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Sarah Waisvisz in Monstrous. Photo by Christopher Snow.

Eric Coates picks four must-see performances at undercurrents

By Eric Coates on February 2, 2016

Post by Eric Coates, Artistic Director of the Great Canadian Theatre Company.

Full disclosure: my personal picks for undercurrents are all projects that GCTC has supported, in one way or another, so it makes sense that I want to highlight them. I’m like a hockey parent cheering for my kid’s team, and woe betide anyone who crosses me. In fact, I’d like all of the critics to wear referee shirts to the performances so I can hurl my opinions at them in the hope of influencing their reviews. I’d never get away with that at GCTC, but when I’m attending undercurrents, I’m just another audience member – feverish in the grip of the greatest game ever played.

Particle by Kristina Watt and Martha Ross

I know nothing about Virgina Woolf’s novel, The Waves. Not one thing – other than it’s by Woolf, which is intimidating despite the popular assertion that we have nothing to fear. But I am a huge fan of both Kristina and Martha and I am confident that the trajectory will be utterly unpredictable. The unpredictability, in concert with Kristina’s magnetism and Martha’s abstract genius, puts this at the top of my must-see list.

Getting to Room Temperature by Arthur Milner

I like Arthur. He gave me a shirt once and I didn’t even have to ask. He just noticed my appreciation for the garment and acted on his instinct of generosity. This play has a similar pulse, if you are willing to equate gifting a shirt with assisted suicide. Maybe a weak analogy, but the subject matter is one that will dominate our generation for the next twenty years as the senior population outstrips our healthcare resources. And Robert Bockstael is the consummate actor.

Monstrous, or, The Miscegenation Advantage by Sarah Waisvisz

Sarah is a member of GCTC’s Playwrights’ Network and I have been fascinated by her approach to this work. Autobiographical scripts that revolve around reflection rather than action can be troubling for me, but Sarah’s approach explodes the practice to some degree. It’s smart, disarming and it opens a discussion that many would rather avoid.

Bonus selection! Since you’ve read this far, I am happy to add a project with which GCTC has no connection:

Moonlodge by Margo Kane

Margo Kane and PJ Prudat. Enough said. Also very excited to see the work of director Corey Payette, whose work I have not seen to date. And I am most delighted that the NAC is connected to undercurrents in this vein.

Undercurrents, presented by Ottawa Fringe, runs from Feb 10 – 20, 2016 at Arts Court Theatre (with the exception of Moonlodge at the NAC). Schedule and tickets available here