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Canada: Sault Ste Marie, Ontario – Group of Seven Play

To fully understand the impetus and experience of the Group of Seven Canadian painters’ time in Algoma County, the Theatre in Motion is featuring a one-man show called Moments in Algoma, This group of Seven “experience” has an actor portraying painter Lawren Harris. It’s being shown at the Heritage Discovery Center.

Austria, Wattens, Innsbruck: Playscape at Crystal World

 

The playground at Crystal World, Innsbruck Austria, is not just for the young. Be prepared get lost in a labyrinth or climb and be a kid again.

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, Montreal: “Birthmark” Play Reveals Cultural Baggage of Montreal Jewish vs Palestinian Kids

Let’s start with the aim of the Teersi Duniya Theatre group itself, which is to highlight theater focusing on social justice. Different cultures get to take the stage, whether they be Indigenous, Palestinian, Israeli, Armenian, Rwandan, Iranian, Turkish or whatever. The theatre’s goal, as mentioned by their artistic director Rahul Varma, is that we are all one people and it takes stories of everyone else to see ourselves.  Varma says, “the only way to tell stories in a new way is to get new storytellers into the room”.

So Stephen Orlov’s story Birthmark is about families. In writing this, he was asking himself why Jews who founded Israel to end their centuries of oppression were now dispossessing another people that had lived there for centuries. Michelle Soifer, the director, says we have in this play, “two young adults filled with passion and drive…  and the chutzpah to do something about it”.

Canada as a nation is made up of many communities of people who may have been displaced by war and conflicts. Living here in Montreal we have Jewish and Palestinian cross currents. Though families  may have immigrated here and now raise their families in this safe haven, the memories of their living history or those of their parents will always shape them. The children get stuck between the two solitudes: perhaps the need to avenge their families’ past or to just ride along safely here for their future.

Though this is a story of the Israeli vs. Palestinian conflict, it raises the universal problem of parents or caregivers who live with a family member who thinks differently, or even perhaps might be mentally challenged or elderly, and the parent must learn to live with the pain of not being able to fix things (which they might have caused), or even change them.

Natalie Tannous gives a strong performance as a mother conflicted by secrets in the past and fears for her child ‘s future.  Howard Rosenstein is her gentler counterpart, with his own untold secrets and the consequences of not listening to a child. Stephen Spreekmester creates two very different characters, and does them well – one of an observant Rabbi and one of a tough RCMP officer.  Patrick Keeler  as Nelson, the Jewish child finding solace in religion, and Dalia Charafeddine as Karima secretly planning revenge for her parent’s death, give us two very realistic diametric opposites on both sides of this divide.

The simplicity of Sabrina Miller’s set design, using floor squares and wall hangings to identify rooms, walls and doorways was very effective.

We learn that words matter: why do we refer to the Israelis as extremists but the Palestinians as terrorists?

Location: Mai Centre, 3680 Jeanne-Mance
corner: Milton
Dates: Nov 3-18, 2018
Price: $17 – $25
Tel: 514-982-3386
www.m-a-i.qc.ca

 

US: Newport, RI – Enjoy a Night Full of Great Food and Entertainment

Looking for a great night out while you are on route…this dinner theatre will fit the bill. At Newport Playhouse and Cabaret Restaurant you can enjoy a great buffet, an entertaining play and a fun-filled cabaret all under the same roof. The air conditioned, handicap accessible theatre is conveniently located at the foot of the Newport Bridge and has plenty of parking.

Their expansive buffet does not skimp on quality or selection. Feast on a large variety of hot and cold foods, main entrees, side dishes, beverages and homemade desserts and everything is prepared on the premises.  Alcohol is available table-side or at the bar.Newport Theater Buffet2017-10-03_12-26-15

After dinner stroll into the theater, where you have reserved seating,  for a delightful comedy. After the play, return to the dining room for a cabaret filled with songs and laughter.

