Nabucco

Based on Biblical stories in the Books of Jeremiah and Daniel, this opera by Giuseppe Verdi was first performed at La Scala in Milan in 1842. The titular character is the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzer II, and the opera opens in Jerusalem in 583 B.C.E. The Babylonian army is advancing, and the Jewish population living in the city faces the prospect of persecution and exile from their homeland. There’s some general sacking of Jerusalem, romance, imprisonment, prophecies, mass execution, divine retribution, and at the end one repentant and mentally unhinged Babylonian monarch.

Today and Sunday at the RPL Theatre a production of Nabucco by London’s Royal Opera will be broadcast. Curtain both days is 2 p.m., and tickets are $15 Adults, $12 Seniors, Students $10. To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s an excerpt from an uncredited (on YouTube anyway) production featuring a famous scene with a chorus of Hebrew slaves:

Little Orange Man

Little Orange Man - Ingrid Hansen with Ape, photo credit Dave BukachPresented by Hectik Theatre, this fringe theatre play sees Victoria-based artist Ingrid Hansen adopt the persona of a 12-year-old Danish girl named Kitt the Kinder-Whisperer.

Kitt’s described in the press release as a high octane girl, and her greatest delight is to re-enact for neighbourhood children grisly folk tales told to her by her grandfather. She does so by using toys, shadow puppets, and even leftover bits of food from lunch.

In previous performances in other cities Little Orange Man received rave reviews. Despite its sometimes manic subject matter, the play is rated E for Everyone.    

Little Orange Man runs Wednesday Oct. 15 to Friday Oct. 17 and Wednesday Oct. 22 to Friday Oct. 24 at 8 p.m. at the Artesian. Saturday Oct. 18 and Oct. 25 there’s performances at 2 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students with ID, although tonight’s show is pay what you can.

You can find more information on the Artesian website.

Menopause: The Musical

Written by Jeanie Linders, this parody musical premiered in Florida in 2001. It concerns a group of four women (a businesswoman, housewife, earth mother and soap star) who trade war stories about different facets of menopause tied to cravings, hot flashes, memory lapses and other physical/psychological effects.

The women do this while shopping for lingerie at Bloomingdales, and many of the stories that they tell are done through familiar songs (some with titles and lyrics slightly modified) from the 1950s through ’80s.

On Wednesday, Oct. 15 a touring production of Menopause will be mounted at Conexus Arts Centre. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $54.75 and $65.75. To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s a promo video:

Prairie Dance Circuit

Forever in Blue Jeans 4Hosted by New Dance Horizons, this is an ongoing dance series that involves collaboration between companies in Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton and Regina to organize and present performances showcasing prairie dancers and choreographers.

On Oct. 15-16, the focus will be on the 50th anniversary of Winnipeg Contemporary Dancers. Included will be works by Brent Lott and  Ming Hon, along with a screening of a film by Danielle Sturk that examines the dance career of WCD founder Rachel Browne who passed away in 2012.

The Prairie Dance Circuit performance will be held at University of Regina Theatre on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday at 1:30 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are Adults $25, Students & Seniors $20, while the Thursday matinee is $15.

Pictured above, by the way, is an image from Forever In Blue Jeans. Choreographer is Ming Hon, performers are Natasha Torres-Garner, Ali Robson, and Kayla Henry, and the photograph is by Leif Norman.

The Immortal Buffalo Boy

AdrianStimsonIn 2011, we did a cover story on Saskatoon artist Adrian Stimson related to his experience in Afghanistan with front-line troops as a Canadian war artist. He debuted Buffalo Boy (that’s him pictured at left, click photo to enlarge) a few years earlier at the Burning Man festival in Nevada, and subsequently revisited the character in numerous performances. And that history will be on display in an exhibition curated by Regina artist/academic David Garneau that opens at the Art Gallery of Regina on Wednesday, Oct. 8.

Of Blackfoot ancestry, Stimson adapted the character’s name from Buffalo Bill of Wild West fame. That references the colonization indigenous people endured in western North America in the 19th century, obviously. It also references the buffalo that prairie First Nations like the Blackfoot relied on for food, fuel, clothing, shelter and tools — until they were hunted to virtual extinction during the early days of settlement, that is. Finally, Buffalo Boy presents as two-spirited, which is how indigenous people traditionally conceived of LGBTQ people until Christianity imposed its iron, homophobic will.

Through a mix of photos, videos, artifacts and installations, Buffalo Boy’s multi-faceted character will be addressed, says Garneau. “The exhibition fits with Adrian’s Masters’ thesis at the University of Saskatchewan many years ago where he talked about the importance of the archive. Buffalo Boy was an intrusion into history. It was done in an ironic and playful way, such as with two-spirited people existing, but being edited out of history.

