“Why am I still writing symphonies, if that is supposed to be the music of the future!” came the exasperated cry from Gustav Mahler upon hearing the compositions of Arnold Schoenberg, who in many ways, directly and subtly, fathered the many composers whose works were features: Ives, Cage, Webern. Schoenberg, a fiercely driven auto-didact and a German-Jew who was fortunate enough to flee to California right after Hitler’s rise to power in 1933, credited Mozart for being a prime influence, particularly with compositions for the string quartet.
Shad is what he raps about, there is no façade, neither is there glorification of violence, indulgence or celebrity. He honours his father, his roots, the women in his life, and his ability to love. He’s endlessly deferential but by no means meek. He headlined the first Saturday of Ontario Scene at the Bronson Centre with a trio of Ottawa acts.
Walking into the theatre space at the Gladstone for Century Song, presented as part of the Ontario Scéne festival, nearly took my breath away. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this show produced by the renowned Volcano Theatre that describes the show as being a “performance hybrid” that intertwines classical singing, new music played live, contemporary dance, and visual projected art work. However, after only an hour I am convinced that this performance style offers a lot of promise and opportunity to both current and future theatre practitioners.
It feels a little unfair of MacIvor to state during his performance that he does not wish to compare himself to Gray (career-wise, I assume) despite referencing him so heavily. It’s unfair because as one of Canada’s best-known (and also one of the most widely produced) playwrights it seems like a cop-out, or an excuse to fall back on, especially considering that this show’s major selling point is arguably the fact that it is being performed by MacIvor himself. Where an emerging artist or company would almost certainly be called to task on such superficial staging and fumbled lines, MacIvor’s reputation seems to allow for more forgiveness. But take MacIvor out of the performance picture and what does that leave you with?
Dostoëvsky isn’t what you’d call a light read. As one of the most highly regarded Russian writers (probably most well-known for Crime and Punishment), his exploration of the troubled human psychology in the 19th century influenced the likes of Anton Chekhov, Ernest Hemingway, and Jean-Paul Sartre. His work is often noted as having deep religious and […]