News From Around the Barrio

I have some more news for you, my friends!

The first comes to you from Halifax, Nova Scotia where a new play called Home by Governor General Award winning playwright Colleen Wagner (The Monument) is receiving its world premiere. “What would you do if someone suddenly entered your home using a key, claiming it as their own? Taking place in both Canada and Estonia, we follow the elderly Toomas and his son as they claim reparation rights in Tallinn, the city of Toomas’ birth. Things turn out to be not quite as he remembers when on their return to the family home, they discover three Russian women who have lived there for generations. The result is a tragicomedy of missed cues and shattered dreams.” Directed by 2009’s Portia White Award recipient, Mary Vingoe, HOME looks at the complex issues around refugee rights, family dynamics and the significance of having a place to call your own. This production is lead by an impressive professional cast and creative team. Featured performers are Karen Bassett, John Beale, Mary-Colin Chisholm (most recently hilarious in Twelfth Night), Sarah English (of Chekhov rap video fame), and David Hughes. HOME runs at the BusStop Theatre from Feb 21-28th as follows: Sunday February 21: Preview 8pm PWYC. Tuesday February 23: Opening Gala 8pm. Wednesday February 24- Saturday February 27: 8 pm. Sunday February 28: 2 pm, 8 pm. Tickets are $20 regular/$15 student/artist. Opening Gala tickets are $30. Group bookings are available for a discounted rate (10+ people/$10). If you find yourself in Halifax, you should make sure not to miss this world premiere production!
amy reitsma, garry williams, andrew chandler
Also in Halifax there is the highly anticipated remount of “the little musical that could,” DaPoPo Theatre and Metamorphic Theatre’s hit of the 2009 Atlantic Fringe Festival the original song cycle So… What ABOUT Love. Hailed (by yours truly) as “Halifax’s most contemporary, urbane, original song cycle musical” and “a work that touches both the heart and the funny bone”, this original musical revue features co-creators Andrew Chandler, Amy Reitsma, Garry Williams and Holly Arsenault. Since their wildly successful run at the Atlantic Fringe Festival, the creators have returned to the material, and are excited to present this workshop series as they try out new material, new stories and new songs. So… What ABOUT Love plays February 11th, 12th and 14th at 7:30pm and February 13th at 3:00pm at The Sound Market Studio Cafe (6208 Quinpool Road). Tickets are $10.00, except for the February 14th show, for which they are $20.00 to benefit Until the Violence Stops, the global movement to end violence against women and girls founded by playwright Eve Ensler. Tickets can be reserved by emailing or by calling (902) 209-3473. Tickets can also be purchased directly at Outside the Lines, 6265 Quinpool Rd (cash or cheque only).
robert lepage
Here is something a little different! The Harsh Light Film Festival, exploring Canadian queer stage-to-screen adaptations at the University of Toronto curated by the renowned queer Canadian filmmaker John Greyson, is taking place every second Tuesday from February 9th until March 23rd. I’ll tell you about the first two events now, and save the other two for March. “Canadian and Quebec queer cinema is world-renowned for its audacity and innovation, but little sustained attention has been paid of the stage/performance origins of key seminal works by queer auteurs such as Lepage and Brassard, MacIvor and Bouchard, Greyson, Mars and Logue. This thematically-linked series of talks, screenings, and panels will address myriad issues of queer adaptation: what it means to transform live longing into recorded desire; the alchemical transformation of theatrical camp into cinematic affect; the reinvented performance of sexuality in the ‘harsh light’ of 24 frames per second.” February 9th: Co-presented by Buddies in Bad Times Theatre. 6pm: THE FAR SIDE OF THE MOON: Robert Lepage’s stunning film adaptation of his extraordinary one-person play, exploring the relationship of two brothers in the aftermath of their mothers death. Introduction by Pia Kleber. (106 min., 2004) 8pm
THE CINEMA OF ROBERT LEPAGE (working title). In this lecture, Peter Dickinson (Simon Fraser University) explores the queer narrative and aesthetic threads that run through Robert Lepage’s stage-to-screen adaptations: No, The Far Side of the Moon, The Confessional. Dickinson has written extensively on Lepage’s films, and is the author of Here is Queer: Nationalisms, Sexualities, and the Literatures of Canada.
February 23rd. 6pm: IL ÉTAIT UNE FOIS DANS L’EST: A pioneering work of queer Quebec cinema from 1974 that explores the drag demi-monde “once upon a time in the East” where Ste-Catherine crosses “the Main.” This first feature by André Brassard and Michel Tremblay, director and author, brings their legendary Hosanna and Duchesse de Langeais to onscreen immortality. Introduction by Scott MacKenzie. (101 min., 1974). 8pm: QUEBEC/CANADA QUEER STAGE-TO-SCREEN (working title): Thomas Waugh (Concordia University) traces the tendencies and innovations across several decades of Quebec and Canadian stage-to-screen adaptations: Brassard/Tremblay, Fraser/Arcand, Gilbert, MacIvor/Lynd, Beaudin/Dubois. Illustrated with clips. Waugh is the author of The Romance of Transgression: Queering Sexualities, Nations, Cinemas and Hard to Imagine. All events at Robert Gill Theatre, Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama (except February 23 at Innis College) 214 College St. (entrance on St. George), 3rd floor.
After Michael Hughes’ jam-packed, awe-inspiring Cabaret Tuesday night as part of Acting Upstage’s Dark Nights Cabaret Series, Adrian Marchuk (Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys) celebrates the creation of modern musical theatre by following the careers of composers Richard Rodgers, Mary Rodgers-Guettel and Adam Guettel in his own cabaret Words and Music. This show features Special Guests Marisa McIntyre (How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria), Jeigh Madjus (Altar Boyz) and Toni MacRae (Jane Eyre), this cabaret celebrates the last eighty years of musical theatre from Pal Joey to Floyd Collins. Featuring David Atkinson on the piano. Monday, February 8th. The Berkeley Street Theatre Downstairs (26 Berkeley Street). 8:00pm. $15. Call 416-368-3110 to reserve a ticket!