“He and Kent Monkman have gone a long way to reintroducing those figures because even contemporary indigenous people often didn’t know about them,” says Garneau. “There’s also the Trickster idea. He doesn’t refer to it all the time, but the writers certainly do.”

The writers Garneau’s referring to contributed to The Life and Times of Buffalo Boy — a book of essays he edited that Edmonton’s Truck Gallery recently published. “There’s a running gag about this perpetual closing chapter,” says Garneau. “But [Adrian] keeps coming back for more. Sometimes as Buffalo Boy, others times as this shaman exterminator. So there’s this sense of not being able to let him go.”

The Immortal Buffalo Boy opens at the Art Gallery of Regina with a reception on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. The exhibition runs until Nov. 20.

Trans-Actions

Transactions Promo ShotTrans-Actions is being presented by the Regina theatre company Curtain Razors in partnership with the First Nations University of Canada and the Conservatory of Performing Arts. It features the participation of the Collective Performance Storytelling Ensemble which includes Jesse Archibald-Barber, Sophie Bouffard, Dominic Gregorio, Erroll Kinistino, Ayesha Mohsin, Mohammad Saadoun, Janine Windolph and Michele Sereda. They’ll be performing under the direction of Dr. Larbi Sadiki, who teaches International Studies at the University of Qatar.

The international angle is important because the multi-disciplinary performance will weave together stories from difficult locales — Saskatchewan, Damascus, Syria, and Pakistan, to name three — to offer a broad and poignant look at the struggles of oppressed people around the world and their yearning to be free.

Trans-Actions is being held at the First Nations University Glass Tipi. There’s performances tonight at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The former is by donation, while for the latter tickets are $10. More info can be had by visiting the Curtain Razors website.

Much Ado About Nothing

Directed by Marti Maraden, this remount of Shakespeare’s famous romantic comedy opens on the Globe Theatre’s main stage tonight. You can find out more about the particulars of the production, along with ticket information, by checking out the Globe’s website.

Much Ado About Nothing is believed to have been written in 1598-99. Shakespeare was in his prime as a playwright then, and it’s generally regarded as one of his finest comedies. The play is set in the Sicilian port city of Messina, and concerns the romantic entanglements of two young couples: Claudio and Hero and Benedick and Beatrice. The title contains a pun on the word “noting”, and most of predicaments that befall the lovers stem from gossip and miscommunication.

Much Ado About Nothing will run at the Globe until Oct. 19. The play’s been filmed a number of times over the years, and if you’re a fan of the Gossip Girls TV show they did a parody of it in one episode as well. The Globe’s version is apparently set in the Roaring 20s. To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s the trailer from a 1993 production directed by Kenneth Branagh:

Arsenic And Old Lace

Written by American playwright Joseph Kesselring, this dark comedy opened in New York in 1941. The play was a legit hit on it’s own, but most people probably know the story best from a subsequent 1944 Frank Capra film which starred Cary Grant as the beleaguered drama critic trying to cope his eccentric family (a delusional uncle, homicidal brother and two spinster aunts with a fondness for offing lonely old men).

From Oct. 1-4 Regina Little Theatre will be presenting its version of Arsenic and Old Lace at the Performing Arts Centre. Oct. 1-2 curtain is at 7:30 p.m., while Oct. 3-4 it’s at 8 p.m. For ticket info you can visit the RLT website. And to give you a sense of what to expect here’s the trailer for the 1944 movie:

Tanya Tagaq Wins 2014 Polaris

I’m wondering if Tanya Tagaq doesn’t have an outside shot. It would be a bit of an upset, but it would be in line with what the Polaris was conceived to be when it first started.

Above is a comment I made in response to a blog post James Brotheridge did when the short-list for the 2014 Polaris Prize was announced on July 15. James suggested in his post that Shad was the likely front-runner to take home the award and the accompanying $30,000 prize.

It’s not that I disagreed with his assessment, but having had a chance to review the Inuit throat singer’s album Animism when it came out in May, and having seen some critical buzz developing around her in the succeeding months, it seemed possible to me that the Polaris jury might opt to make a statement by awarding her the prize.

And last night in Toronto that’s what ended up happening, as Tagaq picked up the award at a star-studded gala that included a performance by her. As I noted in my CD review, Tagaq’s album is as much performance art as music so it’s very definitely suited for the stage.

