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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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

After Dark, January 31, 2012

Playwriting for Today's Canada
How should artists create when there is no money?
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

When I was 13 my father gave me a Brother portable typewriter for Christmas. On New Year's day, following, I spent the entire day on the machine writing my first full-length play: A Time For Madness. A woman is alone, her husband and two friends have escaped from prison and hole up at her place. Somehow it turns into a bloodbath with woman covered in her husbands blood and - like Lucia di Lammermoor (opera influenced by early writings - she does a long-ass mad scene. The only thing it had going for it was that it was a small cast and one set - cheap to produce. My next full-length play would have required 40 actors, was about six hours long and had a similarly pretentious title: A Life in Damascus. I dreamed as I wrote it, almost certainly aware it would never be done as we descended into a recession.

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Upstage Interview: Jade Hassouné


Nobody knows who my character is.

Upstage and CharPo contributor Sarah Deshaies  spoke with actor Jade Hassouné about  In Absentia playing at Centaur Theatre.  Below is an abridged version edited by Estelle Rosen, CharPo Editor-in-chief.

UPSTAGE
Our first guest Jade Hassouné has been referred to as the collector of talents in the 2012 Montreal Mirror Noisemakers. Jade Hassouné joins us in studio. I hope you liked that introduction!  

HASSOUNÉ
I’ve never had an introduction before! Thank you. 

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Sunday Read: Part V - Iris Lapid on MAP


Part V: January, 2012
The clown in me
by Iris Lapid

I recently finished Clown 2, a workshop taught by Francine Cote in which we developed our own unique clown through emotional state and physical gesture. The goal of Clown 1 was to open up and let what already exists within us come out, and in Clown 2 we worked at accepting it and developing it. Clown is all about discovering what you personally have a lot of, and then finding a way to let people laugh at that. I, for one, had a lot of difficulty understanding this concept in the first workshop because I had all sorts of ideas about what I wanted to play or how I wanted to be seen, without being able to simply let out what was already inside myself. 

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Theatre For Thought, January 28, 2012


UNCONDITIONAL LOVE: Carmen Aguirre and Blue Box
joel fishbane
Even the briefest of chats with playwright / actor / novelist Carmen Aguirre can be a refreshing experience. “I do not write for personal catharsis,” she told me in an all-too-brief email exchange. “I haven’t been trying to tell my story. I have been telling stories.” 

All her answers are like this: precise and taut, like a fine haiku. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Friday Five, January 27, 2012

FIVE THINGS TO DO WHEN A BLACKOUT OCCURS DURING A PLAY
by Matt Raudsepp of Matt and Kyle and Matt
Give someone near you the middle finger
We've all been there before... you arrive at the theatre and run into that acquaintance you secretly despise. You're forced to be pleasant with them before the show begins, making small talk, secretly interior monologuing pure hatred and anger at your misfortune. Well, when the house opens, mark where your "friend" sits down. At the first blackout, stand up in your seat and violently flip the bird at your unassuming target. Do it stealthily and silently, but extremely forcefully for maximum enjoyment.

CharPo's Real Theatre!, January 27, 2012

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Phone Whore

Into the Electronic Brothel...
...eyes wide open...
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

The way I have covered the Montreal Fringe is to split the venues up among reviewers; each has to cover everything, for good or ill, at their venue. So I did not get to see one of the hot tickets of last year's edition, Cameryn Moore's solo Slut (r)Evolution. Nor have I seen Phone Whore (which toured - and will be touring - the North American Fringe circuit). When I mentioned into Twitter that PW was coming here this week, the Twittersphere ignited and I was told (nay: ordered) to see it.

Review: Three Sisters

Mara Lazaris, Kayleigh Choiniere, Chantale Demole as the sisters (Photo credit: Hombeline Dumas) 

CHEKHOV'S MIX OF SADNESS AND HUMOUR STILL APPEALS
Someone takes on Chekhov...finally!
By Byron Toben
The Dawson theatre program strikes again with a classic revisited. After staging Shakespeare's “Merchant of Venice” last November, it has now mounted a fine “Three Sisters” by Chekhov. These classics still resonate with us despite the distance of place and phrase. That's  why they are called classics (it also helps no royalties need be paid).

