A Shining Moon at ESA

May 16th, 2019 § 0 comments permalink

Mary goes to the Etobicoke School of the Arts, where one of the Grade 12 drama one-act plays this year is Salt-Water Moon. We saw the show this afternoon, and it is so beautiful! I'm very happy we were able to attend.

Director Katie Hillyard-Beale said in her pre-show speech that she'd seen Ravi Jain's production of the play at Mirvish, and had, from that moment onward, been determined to direct it for her final school project. She called Emma D'Agrosa and Max Grosskopf her "dream cast," and after seeing the show, I know why.

The production is thoughtful, moving, and full of life. The two well-matched performers fully inhabited Mary Snow and Jacob Mercer, whose shared past and economic circumstances are standing in the way of their love for one another. The direction hit all the right notes: as the two spar, flirt, and finally open their hearts to one another, we see the pain, love, (and sense of humour) that they share.

Congratulations to Katie, Emma, Max, and crew, as well as the Grade 12 Drama teachers!

Salt-Water Moon Tour: Windsor, Lion’s Head, Kirkland Lake

May 15th, 2019 § 0 comments permalink

I'm happy to report that Lionel Walsh of the University of Windsor will be directing an Inspired Acting Lab production of Salt-Water Moon this summer. David got to know Lionel when he was the Playwright-in-Residence at UW, and the two of them had a great year together. Lionel and company have done many David French plays throughout the years, and Mary and I feel a real connection to the UW program and its students.

Salt-Water Moon, presented by the Northern Bruce Theatre Company, will open in Windsor and then tour to Lion's Head and Kirkland Lake. It stars James Kern as Jacob and Sofie Jarvis as Mary. If you can see it, please do! I know that it will be a special show.

Performance Dates + Locations:  

WINDSOR : July 11, 12, 13 @ 7:30 p.m.
Studio Theatre, Jackman Dramatic Art Centre, University of Windsor

LION'S HEAD : July 18-20 @ 7:30 p.m. and 21 @ 2 p.m. and 25-27 @ 7:30 p.m.
Rotary Hall, 59 Main St., Lion’s Head, ON. (Cash Bar)

KIRKLAND LAKE : July 31 – August 3 @ 7:30 p.m
LaSalle Theatre, 100 Government Rd W, Kirkland Lake, ON

Soldier’s Heart in Clarenville

May 15th, 2019 § 0 comments permalink

A new production of Solder's Heart is running this week at the Eastlink Centre in Clarenville, presented by the New Curtain Theatre. Break legs tomorrow at opening, everyone!

Mirvish Presents Salt-Water Moon

April 15th, 2017 § 0 comments permalink

poster_SWM-show In October, the lovely Salt-Water Moon that Factory produced last season will have a short run at the Panasonic, one of the Mirvish theatres. Directed by Ravi Jain, the show stars the wonderful Mayko Nguyen and Kawa Ada. This production has been called a "reimagining," as Ravi has stripped the play down to its essence: no set, no costumes, no Newfoundland accents. It's a Salt-Water Moon like no other, and it found a whole new audience at Factory. It's exciting to have the production moving to the Panasonic, into one of Toronto's commercial theatres. I can't wait to see the show again! Tickets are available from Mirvish.com.

King’s Playhouse Salt-Water Moon

July 10th, 2016 § 0 comments permalink

Mary and I arrived in beautiful PEI last week and were delighted to discover that the King's Playhouse in Georgetown is presenting Salt-Water Moon on Sunday evenings throughout the summer. We're looking forward to seeing it! Here's their charming graphic, and a link to their website. Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 7.55.10 PM  

A Dora for Ravi!

June 27th, 2016 § 0 comments permalink

2016_Dora-Awards I was lucky enough to be at the 2016 Dora Mavor Moore awards, thanks to my friend Byron Bellows, who is a trustee of the Bluma Appel Community Trust. It was a lovely night, with the ceremony happening at the outdoor theatre at Harbourfront. Great fun to see so many familiar faces and so much style! I was especially pleased to be present as Ravi Jain won the Best Director Award for his production of Salt-Water Moon at Factory. Congratulations to Ravi and to the whole creative team of the show! Artist residents, Soulpepper

A Remarkable Spring

June 10th, 2016 § 0 comments permalink

This year Mary and I had a spring to remember. Soulpepper brought back its brilliant production of Jitters, and we were privileged to sit in on the first reading. Ted Dykstra's direction and the wonderful ensemble cast kept audiences roaring with laughter for most of March and April. Jitters was the last play that David saw performed, and the 2010 opening night at the Young Centre was the last one he ever attended. It seemed strange to be at this spring's opening without him, but I know how happy he would have been to know that Jitters was running again.

