As of January 7, 2013, this website will serve as an archive site only. For news, reviews and a connection with audience and creators of theatre all over the country, please go to The Charlebois Post - Canada.

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

This site is no longer an active part of CharPo. It is kept merely as an archival site. For current reviews and news from across Canada go to CharPo-Canada.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Feature: Dying is Easy... (from stand-up to theatre)

Staying Alive
by Martha Chaves

Staying alive, besides being the title of  that Bee-Gees tune and the John Travolta movie, has been one of the main motifs of my existence. Not only because I'm from Nicaragua, a war-torn country plagued with poverty and social injustice. Not only because I was born in the midst of a fundamentalist Christian family, in a macho-oriented society and I am a lesbian. Not only because I am an uprooted immigrant who was sent away to Canada by her parents, all alone, at the ripe age of 17. But staying alive has been my quest also because I am a stand-up comedian dammit! To stay alive is the name of the game in stand-up comedy as much as it is in bullfighting. 

The stand-up comedian is like a matador: every audience is a different bull that has to be  slaughtered. It's no coincidence that the main terms associated with stand-up have to do with either killing or dying. If you make the audience eat out of the palm of your hand, you KILL, you SLAY, you DESTROY; but if the audience gives you nothing but silence - the  silence that resonates with the strength of a thousand explosions in the epicenter of  your crumbling ego - you DIE, you BOMB  you get ANIHILATED. Granted: Nobody ever said  that it would be easy. There's even that famous quote, “dying is easy, comedy is hard.” But nevertheless, I have been doing it for almost 18 years and if I were to die tomorrow...I would still be very pissed off about being mortal and  about not dying as a famous millionaire (like, say, Jerry Seinfeld) but I would die with the satisfaction of knowing I was one of the few lucky people in the world who spent most of her life doing a job she loved. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

First-Person: Yanomi Shoshinz on A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup

In a World Without Limits
by Yanomi Shoshinz

I am not religious but after reading The Never Ending Story by Michael Ende when I was 12 years old, I swore, “I will never forget to believe in the fantasy world for my entire life! So don’t worry!”  In this book most adults don’t care about the fantasy world, putting it in danger of extinction. I was an enthusiastic dreamer girl, and have been fool enough to keep the vow since then.  

My mother loved music and I learned to play the piano when I was a child. She often recorded the songs that I and my little brother sang. We loved to sing and play the piano together. I was the girl who was easily elated and loved to make people laugh. My mother had a serious difficult disease, spent most of her life in the hospital, and passed away in her 40’s. She gave me books, music and the sense of humour to love my own life as well as other’s lives.  

The Image, January 3, 2013

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: CharPR Prize Winners, 2013

CharPR Prize, 2012

The Charlebois Post is in a unique position in the Canadian cultural landscape. First, we are small, so there are only about five of us who have direct contact with publicists at the various companies we deal with. Secondly, with reviewers in Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Vancouver and Quebec City, we are in almost continual contact with companies large and small, and because we publish articles about and from many companies outside of those centres, we have a fairly large reach. This is why we decided to create the CharPR Prize (pronounced Sharper), a national prize to recognize the people in the trenches between artists and public (including the press). 

We chose the winners (and nominees) by simply asking our contributors which public relations departments had made their lives easier and, even, gone beyond the call of duty. Although we will be giving two prizes to individuals - BEST PR/SINGLE SHOW and LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT - we are nominating the companies themselves because, in some cases, they have used outside firms - but the efficiency of these firms, we feel, comes from directives and attention paid from within the companies themselves.

The Charlebois Post, ltd. would like to congratulate and, especially, thank all the magnificent PR people across the country who have made the two years we have been publishing a glorious experience.


Cylla von Tiedemann (Photographer, Toronto)
We have been aware of Ms von Tiedemann's work since her early days in the festival and Toronto theatres, seeing her magnificent photos in programs for Stratford (as far back as Robin Phillips artistic directorship). Ms von Tiedemann continues to distinguish herself. If you look at the finalists and runners-up for our photos of the year (on the CharPo sites in the last week), you will see many were created by this magician of light.

BEST PR: Single Production
Sue Edworthy, Proud (Toronto)
There was huge national interest in Michael Healey's show, Proud, this last year. Healey had had a well-publicized run-in with Tarragon Theatre and his play, a satire on the PM's Office, was in the glaring headlines. It takes a special publicist to wrangle that kind of attention and turn an independently produced show into a talked-about hit. Edworthy did her artistic accomplices, and theatre-goers, Proud.

