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La Scena Musicale - Vol. 18, No. 1 September 2012


by Crystal Chan / September 1, 2012

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The back to school season is a hauntingly appropriate time to consider the infamous legacy of residential schools in Canada. Montrealers can see the Quebec premiere of Kevin Loring’s 2009 Governor General’s Literary Award winning play on the subject, Where the Blood Mixes, this September. It will be presented by Teesri Duniya Theatre and directed by Lib Spry. The work follows one aboriginal community wrestling with their experience with residential schools, confronted in particular by the return of a young woman who was taken away from her parents when she was a baby. (www.teesriduniya.com)

History, memory, and the effect of bad policy on family life also permeate Infinithéâtre’s Trench Patterns. In this first play by Montreal Gazette journalist Alyson Grant, a Canadian combat officer returns from Afghanistan and is haunted by her great-grandfather, who was executed for desertion in WWI. (www.infinitheatre.com)

Another first will be the inaugural production of Metachroma (www.metachroma.com), a new company which will feature actors who are visible minorities; their name means “beyond colour” in Greek. The company has picked a classic, Shakespeare’s Richard III, and will be at the Segal Centre. Shakespeare will also be La Fontaine park; Christopher Moore will play Hamlet in a Persephone production directed by Gabrielle Soskin. (www.persephoneproductions.org)

Also at the Segal Centre this fall: Harlem Duet, by Djanet Sears, which premiered 15 years ago in Toronto to great acclaim. It is a an examination of racial history revolving around Othello, a Columbia University professor in the nineties, and his wife, Billie; the story incorporates many other figures from the past, including Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. Following that is RED, which brings visual artist Mark Rothko to life. It documents two years in the late fifties, when Rothko was hired to paint murals for an upscale New York City restaurant. (www.segalcentre.org)

Over at the Centaur Theatre, audiences can catch a translated version of August, An Afternoon in the Country, a family drama by celebrated Quebec playwright Jean Marc Dalpé, as well as the Canadian English-language premiere of Pulitzer prize winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire’s Good People. The latter tells the funny and moving story of Margaret, a poor single mom from the ‘Southie’ neighbourhood of Boston. When she loses her job, she tracks down an old boyfriend who’s left behind their working class roots and is now a doctor, asking for work. (www.centaurtheatre.com)

For all-ages audiences, there’s Geordie’s season opener, Robin Hood. A world premiere of playwright Paula Wing’s adaptation of the classic story. (www.geordie.ca) Back at the Segal Centre, there’s Dreaming Now, an interactive show for young audiences that makes use of new media. A Youtheatre production.

Finally, there is a work in translation at La Chapelle. Talisman Theatre’s season opener is the premiere of the English-language version of The Medea Effect by Suzie Bastien, a contemporary tragedy about a director and the actress auditioning for him. (www.talisman-theatre.com)

In Ottawa, the NAC English theatre division celebrates record-breaking attendance from last year’s season. It starts this season with a play adapted from a book of poetry: thirsty, by Dionne Brand. It follows several women in the life of a Jamaican man killed by Toronto police in 1978. (www.nac-cna.ca) There’s also Rick Chafe’s The Secret Mask, about the reunion of a father and son after 40 years (www.gctc.ca) and a series of 10 plays that begins this fall at Ottawa Little Theatre: there’ll be one representing each decade as the company celebrates its 100th anniversary. (www.ottawalittletheatre.com)

Musical Theatre
by Naomi Gold

This fall, Montreal’s Segal Centre for the Performing Arts presents the classic American musical, Guys and Dolls. This Tony-award winning play about gangsters, gamblers and other goons  is set in 1920s New York City and debuted on Broadway in 1950. (www.segalcentre.org) At Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier, you’ll find Broadway’s touring production of Mary Poppins this November. Based on one of the most popular Disney films of all time, the ‘supercalifragilistic’ show features extended dance interludes and spectacular special effects. (www.laplacedesarts.com)

Broadway heads to Canadian TV this fall as CBC searches for a female ingenue to star in The Wizard of Oz at Toronto’s Ed Mirvish Theatre. The TV series will even audition Canuck canines to find a Toto for Dorothy. What’s more, this talent hunt will be headed by theatrical legend and Oz composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber. (www.cbc.ca/overtherainbow)

A  feast for the ears and eyes, Beauty and the Beast features some 580 costume changes and 81 wigs and is coming this fall to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa. It’s great intergenerational fare. (www.nac-cna.ca) Then there’s a La Cage aux Folles, that hysterical ode to drag Queendom. The revamped, Tony Award-winningproduction stars George Hamilton at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre. (www.mirvish.com)

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