Review: Il Trovatore

Hiromi Omura (photo credit: Yves Renaud)

Bugs clears the aria
The Remount has arrived
By Richard Burnett
Montreal audiences have been clammering for a remount of  Il Trovatore (The Troubadour) since it was last produced by L’Opéra de Montréal way back in 1998. Even amateur opera fans will recognize many of the songs in Giuseppe Verdi’s classic opera which, since its debut in 1853, has been known as the opera with hits. 
Thus the need for Il Trovatore to be sung by an ensemble of four top-notch leads. So L’Opéra de Montréal evidently spent much of their budget hiring four terrific singers: Canadian baritone Gregory Dahl as the Count di Luna, Italian mezzo Laura Brioli as Azucena, Korean tenor Dongwin Shin as Manrico (and his golden voice really warmed up in the second half), and Japanese soprano Hiromi Omura, making her debut in the role of Leonora.

CPM's Picture of the Week, January 26, 2012

Kirsten Rasmussen playing Tough!
(photo by Weronika Kowalska)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Blog: Crystle Reid on ArtHere!

Bedbugs! (photo: Julian Stamboulieh)


January 25, 2012
The concept
by Crystle Reid

You’re in a hotel in downtown Montreal where you come across a bellhop on stilts crouching in the elevator, behind him is a very pregnant woman and her husband yelling back and forth at each other, they appear to have stepped out of a Christopher Guest movie.  The couple has a small crowd of people quietly following them.  When they leave the elevator the pair leads the crowd into a hotel room.  Down the hall you can see a large puppet escorting people out of another room; and you can hear sounds of laughter.  Have you found yourself in some sort of weird wacked out crazy parallel universe?  No, chances are you’ve come upon an ArtHere! event.

Beyond Our Fourth Wall, January 25, 2012

An older woman lives alone in the forest…
Feb. 8 – 25  Salle Fred Barry

Theatre...en français 
by Estelle Rosen

Two brothers in a hospital room - one has an incurable illness, the other is obsessed with religion.
Feb 21-Mar 10 – Théatre Prospéro

A head injury accident causes Annette to relive most intense moments of her life.
Feb/ 21-Mar. 3 – La Grande Licorne

Multi-disciplinary event
Feb.2 – 22 La Chapelle

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

After Dark, January 24, 2012

Whoring
Artists make choices - should we respect them?
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

Biz is part of an arch-political rap group in Quebec called Loco Locass whose most popular song, Libérez-nous des Libéraux (Free Us From The Liberals), became an anthem here. Biz participated in a documentary, in 2005, called Star-Apoplexie, a trenchant criticism of another Quebec phenomenon, Star Académie - an American Idolesque talent show. (Many people point to SA as a perfect example of convergence for good or ill - produced by TVA, part of Quebecor, and plugged relentlessly in Quebecor magazines and newspapers with the show's music CDs made and sold by Musicor/Quebecor in its own record stores, Archambault.)

Well...

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Upstage Interview: Cameryn Moore


They aren’t real sex calls, but they are based on actual calls.

Upstage Host Eric Sukhu spoke with writer/performer Cameryn Moore about  Phone Whore presented at MainLine Theatre.   Below is an abridged version edited by Estelle Rosen, CharPo Editor-in-chief.

UPSTAGE
How many years have you been part of Montreal Fringe? 

MOORE
This is my sixth year.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Sunday Read: Profile of Tonya Lee Williams


The World According to Tonya Lee Williams
Williams heads to Montreal this week as recipient of yet another big honour: Black Theatre Workshop's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Achievement Award.
by David King

    
From her early days on TV's Polka Dot Door to producing and directing shows like Da Kink In My Hair and CBC's Gospel Jubilee, actress Tonya Lee Williams is one of Canada's few artists of colour who has successfully held down a career in Canada while keeping things real amidst the trappings of L.A.
    