Best Photographer:
Cylla von Tiedemann
Andrée Lanthier
David Cooper
It was probably our last Picture of the Week for 2012 that may have clinched our decision about Mr. Cooper. Indeed, all of his work for Arts Club in Vancouver stands apart - whether it be performance shot or promotional shot. He has also provided exceptional photos for the Shaw Festival and Manitoba Theatre Centre and one photo from last year was named our Picture of The Year. His eye is unerring.

*Best PR - Indie (no fixed venue):
Brave New Productions (Montreal)
WYRD Productions (Toronto)
*The winner in this category will receive a photo link from our site to theirs for the two weeks prior to their next production and during its entire run. The link will be from both our CharPo-Canada site and the appropriate regional site. The link will appear on every page of the site, at the top corner of the page.
Against the Grain Theatre (Toronto)
If we are talking about a company that goes above and beyond the call of duty, AtG is that company. From the start of The Charlebois Post they have been available with first-person pieces, they know how to use Twitter and they actively court - via new media - precisely what opera needs: a young audience. It must be said, however, they have a terrific leader in Joel Ivany who - in his AtG career and out of it - is indefatigable.

Best PR - small:
La Licorne (Montreal)
ATP (Calgary)
Factory Theatre (Toronto)
Of all the companies' publicists we honour this year, no group of people has been through a worse year than the publicists at Factory. Through a devastating summer, they handled media (especially small media) with elegance and restraint. Before the crisis, however, Factory was also most avid in getting the message out there. They were easy to deal with and explained to resident artists the merits of working with The Charlebois Post

Best PR - Medium (multiple venues and mainstage of 400 seats+):
Segal Centre (Montreal) 
Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre (Winnipeg)
Arts Club Theatre (Vancouver)
If there is one lesson Arts Club can teach the country it is to have readily available images prepared for media discussion of a work well before that work hits the boards. If only for that (and their complicity with the aforementioned David Cooper) they deserve recognition. But they also have learned where other houses have failed: PR is changing - think beyond print.

Best PR - Large (Mainstage 800+ seats):
Stratford Festival (Stratford)
Canadian Stage (Toronto)
Canadian Opera Company (Toronto)
The Charlebois Post will always value the well-oiled machine that is a big companies PR department. But there are few places where that machine is more human than at the COC. Quite simply, they want people to come to the opera - no matter how forbidding some of the works COC presents can be. To that end, COC has podcasts, videos, readily available photos, an active Twitter feed and - do not underestimate this - a boss, Alexander Neef, also on Twitter who presents a persona that is approachable and genuine.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Charlebois Post's Picture of the Year, 2012

This is not just our Picture of the Week it is perhaps one of our favourite theatre pictures ever. It is Gil Garratt as Puck (who else?) in Canadian Stage's outdoor Midsummer Night's Dream. Photographer Chris Gallow has not just captured the spirit of the play, he has caught the spirit of theatre itself. We could spend hours talking about the esthetics of the photo - how the costume blends with the foliage so that the character's skin, in contrast, makes him more sprite-like - but we just want to celebrate that rarest of things - that what Mr. Gallow has done is captured energy.

Monday, December 31, 2012

CharPo-Montreal's Photo of the Year, 2012

Can we just say how much we love this promo art for Macbeth?
The Montreal Shakespeare Theatre Company has always had good images to sell their productions but why is this one of Alex Goldrich and Stephanie von Roretz as taken by Joseph Ste-Marie especially good? What do you think? Sex and violence. The colours (i.e.: skin tones) hover between arousing and just slightly off (a little like the Macbeths themselves) and the eye hovers between the actor's bare chest and the bloody handprint, making von Roretz an integral part of the composition.
[Each of our principal sites - CharPo-Montreal and CharPo-Toronto - will be presenting their photo of the year today. Tomorrow we will be presenting THE photo of the year for all sites.]

Sunday, December 30, 2012

CharPo-Montreal's Pictures of the Year, 2012, Runners-Up

From December 22-28 we will be presenting the best photos of the year at CharPo-Toronto, CharPo-Montreal and CharPo-Canada (different photos on each site so check them all out). On December 29 we will announce the finalists for the first CharPR Prize (for best PR) including best photographers. On December 30, 2 runner-up photos will be presented on each site (separate from finalists). On December 31 the best photo of the year for each site will be presented. On January 1 the single Photo of The Year will be announced. Finally, on January 2, the CharPR winners will be announced including best photographer, best PR (small, medium, large and indy).