You can read more on last night’s gala in this CBC report.  And to give you a sense of  what Tagaq is like as an artist, here’s video of her performing in Mexico in 2010:

Russell Peters

If you do the math, you’ll find that Russell Peters is celebrating his 25th anniversary as a stand-up comic in 2014. He’s also done some work on TV and in movies, but stand-up is his bread and butter. And what a huge slice of bread and big chunk of butter it is. The business magazine Forbes ranks him as one of the top 10 comedians in terms of earnings.

Peters will be looking to grow his asset base tonight when he hits town for a show at Brandt Centre. Things should get going around 7 p.m., and tickets range from $60.50-$103. To give you a sense of what Peters’ brand of humour is like here’s a clip from a few years ago where he riffs on men and women:

http://youtu.be/ZSr2TCUohJM

 

Don Giovanni

With music by Mozart and a libretto by Lorenza Da Ponte, this two-act comic opera debuted in Prague in 1789. It’s based on the legend of Don Juan, and involves a series of romantic entanglements where the title character behaves in a less than honourable manner before he ultimately receives a measure of supernatural justice after refusing to mend his licentious  ways.

Today and Sunday at 2 p.m. a performance of Don Giovanni by London’s Royal Opera will be screened at the RPL Theatre. Tickets are $15 Adults, $12 Seniors and Students $10. To give you a sense of what to expect here’s a brief promo piece about the Royal Opera’s production:

Ridergirl

RidergirlWith the Winnipeg Blue Bombers enjoying a bit of a resurgence so far this season, the annual Labour Day Classic which goes at Mosaic Stadium on Aug. 31 promises to be more competitive than it has for the past few years (witness 48-25, 52-0 and 27-7 blowouts by the Riders in 2013, 2012 and 2011 respectively).

Before that happens, though, Rider fans will have a chance to get their game face on by attending this fringe play written and performed by Saskatchewan-born, Ottawa-based Colleen Sutton (photo above). Sutton’s performed the play a few times before in Regina, and it looks at the province’s obsession with the Riders from a female perspective while also exploring the idea of football as a metaphor for life.

Ridergirl will enjoy a three-day run at the Artesian from Aug. 28-30. Kick-off is at 7:30 p.m. each night, and tickets are $25 for those in Rider gear and $30 otherwise.

Thinking As She Thinks

Thinking as She ThinksThis is the final component of the Dunlop Gallery’s summer blockbuster Tragedy Plus Time which included two galleries worth of visual art along with three performances. In total, three curators and 19 artists were involved. The last two artists are Alison S.M. Kobayashi and Christopher Allen, and they’ll be presenting Thinking As She Thinks at the Artful Dodger Wednesday Aug. 27 at 8 p.m.

Kobayashi is based in Brooklyn, NY, and the performance she and her collaborator will be presenting tomorrow will be its premiere. Since performance is an organic art form, there’s generally no script or stage directions for the performers to follow. So each time a work is presented it stands as an unique creation.

There is a starting point, of course, and in this instance it’s a collection of audio recordings, diaries, lists and other memorabilia that Kobayashi has collected over the last 10 years. The origin of these materials is unknown, and she uses them to spin tales about different people’s lives. As the stories unfold, she and the audience experience shifts in perspective related to gender, age, time, space and other variables.

The above photo, by the way, is from a thematically similar performance by Kobayashi and Allen called DEFENSE MECHANISM ou MÉCANISME DE DÉFENSE (2012). (Photo credit: Romain Etienne).

Following Thinking As She Thinks there will be a session of Armando format improv by the Tragedy Plus Time players: Jayden Pfeifer,  Katie Rich, Colby Richardson and Judy Wensel.

Again, the performance is at the Artful Dodger (1631 11th Ave.) on Wednesday, Aug. 27 at 8 p.m. And it’s free admission.

2014 Summer Jam

On Friday Aug. 22 the Regina-based film troupe Split the Bill is holding, in the immortal words of American theatre impresario Ed Sullivan, “a really big shew”.

The troupe has done something similar twice in the last few years, if I’m not mistaken, and now they’re back for round three. The SNL-style variety show, which is being held at the Exchange, will include live music courtesy of Regina bands Indigo Joseph and Gunner, along with skits and ten comedy shorts produced by the group.

Tickets are $5, and doors at the Exchange will open at 7:30 p.m., with the show starting at 8 p.m. For a small taste of what to expect at 2014 Summer Jam, here’s a trailer produced by Split the Bill:

Camping Royale

CorpusIIIn May 2012, you’ll perhaps recall, the touring dance/theatre company Corpus was in Regina to perform a couple of works in Victoria Park. One revolved around a shepherd tending a flock of sheep and protecting them from a ravenous wolf, while the second concerned a hapless group of air force pilots who continued to train despite having no actual aircraft due to government budget cuts.

