Category Archives: Reviews

Bending the Rules

Introducing OLD STOCK: A Wildly Popular, Genre-Bending Spectacle

-The third installment in this year’s CIBC Charlottetown Festival opens August 12-

Making its Island premiere this August is the internationally-acclaimed, OLD STOCK: A Refugee Love Story, presented by Nova Scotia’s 2b Theatre Company.Opening August 12 on the Mainstage at Confederation Centre of the Arts, this life-affirming musical tells the true story of two Romanian refugees meeting at Halifax’s Pier 21, as they await entry into Canada.

“We are thrilled to bring OLD STOCK to Charlottetown,” glows Adam Brazier, artistic director of performing arts. “This is one of the most important pieces of theatre we have done in years. It has received rave reviews everywhere from New York to the U.K. and all across Canada. This story is funny and dark and beautifully realized. This is a must-see.”

Starring East Coast sensation Ben Caplan, the music-theatre hybrid explores how to love and find a shared humanity after facing the horrors of war. It’s about refugees who get out before it’s too late, and those who get out after it’s too late. OLD STOCK’s rousing music blends Yiddish Klezmer with modern folk stylings, creating a wistful and energetic tone. 

“Richly humorous, wildly entertaining, and deeply moving” was how The Globe and Mail described this Maritime-made production, while Herald Scotland dubbed it “irresistible…a thing of raw, unmissable beauty.” OLD STOCK is written by Hannah Moscovitch with direction by Christian Barry and songs by Ben Caplan and Barry.

Sponsored by HonibeOLD STOCK plays seven times weekly until September 6.

On August 26, a special ‘relaxed performance’ of OLD STOCK will be offered. Sponsored by The Gray Group, the relaxed performance is a specific performance night where the show is adapted to better suit people who might require a more relaxed sensory experience and environment when attending the theatre. For more information, please contact Rosie Shaw at rshaw@confederationcentre.com.

To reserve tickets visit confederationcentre.com/whats-on/, or call the box office at 1-800-565-0278.

Theatre PEI

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Winning at Cards

“Oh boy, cards! The paper rectangles old people think are fun!” 

—Luz Noceda, The Owl House

Often the odd man out in my extended family, I differ from much of them perhaps most markedly in my persistent indifference to card games. Cards actually rather fascinate me as objects, as iconography, as metaphor; I just seldom enjoy most card games much, despite growing up amidst an intergenerational school of card sharks. 

So Luz Noceda’s cheerfully careless remark above has some resonance for me, especially the younger me of yore. Card games were things the older folks in my life always enjoyed, though I never fully saw the appeal; but you don’t have to be old or a card player or both to appreciate Watermark Theatre’s superb production of The Gin Game, which makes about 90 minutes of old people playing cards weirdly compelling. 

A big part of that is the Pulitzer-winning, Tony-nominated script penned by Donald L. Coburn back in 1976, which spawned several successful Broadway runs. Called “virtually plotless” by the New York Times, this two-person, two-act play depicts a series of gin rummy games played by two troubled residents of a shabby seniors home, Weller Martin (portrayed here by Richard Clarkin) and Fonsia Dorsey (Gracie Finley). 

Sounds simple, and it is, but layers abound: both players are holding secrets—regrets, grudges, prejudices, delusions, ambitions, hopes and agendas—and it all comes out as their card games become increasingly combative, deeply personal and ultimately destructive. Turns out those paper rectangles were loaded. 

Director Robert Tsonos and company bring this darkly witty, impressively compact and occasionally disturbing tragicomedy to vivid life, crisply realizing all aspects of the production. This includes Pat Caron’s richly immersive light and sound design and Cory Sincennes’ lushly detailed, palpably decaying nursing home exterior set, which packs remarkable depth and levels into the small Watermark space, pretty much the perfect venue for a show this focused and intimate. 

None of that means much in a two-person play without two good actors inhabiting that space, breathing life into the story, and the Clarkin-Finley duo does that in spades. Both build distinctive, fully incarnated characters in terms of attitude, energy, physical presence and intention, such that we get a sense of who and what these characters are even when they’re not saying a word. 

They say lots of words, of course, and Finley and Clarkin adroitly navigate it all in sequences ranging from playful banter to profane shouting matches to anguished confessions; and yet some of their quieter moments are among the most indelibly memorable, like a solo-dancing Finley dreamily swaying to nearby music, or a broken Clarkin slowly hobbling away. 

It’s a short, simple play featuring a compact cast in a small space, but Watermark’s The Gin Game seems likely to loom large in this PEI theatrical summer as one of the smartest, most artfully crafted offerings of 2021.Sean McQuaidTheatreWatermark Theatre

SEAN MCQUAID

Mild-mannered Hansard reporter by day and oddball freelance writer by night, past Buzz editor Sean McQuaid has been a contributor since the ’90s and a theatre enthusiast for longer than that. He lives in Charlottetown with his wife, daughter, cats and untold thousands of comic books.

