season also includes works by Marie Jones, Marie Clements and Rick Chafe.

The launch must be a bitter-sweet event for Ms Johnson, as she will be leaving the company in the fall. A search committee is already looking for her successor. 

Read the press release:

GCTC unveils 2012-2013 season full of heart & humour


The Great Canadian Theatre Company is thrilled to present the 2012-2013 Season.  Artistic Director Lise Ann Johnson characterizes it as a season with lots of heart and humour.   “There is a lot of different kinds of humour: slapstick, physical comedy, black comedy, wit and irony and gentle humour.  And, it is a season with a great deal of heart -plays about fathers and sons, about mothers and daughters, about people following their dreams, obsessions and passions.
The six plays were presented at GCTC’s season launch earlier today at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre.   Ms. Johnson unveiled the new season in a mixed media presentation.  At 3:00pm, GCTC launched a new look for the website at  that contains information about the new season and a 10-minute video of Lise Ann Johnson introducing all six productions.  
Opening the season is The Secret Mask by Rick Chafe (September 11-30, 2012). It is a story about a George who gets a call out of the blue to come to the aid of his father, Ernie, who has suffered a stroke.  Ernie had abandoned his family when George was two and this stroke has affected his memory and language.  Ironically, the stroke and its effects is the catalyst that brings the two together. It’s a story about fathers and sons and how hard it is to communicate.  It is a family drama that is also very funny.
“…engaging, heartbreaking, tragicomically funny, and one of the finest new locally-penned plays to hit the stage in recent years.” – CBC Manitoba Scene
The second show of the season is the Canadian premiere of a new play by Irish playwright Marie Jones. Fly Me to the Moon (October 13-November 18, 2012) is a black comedy about a day in the life of two home care workers in Belfast.  Their elderly client, Davy, who has a passion for Frank Sinatra and playing the ponies, unexpectedly dies in the ‘loo’ of natural causes.   In their panic, Francis & Loretta tell one little lie and before they know it, their day spirals out of control. 
Black humour is skillfully blended with pathos and acute social observation.” – The Irish Times
Leading up to the holiday season, GCTC is proud to bring back The Number 14 by Axis Theatre Company (November 27 – December 16, 2012).  This Vancouver production has been updated the show for this 20th anniversary tour.  The Number 14 turns an ordinary bus ride into a crazy, wild and funny adventure.  Six highly skilled actors transform themselves - often with the help of masks, some life-size puppets, and a lot of song, dance and acrobatics - into more than 30 characters. They create a slice of urban life the whole family will enjoy.
Winningly, wild. A slap-happy ride. The performers go about their work with zest and talent.” – The New York Times
Kicking off the new years is Blue Box, written and performed by Carmen Aguirre  (January 15- February 3, 2013).  GCTC presented a workshop version this past February as part of its undercurrents Festival and it sold out instantly. The run coincided with Aguirre’s win for her autobiography, Something Fierce, on CBC’s Canada Reads.  Blue Box is also autobiographical and weaves stories of her life in Chile, growing up in the Resistance, and her obsessive love affair with a Los Angeles movie star.  Carmen Aguirre relates her stories with passion, beauty, and humour.   It is directed by Brian Quirt and is a Nightswimming Production. GCTC is pleased to present a full production of Blue Box with lighting designer, sound design and a scenography.
“Blue Box is a brilliant one-woman show charged with politics, passion, and personality” - Apartment 613
For the fifth production, GCTC  partners with the National Arts Centre to co-produce The Edward Curtis Project by Marie Clements (April 2 – 21, 2013).  This is both a play and an exhibit.  It’s exciting collaboration between aboriginal playwright Marie Clements and the award winning documentary photographer Rita Leistner.  The play is very poetic and visually stunning.  It combines video, photography, music and choreography.  On assignment, a Métis reporter is haunted by the deaths of three aboriginal children and begins to unravel.  It is an investigation of the notion of ‘the vanishing race’ and a testament to the strength and spirit of the aboriginal peoples in North America.   Both the play and an exhibit in GCTC’s Lorraine ‘Fritzi’ Yale Gallery feature photographs of  Rita Leistner and Edward Curtis, a turn of the century photographer who traveled across the continent and took over 40,000 shots of aboriginal people from over 80 tribes. 
The Curtis Project, our choice for Gold at the Cultural Olympiad…I was moved.” – The Globe & Mail
The season closes with the world premiere of Like Wolves by Ottawa playwright Rosa Laborde (June 4-23, 2012). Ms. Laborde was GCTC’s writer in residence last year and has written a rich and darkly comic family drama about marriage, dreams, choices and finally letting go.  Vera has been surprised by her husband Sam and taken to the spot of their rural honeymoon 54 years ago.  Times have changed and it’s now a retirement home surrounded by software companies and parking lots.  Vera is incensed Sam has agreed to a ‘trial’ visit and tries to leave.  But Sam takes sick and their two, less than helpful daughters land in as Vera takes stock of her life and the choices she’s made.  
Like Wolves is a World Premiere by Ottawa playwright Rosa Laborde. It is a charming play that asks some big questions in a comic way.” – Lise Ann Johnson, Artistic Director, GCTC
All this and more!
GCTC ‘s undercurrents: theatre below the mainstream returns for its 3rd season (February 5-17, 2013).  This festival of ‘indie’ theatre presents six plays over two weeks in the intimate Studio theatre. Three pieces will be chosen from Ottawa; and three pieces chosen from the rest of Canada.   It’s a smorgasbord of new creation – the work is original, the focus is on emerging artists and the content is bold.  Applications for the 2013 undercurrents Festival will be accepted from April 12 to June 1.
It’s great Canadian theatre at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.
For subscription and ticket information call the Box Office (613)  or visit

The Fritzi Gallery continues to offer offers the public a unique dialogue between two artistic disciplines – theatre and fine art. The work you see on the gallery walls reflects the artist’s impressions and emotional response to the play presented at GCTC.  The Fritzi Gallery is located on the second floor of the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre (GCTC)

Check out GCTC’s new website – as of April 11th   at 3:00 pm, GCTC launches the new season and a new look for the website.

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