From theatre classics to drama and comedy, and the golden age of Canadian music
By Byron Toben
October 18, 2021
New York’s Bedlam Theater presents a musical version of Chekov’s great play, The Cherry Orchard. The music, lyrics and book are by Emily Gardner Xu Hall. It is live at the Connelly Theater at 7 pm, however, it will also be available on Zoom as part of its Do More benefit series. I am anxious to see what kind of music has been added to reimagine this bittersweet drama about the generational trauma of a collapsing society. Pay what you can, but you must register for Zoom.
New York’s Red Bull Theater presents a dramatic reading of Shakespeare’s Pericles: Prince of Tyre at 7:30 pm. This Jacobean play is, I believe, the only one generally acknowledged to be co-written by Shakespeare with a collaborator. It follows the adventures of Prince Pericles as he sails around the Mediterranean, finding and mistakenly thinking he has lost a wife and daughter to storms. To me, the daughter who has been rescued only to be given to a brothel is the seminal character in the play, as she successfully wards off would-be deflowerers with her words of piety.
Red Bull usually repeats these dramatic readings for four successive days. Free, but donations appreciated.
October 19 to 21
Montreal’s Monument National hosts a new opera, L’Orangeraie, at 8 pm. Presented by Chants Libre, this world premiere, directed by Pauline Vaillancourt with music by Zad Moultaka, is based on a novel by Larry Tremblay. Interesting that this “Orange Grove” can be viewed a day after the Cherry Orchard (above) – makes a nice pear (pun intended.)
October 19 to 22
Montreal’s Scapegoat Carnivale remounts its 2019 hit Yev by Joseph Shragge and Alison Darcy. It appears at a different location each of its three nights.
October 20 at 8 pm at the NDG Maison de la Culture, 6400 Monkland
October 21 at 7:30 pm in LaSalle at 7644 Edward
October 22 at 7:30 pm in TMR at the Maison de la Culture Plateau, 465 Mount Royal
This clever story of a hermit lady in Siberia was a revelation when I reviewed it in 2019.
October 20 to 23
Toronto’s innovative Factory Theatre remounts its 2020 hit, Acts of Faith, online at 7:30 pm. Written by David Yee and directed by Nina Lee Aquino, it follows the plight of a young Afro-Canadian woman taken for a prophet who has a message from God (shades of Joan of Arc!)
Montreal’s Blue Metropolis presents Life… As a Song. As other summer festivals keeping their names active during these colder weather months, so is this international literary festival. It has arranged a three-pronged event to celebrate the “classic songs of a golden age” of Canadian music in the 60s, 70s and 80s with ten Canadian greats. Anglophones Joni Mitchell, Gordon Lightfoot, Buffy Ste-Marie and Bruce Cockburn are featured along with Francophones Diane Dufresne, Clémence Desrochers, Paul Piche, Yvon Deschamps, Sylvain Lelievre, Richard Séguin and Francine Raymond.
The tribute includes a live show at the Lion d’Or Cabaret at 8 pm, a series of podcasts and some videos.
Colleen Curran’s Kitty Calling has concluded its second season with Episode 9. Here mostly housebound Bernice (Lorna Wilson) seeks to increase sales of her biography Bernice and Me, allegedly written by her pet kitten, by stealing a page from all-time crime novelist Agatha Christie. On December 3, 1926, Christie disappeared for 11 days, prompting searches by 1,000 police, hundreds of volunteers, even an airplane. When Agatha resurfaced, sales surged. This same strategy was revealed by Bernice to do-gooder telephone friend Kitty (Debra Hale).
This seasonal finale is a giant 4 minutes 29 seconds as compared to the usual running time of 3 minutes and a few seconds. What will happen in season three (in 2022?) Will Bernice’s book-selling campaign continue? Or do new themes emerge? Will CCKC emerge as a half-hour sitcom? Viewer opinions and hopes are welcome.
Feature image: Acts of Faith, by Dahlia Katz
More articles from Byron Toben
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.
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