March comes in not as a
lion but a Rough Beast
Plenty and varied entertainment as the month begins
By Byron Toben
Updated March 9, 2023
The month of March roars as it begins with several long-anticipated entertainments, listed below by opening dates:
March 1 to 5
THE KING STINKS
Infinithéâtre returns to the Rialto upper floor after several years away in NDG and downtown due to extensive renovations at the Rialto. The King Stinks is written by Jon Lachlan Stewart, now an established playwright who I first heard of years ago when he directed a Keir Cutler dystopian black comedy 2056 at the 2014 Montreal Fringe Festival and surmised that he must be talented to be selected by Westmount-born Keir, himself an experienced director.
March 2 to 11
WHAT ROUGH BEAST
Alice Abracen, lauded for her recent The Covenant at the Segal Center last November, makes an appearance with her earlier delayed drama, titled after a line in W. B. Yeats’ famous 1919 poem The Second Coming, finally opening at the Centaur Theatre after a two-year postponement caused by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. I reviewed this wonderful and timely play in May 2018 when it appeared at the Monument National as a student playwriting feature. So I will now hasten, but not slouch, toward the Centauralum to see the play re-born.
March 6 and 7
It’s Purim time again! (The Jewish Halloween)
SEVENTEEN (ANONYMOUS) WOMEN – INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
An Infinithéâtre reading of Seventeen (Anonymous) Women, Carolyn Guillet’s 17-year-old play, then presented at the Centaur Theatre, is now available as a live reading at the Théâtre Rouge at the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Montréal by a goodly number of local theatre actresses.
This coincides with International Women’s Day, which had a long time aborning since growing out of the world suffrage movement sparked in New Zealand in 1893, leading to the adoption of such a day in New York City in 1909 by various socialist causes, eventually the Red Cross and finally the United Nations General Assembly in 1977 for which there is a different theme each year. The theme for 2023 is DigitALL – Information and Technology for Gender Equality.
Now observed globally almost everywhere, it is more a customary observance than an official holiday.
March 9 to 12
OLD – MARGIE GILLIS
Canada’s most famous dancer caps a 50-year career in a piece about aging. Performed at Agora du Dance.
THE NEW MUSIC
The Cine Gael Irish Film Series’ fourth screening. A classical music pianist, beset by Parkinson’s, joins a punk band in Dublin to loosen up. Irish setting and cast enabled the Italian director to win an indie film award.
FIFA (Films on Art)
This popular annual festival now in its 41st year, is in theatres from March 14 to 26 and also online from March 24 to April 2.
March 15 to April 2
Rahul Varma’s highly plauded mid-1990s play is still timely today in a murder mystery with some moments of humour where cultural values conflict, involving Indo-Quebeckers with Iranian Quebeckers and the Quebec police in a Teesri Duniya guest performance at the Segal Centre.
GREAT ENTERTAINERS – LOUIS ARMSTRONG
Online from the Cummings Centre, Jordan Klapman continues his Great Entertainers series, presenting Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, the great Jazz soloist who rose from poverty to embody songs of hope.
Feature image: Margie Gillis in Old, courtesy of l’Agora du dance
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.