Theatre PEI

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Amp Up for Song and Dance


Confederation Centre Amphitheatre to Host Two Shows This Summer

-“The Voices of Resilience” and “Street Fusion” will host free noon-time and evening performances through August 21-

The amphitheatre at Confederation Centre of the Arts will come to life this summer with two free shows intended to entertain, educate, and promote inter-cultural understanding.

“Mi’kmaq Heritage Actors has been together since their first show in 2011, this year marks 10 years together as the only Indigenous Theatre Company in Atlantic Canada,” says Julie Pellissier-Lush, one of the show’s creators. “See the beautiful sights, listen for powerful drums, learn a few traditional words in Mi’kmaq, and join us for a fun event in partnership with the Confederation Centre of the Arts and L’nuey that will make your heart happy.”

Performances of The Voices of Resilience will take place at noon from July 21-23 and again from July 26-31.

“Culture is learned in patterns; it is the values, behaviors, and connections shared by people,” says Ward. “Culture is also a way of coping with the world we live in. It resides in the hearts of everyone. It’s the way we see each other and appreciate our differences. It is also the way we find common ground. This show displays how distinct cultures can come together and create and celebrate each other.”

Performances of Street Fusion will take place on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 5:30 pm, and on Saturdays at noon from August 4-21. 

“We are so blessed to be able to share these two unique and inspirational shows with audiences,” says Adam Brazier, Artistic Director of Performing Arts at the Centre. “The Centre is committed to promoting diversity, inclusiveness and inter-cultural understanding. These two shows will give audiences an opportunity to learn more about these cultures through performance and creativity.”

To reserve free tickets to these two shows, visit confederationcentre.com/whats-on/, or call the box office at 1-800-565-0278. The box office is open Monday to Saturday, 9am to 8pm.

Theatre PEI

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Watermark Updates a Cottager

Casting Update – Cottagers and Indians

A casting change to our production of Cottagers and Indians. The role of Arthur Copper will now be played by Gordon Patrick White.
Gordon has worked with various companies in the Atlantic provinces, as well as The Great Canadian Theatre Company in Ottawa (‘An Acre of Time’), Native Earth in Toronto (‘A Very Polite Genocide’), Magnus Theatre in Thunder Bay (‘Dead White Writer on the Floor’), and Theatre North West in Prince George BC (‘Where The Blood Mixes’). Other credits include Clov in ‘Endgame’ (Theatre NFLD and Labrador); ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ (Theatre New Brunswick); Puck in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (Stephenville Festival); ‘Strange Humours’ (Eastern Front Theatre); Titus in ‘The Devil’s Diciple’ (Neptune Theatre); ‘Merlin'(Halifax Theatre for Young People); Kemp in ‘Vigil’ (Live Bait Theatre); and as twins Edger and Ledger in ‘Ivor Johnson’s Neighbours’ (Ship’s Company Theatre). He has appeared in three season at the Stratford Festival, in such roles as Simon in ‘Mother’s Daughter’, Paris in ‘Romeo and Juliet’, Black Dog in ‘Treasure Island’, Egeon in ‘The Comedy of Errors’ and Ezekiel Cheever in ‘ The Crucible’. Gordon appeared as Edger in ‘King Lear’ at the National Arts Centre, with August Schellenberg, directed by Peter Hinton. Tv and film credits include: Haven, Black Harbour, Mr. D, New Waterford Girl, Blackfly, Rollertown, Charlie Zone, and Picnicface.

Watermark Theatre’s Mandate
Located in North Rustico, PEI, on land that is the traditional unceded territory of the Mi’Kmaq, the Watermark Theatre is a professional theatre company that produces time-honoured plays, as well as contemporary plays that resonate with our times.
As a company we are led by the principles of inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility and commit to incorporating these core values in everything we do.
We prioritize environmental stewardship and sustainability.
The Watermark Theatre is dedicated to the development of the next generation of theatre artists and arts administrators through mentorship and professional training.
In all of our programming we strive for artistic excellence while endeavouring to inform, affect, and engage our audience and our community.

For more information please contact Lara Dias at 902-963-3963 or admin@watermarktheatre.com

Theatre PEI

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What’s Your Story?

Often referred to as “the Island’s biggest little theatre,” we are so proud of our intimate atmosphere while still seating over 500 guests. Our friendly and dedicated team works hard to make everyone feel at home in Our Theatre, Your Theatre! We want to hear what you love about Harbourfront Theatre – submit your story on our website at www.harbourfronttheatre.com/yourtheatre#YourTheatreYourStory#HarbourfrontTheatre#OurTheatreYourTheatre#Summerside#PrinceCounty#PEI#TheArts#25Years#NotForProfit#HarbourfrontIsHere

Theatre PEI

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Seeking Submissions for Our Theatre Festival

COMMUNITY THEATRE FESTIVAL ! Seeking Submissions- Deadline March 19, 2021

ACT is hosting the 2021 Community Theatre Festival, which will look a bit different than in past years. This is an excellent opportunity for groups or individuals to showcase their performances. This year, the festival will run over two days – Saturday April 24th and Sunday April 25th (exact times TBA). Productions may be up to 45 minutes in length. 

