Fool for Love

concordeI had the good fortune to see a most remarkable production this week – Sam Shepard’s “Fool for Love,” a production of Théâtre des Cybèle directed in French by Kevin Orr, a professor in the theatre department at the University of Ottawa, and it’s set in a remarkably seedy motel room on Montreal Road in Vanier. It’s a play about love, rage and jealousy and it’s set, yes, in a seedy motel room. The audience – there’s room for 12 of us – are seated on folding metal chairs lining the walls of the room, and we are thoroughly in the midst of the action of the play – audience members are asked to make sure to stay out of the actors’ way as they rush about the room. It’s claustrophobic, visceral, emotionally charged, and a thoroughly exceptional piece of theatre. Bravo to the actors, Nathaly Charrette, Yves Turbide, Paul Rainville, and Nicolas Desfossés.

Don’t understand French? Doesn’t matter. Immersed in that motel room, you can’t help but figure out what you need to know just by watching the actors, their faces, their gestures. When I was in Dublin last year I saw a production of Sam Shepard’s “True West”; the year before, I caught “The Curse of the Starving Class at the Abbey”. But in spite of being English-language performances, neither Irish production seemed to quite capture the essence of Shepard – either the despair of the characters or the idiom of the playwright’s language – the way this one did. So bravo too to the translator, Michèle Magny.

It’s a limited run to May 1 and with only 12 seats I suspect there aren’t many more tickets available – but if the opportunity presents itself, grab it!

Writers Read

Well, that was fun!

As I mentioned recently, the Playwrights Guild of Canada sponsored an evening of readings by local playwrights, which took place last night in the GCTC lobby last night. Seven playwrights offered excerpts from their work – in some instances, myself included, works in progress – including Jessica Anderson, Laurie Fyffe, Arthur Milner, Kim Renders, Drew Hayden Taylor and Darrah Teitel. There was also an open mike, and I was delighted to see quite a few members of the audience, including quite a few notable local actors, take advantage of the opportunity to share some of their work.

Kudos to Laurie for organizing the event, and many thanks to Eric Coates and Patrick Gauthier of GCTC for providing the venue and introducing the readers for the evening.

The reading attracted quite a nice turnout, I thought, and it was inspiring to get a sense of what some of my colleagues in the Ottawa area are up to. I very much hope that this will be the first of many such events in Ottawa’s theatre calendar.

Before the public event began, the Guild’s Rebecca Burton hosted an informal caucus meeting, which was an opportunity for those present to get acquainted and share suggestions about potential collective activities for us here in Ottawa. While the Guild’s focus is understandably Toronto, we in Ottawa have our own interests and concerns, and one theme that many of us around the table brought up was a call for more in the way of professional development and workshops here in Ottawa.

As to the reading itself, I am deeply indebted to the wonderfully talented Kristina Watt, who joined me in presenting an excerpt from “Ill Conceived,” one of the plays I’ve been writing at GCTC. Kristina and I worked together last year on “Late,” and I was very glad for the chance to work with her again – not only for her fine reading, but for the conversations we had beforehand, where her intelligence and actor’s eye gave me fresh insights into the characters and story arc of the play.

In the informal discussion before the readings, Kristina noted that she was very much interested in the opportunity to read new works, and I think this could make for a very fruitful collaboration among actors and playwrights in Ottawa. I hope we’ll see something like this come to pass – at the very least, I hope Kristina realizes that I’m certainly planning to share future drafts with her as well.

Actors and playwrights out there: what do you think?

Writers Reading

We playwrights like to write. At least, I hope we do, otherwise why are we doing it?

Usually, other people get to find out about what we’ve written by attending a production of one of our plays. But every now and then an alternative avenue comes along, and thanks to the efforts of Laurie Fyffe, another Ottawa playwright, the Playwrights Guild of Canada and the Great Canadian Theatre Company have teamed up to present an evening of readings by a number of local playwrights. Here’s the official announcement – hope to see you there!

Playwrights UnitE!

Great Canadian Theatre Company and the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada, Ontario East Caucus, invite you to an evening of readings hosted by GCTC featuring members of the Playwrights Guild of Canada, and many more!

Join us as playwrights established and emerging, Ottawa based and from the National Capital Region and beyond, read from exciting works in an evening devoted to celebrating the art of the playwright.

Jessica Anderson, Lawrence Aronovitch, Laurie Fyffe, Arthur Milner, Kim Renders, Drew Hayden Taylor, & Darrah Teitel will kick off the evening, followed by an open mic invitation for other playwrights to take to the stage.

Date:
Monday, April 22, 2013

Time:
7 PM

Location:
Main Lobby of the Great Canadian Theatre Company,
Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre,
1227 Wellington Street West (corner of Wellington & Holland Avenue),
Ottawa

Admission is FREE! There will be snacks, a cash bar, great writing & stimulating conversation for all!

This is event is made possible by the Great Canadian Theatre Company, the Playwrights’ Guild of Canada, & the Canada Council for the Arts.