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Canada, Montreal: Pulitzer Prize Winning Play Glengarry Glen Ross

It’s special when we can get to view a play which was honored with a Tony nomination and garnered a Pulitzer Prize.  Glengarry Glen Ross, now playing at the Mainline Theatre (produced by Acts to Grind Theatre), shows off David Mamet’s ability to write profound dialogue.

This story highlights the cynical, difficult, pushy life of real estate salesmen in Chicago. I was not surprised to learn that the play is also often referred to as “Death of a Fuckin’ Salesman”, because it is notorious for its use of profanity. That hardly resonates in today’s foul language world – on the other hand, today’s politically correct society would flinch at the prejudice shown against East Indians and Polish people.

Mamet’s characters are drawn down and dirty as lying, backstabbing, double-dealing tricksters willing to toss out ethical principles to justify their work. Yet they really are passionate about selling, and especially enjoy the nitty gritty details of closing a deal.  One of Mamet’s goal in writing this play was to highlight the plight of so many people who go about their lives performing regular jobs yet often having to endure indignities while doing so.

Actor Zag Dorison (Shelly Levene) does an amazing job of making you feel his nervousness and despair; we twitch and pull on our lapels right along with him. Dorison, commenting on his character, “This play will always be relevant. There will always be those who exploit others and are out
for a buck at the expense of someone’s savings and dignity. Although the character of Shelly Levene is down on his luck, he believes that
it’s just a streak that will break; he had been a shark and wants to be one again. It is interesting that in spite of this, the audience still
sympathizes with him when his whole world comes crashing down upon him.”

Michael Aronovitch (George Aaronow),  Izak Benrobi (Ricky Roma) and Jake Caceres (Dave Moss) have all been cast well for their parts, and they make their distinctive personalities apparent. Bryan Libero (John Williamson) really makes you dislike him while the company man, Olivier Ross-Parent (Blake/Baylen) is properly detestable.  Davyn Ryall (James Lingk) does well as the meek patsy trying to get his money back.

Be prepared for Mamet’s long soliliquys for each of them – with the other salesmen there mostly as an audience for their rants.  Since this is a small theatre, you too feel as though you are right next to them in the room. Be careful though because as Levene says, these guys are so manipulative, they know how to sell you something you didn’t even want.

Location: MainLine Theatre, 3997 St-Laurent, 2nd floor
Dates: Presented in English: Wed-Sat Nov 7-10, 14, 15, 16, 17, at 8pm. Sun matinees Nov 11, 18, at 2 pm
Tickets: (Prices include taxes and service charge) $22 general admission; $20 Seniors; $18 Students
Tel: 514 849-3378
e-mail: boxoffice@montrealfringe.ca
www.mainlinetheatre.ca/en/spectacles/glengarry-glen-ross
youtu.be/kQOG32GINho
NOTE: mature language. Recommended ages 14+

Canada: Hudson Village Theatre – Savannah Sipping Society is Light Summer Fun

Many of us enjoy a light read to while away a lazy summer afternoon. At the Hudson Village Theatre, you don’t even have to read to have fun – you can just listen and watch as four women meet, mingle and moan – and become a family of friends.

The director, Ellen David, takes this (Jessie) Jones (Nicholas) Hope (Jamie) Wooten delightful script and gently guides the dynamic quattro of actors as they learn “what is holding you back from one’s past and self-imposed limitations towards a compelling future”.  This could be any one of us.

The performers David chose are as well cast and strong as the four sides of a square. Randa Covington (Jane Wheeler) has defined herself by her work, and doesn’t know how to re-define herself beyond that. She tries to hold on to her safe proper business countenance, but is weighed down by feeling second best in her family. Marlafaye (Lisa Bronwyn Moore) gets the classic “dumped for a younger woman” part, so feelings of anger and rejection are keeping her from moving forward. “I swear the older you get the harder it is to jump start a new life”, she says.

