Saturday, September 15, 2012

Theatre For Thought, September 15, 2012

Your Canadian Theatre Fall Preview
joel fishbane

There’s a chill in the air and the other day I had to cycle wearing gloves: I don’t know what’s going on in the rest of the country, but here in Quebec autumn is making itself known. For the theatre world this means the start of another season of shows: the 2012-13 season is upon us and actors everywhere are shaking away their tans to step once more into the footlights. It would be impossible to cover everything going on in Canadian theatre between now and Christmas but here are just a few of the highlights. 

Chris Abraham, who last season helmed Annabel Soutar’s Seeds (now playing in French in Montreal), will return for a double bill, at least if you feel like crossing the country. At the start of November you can catch his production of my favourite John Mighton play, The Little Years, over at Tarragon (Toronto). Two weeks later, all the way over in Gateway Theatre (Richmond), Abraham teams up with Marcus Youseff and James Long for Winners and Losers, a devised piece in which a harmless game turns into a ruthless dissection of the players’ intimate lives. 

Winners and Losers is just one of several world premieres to be seen before the end of the year. Ghost River Theatre (Calgary) continues to produce new Canadian theatre with The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst about the real-life story of an entrepreneur who tried to sail around the world. Three new one-acts will also appear at Lunchbox Theatre, the theatre that has been providing midday entertainment for Calgarians since 1975. Here in Montreal, Infinitheatre will present Alyson Grant’s Trench Patterns about a wounded Afghan vet, played by one of my favourite actresses Patricia Summersett. 

Equally intriguing is Soulpepper’s stage adaptation of Dennis Lee’s Alligator Pie: exactly how their team is going to turn Lee’s poems into theatre remains to be seen but let’s assume that tickets will be like alligator pie itself: if you don’t get some, you’ll think you might die. And speaking of death, Torontonians should also look for Theatre 20’s Bloodless, a new musical by Joseph Aragon that promises to be a “morbidly entertaining” look at two 19th century Irish serial killers.

Bloodless isn’t the only musical hitting the boards: musicals continue to be a big draw, from classics like Guys and Dolls (Segal Centre, Montreal) to the Pulitzer-prize winning Next to Normal (Citadel Theatre, Edmonton). As the holidays come around – and yes, they’re closer than you think! – expect the return of favourites like A Christmas Carol (Belfry, Victoria) and The Wizard of Oz. Warning: some versions of Wizard, like the one that will appear in Toronto, will be staging of the version that played in London last year, the one featuring some pointless new material by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

But Dorothy herself once said that if you want to find your heart’s desire, look no further than your own backyard. For me, that means looking right here in Montreal where Scapegoat Carnivale will be staging a new version of The Bacchae. Given that their Medea was my top pick for the 2010, I’m almost giddy at the thought, especially as it features a cast of Montreal’s finest.  

1 comment:

  1. Hi Joel,

    Eric Rose Co-AD of Ghost River Theatre here. We have changed our programming this year from The Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst to a new play that GRT has been developing by my Co-AD David van Belle, titled - Everything is Terribly Nice Here.

    Here is a little info:

    Everything is Terribly Nice Here by David van Belle – produced by Ghost River Theatre in association with Vancouver’s Rumble Productions, is a politically charged play inspired by the murder of Danish film maker Theo van Gogh by Islamic extremist Mohammed Bouyeri. Three years in the making, Everything is Terribly Nice Here is viscerally intelligent theatre that challenges and unsettles assumptions about free speech,  fundamentalism and the limits of tolerance. Plays in Calgary at the Joyce Doolittle Theatre, December 12th – 22nd. Directed by Eric Rose. For more information visit:


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