Magic

July 29th, 2019 § 0 comments permalink

Yesterday Lionel Walsh, the director of the Inspired Acting Lab production of Salt-Water Moon, posted this story on Facebook: “Last night we lost power during the final performance of Salt-Water Moon. James, who plays Jacob, paused and asked the audience to get out their phones, turn on the flashlight and point it towards them. They played the rest of the show by cell phone light. It was beautiful and the audience jumped to their feet at curtain call. Thank you Lion's Head for a fabulous run and great audiences. On to three days in Kirkland Lake.”

Quick thinking by actor James Kern, and generosity from the audience members who took up the challenge of becoming instant lighting designers!

Live theatre creates so many opportunities for communion. In this age of Netflix, where it's very easy to stay home in our own individual pods glued to a screen, live theatre offers real connection to one another, and to art. And don't we always remember the shows where something went not-quite-according-to-plan?

I think of our friend Hrant's story about the styrofoam set falling slowly into the audience during a performance of one of his plays at Passe Muraille. Or the time an actor dislocated his shoulder during our production of Paper Wheat and the local doctor happened to be in the audience, ran backstage, and fixed it in time for Pete to get back onstage for his next entrance. One of the reasons that it's fun to go for post-show drinks with actors is that they have so many stories about these moments where the unexpected makes its entrance into the scripted! In Shakespeare in Love, one of Stoppard's characters has a line that runs something like, "Theatre is a series of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster."

How wonderful when the obstacle becomes a magical moment like the one that happened on the weekend in Lion's Head!

Summer Moons

July 12th, 2019 § 0 comments permalink

Two exciting productions of Salt-Water Moon are happening this summer!

The first is a touring show produced by the University of Windsor's Inspired Acting Lab. It stars James Kern as Jacob and Sofie Jarvis as Mary, and is directed by the inimitable Lionel Walsh. The show opened in Windsor last night, and will go on to tour in Lion’s Head and Kirkland Lake later this summer. Lionel has produced several of David’s plays over the years, and he brought David to the U of Windsor in 2002-2003 as writer-in-residence where they became fast friends. Lionel is a brilliant director and has a deep connection to David’s work, so I'm sure that this show is amazing. Here is the scoop on dates, locations, and tickets:

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

Ticket Prices : For Windsor and Lion’s Head, tickets are $20 adult; $15 senior/student
For Kirkland Lake, $15 adult, $10 student/senior, $5 children 10 and under

Inspired Acting Lab's James Kern as Jacob and Sofie Jarvis as Mary

The second production is special because it's happening on PEI, where David spent nearly 40 summers. Mary and I have a great love for the Island, too, and we were happy to learn that The Guild in Charlottetown is presenting Salt-Water Moon every Sunday in August. This production stars Justin Shaw as Jacob and Helen Killorn as Mary.

Here's a link for more information, and to buy tickets.

Justin Shaw as Jacob and Helen Killorn as Mary in The Guild's production.

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