from now to November 10
From Barbra to Bedlam, a diverse selection of events to enjoy
By Byron Toben
Streaming and Zooming have become the new normal as we slouch into winter weather and the likely prolongation of self-isolation.
Here are a dozen tips on events to “shorten the road”. (See the end of this article to explain this quote.)
Thursday, October 29
The Cummings Centre concludes this semester’s season of film publicist David Novek’s lively lectures on movie legend’s lives with that of singer/actress/producer Barbra Streisand. Features many film clips, some rare. $8 for members.p
Non-members can join the Centre for $25 (good to April 1, 2021) and get loads of free or low-cost lectures, music, movies, book launches, art, exercise videos, etc.
New York’s Signature Theater re-unites its 2016 Off-Broadway cast to stream for free Pulitzer Prize winner Suzan-Lori Parks’ The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA The Negro Book of the Dead. Continues on-demand until October 31.
New York’s Bedlam Theatre continues its Tuesday night benefit play reading series with Chekhov’s The Bear and three other stories. Free but contributions to a different worthy cause, here Princess Janae Place, are appreciated. Sign up for 6:30 pm to also catch singer Quinlan Fitzgerald. Ends November 3.
Friday, October 30 at 8 pm
Saturday, October 31 at 3 pm and 8 pm
Sunday, November 1 at 3 pm
New York’s highly regarded Irish Repertory Theater continues to stream its filmed Eugene O’Neil play Touch of the Poet until November 1. Free, although donations are appreciated.
Broadway’s Sanderson Sisters present a one-night free Halloween Broadway event, I Put a Spell on You. Join them if you dare!
Opéra de Montreal continues streaming its La Boheme until November 5 (12 pm on that date). Free.
NYC’s Mint Theater, specializing in fine overlooked plays, streams Conflict, a political thriller set in 1920s London, on-demand until November 1.
Saturday, October 31
On CBC television, Absofreakinlutely, a local sketch comedy team with an easy to watch ensemble and a difficult to pronounce name makes its TV debut on prime time.
It includes Lori Braun, David Heti, Heidi Lynn Weeks, Rodney Ramsey and one of my fave funny ladies from the long-running DepFlies at the Théâtre Sainte-Catherine, Lise Vigneault.
Tuesday, November 3
The U.S. election projections, some say a theatre of the absurd event, will probably be less conclusive than ever due to delays in counting a record number of early, absentee, and mail vote ballots. I figure November 10 more likely but then subject to Trump lawsuits claiming millions of votes were illegal.
Covered by all major U.S. networks.
Friday, November 6
7:30 pm and Sunday, November 8 at 2 pm
Infinitheatre was to present live Paul Van Dyck’s latest play, King of Canada, about William Lyon Mackenzie King, Canada’s longest-running prime minister, a survivalist but weird, given to séances. Because of extended COVID-19 government decrees, the live play is postponed but the streamed version is on.
Westmount’s community theatre, Dramatis Personae, streams a humorous Bad Auditions on Camera. Runs nightly to November 9. $10.
Tuesday, November 10
New York’s Bedlam Theatre continues its benefit reading series with the rare The Machine Stops. Based on an E.M. Forster short story about a science-fiction dystopia. Should stream until November 17. As usual, free but contributions to a worthy cause appreciated. This time, it’s Climate Justice Alliance.
“Shortening the road” explained…
I picked that one up from the wonderful Irish storyteller (since moved on elsewhere) Mike Burns, who held forth for many years at Montreal’s Hurley’s Irish Pub on Sunday evenings. He had a road story where a father and son set out on a long journey across the hills and dales of Ireland. To the son’s impatience, the father told him to shorten the road. The son felt it was impossible as a mile is a mile, is a mile. The father declared that failure to shorten would result in a return home and another try the next day.
After several such repeats, it was revealed that the way to shorten the road was to tell stories en route.
This really works.
Hope some of the above tips and more in the future will make what may be, as Shakespeare described in a different context, “The now winter of our discontent” more bearable.
Feature image: the Sanderson Sisters in I Put a Spell on You, playbill.com
Byron Toben, a past president of The Montreal Press Club, has been WestmountMag.ca’s theatre reviewer since July 2015. Previously, he wrote for since terminated web sites Rover Arts and Charlebois Post, print weekly The Downtowner and print monthly The Senior Times. He also is an expert consultant on U.S. work permits for Canadians.