Leaving Home Review

March 23rd, 2024 § 0 comments permalink

Here’s the link to an excellent review of Matchstick Theatre’s production of Leaving Home, by theatre critic Amanda Campbell. It appears on her blog, “The Way I See It.” Below is a photo of Shelley Thompson and Hugh Thompson playing Mary and Jacob. Halifax peeps, go see this show!

“House Upon the Hill”

March 7th, 2024 § 0 comments permalink

A Regina composer, Stewart Wilkinson, has set one of David’s poems to music, and Wascana Voices recorded the choral composition. It’s a moving piece, and I know David would be honoured that Stewart used the poem in this way.

Click this link to go to the Cypress Choral Music site, where you can listen to the work or order copies of the sheet music.

David’s writing career actually began with poetry; his first publications were poems in Canadian Boy magazine in the 1950s. He loved reading poetry all his life. “House Upon the Hill” was written about a house he saw as he travelled through Nova Scotia one summer.

Matchstick Theatre’s Leaving Home

February 9th, 2024 § 0 comments permalink

The Matchstick Theatre production of Leaving Home will be running in Halifax from March 20–31st, with an all-star cast, directed by Jacob Planinc. Matchstick did an amazing audio production of the show during the COVID lockdown in 2020, and we are so delighted that they’re doing the show live and in person. Don’t miss it! Below is the beautiful poster for the show.

Northumberland Players Salt-Water Moon

March 21st, 2023 § 0 comments permalink

Amber Dawn Vibert and Luke Walker in Salt-Water Moon

I was happy to see that Cobourg’s excellent Northumberland Players are currently presenting Salt-Water Moon. The show runs from March 17–April 2, 2023, at the Firehall Theatre, 213 Second Street. You can find a great review from Rob Davidson and a sneak peek at the show on the Northumberland Players website!

Finborough Reviews

February 16th, 2023 § 0 comments permalink

Briony Miller and Joseph Potter in the Finborough Theatre production of Salt-Water Moon, January 2023.

The production of Salt-Water Moon at the Finborough Theatre in London, England has now closed, but I thought I’d share excerpts from some of the reviews:

“Equal parts romantic and heartbreaking, David French’s play remains as timeless as ever.” —The Independent

“Youthful stars shine in Canadian two-hander.” —London Times

“An absorbing, lyrical love story.” —The Stage

Salt-Water Moon does feel like a precious jewel, carried across the Atlantic, finally discovered.” —Theatre Weekly

“An interesting piece of theatre that explores – quite pertinently at a time of economic uncertainty – what lengths people are prepared to go to out of financial necessity, and whether the power of love can override pragmatism. Yes, it’s a love story at the theatre, so the answer is pretty obvious in the end, but this intriguing journey is worth it. A thoughtful and charming production.” —London Theatre 1

“Simple and understated, the end result is a beautifully romantic piece of theatre that effortlessly manages to provide escapism and demonstrate love on that stage, not just between the pair but what the power of theatre can do.” — All That Dazzles

“A piece of writing that explores the nature of love, betrayal, patriotism, loss, forgiveness and loyalty. It revisits a bygone age and harks back to a former and sometimes forgotten spirit of theatre; quietly asserting its relevance. A slow burner, but one that burns bright.”—Spy in the Stalls

“A beautiful study of young love as a way of breaking free from the past.” —Morning Star

“It is the confidence in French’s writing that stands out. Many a historical drama could benefit from such a sure hand – one that doesn’t feel the need for extraneous detail. Likewise, the sense of a real community – still dealing with the aftermath of World War I and full of inequality – shows us the lived experience of its characters with no sniff of a history lesson. This is impressive writing: Salt-Water Moon is a quality show through and through with a strong script skillfully produced.” — Theatre Reviews by Edward Lukes

Charlie Northcote, 1949–2023

February 14th, 2023 § 0 comments permalink

This weekend I learned of the death of David’s longtime agent, Charlie Northcote of Core Literary, Inc. Charlie and David had been friends since the 70s, and Charlie had represented David’s work since the mid-90s. Charlie was unfailingly kind, able to find the bright side in almost any situation, and a tireless cheerleader for his clients. He was a good friend to Mary and me throughout the years, and we are both saddened by his passing. Charlie initiated and negotiated the Finborough Theatre production of Salt-Water Moon that closed at the end of January, so he and I had been talking fairly frequently lately…it’s a bit hard for me to realize that he is gone. Here is the Stratford Beacon-Herald obituary for Charlie. My love and sympathy to his family and many friends.

Charlie in conversation with Judi Pearl and Peter Hinton at the National Arts Centre opening of Salt-Water Moon, 2011.

Salt-Water Moon in London

December 7th, 2022 § 0 comments permalink

In January, Salt-Water Moon will open at the award-winning Finborough Theatre in London, England, a co-production between Finborough and Cumulus Productions. Peter Kavanagh directs Bryony Miller as Mary, and Joseph Potter as Jacob.

Peter Kavanagh is renowned for his work across a variety of media: theatre, film, television, and radio. His recent work includes productions of Cyanide at 5 by Czech playwright Pavel Kohout, and the 40th anniversary production of Not Quite Jerusalem by Paul Kember.

Director Peter Kavanagh

Bryony Miller is a theatre and film actor whose recent credits include Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and the Netflix adaptation of Rebecca. Joseph Potter is a film and theatre actor who recently starred in Philip Ridley’s The Poltergeist onstage. Potter plays “Roy” in the hit film My Policeman.

Actors Bryony Miller and Joseph Potter

The show runs from January 3–28, 2023. Get your tickets now, as they’re sure to go quickly!

Finborough Theatre Salt-Water Moon

November 22nd, 2022 § 0 comments permalink

From January 3–28, Salt-Water Moon will be playing at the lovely Finborough Theatre in London, England. The theatre is an intimate 45-seat venue on Finborough Road. More information can be found on the Finborough Theatre website.

Best of the Decade

December 9th, 2019 § 0 comments permalink

NOW Magazine’s Glenn Sumi published a list of the ten best theatre experiences of the decade this weekend — and Ravi Jain’s Factory Theatre production of Salt-Water Moon is #1 on the list! Here’s what Glenn had to say about the show:

“How fitting that the decade’s most memorable show was Ravi Jain’s luminous reimagining of a Canadian classic. Through minimal but atmospheric staging, the addition of musician/accompanist Ania Soul to read stage directions and the casting of two superb non-white actors (Kawa Ada and Mayko Nguyen), Jain turned David French’s gentle drama about the early romance between Jacob Mercer and Mary Snow into something transcendent, timeless and heart-achingly beautiful.”

Here’s a link to the full article.

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!