The founder of Toronto's ReelWorld Film Festival, which provides opportunities for artists of colour to create film and television, Williams has kept the festival going strong for over a decade. Having dedicated her life to stage and screen since graduating from Ryerson in the late 1970s, she's showing us how positive focus, hard work and devotion to one's craft can truly pave the way to change.
      

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Profile: Soprano Hiromi Omura

(Photo credit: Yves Renaud)

Hiromi Omura is Not Madama Butterfly
By Richard Burnett

There are not many great opera singers who come out of Japan. And fewer who take the opera world by storm. But Hiromi Omura makes opera aficionados swoon.

“I played the violin when I was child – I wanted to be a great violin player,” Omura tells The Charlebois Post. “But I began too late. And then one day I found my voice.”

Omura became Madama Butterfly.

But Japan’s celebrated soprano has been fighting that stereotype ever since.

Theatre For Thought, January 21, 2012

NOTES FROM THE LONDON UNDERGROUND
joel fishbane

A few weeks ago, while most people were braving the Canadian cold, I was across the pond braving the damp chill of Mother England. It was my second time in the Queen’s country and as always I was struck by the giddy joy of the bookworm in the bookshop. London has long been a theatrical culture – even the Changing of the Guard smacks of theatrics – and the West End is both a madhouse and a wonderland. Having grown up in Toronto, I was reminded of my youth, when there were more shows then there were weeks of the year. 

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Friday Five, January 20, 2012

5 Reasons Why There Should Be More Nudity in Montreal Theatre. 
I hardly need to list 5 reasons, do I?  Nudity is a reason in and of itself. This may as well be a Friday One. The reason there should be more nudity in theatre is because it’s nudity, and it’s great. But so as not to break with tradition, here are five other reasons why there should be more nudity in Montreal theatre. 
by Matt G of Matt and Kyle and Matt

1. Actors are beautiful.
Actors and Actresses are sickeningly beautiful. More beautiful than regular people. And as punishment for being so beautiful they should be naked all the time.  

CharPo's Real Theatre, January 20, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Review: Ars Poetica

Noel Burton, Danielle Desormeaux, Elana Dunkleman

Carry Me Away!
Fundamental concepts of theatre are raised...especially in winter
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

As I trudged through the ice-slush to get to tonight's opening of Arthur Holden's Ars Poetica, I realized I desperately needed a mood change. I didn't need to roar with laughter (I don't even expect comedies to do that - and Holden's piece is billed as a comedy). I needed what theatre does best: take me and those around me away, make me forget the here and now, put me in a head-place where ideas and visions and emotions swirl together.  Sure, a good laugh would be nice too, but all I wanted was theatre that was theatre and not TV, movies, radio or a book...or now.

First-Person: Tedi Tafel on Janvier


THOUGHTS ON JANVIER
I understand the body to be the site and the vehicle of direct experience, its active and open form continually receiving and responding to the world around it.
by Tedi Tafel

I am interested in exploring movement as an entranceway into the deeper layers of human experience. I create performances for public spaces because I believe that performance should exist in all kinds of settings, not only in theatres. I also do so as a poetic way of looking at how we interact with and are affected by our surroundings. For me, the language of movement is the perfect means to both navigate and express this interface. Perhaps it is the very ambiguity of gesture that so suits the articulation of this fluid and indeterminate exchange. My work has been shown in various urban and natural sites including a parking lot, a forest clearing, a rooftop, a winter cabin and a storefront.

