Archives for June 2016

Some observations on Bard on the Beach

The Merry Wives of Windsor, Bard on the Beach, Ben Elliot, Andrew McNee, David Marr

Ben Elliott is a fresh talent sitting between the finely aged talents of David Marr and Andrew McNee

Having seen the two mainstage shows at Bard on the Beach, I’m struck by a number of things

First, I’m amazed that I prefer director Johnna Wright’s Merry Wives of Windsor to Kim Collier’s Romeo and Juliet.

From what I’d heard about Wright’s interpretation when Bard first produced it in 2012, I had a hunch I would hate it. I’m not a fan of the play’s clunky comic mechanics and it drives me crazy when Bard productions cheapen the comedies by adding irrelevant shtick. But Wright’s decision to set the story in a bar in Windsor, Ontario circa 1968 supports the story and it works—in spades.  [Read more…]

I’m getting a gut feeling about O’wet/Lost Lagoon

In O'wet/Lost Lagoon, Quelemia Sparrow will explore some of the complexities of her identity.

In O’wet/Lost Lagoon, Quelemia Sparrow will explore some of the complexities of her identity.

Sometimes you just get a vibe about a production. I haven’t seen it yet, but I’m getting a vibe about Quelemia Sparrow’s solo performance, O’wet/Lost Lagoon, which is playing the Firehall June 22 to June 25.

In shows such as Our Town and Where the Blood Mixes, I’ve enjoyed Sparrow’s work as an actor for a long time. And the subject matter here is potentially fascinating: it explores Sparrow’s identity as a mixed-race aboriginal woman, including her career as an international model, her fishing trips with her dad, and her relationship to intergenerational trauma.

I don’t know Sparrow’s work as a playwright, but here’s the thing: she has attracted a stellar team of artists to work with her—and that’s telling. [Read more…]

Secrets of the Innovation Award Committee

Colin Thomas, Jessie Awards, Innovation Award

Back in the day, we used to dress in costumes from the shows we were nominating. Here, I’m the bunny from Theatre Replacement’s “Clark and I somewhere in Connecticut”.

Okay, so maybe not secrets exactly. But I figure you might be interested in how the Innovation Award Committee makes its selections and chooses its members.

A little history: yonks ago—I can’t remember how long—Marlene Dixon, who was the Arts Club’s publicist at the time, phoned me to say that the folks at the Jessies wanted to create a critics’ choice award for the best show of the season.

There were already three of those—Outstanding Production in Large Theatre, Small Theatre, and Young People’s Theatre—and I didn’t think we needed a fourth, so I suggested that critics give out an award for innovation. Innovation is what keeps the art alive, after all, and it deserves to be celebrated. Marlene thought that was a good idea, and the Innovation Award was born.  [Read more…]

Summer picks at Bard and TUTS

Romeo and Juliet, Bard on the Beach

Toronto actors Andrew Chown and Haley Gillis will be Vancouver’s Romeo and Juliet this summer.

It’s time to start making your summer theatre picks.

At Bard on the Beach, the surest bet is director Kim Collier’s production of Romeo and Juliet. Collier, who directed Hamlet at Bard a couple of seasons ago, is one of the best directors in the country.

Stylistically, her choices are always interesting. She set her Hamlet in the world of the very wealthy in the near future. Who knows what she’s got in store for R&J? The press release isn’t giving anything away, but it should be fun.  [Read more…]