We’re lucky in Ottawa. Every other year, the Magnetic North Theatre Festival comes to town featuring the best of contemporary theatre from across the country. It also showcases workshops for professionals, opportunities for the public to interact with creators, and a bar for all festival goers to kick back and relax before and after a show.
I always look forward to this festival and this year is no exception. On Thursday, June 2, I checked out Daniel MacIvor and Daniel Brooks’ This Is What Happens Next at the Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre (GCTC). Daniel MacIvor is well known among theatre audiences for producing thought provoking and innovative plays and is something of a cultural icon. He is unquestionably a brilliant writer; however, after seeing this performance, I feel MacIvor may be a stronger writer than he is a character actor. Simply put, at times I wasn’t fully engaged by the performance. Yet, I really enjoyed where he took the narrative. I loved the humour and the message of the piece. This one took a little while to get going, and at times the performance was a little uneven, but overall the strong writing and its empowering message made this play worthwhile.
On Friday, I went to Yichud (Seclusion). This Theatre Passe Muraille show is a really special play that emerges the audience into the wedding day of Rachel and Chaim two Orthodox jews in an arranged marriage. It’s a wonderful script skillfully performed by a talented ensemble (including a klezmer band). The show works because its themes (love, breakdowns in communication, family struggles, and crisis’ of faith) are universal. The script is smart, at times humorous, and overall quite touching. Definitely one of the best weddings I’ve been to this year.
So what else am I looking forward to at Magnetic North? The show I’m most excited about seeing is Kismet: One to one hundred. This Chop Theatre (a Vancouver based company) production is a verbatim theatre piece taken from interviews with Canadians from across the country (ages 1-100) where they describe thier beliefs about fate and destiny. It promises audiences “a myriad of personal stories of mystery, joy, love and endurance.” Sounds pretty incredible huh?
The Magnetic North Theatre Festival will be over far too soon so go out and see some of the best contemporary theatre Canada has to offer!
For more information and to purchase tickets click here