Dot (Kathleen Fee), the oldest of the bunch, has just lost her husband, the only man she has known, and with whom she had planned to retire. She has no idea how to figure out what comes next. Her subtle acting is deliciously wonderful as she delivers many funny zinger lines. Paula Costain as Jinx moves and talks with the right zippy attitude to convince them, as their new “life coach”, to go (as David says)” beyond their comfort zone to a brave new world where they eventually find themselves”. Jinx reminds us that her older sister (now incapacitated with dementia) taught her that “it’s the happy in life that counts”.

The set by Jean-Claude Olivier is a comfortable porch, so the women have an informal place to gently and liquidly reveal their sagas. As this is a “Sipping Society”, drinking props (by Lea Robertson) were a fun challenge due to the many iterations of serving different kinds of alcohol. Marlafaye once toasted, “Girls, here’s to living single and drinking doubles”.

There were more costume changes than you would expect (by Elisabeth De Medeiros), creating a fashion show which helped define the scenes and the forward movement of their lives.

Jamie Wooten, one of the playwrights, was a writer for The Golden Girls, so the quality of their patter and the giggly one-liners is in the same genre of that hysterical show.  When Marlafaye sees Randa’s house for the first time she opines, “Yeah, sure is a pretty place. Everything’s so neat and clean. I’m not like that. Instead of cleaning my house, I just turn off the lights”.  When Randa comments on drinking mead, “This really isn’t so horrible”, Marlafaye responds, “The very words I said on my wedding night”.  Marlafaye also says,  “Sex is like a brownie – when it’s good it’s really good. And when it’s bad….it’s still pretty good!”.

Andrea Romaldi, the artistic director writes, “friendships are our lifelines and support structures. Good friends cheer us, challenge us, bewilder us and irritate us, but ultimately they support and help us grow into our best selves”. Head out to Hudson and lift a glass to friendship.

Location: 28 Rue Wharf, Hudson, QC J0P 1H0
Phone: 450- 458-5361
Dates: til July 22
https://villagetheatre.ca/

 

US: Wilmington, DE – This Sunday, How about Brunch and a Drag Show?

Looking for something completely different to do on a Sunday, tired of the same old, same old…how about brunch and a drag show? Join a fabulous all-star cast of Drag Queens for a Drag Diva Brunch. The hysterical all-ages drag brunch takes place Sundays at noon at The Queen Wilmington.Drag Diva Bruch AD divas0_11823c31-5056-b3a8-49db71c869f55295

Each general admission ticket includes not only the hilariously entertaining show but also your entree and first mimosa or Bloody Mary  (21+ only for alcohol).

Seating begins at noon and while you are being seated the cast of queens will mingle with you making sure you are ready to have a great time. The show starts at 1 pm and runs about 90 minutes. Each show has about 11 performances of pure fabulousness.

Diva b W1sic2l6ZSIsIjM1MHciXV0=Although the Drag Diva Brunch is appropriate for all ages, keep in mind that it’s a Drag Show. The show is described as fun and flirty. The emcees occasionally use adult humor and language, sometimes naughty, but the show is never raunchy, and always fun.

Get ready to have the most amusing and entertaining time at brunch you’ll ever have.  The shows feel like a big party and everyone is invited in on the fun. group audienceb W1sic2l6ZSIsIjM1MHciXV0=

CLICK TICKETS FOR MORE INFO!

Location: The Queen Wilmington, 500 N. Market St., Wilmington, DE 19801
Dates: Sun, June 24,  July 1, July 8, July 17, July 22, July 29
Time: Doors open at 12pm, show starts at 1pm
Tel: 202-730-3331
dragdivabrunch.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitwilmingtonde.com

US: St Simons Island, GA – African American Musical Traditions (even Gullah Geechee), Crafts and Food

For over 40 years the Georgia Sea Islands Festival on St. Simons Island, Georgia has celebrated the African American musical traditions, crafts, and food of the coastal barrier islands.Women gsif5_a094edcd-5056-a36a-0b4d02effe6ba3a5

Each year the highlight of the festival are the musicians – young, old, and some “with an old heart” — who perform traditional spirituals, work songs, and plays handed down by their ancestors. Live entertainment includes The Geechee Gullah Ring Shouters.

