Saturday, April 15, 2017

Ghosts and demons

I didn't realize how many ghosts and demons were in the plays I've seen at the theatre recently. But they really are constants of so many great stories. Frightening, pathetic, funny, threatening - aspects of our selves.

*****Sheets (Director/playwright Salvatore Antonio) / April
Ghost + Suicide

Veritas theatre offered House Seats tickets and I scooped them up, then the theatre reneged when the play started getting positive reviews. So disappointing! I ended up buying tickets despite being peeved.

Memorable performances by (mostly) naked actors, including the unflinching exposure by a burn victim of their disfigurement and loss.

The stage presented awkward threesomes, inexperienced escorts and clients, suicide and death. Underneath was vulnerability and the human need to be really seen and accepted.

The ghost in this play was omnipresent, from the moment guests took their seats through to the last moment of the performance.

***Picasso at the Lapin Agile (playwright Steve Martin) / March
The spirits here were out of time, not really ghosts so much as displaced souls.

East Side Players staged the absurd comedy, where Einstein, Picasso and Elvis end up in the same bar, competing for drinks and women.

The script demanded excellent comic timing and although delivery was a bit hit and miss, it was entirely fun none-the-less.

**Five Faces of Evelyn Frost (Quebec playwright Guillaume Corbeil) / Feb

Can Stage/Berkeley theatre.

I genuinely liked this but thought it was about 55-60 minutes too long. Did I mention it was a 70 minute production?

A critical eye cast on social media, the play made its point quickly with the actors trying to outdo each other with their tweets, Facebook posts and Instagrams. Whispering and shouting and making announcements without listening, connecting or getting to know each other. A lonely, sociable/but anti-social existence.

The stage was heaped with discarded costumes from which bodies rose and descended. Great commentary and strong performances but so so so long.

****Who Killed Spalding Gray? (Written and performed by Daniel MacIvor) / Dec
Demon + Suicide

Can Stage/Berkeley theatre.

A one man production in the tradition of Spalding Gray, with the actor speaking directly to the audience and holding them transfixed with manic confessions. This was a fantastic account of events in one man's life, and his bizarre hypothesis of how angry spirits attack the most vulnerable. Releasing one man's demon means someone else becomes the host. I'm glad I saw an afternoon performance and returned to bright daylight afterward, rather than entering into a dark, cold night.

***Chasse-Gallerie (book adapted by Tyrone Savage / music and lyrics by James Smith) / Nov

A raunchy and rollicking Quebecois tale , with devils and lumberjacks and innocent girls led astray in a canoe.

The demons make a side bet with one another and take the lumberjack girls to hell, but the women succeed in overthrowing the underworld and return with warning tales.

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