“Isitwendam” Is a powerful Indigenous journey of discovery Reply

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe      Mar.  20, ‘19

Isitwendam, written and performed by Meegwun Fairbrother  is a powerful, emotional, and beautifully-crafted play , well worth seeing.  The play, a Bound To Create Theatre (B2C) Production, is having its world premiere in Toronto, presented by native Earth Performing Arts at the Aki Studio. It was co-created and directed by Jack Grinhaus. Isitwendam means “an understanding,” and this one-act play shows how theatre, with its blend of physicality, emotion, language, and appeal to our senses, can give us a deeper, fuller understanding of, and empathy with, a complex situation. The play begins with a mysterious, graceful dance performed by Fairbrother, against a background of changing light and shadow – ending with a flashing light and a sense of terror. More…

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“A Ghost of a Chance”; #33 advising #39 Reply

Review by Terry Gaisin

Disclaimer: there IS bias here because playwright Judith Robinson is also a respected contributor to our ARTS REVIEW. So; as objectively as I can be – a critique of her political comedy in which a deceased Harry Truman (the haberdasher) advises President Jimmy Carter (the peanut farmer) on how to get reelected in the 1980 presidential campaign.
The format is concert-style with the characters seated while reading their dialogue from scripts. Incidental giggle; #39 is missing some pages until a ‘lines request’ is countered by an audience member running up with her version! The incumbent is recited by John Hewson while Walter Young is his ethereal campaign manager.

Dekar; Woodside; Sheehy; Young & Hewson interpreting U.S. politics

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“We Are All Treaty people”: play asks meaningful questions Reply

Review by Ellen S, Jaffee

To be or not to be – friends?” That is the question confronting two contemporary children in Calgary, Alberta. Girl #1, Alanna, played by Elizabeth Ferguson-Breaker (Naaton Ainihki), a Blackfoot, and Girl #2, Maya, Lara Schmitz, who has English-French-Irish heritage. They meet on the first day of school; it is A’s first time in a city school, with few if any Indigenous students. They are about to shyly say hello when the Trickster, a traditional Blackfoot character, strides down through the audience and leaps on stage to interrupt them. “NO, you can’t be friends.” Why not? “Because of the story.” *

Scene from We Are All Treaty People

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“KIVIUQ” returns, Inuit epic stories come to life in drama dance & music 1

Review by Ellen S. Jaffe
Kiviuq Returns: An Inuit Epic, created by the Qaggiq Collective (a non-profit society dedicated to
strengthening Inuit performing arts in Nunavut) and currently playing at the Tarragon, is a wonderful, unique
theatrical experience – performed entirely in the Inuktitut language. If you are interested in theatre, or in Inuit
culture, or simply want to enjoy some unusual entertainment, you should not miss this production!
“I don’t know Inuktitut,” you say. “How can I enjoy it?”
Surprisingly (or maybe not) the play is very accessible. There is a detailed scene by scene guide in English in
the program, also available on line so you can read it before attending.

cast scene – “KIVIUQ

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“O.A.R.’s TOP TEN for 2018 ” Reply

Opinion by O.A.R. administrators
Dec. 22, ‘ 18
Can’t fight progress, so this year there will be a major change… a Toronto Fringe offering is to be included, even though we previously relegated these 1-hour efforts to the ‘Honourable Mention’ category. However, the criteria for overall inclusion remains unchanged- memorable; educational; entertaining and definitely professionally staged!

HAMILTON PHILHARMONIC. This superior orchestra under the direction of Gemma New offered a full series of superlative concerts whose eclectic selections ran the gamut from the seriously classical to fun pops and contemporary compositions. Given the high caliber of the HPO, choosing just one as a standout proved too difficult; so, a 4-way-tie.

A dramatic on-stage interrogation moment in JOURNEY’S END

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“Yiddish for Pirates”; a literary H.P.O. evening Reply

Review by Danny Gaisin
The Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra under its current Board, executive director and permanent conductor have proven to nothing if not eclectic. Classical assemblages are usually reputedly somewhat highbrow, but not the HPO. Younger audiences are enticed and welcomed, new and more contemporary works performed, plus other creative genres included. Case in point; last evening’s Literary Series offering,- a reading and musical quartet featuring Gary Barwin’s book – “Yiddish for Pirates”.
Given the intimacy of the First Ontario’s Studio Theatre and its cabaret milieu, the evening was a hundred fascinating minutes – although a familiarity with ‘
Yiddishkeit’ was a definite bonus. *

Gary Barwin entertaining with his saxophone

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