Welcome to events in the
merry month of May!
May brings flowers in the form of plenty of entertainment
By Byron Toben
April 28, 2022
For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing of birds hath come and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land.
– The Song of Songs, which is Solomon’s 2:11-13
For years I puzzled over this – turtles can sing? Until it was pointed out that the reference is to a bird, the turtle dove. Anyway, apart from labour celebrating May Day, much is brewing in theatre and festival events, as listed below:
UNTIL MAY 8
Infinitheatre – Mazel Tov
I reviewed a dramatic reading of this play in 2019 and thoroughly enjoyed it. Written in French by Marc Andre Thibault and superbly directed by Ellen David, it deals with an interfaith marriage where the groom’s best friend makes a gesture that others interpret as anti-Semitic. Can this be resolved? Well, “Good Luck.”
UNTIL MAY 9
Blue Metropolis International Literary Festival
This year, the venerable Festival is online until May 4 and in person from May 5 to 8. The 2022 themes are What Age Are We? and Planet, Society, People.
With the usual array of books for sale, panels and readings.
UNTIL MAY 15
Centaur Theatre – A Play For The Living in a Time of Extinction
This environmental, magical, scientific play by Miranda Rose Hall, in its Canadian premiere, tackles big themes. Directed by Rose Plotek, it stars Warona Sershwaelo as Naomi, a dramaturge who explains it all to you with passion and even humour.
Beginning in May
MAY 1 TO 22
Segal Centre – April Fools: An Adult Rock Cabaret
Written by Keren Peles, the reigning Israeli singer, this steamy show (limited to 18 plus) features a 10-person cast directed by Moshe Kepten.
The popular free Sunday at the Segal discussion of it takes place online on Sunday, May 1 at 11 am. The show’s performances are in person.
MAY 5 TO 14
Mainline Theatre – Carrie rock musical
This is an adaptation of Stephen King’s 1974 novel about an awkward telekinetic teenage girl with a religious fanatic mother. Produced by Noelle Hannibal and directed and choreographed by Nadia Verrucci, it has a book by Lawrence D. Cohen with lyrics by Dean Pritchard and music by Michael Gore. For rock musical fans, a more intimate setting than the one at the Segal Centre (above). See them both!
Cine Gael – Irish Short Films
Cine Gael closes its 30th season with its most popular annual event – Irish short films that the audience can vote for and select the top three.
MAY 6 TO 14
Monument National – Next To Normal
OMG, another rock musical in May! This one a Pulitzer prize winner and here performed by the upcoming Montreal Contact Theatre. Written by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, it explores keeping a family together while emerging from the pandemic.
MAY 7, 10, 12, 15 and 17
Salle Wilfred Pelletier – The Magic Flute
The Opera de Montreal performs this ground breaking two-act opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart which premiered in 1791 to great acclaim before he died a few months later at only 35. It is influenced by his Masonic belief in rationality and is one of the world’s most performed operas. It incorporates German “singspiel” which mixes talk with the song. It has had many adaptations in book, musical and other forms. Although not a rock opera, a key scene takes place on a rocky plateau near a temple. Several have pointed out the resemblance of the strains introducing Act Two to Canada’s national anthem, Oh Canada, by Calixa Lavallée.
MAY 11, 18 AND 25
Cummings Centre – Rob Lutes’ The Stories Behind the Song
Rob Lutes won us over earlier this year with his revealing series of the Stories Behind the Songs. He continues with more, streamed during May.
MAY 12 TO 29
Talisman Theatre – Night From the 4th to 5th
This theatre continues its specialty of performing plays written in French translated into English. This streamed PWYC show depicts an assaulted lady who speaks up as she encounters family, social workers and lawyers. Written by Rachel Graton, its cast includes veteran Victoria Barkoff.
Hudson Film Festival – What We Choose To Remember
The opening film at the Hudson village theatre film Festival is a documentary created by none other than Guy Rex Rodgers, who founded ELAN, the English Language Arts Network, so pivotal to Quebec’s English creative community. Here he revisits the disturbing days of the FLQ, kidnapping and bombs. Streamed or in person.
Feature image: April Fools, courtesy of Habima Theatre
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.