In addition, Factory Theatre gave Salt-Water Moon an imaginative and non-realistic production directed by Ravi Jain. With only the words of the play (plus a little music and a lot of votive candles) Mayko Nguyen and Kawa Ada created magic. The play has been nominated for four Dora Mavor Moore Awards, including Best Production and Best Director.

In addition, the Peterborough Theatre Guild produced Of the Fields, Lately as its entry for the EODL Festival, and the Scarborough Players presented 1949! March might as well have been declared "David French Month" in Ontario. Here's a link to an excellent article in the Peterborough Examiner that talks about the phenomenon.

Sadly, I wasn't able to get to Peterborough to see Of the Fields, but Leslie and Mary and I saw the other three plays. In fact, I saw both Jitters and Salt-Water Moon several times each. Many of David's nieces and nephews (and grand-nieces and grand-nephews) came to see the plays also. My parents came to visit from Saskatchewan and went to see Jitters with Mary and I one night, which was extra special.

A big thank you to everyone who worked on these wonderful shows. We send you our gratitude and love!

Some cast members of the Scarborough Players' production of 1949.
Some cast members of the Scarborough Players' production of 1949.

“Hilarious and Perfectly Cast” Jitters

March 9th, 2016 § 0 comments permalink

Here's a link to a great new article about Jitters from the Torontoist: "A Classic Case of Jitters".   The writer, Martin Morrow, recounts the story of how David based the play on some of the experiences he had during the premiere production of Leaving Home, his first play. Morrow also talked with director Ted Dykstra and leading lady Diane D'Aquila about the show, and about working with David. Says Diane, “It’s very easy to just see it as a funny play, because it is hysterically funny, but you dig underneath it and you realize that it’s an incredible portrayal of the frailty and the fear in making art."   I'm seeing the show tomorrow night with Mary and with my parents, who are visiting from Saskatchewan. Can't wait.  

Ted-DianeDiane D'Aquila and Ted Dykstra

Interview with Ted

March 5th, 2016 § 0 comments permalink

Ted Dykstra, renowned actor, director, and playwright, has directed all of David’s productions at Soulpepper. Beginning with Leaving Home back in 2007, the company went on to present Salt-Water Moon (2008), Of the Fields, Lately (2009), and Jitters in 2010. These beautiful shows were so important to David, and his collaboration with Ted gave his work new life and vitality. When David died, it was Ted who put together the magnificent tribute to him at Metropolitan United, and I will be eternally grateful to him for organizing and directing that fitting send-off. And our families are connected now in another way: over the past five years, Mary and Ted’s daughter Rosie have forged a friendship that manages to span the 13 subway stops between their respective neighbourhoods. It’s a real gift that we will get to see the remount of Jitters at Soulpepper this month. Thanks to Ted, cast and crew, and everyone at Soulpepper! Ted recently spoke movingly about this new production, and about the company’s connection to David:

Soulpepper’s Got the Jitters!

March 4th, 2016 § 0 comments permalink

This is the weekend that Jitters starts at Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto's Distillery District! This remount features most of the wonderful actors who were in the 2010 production: Diane D'Aquila, Kevin Bundy, Mike Ross, Sarah Wilson, Jordan Pettle, and the incomparable Oliver Dennis. There are some great new additions to the cast, too, including Alex Furber, Sophia Walker, and Geordie Johnson as Patrick. Director and friend Ted Dykstra very kindly invited Mary and I to the first reading of the play, and it was splendid! We can't wait to see the show next week. The previous incarnation of Jitters at Soulpepper was really special to us, as it happened while David was very ill with cancer. He went in to watch rehearsals every day, and the Soulpepper folks took such good care of him. It was the last opening night that David ever attended, and Mary's first opening night. Such a perfect show for us at that time, the play David wrote about his adventures in the theatre, a show filled with laughs and love. Last time Jitters played at Soulpepper, the Toronto Star called it "a comedic masterpiece," and the theatre has already added some extra shows due to demand. See it if you can! Here's a link to the theatre's website: Soulpepper Theatre