The performance was presented by the Dunlop Art Gallery. Now, Corpus is back with a new work called Camping Royale. As you can see from the above publicity photo, it’s got a bit of a fairy tale vibe with two queens trying to survive in the wild without the aid of servants and other comforts of the royal court.

The performance is family friendly and goes in Victoria Park Wednesday Aug. 20 and Thursday Aug. 21 at noon.

La Boheme

La Boheme is one of the best-known, and most often performed, operas in the world. It was composed by Italian Giacomo Puccini to a libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa and is loosely inspired by a series of stories by French writer Henri Murger that were published in novel form in 1851. The stories themselves were set a few years earlier in the Latin Quarter of Paris, and recounted the adventures of a number of young bohemians.

Puccini’s opera, which was first performed in 1896, focused on the doomed love affair between a poet named Rodolfo and a seamstress named Mimi. Saturday and Sunday at the RPL Theatre at 2 p.m., there will be a broadcast of the opera  as performed at London’s Royal Opera House. Tickets are $15 Adults, $12 Seniors & Students.

To give you a sense of what to expect, here’s an excerpt from a performance earlier this year at New York’s Metropolitan Opera:

http://youtu.be/3_BM3asoF0o

Living Pictures 5

Living Pictures 2013I posted on the entry deadline  (Aug. 15) for this annual competition in late July. It’s hosted by the Dunlop Art Gallery, and this is the fifth year it’s been held. Recreating famous art works as living tableaux is the general theme, and each year there’s a special sub-theme.

Last year it was famous album covers (pictured above is Charis Muir’s interpretation of a 1967 album cover by artist Don Punchatz), and this year it’s Character Craze which refers to prominent characters from video games and other types of animation. With the growing popularity of comic culture in the city/province, there should be some pretty fertile ground for entrants to explore.

Living Pictures 5 will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 19 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. in Victoria Park. In case of rain, the event will shift to nearby Knox Metropolitan Church. Over $1750 in gift certificates and other prizes are up for grabs in various categories so it should be a fun event.

For more information visit the Dunlop’s website (scroll down to last item) or call 306-777-6044.

I Could Kill Myself With My Panties

This performance by Saskatoon artist Thirza Cuthand (pictured) goes Wednesday July 30 at 8 p.m. at the Artful Dodger (1631 11th Ave.). It’s being presented by the Dunlop Art Gallery as part of its Tragedy Plus Time project that examines different ways that people use humour to help cope with tragedy.

I don’t have a ton of details about the performance, but advance publicity from the gallery says that it’s autobiographical in nature, and will touch on issues such as ethnicity, sexuality, desire and the stigma of mental illness.

In addition to Cuthand’s performance, there will also be an appearance by the Tragedy Plus Time Players who will do some long-form improv. The players include Jayden Pfeifer, Katie Rich, Colby Richardson and Judy Wensel.

The Trial Of Louis Riel

Trial of Louis RielApparently, this is the second-longest running theatrical production in Canada. It’s entering its 48th season, and remaining dates in this years run at the MacKenzie Art Gallery include July 23-25 and July 30-Aug. 1 at 7:30 p.m.

The play, of course, is based on actual court transcripts of the Metis leader’s trial on charges of treason in Regina following the 1885 Northwest Rebellion/Resistance. In March, you’ll perhaps recall, New Dance Horizons co-presented a dance work inspired by the life and times of Louis Riel’s sister Sara. We ran a preview of the performance if you want to refresh your memory.

Tickets for this performance are $15 Adults, $12 Seniors & Students and $10 for Youth 12 and under. More info can be found here. And if you want to take a guess at what Canada’s longest running theatrical production is the comments section awaits.

Into The Woods

With music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine, Into the Woods opened on Broadway to resounding acclaim on Nov. 5, 1987. But its roots date back much further than that. That because Sondheim and Lapine’s original inspiration was the 19th century fairy tales collected and edited/written by the Brothers Grimm out of Germany.

During its intial Broadway run the musical played for nearly two years (765 performances, to be exact). This presentation is by Regina Summer Stage. Performances start tomorrow and run until Sunday. July 10-12 curtain is at 7:30 p.m., while July 13 it’s at 2 p.m. Tickets are $30 adults and $27 students and children, and the box office is at 306-779-2277.

To give you a taste of what the musical’s like, here’s video from the 2002 Tony Awards where Vanessa Williams and fellow cast members perform a snippet of the musical:

http://youtu.be/eSTM2NCmP-g