“I hate comedy!” a local thespian is known to opine. Now that’s funny. Especially after some of the “dramas” I’ve sat through.
One of the most celebrated actors who ever lived, Edmund Kean, is often credited with this take: “Dying is easy, comedy is hard.” I know something harder. (And no, it is not keeping a straight face during one of those dramas just mentioned.) Pulling off an absurdist, existentialist tragicomedy! That isn’t stopping Passionfool Theatre. They’re taking on Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead — the playwright at his intellectual best (November 08–23, The ARTS Project). If you’re tired of fluff but still want a meaty good time, this play is a worthwhile bet.
They’re not the only ambitious troop in the Forest city. The Hobbit, Our Town, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat are just three of six Original Kids Theatre Company’s shows running at Spriet Theatre before year’s end!
Ably named the “Season of Many Colours”, it will be “a celebration of the colours and the make-up in the world around us,” promises Artistic Director Andrew Tribe. In theatre, he continues, “We breathe life to the words on the page and bring them onto the stage. We transform the black and white text into a fresh, expressive landscape of colour. The limitless tints and tones of the characters in these plays will excite or calm you, warm or cool you. The reds, yellows, blues — and everything in between — that shape our lives will come alive in the stories we tell.” Sounds like a rainbow of fun at Covent Garden Market’s resident theatre.
Speaking of a colourful season, this fall is proving to be one of the busiest for thespians and theatre goers alike.
At the McManus Studio the fourteenth season of The London One Act Festival has a four-day long competition of short plays of any genre running 30 minutes or less (November 6–9), immediately followed by a missing link theatre’s production of Vigil by Morris Panych (Nov. 12–23). Last time London saw this dark comedy produced was back in ’97, upstairs on the Main Stage.
By the way, if you’ve been keeping tally, so far our friend cited at the outset will be hard up for drama this season. On stage, anyway. Let’s see what else we have on the theatrical horizon.
Well, the rest of us have a couple of colourful old gems to consider: Musical Theatre Productions kicks off their 25th Anniversary Season with the 70th Anniversary of Oklahoma at the Palace Theatre (Nov. 14–24) and Empty Space Productions offers A Woman of No Importance at The ARTS Project (Nov. 29–Dec. 7).
Who knows if any of these will be in the running for my Fifth Annual Theatre DISH Awards? I attend all comedies and dramas in London each calendar year, and I have a team of judges who take in the musicals. Deliberations take place in December. Check my web site later that month (http://donaldsdish.ca/the-awards/) to see if some of your favourites will make the nominations list.
Last January, we gave away a special Ham DISH Award to the greatest ham of all — Art Fidler. This time we have created the best Drama Queen Award in honour of Taylor Nesseth, who passed away in 2012. When Taylor’s parents Jane and Tim learned of my fun DISH Awards they approached me with the thought of creating an award that would honour Taylor’s passion for drama by honouring those who ‘play’ all the time.
Two awards will be given out with a $200 bursary attached to each. Jane says of the award, “We have the honour of an award more befitting of the way in which Taylor lived and how we wanted it to be earned — based on character more than the academic.”
Sure the award Best Drama Queen might at first glance appear silly (as awards do to many). But trust me, it means a great deal to two special people.
The last two shows I’m featuring this issue are not eligible for my awards (as one is professional, the other, out of town) but, personally, I want to torture our comedy-hating Scrooge friend with a Christmas gift of tickets to these two laugh-filled holiday shows: The Grand Theatre’s Elf (Nov. 20-Jan. 4, 2014) and St. Thomas’s Elgin Theatre Guild’s Aladdin the Pantomime by Peter Denyer (December 5-15).
Of course, I jest. To be fair to our theatre friend who “hates” comedy, I do realize as Woody Allen said, “When you do comedy, you are not sitting at the grownups’ table.”
I knew there was a reason why I never grew up!
Donald D’Haene is Editor of donaldsdish.ca. Twitter @TheDonaldNorth and email: firstname.lastname@example.org.