The nine theatre companies which are sharing The Gladstone Theatre are offering a wide variety of plays for the 2014-15 season – everything from gentle family fare to head-banging punk rock. Lots of traditional theatrical classics, too, from Moliere to Tennessee Williams to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Well, the latter IS a tradition, or shall we say a cult?
Here’s what’s in store at The Gladstone this season…
The season kicks off in mid-September with a new translation of Moliere’s well-loved comedy, The School for Wives, directed by John P Kelly. The translation is by David Whiteley, whose previous translations of French classics such as Tartuffe have been masterful. Kelly is a multi-award winning director who has a particular gift for comedy (remember The 39 Steps and Noises Off?). So this should be a great way to start the season.
Then Hedwig and the Angry Inch returns for a brief run at the beginning of October. Last April, the same production of this punk rock musical garnered lots of rave reviews, including one from Alvina Ruprecht who called it “the theatre event of the season”. Sounds like Hedwig is a “do not miss”!
In mid-October, indie women productions is mounting a short run of the Broadway rock musical Next to Normal. It’s about a young mother’s struggles with bipolar disorder. A serious topic, but laced with humour and hope.
Later in October there’s The Hunchbacks of Notre Dame – A Comedy from Black Sheep Theatre. This is based on Victor Hugo’s classic novel, but with music and confetti. (I’m just quoting the promotional material!) It’s suitable for audience members aged 12 and up.
Phoenix Players presents The Dixie Swim Club for a few days in mid-November. Five Southern belles who were members of a college swim team reunite each August for a weekend, The play begins with the weekend that’s 23 years after college, and ends with the weekend 33 years after.
Also beginning in November is Bear & Co.’s. production of Tennessee Williams’ heart-breaking drama, The Glass Menagerie. Smothering family love, poverty, memories, and dreamy aspirations collide in this American classic.
December brings The Gladstone’s traditional radio show, set in a mid-century radio studio. This year, it’s Plosive Productions’ Christmas Classics. It’s a radio broadcast of several holiday classics, including the O.Henry short story The Gift of the Magi, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, The Little Prince, and several other seasonal treats. There are even some sing-along carols!
The new year begins with 100th Monkey Productions’ Two. It’s a two-hander – two actors will play about a dozen roles. Two-handers are often quite brilliant theatre. This one’s got a British flavour – the playwright (Jim Cartwright) and the director (Steward Matthews) are British, and it’s set in a pub.
Then in late February the sex comedy Bankrupt, from Plosive Productions, opens. Shopaholic Anna, deep in debt, decides her only reasonable route is to join the world’s oldest profession. Her route intersects with that of James, a bankruptcy trustee, and his family.
Phoenix Players are back mid-March with a short run of Rexy! The play follows Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King – Canada’s longest-serving and most eccentric PM – through WW II. Eccentric? No, make that downright peculiar.
This is followed in April by a short run of Vanity Project Production’s The Rocky Horror Show. If you’ve never experienced this as live theatre, you owe it to yourself. If you’ve seen this play before, well then it’s time to come back to the castle. Since 1973, Rocky Horror has been wildly successful on 6 of the 7 continents (why not Antarctica?). Now it’s in Ottawa again.
Next up in April is Venus in Fur, the award-winning psycho-sexual drama by David Ives. Another two-hander, this one from Plosive Productions, Venus is about Thomas, a New York writer-director who is frustrated by the inferior quality of the actresses who have auditioned for his new play, and Vanda, the hyper-confident actress who walks into the audition and begins pushing Thomas’s buttons. Roman Polanski is directing the upcoming film of Ives’ script.
Last but certainly not least, in May there’s George F. Walker’s The End of Civilization. Henry lost his middle-management job 2 years ago. He and his wife come to the city to find work. This being a George F. Walker play, things don’t go as planned. An Ottawa premiere of this black comedy – one of Walker’s famous Suburban Motel cycle of plays – it’s brought to The Gladstone by Same Day Theatre.
Whew! That’s a baker’s dozen of plays at The Gladstone, and all at extremely reasonable prices (even cheaper if you get a subscription). The subscription options are quite flexible – “Full 8”, “Pick 6”, with add-ons, seniors and students at a discount.
The Gladstone Theatre is located at 910 Gladstone Ave. For more info and tickets, click here.