We welcome submissions in all genres: drama, comedy, improv, musical! Groups can present an excerpt, skit or short one act play. For more information and to submit a proposal, please email actproductionspei@gmail.com (photo: Bunty Albert)

The location will be at The Fox and Crow Pub at UPEI in the W.A. Murphy Building. Up to 50 people will be allowed as an audience, with covid protocols adhering to any CPHO directives in place at that time. There is a small stage area, which has one exit/entry to a hallway with green room/prep rooms available. The stage is small, so a maximum group size of 4-6 is recommended with minimal set pieces, though a couch/desk etc could be brought in through the loading dock. 

We are also looking for volunteers! Are you interested in getting involved in community theatre? We will need help planning and during the event to make sure everything runs smoothly- get in touch !

Theatre PEI

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Song Rise at the Guild

 

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Join us for a live-stream of Songrise with Tara MacLean and Friends. Hosted by Patrick Ledwell and featuring acts such as Kierrah Celeste, Dennis Ellsworth, and Andrew Waite. 
Song Rise is a circle of local songwriters, presented by The Guild. Like other song circles, there will be stories and tunes, but this will also be an interactive experience with an on live audience through live stream accessible all over the world. Four amazing songwriters each night will entertain a socially distanced live audience. It will be an intimate, passionate and powerful experience for those in attendance and those watching from home. Each group has been carefully curated for optimal chemistry.

All productions are being presented by The Guild with the permission of the Public Health Office of Prince Edward Island, and operates under its rules and guidelines. Within these guidelines, theatre seating has been limited to a maximum of 50 people. Chairs will be grouped with a maximum of 6 chairs per group, and each group is 6ft. from one another. It is possible that depending on the size of your party, you may be seated with other audience members within those 6 chairs. If you have any questions or concerns about this process, please speak with our box office agents by calling 902-620-3333, or emailing boxoffice@theguildpei.com.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Sherwood Coming Back Soon

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Ian Sherwood

| The Mack

Guitar, saxophone, ambitious song writing and a voice that won him a 2013 Canadian Folk Music Award—Ian Sherwood brings the light to every stage he stands on. A born storyteller and a constant creator, his music dances the line between folk and pop. His live performances thrive on intimacy; his persona is irresistible and it destroys the fourth wall.

Sherwood’s fifth studio album “Bring the Light”, produced by P.E.I.’s own Daniel Ledwell (Jenn Grant’s long-time producer), is filled with the same hooky cleverness that has endeared Sherwood to his audiences. This time, the deft work of Ledwell’s production brings Sherwood’s songs into a new dimension of beauty and depth.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Cook Goes on the Back Burner

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The Tempest 25 Tour

Jesse Cook*

| Homburg Theatre

Since launching his career with 1995’s Tempest, Jesse Cook has blazed an incredible trail. Along with being a global-guitar virtuoso, he’s honed his skills as a composer, producer, arranger, performer and, recently, filmmaker and cultural ambassador. And as Cook embarks on the next 25 years, he says, “I feel like I’m just getting started.” He’s still learning and growing, still chasing dreams and goals.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse

Harbourfront Cancels Ria Mae

 

Event Cancelled – See Message from Harbourfront

SATURDAY, MARCH 14TH – CANCELLED

Ria Mae:
The Stars Tour

Halifax-born, Toronto-based songwriter Ria Mae hits the road with her Stars Tour in support of her highly anticipated Stars EP and new single, “Too Close”, featuring Dan Talevski.

The EP Stars serves as a follow-up to the JUNO Award nominated pop album, My Love. The EP’s first single “Bend,” released summer 2017, became an instant hit skyrocketing to the top of the CBC Radio 2 charts for four weeks.  Shortly thereafter it catapulted up the Canadian radio charts reaching Top 5 at Hot AC, Top 10 at AC, and Top 15 CHR radio.  Together with its Platinum-certified debut “Bend” and follow-up “Red Light,” My Love garnered over 12 million combined worldwide streams. The EP was produced by Adam King at Canterbury Studios in Toronto, mixed by Grammy® Award-winning Engineer Joe Visciano, and mastered by Stuart Hawkes. It features several notable collaborators including: Tegan Quin (Tegan & Sara), Joel Stouffer, Serena Ryder, and Dylan Guthro (Port Cities).

Ria’s self-titled major label debut, released in 2016, features the Platinum-selling “Clothes Off” and the anthemic “Ooh Love” (certified Gold). The critically acclaimed album garnered multiple award nominations including ‘Single of the Year’ at the 2016 JUNO Awards and ‘Best New Canadian Artist’ at the iHeart Radio MMVAs.

Ria has toured Europe with Tegan & Sara, North America with Dido, and Canada with Scott Helman.  She has performed with Elle King, Xavier Rudd, Shawn Hook, Family of the Year, Francesco Yates, Coleman Hell and more. To date, Ria’s music has been streamed over 60 million times worldwide.

PEI Professional Theatre Network

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PEI Theatre is the Guild, Harbourfront Theatre,
Confederation Centre for the Arts,
Watermark Theatre, and the Victoria Playhouse