The TWISI People’s Choice Award Honourees- CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Gold starCALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: The Way I See It Theatre Blog TWISI People’s Choice Awards Honourees.

There are all sorts of opportunities in the Canadian Theatre for people to be nominated and to win swanky awards, and this time of year is often when sites like TWISI and Theatre Critics like me put out: THE BEST OF 2015 List (Some people even put out THE WORST OF 2015 Lists, but that is FOR SURE not my style). A few years ago I came up with this idea that I still really like, of providing a space for members of the Canadian Theatre Community to honour someone they feel deserving of recognition for their contribution to the Canadian Theatre. It is still an idea in progress, just like I am a theatre critic in progress, TWISI is a Theatre Blog in progress, and so much of what makes the Canadian Theatre so exhilaratingly exciting is that it is in constant motion… in progress too.

TWISI was born out of a desire to celebrate and foster the Canadian Theatre. I’ve always been interested in finding ways to shine the spotlight on the people who work in our theatre communities, Coast to Coast, in all the Provinces and Territories. So often, still the focus of the Corporate Canadian Media in the theatre is on American STARS or Canadians who went to America and became STARS. We don’t have a Star System in Canada, and I don’t advocate for one, but I do like to see Canadian artists grab hold of a just a smidgen of Limelight every once and awhile.

Who better to shine that light than other members of the Community?

How This Works: I invite anyone who considers themselves to be part of the Canadian Theatre Community to write a blog post (between 400-800 words, but entirely flexible) honouring someone else in the Canadian Theatre Community (Creative Team/ Stage Crew/ Front of House/ Volunteer/ Teacher/ Theatre Critic– This is BROAD. If you work or volunteer in the theatre in Canada, you qualify for this). You can write about someone you know well and have worked with who inspires you, or someone that you don’t know personally whose work has informed your own, or who you consider to have made a significant contribution to the theatre in Canada. The Deadline is JANUARY 31st, 2016. Just email your Blog Post Honourees to AmandaCarol.Campbell @ Gmail.com and I will post it on TWISI and your Honouree will get a Much Coveted TWISI Gold Star.

Please feel free to share this post with others you think may be interested in Honouring someone.

Thanks and Happy 2016 to all!

Amanda

The Story of A Sinking Man

11825075_10155894771740416_16364531585806115_nAndrew Chandler gives a virtuosic performance in the solo show The Story of A Sinking Man (1994) by Morris Panych at the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic as part of the Atlantic Fringe Festival.

Nash is in trouble. He is stuck in a puddle of quicksand, alone except for birds and insects, and he has realized that he is sinking down into it. This is a beautifully constructed monologue by Panych, filled with his signature Absurdism and dark humour, that comments, subtly, about metaphoric sinking while playfully exploring literal sinking.

Chandler’s comic timing here is precise and sharp and he manages to walk the fine line between creating a character that is engaging to the audience and allowing Brechtian distance as to not turn the play into a tragedy. He also creates an especially fun character in Gustav, sort of Pessimism Personified, with great physicality and vocal work. Director Dorian Lang makes great use of light, darkness, silence, and keeps the play moving with perfect pacing. We get a clear sense of time passing, and how time is intrinsic to the play’s mounting tension.   

This play is a Fringe gem. Go see it.

Salt Water Moon

11222078_10153269252094865_4328995617480639204_nI was extremely impressed by Sackville Student Theatre’s beautiful production of David French’s play Salt Water Moon (1985), which plays at the Living Room as part of the Atlantic Fringe Festival.

Set in rural Newfoundland in 1926, the play tells the story of two teenagers, Jacob and Mary, whose relationship was thwarted when Jacob left unexpectedly for Toronto. Now he has returned to find her engaged to a man he loathes and must attempt to win her back. Mary is a bitter, and practical, spitfire played by Sally Faulkner with grit, strength and intense subtly. Alex McGrath’s Jacob is charming and quick-witted, but with deep roots in his community and loyalty to his values.

Salt Water Moon is a somber piece that explores poverty and the question of whether financial security or matters of heart are more prudent ways of life. This production never descends into melodrama, maintains a captivating sense of tension and makes good use of silence; it wisely doesn’t bog itself down with attempts at accents, and the performances are nuanced and deeply felt.

If you’re looking for an evening of drama this Fringe, I highly recommend you see Salt Water Moon. These students have bright futures ahead of them.   

Salt Water Moon plays at the Living Room (2353 Agricola Street) at the following times:

Friday, September 11th at 7:50

You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown

11224720_10153519593850792_7327743942089334355_nYou’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (1967) is a musical adaptation of Charles Schultz’s comic strip that beautifully captures both the humour and the heart of these beloved characters. The Side-By-Side production of this musical, which plays at the Bus Stop Theatre as part of the Atlantic Fringe Festival, is joyful and heartwarming and showcases real musical theatre talent in this city. 

Anders Balderston plays Charlie Brown with beautiful earnestness, oscillating from pure hope to vulnerable heartbreak. Becca Guilderson shines brightly as Sally Brown, capturing with gusto and hilarity the erratic emotions of preschoolers. Marietta Laan nails Lucy’s renowned crabbiness, but is best in the moments where she finds her nuance and humanity. Cat McCluskey brings Snoopy to life with panache and silliness. Dylan Coutts has great musicality as Schroeder and absolutely captures his ego, while Stephen Lando Lahaie brings great sweetness to Linus. Both have room here to play more with their characters being kids and allowing them more moments in which they can let go and have fun. 

The show’s greatest moments are when every moment is milked for its ultimate in playfulness and there is an equal balance between the characters’ roles as Philosopher and Child. The direction by Guilderson has a nice sense of arc and concept. A lot is directed immediately to the audience, which can be great for engaging the kids (and big kids) watching, but there’s room here to develop the characters’ interactions with one another. Despite their large, and often manic emotions, these seven characters are best friends and family members, and they are children (and a dog personified as a child), so there is a level of intimacy and comfort and unconditional love that roots them at all times, even when they are being bratty to one another. When this is apparent, as in the songs “Beethoven Day,” and “Happiness” this production soars perfectly. There are also a few issues of pacing, especially with movement, that on Opening were still coming together, but the heart and the energy of the piece is solid, and I think that is what will win over audiences, especially children.

You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown plays at the Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen Street) at the following times: 

Sept 9th : 8:10pm
Sept 10th : 9:50pm
Sept 11th : 8:50pm

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