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Music, drama, dance: The 2015-16 GCTC season

By Alejandro Bustos on April 9, 2015


Some of Ottawa’s leading theatres recently announced their lineup for the 2015-16 season.  Over the next fews days, Apartment613 will highlight some of the great events that audiences can expect in the near future.  Today we review what is coming up at the Great Canadian Theatre Company.

For 40 years, the Great Canadian Theatre Company (1233 Wellington St. W.) has showcased many wonderful works by talented playwrights.  The performances at the GCTC building, however, are not limited to theatre, as can be seen by some of the exciting shows that will take place during the upcoming 2015-16 season.

The highly innovative dance ensemble Propeller Dance will be back as the GCTC’s associate dance company where they will perform some of their captivating work.

While not officially part of the GCTC’s upcoming season, Opera Lyra will also be performing at the Wellington St. W. building in the fall of 2015 for a double-bill of two new Canadian contemporary operas.  Similarly, Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre will use the GCTC space for some of their popular children’s shows, even though they are not formally part of the next GCTC season.

Cube Gallery, meanwhile, will continue its partnership with The Lorraine ‘Fritzi’ Yale Gallery and curator-in-residence Malika Welsh.

In regard to the upcoming plays, the 2015-16 programme has some very intriguing options.  The season kicks off in September 2015 with Generous, an unorthodox work that intertwines four separate stories.

From poster for Jake’s Gift

From poster for Jake’s Gift

“[Generous] shows the extent that we will go to get what we want as a culture,” says Eric Coates, the GCTC artistic director, in an interview. The four stories touch on such subjects as sex, politics, finance and a dispute over a bucket of fried chicken.

The season then continues in October 2015 with Jake’s Gift, an award-winning story about a World War II veteran who returns to Juno Beach where he meets a 10-year-old girl who takes care of the graves of Canadian soldiers.  Special performances of this work in French will occur on November 10 and 12.

From Juno Beach we travel back home for Angel Square, a play based on Brian Doyle’s classic book that is set in Ottawa in 1945.  The tale revolves around a child named Tommy who searches for the person who attacked the father of his best friend.

“The story is a mosaic of World War II-era tensions,” says Coates.  “The Catholics fighting the Protestants, the French fighting the English, and everyone beating up on the Jews.”

From Tommy’s adventures in Lowertown, the GCTC season then proceeds to the musical Matchstick, in which an orphan from a foreign country is swept up by a dashing American man.  Our heroine’s dream of living in the land of opportunity, however, turns to the reality of being the wife of a notorious man.

“Musicals are more expensive to produce because you need a lot more people,” says Coates, when asked why there haven’t been more music-based works at the theatre.  The beauty of Matchstick, however, is that the actors themselves play the instruments that accompany their songs, which makes this work much more affordable to showcase.

From poster for Janet Wilson Meets the Queen

From poster for Janet Wilson Meets the Queen

Musical notes are then converted into the dark drama of Butcher, which opens with an elderly man who is left at a police station with a meat hook hanging on his neck.  A translator, police officer and lawyer begin the process of finding out who he man is, and in the process reveal a horrible past involving torture, civil war and genocide.

Finally, the haunting tale of war and cruelty give way to the comic work Janet Wilson Meets the Queen, which will be a world premiere. Coates tells Apartment613 that is very excited about this comedy, as this will be the fourth world premiere that he has presented of Toronto-based playwright Beverley Cooper.