Monday, May 20, 2013

Openings We're Tracking This Week, May 20-26

Enemy of the People (photo credit: Arno Declair)

It's a delightfully old-fashioned concept: a woman wishes to rise away from her middle-class life. Sure, she could become a garden-variety gold-digger or she could hire a matchmaker. Faster than you can say Yenta! Yenta! Yenta! Elize Fortin seeks out Martha Boisvert, the renowned Matchmaker of Montréal. Playwright Shaul Ezer offers this first part of a trilogy about love, money and politics. (Vancouver)

If you're going to do a jukebox musical, you might as well do one that finds its tunes in the 1960s. That's what Suds does - hanging the songs on a gossamer plot about a woman who works in a laundromat, loses a boyfriend and is guided by guardian angels to a better place - one of R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Greg Wanless directs with sets and costumes by Sean Mulcahy. (Gananonoque, Ontario)

Thomas Ostermeier is one of the world's great directors and the piece he is bringing to Festival Transamériques is a barn-burner. However, it sounds like an unlikely barn-burner - an adaptation of Ibsen's An Enemy of the People. But if you know the play - about one man who sets himself against the "interests" of his community - you understand viscerally that this is a play for our times. The world has been dis-united (if you'll permit) and fractured into vicious clans (religious, financial, cultural, educational, national...) and dissent is squashed. Ostermeier takes this a step further and pulls the audience into becoming the dissenters - to create a consensus he and his actors then squash. Wherever the show has been performed, in whatever language, the critics and spectators have gone nuts. This may be one of the most significant imports in the Festival year. (Montreal)

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