Now Playing: The Crazy Time – A laugh-filled look at the joys and perils of May/December romances. Miles has left his wife Kate for a younger woman whose youthful lifestyle is both exciting and exhausting. Kate has found a way to deal with her loss. Throw in a daughter with her own marital problems and Miles’ scheming business partner Jerry, and you have all the makings of a full-fledged struggle between the sexes, as Kate and Miles deal with what they each have lost and gained.

Newport Theater Crazy Time2017-10-03_12-21-19You have the choice to purchase Dinner Theatre or Theatre only tickets. The Newport Playhouse and Cabaret gives you a lot of bang for your buck, a full night (or afternoon) of entertainment.

Location: Newport Playhouse and Cabaret Restaurant, 102 Connell Highway,
Newport, RI 02840
Dates: Thurs, Oct 12 – Sun, Nov 19, 2017
Times: Matinee or Evening depending on the day
Tel: 401-848-7529
newportplayhouse.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: goprovidence.com

US: Savannah, GA – This Exhibit in Savannah is Going to the Dogs

William Wegman (American, b. 1943) is an internationally-renowned artist with a prolific career spanning five decades. He is well known for his photographs of his beloved Weimaraners, a collaboration that began with his dog, Man Ray, in Los Angeles in 1970.

The exhibition of William Wegman: Improved Photographs at Telfair Museums – Jepson Center for the Arts highlights his use of humor to find unexpected and surprising ideas within everyday objects and scenarios. So much fun to see the dogs all dressed up or in unusual poses all done with incredible artistry.Wegman 05816_Eye On

Included in the exhibition are drawings, paintings, altered photographs, 20 x 24 inch Polaroids and a selection of early videos from the 1970s to present day.  Across all these media, Wegman demonstrates a continual interest in working and reworking his imagery, thus “improving” it with his particular sense of logic and play.

On August 5th,  1 – 4pm,  is William Wegman Free Family Day at the gallery.  Say goodbye to the “dog days” of summer and kick off the start of the school year with a family day devoted to the art of William Wegman. Participate in gallery activities, make your own altered photos and postcards, and find out more about Savannah dogs available for adoption.

Photo Credit: William Wegman Eye-on, 1997 Color Polaroid 24 x 20 inches

Location: Jepson Center for the Arts, 207 West York St., Savannah, 31401
Date: Until Aug 13, 2017
Hours: Sun -Mon 12-5pm. Tues-Sat 10 – 5pm
Tel: 912-790-8800
telfair.org/wegman
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitsavannah.com

US: New Haven, CT – International Festival of Arts & Ideas

What do you get when you assemble authors, scientists, and leading innovators alongside outstanding artists? The International Festival of Arts & Ideas – a 15-day festival of performing arts, lectures; dynamic public programs to captivate, entertain, and motivate a diversity of communities.Arts & Ideas2017-05-05_16-12-09

Each June, the Festival takes over the theaters, open spaces, and courtyards of New Haven, Connecticut with performances and dialogues that tickle the senses, engage the mind, and inspire the soul. More than 80% of festival programs are completely free to the public, including events that feature some of the most influential jazz, classical, dance, and theater artists of our time.

Dancers Arts & Ideas 2017-05-05_16-16-33This year will feature an array of world-premiere theater performances, internationally renowned musicians, modern dance, circus theater, weighty discussions on contemporary issues, food and bicycle tours. Be empowered through the rhythms of BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, healed through the communal music of (Be)longing, and surprised by international premieres from China, cutting-edge, retro-tech experiences of Manual Cinema, and LEO’s gravity defying theatrics.  In addition, more than a dozen new performances and experiences in ALTAR’d Spaces surrounding the New Haven Green, the Big Read, The Wailers and Rusted Root… the line up is bounteous!

