Donald Simmons (theengineer) wrote,
Donald Simmons

Weekend at the theatre

I've said in the past that I need to see more live theatre, and on the weekend I started making up for it.

Friday I had miss seeing Grindhouse with the Diners (a movie featuring a protagonist with an unusual prosthetic) to see a all-dance version of Edward Scissorhands (a dance featuring a protagonist with an unusual prosthetic) at the Hummingbird, thanks to Regina who got some free tickets from a friend in the company. And it was pretty damned amazing.

First, would you believe that I've never actually seen the movie? Sad but true. According to Regina they followed the plot pretty closely, but there were of course some jokes that would have made more sense had I seen the movie too. Like the early sequence where we're introduced to suburbia with all the families "driving".

The sets, staging, and costumes were fantastic. They completely altered the look of the stage in a matter of seconds at times, I've no idea how complicated things were backstage, but I would have loved to go back there to find out. There were plenty of times when there were about twenty people dancing on stage, and when you consider that the main character is constantly waving around foot-long blades on his hands you have to appreciate both his skill in not wacking anyone and everyone else's skill in not getting wacked. Especially when Edward to dancing with the girl playing Winona Ryder and he can't do traditional lifts because his hands are full (ha ha). The choreographer has to work around that, Edward has to not stab Winona, and Winona has to not get stabbed. They both have to have great faith in each other's talents.

According to Regina, the role of Edward is switched off between two guys each night because the strain of dancing with the prosthetics requires an extra day's rest. And remember dancers are already completely ripped.

My only complaint is that sometimes the stage was too full. While you were trying to watch Edward's story, there were little scene's involving the other characters going on at other parts of the stage,and it could get distracting. Discussing it all afterwards, I'm certain that if you focused on a specific character thru the whole show, you'd find that each one has a little story to play out.

It's too bad that it was only in town for four days (touring show),there was no time for word of mouth to get around about how great it was.

My second live event was on Sunday, the closing day of the latest of Michael Hollingsworth's play cycle The History of the Village of the Small Huts, The Saskatchewan Rebellion. Hollingsworth has apparently been doing plays on Canadian history for years now, but I'd managed to never hear of him till this spring. My brother claims he's been telling me about them for years, but I tend to just tune him out.

Anyway, the play was performed at the Cameron House, on a very intimate stage, just wide enough for four people to stand shoulder to shoulder, and about as deep. There's no sets, and the theatre is kept in complete darkness, with the actors appearing and disappearing as the stage lights are manipulated. Everyone from Sir John A. MacDonald on down (and especially Sir John) is portrayed in whiteface, with highly exaggerated costuming and facial expressions, so just about everyone comes off as kind of a loon (with the exception of the natives, where it's obvious the playwright's sympathies lie the most). But it really works, and I'm sorry it's taken me this long to find out about the series.
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