There will be cuisine such as  smoked mullet, fried fish, sweet potato pone, homemade ice cream, and demonstrations of traditional Gullah Geechee knitting cast net and sweet grass baskets.

Men Singing gsif4_a0952c76-5056-a36a-0ba9ac6ed479ebd0The Georgia Sea Islands Festival is FREE and filled with fun and entertainment for the whole family.Crowd gsif3_a0953f8a-5056-a36a-0b44dfd584862c30

Location: Gascoigne Bluff Park, 1000 Arthur J Moore Dr, St Simons Island, GA 31522
Date: Sat, June 2, 2018
Time: 11am – 6pm
Tel: 912- 634-0330
ssiheritagecoalition.org/2018/02/16/georgia-sea-islands-festival-2018
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: goldenisles.com

US: Providence, RI – Interactive Improv Comedy Show for the Whole Family

Bring Your Own Improv’s Family Friendly Comedy Show is a rarity – a comedy club that you can bring your kids to.BYOI Kids

Bring Your Own Improv (BYOI) is now in its 10th season and family-friendly comedy shows are Fridays at 7pm. This interactive improv show welcomes voluntary audience participation, of all ages.

The format is similar to “Who’s Line is it Anyways” where different games and scenes are set up. The troupe asks for audience input, the actors put their own spin on scenes, and the action changes constantly,  so no two performances are ever the same. They encourage you to participate in one of three ways: Applaud at a scene you like, yell out fantastic suggestions, or if you feel you’re ready,  jump up and get involved with the performers on stage.

So if anyone in your family wants to flex their comic muscles or would just like partake and play along, the clever and creative cast will support you.  No worries, they only choose volunteers with hands up .BYOI Performers

Why not start your weekend off with some laughs, the players are pros and know how to keep the audience entertained.  Sit back and chuckle your cares away with this fun, inexpensive night out with the family. This is a hidden gem if you’re looking for something to do while on a family vacation in the Providence or Newport area. There’s also a Late Night Comedy Show (PG-13) Fridays at 9pm.

For a list of all shows: bringyourownimprov.com/Shows.htm

Location: Warwick Center for the Arts, 3259 Post Rd., Warwick, RI 02886
Dates:  March Family-Friendly Shows –  Fri, Mar 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 2017
Time: 7 – 8:30pm
Tel: 401-261-7678
bringyourownimprov.com
goprovidence.com/event/bring-your-own-improvs-family-friendly-comedy-show/29118/

For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: goprovidence.com

Canada: Montreal , Quebec – Centaur Theatre’s Last Night at the Gayety

George Bowser and Rick Blue have an amazing way with words. True to the their well-known genre it’s the songs at Centaur’s Last Night at the Gayety, that really “sing”. They are just so darn clever. The play, about Montreal’s infamous years of “Casinos, Bordellos and Booze” (one of the songs) could have been formulaic, but manages to relate a story which not only keeps you interested, but giggling and titillated throughout.

A tale of this era could not be told without the usual suspects: the gangster, nightclub owner, priest and cops (the good and bad). The glue holding it all together is the famous stripper Lili St. Cyr. Julia Juhas is a knockoff, so perfectly cast; she elegantly glides across the stage dressed to kill in early 50’s fashions, yet bumps and grinds so provocatively with those sinuous long legs.

What could be wrong with a night of inside jokes, overacting, silly songs, erotic dancing, love, lust, murder, gangsterism and priestly disgust – all so definitively Montreal. Bowser and Blue make sure to point out, tongue-in-cheek this city was made for burlesque because there’s a main street named Beaver Hall Hill and the crossroads of downtown is after all, called “Peel”. Lili retorts that she prefers Las Vegas because its main street is known as “The Strip” (bada boom).

Centaur's Last Night at the Gayety