CharPo's Picture of The Week, January 19, 2011

Insights: The Poster Design For Three Sisters
by Rosaura Guzman

The concept for the poster for Three Sisters, Anton Chekhov’s most famous play, arose from our discussions about the broken dreams of these educated women from the privileged classes in pre-revolutionary Russia.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Event: PWM's Sounding series (January 20)

(click on image to enlarge)

Three Penelopes, Three Directors


CharPo has lucked into first-person articles by three directors presenting the same work: Margaret Atwood's Penelopiad. Read the articles by director Kelly Thornton (Nightwood Theatre, Toronto)Vanessa Porteous (Arts Club Theatre, Vancouver) and Andrew Cuk (John Abbott College, Montreal) (photo, The Penelopes, l-r: Megan Follows, Nightwood, photo, Robert Popkin; Meg Roe, Arts Club, photo, David Cooper; Melanie Desjardins, John Abbott, photo, Kelly O'Toole)

Beyond Our Fourth Wall, January 18, 2012

Theatre…en français
by Estelle Rosen

Chaos ensues for friends away for a weekend to escape summer heat in the city.
Jan. 17 – Feb. 11 – Espace Go

Playwright Dennis Kelly examines our relationship with strangers who share our lifestyle.
To Feb. 18 - Grande Licorne

Vigil by Morris Panych will be presented in English with the same cast in March at Segal Centre as part of Montreal Highlights Festival.
Jan. 31 – Mar. 3 Théatre du Rideau Vert

A historic saga 1608-1998 seen from different viewpoints.
Feb 7 – Mar. 8  Espace Libre

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review: Depflies

The strange and wondrous world of convenience
Dépflies Inaugurates a Serial Comedy
By Byron Toben

Welcome to the wonderful world of Dépflies.

A dép fly is one who hangs out at the local depanneur, something like the more well known bar fly. Depflies, which had a 3 day run Jan 12-14, is the opening salvo of a projected monthly serial involving the talented improv souls oft seen at Alain Mercieca's Theatre Ste. Catherine. While the feeling of episode one was improvisational, it was scripted by Mr. Mercieca, who also stars. This bilingual show did not need perfect command of both languages to understand the plot or jokes.

After Dark, January 17, 2012

The Touchy (Feely) Business of Theatre
A recent story makes one question the dynamics of theatre creation
by Gaëtan L. Charlebois

A story in the news, here in Montreal, has a lawsuit being initiated against a teacher (of theatre, among other courses) by an ex-student. Sex is involved. Most of the accusations are fairly unpleasant but it boils down to this: a person well-known in local theatre is accused of misusing his authority for purposes of attaining sex.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Upstage Interview: Christopher Aitkens and Kayleigh Choiniere on Three Sisters


Moscow! Moscow!
Upstage Host Eric Sukhu spoke with actors Christopher Aitkens and Kayleigh Choiniere about the Dawson Theatre presentation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters. Below is an abridged version edited by Estelle Rosen, CharPo editor-in-chief.

UPSTAGE
Before we talk about the play, why did you decide to study theatre?

KAYLEIGH
I have been doing theatre all my life. Went to FACE high school so for me the only option was to be an actor. Couldn’t imagine doing anything else.

CHRISTOPHER
Pretty much the same. At a young age, I randomly memorized Hamlet not knowing what it was saying. I was about 9 years old. Had found it in a Calvin & Hobbes comic. 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Review: A Thousand Paper Cranes (Wildside)


Why Sadako Sasaki?
The Bomb's impact and metaphors continue
by Nanette Soucy

Geordie Productions made a brief stop at the Centaur for the last weekend of the 15th Annual Wildside Festival to present A Thousand Paper Cranes, The Weapons of Peace, the high school version of their annual school tour.  Created by Paula Wing and Micheline Chevrier, A Thousand Paper Cranes tells the story of an ambitious 11-year-old runner named Sadako, growing up in the years following the attacks on Hiroshima, and the impact of the catastrophe on her family.