mikaela dyke
I have some news for you from Newfoundland! Forest Productions brings the incredible, controversial, gripping, emotional play My Name Is Rachel Corrie to St.John’s featuring local actor Mikaela Dyke. This is a “haunting play about a young woman’s struggle for human rights in the face of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. On March 16th, 2003, Rachel Corrie, aged 23, was crushed to death by an Israeli bulldozer while undertaking nonviolent direct action to protect the home of a Palestinian family from demolition. A vibrant young woman, Rachel Corrie was an avid writer and kept extensive diaries throughout her short life. Inspired by her story, and with the permission of her family, Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner edited Rachel’s diaries and e-mails to create a captivating and moving portrait of this dynamic young woman based on the words she left behind. My Name is Rachel Corrie is directed by Jessie Fraser and produced by Sarah Kim Turnbull and is presented at Rabbittown Theatre (160 Freshwater Road, St. John’s, Newfoundland) February 10th to February 13th. Tickets are $20.00, and there is a Pay What You Can performance Saturday February 13th at 2pm. Tickets can be reserved by calling 79.739.8220 or by emailing
Okay, Edmonton! Check this out. “Walterdale Playhouse brings you into Jonathan Harvey’s tale of two boys, who, in the middle of the dreary, bleak setting of a London council estate, discover sparks of life and love, with Beautiful Thing. Enveloped in a simple, beautiful story about a myriad of relationships, family, romance and friendship, we meet Jamie and Ste who discover the different levels of love and trust. Jamie has a crush on classmate Ste. When Ste is badly beaten by his brother, he stays over with Jamie and his mother Sandra. In the absence of a third bed, Jamie and Ste begin their journey sleeping top-to-toe. Meanwhile Jamie’s mother, Sandra, begins a tenuous journey with a troublesome neighbour, Leah. “For me, Beautiful Thing is about love; a realistic love,” says Justen Bennett, Director, “Those simple, small loves that you have. This is a story set against a harsh, urban background with working class characters that are proud, stubborn, and not always nice to one another. The love in this play doesn’t inspire a dramatic change, but brings a small spark of life and hope to people who don’t always have a lot of hope. Beautiful Thing reminds us, even in the harshest of surroundings, how simple, pure, and tender love can be.” Justen Bennett is an emerging local director, actor, and sometime playwright. Most recently, he wrote and directed Addition: An Unconventional Love Story at the 2009 Edmonton International Fringe Theatre Festival. Beautiful Thing runs February 10–20, 2010 (No performance Monday, Feburary 15). Times: 8:00pm (2:00pm matinee on Sunday, February 14) at Walterdale Playhouse (10322 – 83rd Avenue NW, Edmonton, Alberta). Tickets: $12–$16 and they are available to purchase in-person at TIX on the Square, by phone at 780.420.1757 or online please visit Tickets can also be purchased at the door (cash only) one hour prior to each performance. Group rates are available through TIX on the Square. Monday, Feburary 8 is Student Night: a special, free preview performance open only to students. Students can gain access to see this free preview performance of Beautiful Thing by showing valid student ID at the door. The preview is at 8:00pm and doors open one hour beforehand. Thursday, February 11 – 2-for-1 Night: For this performance, all tickets purchased at the door are available on a special 2-for-1 deal. A great night to bring a friend!
matt hovde
Do you go to the National Theatre of the World’s wildly successful, critically acclaimed improvised play series Impromptu Splendor and think to yourself, “I wish someone would just teach me how to acquire a fraction of Matt Baram’s hilarity and skill, a nuance of Naomi Snieckus’ talent and wit or an iota of Ron Pederson’s brilliance?” Well my friend, you’re not alone! No, indeed, and what is more, I have good news! Now, you can attend The National Theatre of the World’s Workshop Series! Here is what the NTOW have to say for themselves, “We are very proud to launch this series by bringing you the fabulously talented director from Second City Chicago: MATT HOVDE (Director of resident shows like America: All Better!; Studs Terkel’s Not Working; Between Barack and a Hard Place; and Artistic Director of the Second City Training Center in Chicago.) to teach our Advanced Scene Study Workshop. 8 seconds into a scene you find yourself thinking, “What the hell are we doing? Why is my scene partner talking that way and we haven’t established a who what or where and this isn’t working and maybe if I call the other character by name it will connect us and I haven’t heard a laugh and something needs to HAPPEN and maybe the lights will be pulled soon.” Because you’re a pretty good improviser and you know what it feels like when a scene is working and therefore you are especially sensitive when you perceive its not. This three hour workshop will dive into some ways of approaching your next “move” to increase your success rate, grow your confidence and power, and put you in a more relaxed state of play.Emphasis will be placed on starting scenes strong, which people often falsely assume means “loudly,” or “full of exposition,” or “with thirty seconds of dialogue-less object work shoveling.”” FEB 12th 6-9pm. $40.00- limited space available. For more information and to book your place please email Naomi Snieckus at
That is all for now! Check back soon for more news from around the barrio!

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