Photo Credits:New Haven Green – Judy Sirota, Pop Up Fair – Haven Anderson

Location: Town Green and various venues throughout the city
Downtown New Haven, CT 06510
Dates: June 3- 24, 2017
Hours: Various
Tel: 203-498-1212
artidea.org/festival
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitnewhaven.com

US: Wilmington, DE – Become a Junior Paleontologist in a Dinosaur Maze

Dinosaur Revolution is a traveling exhibition staged  at the Delaware Museum of Natural History. This is a creative learning experience within a maze setting. The interactive maze is mentally and physically engaging and offers a fun and hands-on way to explore the fascinating prehistoric world of dinosaurs.Dinosaur Revolution

Uncover the facts, fictions, and fossils of Dinosaur Revolution as visitors can experience reptilian role-play activities by LIVING LARGE. Undertake three Mesozoic Missions spanning 150 million years that dinosaurs ruled the Earth and mimic dinosaur behavior; become a junior paleontologist and find evidence of dinosaur doings while learning why dinosaurs are one of the most successful survivors in earth’s history; and unearth a shocking discovery: dinosaurs may not be extinct!

Dinosaur Revolution blends learning and play, inviting visitors to investigate all things dinosaur while challenging your knowledge, presenting new discoveries, and debunking popular myths.

Location: Delaware Museum of Natural History, 4840 Kennett Pike, Wilmington, DE 19807
Dates: until – May 29, 2017
Hours: Mon – Sat: 9:30 – 4:30pm, Sun: Noon – 4:30pm
Tel: 302-658-9111
delmnh.org/event/dinosaur-revolution
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitwilmingtonde.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 – Bakerfield Mist: Artsy Fartsy Tryst at Centaur

It is really hard to take the boring authenticity-proving side of the modern art world and make it into a delightful audience loving (2 standing ovations on opening night) theatre piece.

Stephen Sachs, the playwright, took on the true story of Terry Horton, a former truck driver who scavenged a painting for $5 at a second-hand shop as a gift for a friend who needed cheering up. Maude Gutman, as she is called in this play, is a lover of kitsch – her trailer is overwhelmed by it (A congratulatory shout out here for the jam-packed shelves created by set and costume designer Pam Johnson, who really needed my Smart Shopping Montreal book to find all that stuff!). At a yard sale, the local art teacher noticed the painting and mentioned it might be a Jackson Pollock; and so begins the tale. Somehow Gutman managed to get a major art house in NYC to send an expert over to check out her claim.

And therein lies this sparring pied-a-deux. A foul-mouthed bourbon drinking trailer park madam vs. the snooty elitist artsy gentleman. Human authenticity versus art authenticity is set to be proven. Nicola Cavendish walks the walk and talks the talk. Her sneaker grounded stalking moves her around the trailer while her expert verbal comedic timing keeps the pace going. She even manages to give the garbage pail “a line”.

Jonathan Monro (Lionel Percy), himself a renaissance man (competitive swimmer, piano prodigy, singer, director, lyricist, actor), glides around her, expertly dodging her verbal and physical attacks. My take-away forever (as a former NYC art teacher) is the exuberant and sexually suggestive way in which Monro teaches us the how and why a Jackson Pollock painting is important – and not just a bunch of paint splashes on a canvas.
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Though Percy always trusts his “first blink”, it is Nicola Cavendish who summed it up brilliantly when she observed Pollock’s paintings, “You can see that what emerges is layers and layers and layers. I think it’s a lesson on how we can learn to look more closely, whether we are talking about a piece of art or whether we’re talking about the woman who lives across the street who’s offensive.” Modern art is beyond the understanding of the ordinary citizen, and this play opens the door a crack as to what it is all about, how it works and doesn’t work. The show makes it all fun and drives Maude’s trailer expertly to the end to find out if she goes from rags to riches.

Location: 453 St-Francois Xavier
corner: Notre-Dame
Tel: 514-288-3161
Dates: Jan 31-Feb 26, 2017
Prices $28- $51
www.centaurtheatre.com
Metro: Place d’Armes

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