Tag: Festen

Blowing Leaves

Much to my horror, I don’t think I’m going to be able to get to see this before it closes on Sunday.

I’d been so anxious to catch this particular play, especially since it features two of my very-favorite actors: the amazing Nicholas Campbell (who you might know from the long-running TV series Da Vinci’s Inquest) and veritable force of nature Maria Vacratsis (from Little Mosque on the Prairie). The two-hander work is directed by the utterly-talented Phillip Riccio, who makes up one-half of the ridiculously good Company Theatre group; the other half is the brilliant Allan Hawco, star of CBC TV’s Republic of Doyle (I’m hoping for a Q&A with him in the coming months -stay tuned), who appeared with Campbell in the company’s last production, a jaw-dropping production of Festen, that, even two years on, remains seared into my brain for its sheer…genius. Three words for the Company Theatre: they kick ass.

Nicholas Campbell Returns To The Stage by CateKusti

I had the amazing good fortune of interviewing both Campbell and Riccio a couple weeks back, amidst the madness of the Toronto International Film Festival. With all the starry/film-y chaos ensuing, there was something weirdly soothing about speaking to thee two talented men about a little-known (if awfully good) theatre work; it was like standing still on solid ground after so many days of trying to jog in an earthquake. Their insights on the play’s exploration of male-female relations, something I’m continually fascinated by, was especially enlightening.

That sense of displacement vanished as soon as the pair left the studio, and I’m sad to say I haven’t been able to see their production of Through the Leaves, which closes October 3rd. With more madness on the near horizon, I’m hoping to make time. The Company Theatre always demands that -and rewards with memories that last forever. No kidding.

Drama Is…

There’s certainly plenty of great drama out there lately.

If you’re in London, there’s the Tony Award-winningAugust: Osage County. New York has the recently extended one-man show Taking Over, while Chicago has Lynn Nottage’s Ruined. If you’re in Toronto, there’s no shortage of goodness either, with the disturbingly brilliant Festen running into next week, and Frank McGuinness’ timely (timeless?) Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me opening this Saturday.

But oh, the best drama for us Canucks right now is in our own Parliament. The drama! The speeches! The fist-shaking fury! It would all be very entertaining, if it weren’t also real. Ouch. The best part is the level of engagement it’s provoked among average Canadians; considering our last election saw some of the worst voter turnout rates in electoral history, being a part of something so starkly different in terms of mood and passion is… refreshing. The downside is the deep cracks in unity the Ottawa drama is revealing to all of us. Forget the “one” part; we’re just simply “not the same.” Or so we’re being told.

Objectively interesting as it all may be, the cause of national unity isn’t helped by our politicians giving deeply dramatic, occasionally hysterical Bernhard-meets-Kean performances. Makes the fuss over the use of a real skull in an RSC version of Hamlet seem tame by comparison. Then again, I can think of a few people who feel as if their own skulls have been bashed around, watching the frantic arm-flapping of Canadian politicians over the last week. I can only hope there’s a great playwright (or two) watching, listening, and writing. We’re going to need someone to make sense of this for us, and I can’t think of any other way to see it, other than a dramatic presentation in the theatre. If Frost/Nixon taught me anything, it’s that human behaviour is often at its most desperate and revealing when put through the fire of politics. Stay tuned for it: Harper Hears A Hoard, on tour soon.

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