Content removed at request of writer.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Theatre For Thought, January 14, 2012

POP-UP THEATRE: EVOLUTIONS IN STORY
using technology to create an entirely new form of storytelling
joel fishbane

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Lothar Meggendorfer – sort of. For those unfamiliar with Herr Meggendorfer, he’s a 19th century German illustrator generally credited with inventing the pop-up book. Or, looked at another way, with using technology to create an entirely new form of storytelling. This point was brought up in a whimsical presentation by Joe Sabia over at TED.com, the website for the international conference of new ideas in technology, entertainment and design. 

Storytelling is, of course, the essence of theatre and my brief encounter with Herr Meggendorfer got me thinking: what is the theatrical equivalent of the pop-up book? What revolutionary advancement changed the theatre forever?

Friday, January 13, 2012

The Friday Five, January 13, 2012

Five Ways To Trick People Into Thinking You're A Good Theatre Actor
Don't know how to act? Don't worry! These five indispensable tips will not only get you through your next production, they'll earn you an armful of accolades and a hospital bill full of broken legs!
by Kyle Gatehouse of Matt and Kyle and Matt

1. Obnoxious Vocal Warm-Ups
Before every show, make sure to slowly walk around the stage ("explore the space") while humming, popping, screaming, barking, singing and generally being a loud nuisance. Why should you be the only one suffering for your art?

CharPo's Real Theatre, January 13, 2012

Thursday, January 12, 2012

First-Person: Matt Goldberg on Confabulation


Montreal Confidential
(Intimate) True stories are what Confabulation is all about
by Matt Goldberg

I've been trying to write about Confabulation since I started it last year. It's funny to me how tricky it's been to write about an event whose main rule involves performing solo with no notes. But this week is special. Friday night at Mainline will be Confabulation's 22nd event. If you've missed our first 21, Confabulation is a showcase of all-true stories. Each month, we get six storytellers to share stories of their lives, without notes, props or gimmicks. In these first 21 events, we've had over 120 full-length stories, plus 23 micro-stories (at February's The Shortest Story challenge). We've played at six venues -- Freestanding Room, The Grand Bayou, Mainline Theatre's Mini-Main and Mainstage, Shaika, and Shift Space.  We've had lawyers and lay-people, librarians and students, actors and directors, journalists and editors, comedians, dancers, artists and unemployed people. We've had confessions, tell-alls, revelations, refutations, analyses, analogies, and apologies. And now, for the first time ever, we'll have a show hosted by someone other than me. Which feels so good.

Profile: Arthur Holden on his play Ars Poetica


POETS DO IT IN RHYMING COUPLETS
Arthur Holden and his new play Ars Poetica
joel fishbane

“I can think of nothing more completely useless and utterly indispensable than a poetry magazine,” says playwright / actor Arthur Holden. “When the stakes are simultaneously high and low, people get twisted in knots.”

The remark is typical of Holden, whose wry tone often hides a clever theatrical mind. A Montreal success story, Holden is putting his pithy observations about poetry magazines to the test with Ars Poetica, his latest work which will have its world premiere at the Bain St. Michel at the end of January. The comedy pits the employees of the eponymous magazine against one another as they try to save their beloved magazine from the slaughter.

CharPo's Picture of The Week, January 12, 2011

Another chance to evaluate Arthur Miller's early work, 
by Terry Donald

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Review: Bliss (Wildside)

Trent Pardy, Jean-Robert Bourdage, France Rolland 
(photo credit: James Lavoie)

The Oracle of Walmart
Engaging, shocking, powerful, bliss
by David Sklar

I had the experience of seeing Bliss two years ago at the SummerWorks festival in Toronto. The story written by Olivier Choiniere, a graduate of NTS (National Theatre School of Canada) playwriting program on the French side, explores the extremities of the world as seen through a Walmart cashier/oracle. The play moves about in a quick, quirky and unpredictable way, edging on disturbing. Its director, Steven McCarthy, who also doubled as one of the actors in the summer production, believes that “Céline Dion is the goddess of the play”. (Thanks Pat Donnelly).  Having won the CanStage award for Best Direction, you should take him at his word.