Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Some Recent Theatre

When I was in Montreal, I took in a wonderful performance at the Théâtre Denise-Pelletier. The title, La Princesse Turandot, leapt out at me, and it turned out to be taken from the opera Turandot by Puccini, and the play Turandot by Carlo Gozzi. I noted later that Gozzi's Turandot was later translated by Schiller who in turn inspired Puccini. And I'm currently enjoying reading my first Schiller play, Mary Stuart, in preparation to see the opera of that title by Donizetti. Funny how these things go.

But back to Montreal, which proved yet again that it is theatrically such an exciting city. I took in a 10 a.m. performance (you read that correctly) which, I should have anticipated, was rife with high-school students. It was basically me and several hundred teenagers and a few teachers. The simmering hormones seemed to be erupting noisily and messily pre-show and I feared the worse. But I had no need to worry. The second the performance began the audience was completely silent. I'm sure this was in part due to the preparation they were given, their own willingness to get involved, but in most part, surely, because of the engrossing, wonderfully entertaining performance. Part commedia dell'arte, part opera, and all French, it was in turns hysterical, cute, terrifying and moving. As I know the plot well and retain a little French anyway, and because the acting, clowning and pantomiming was so superb, I was aware the entire time of what was going on.

How I'd love to see it again!

I see that next on their program is Robert Lepage's Lipsynch, his nine-hour play which I intended to see here in Toronto last summer but just never go around to. Grrr... I really must get myself better organized than I have been of late.

Back to the Toronto, and performances here inspired me to delve more into their inspirations. Verdi's Otello starred my favourite tenor, Clifton Forbis, and I spent the next evening savouring the Shakespeare play at home. A play at Hart House about Canadian author Robertson Davies, The Peeled I, inspired me to pull out Tempest Tost, his wonderful story of an amateur production of Shakespeare's The Tempest. More Shakespeare... and I do intend to sit one evening and read that play, which I have never yet really got into, although I've seen it live twice.

And now I'll go to my Schiller, with a small slice of Parnoosh's date/almond wheel, my favourite sweet treat just now that I am not indulging in chocolate. Here is my rationale: I'm not going to let myself replace dark chocolate (which we can agree is good for you in small doses) with super-sugary treats (which aren't my thing anyway). But these wonderful Parnoosh wheels are made simply of dates and raw almonds pressed together. There are other varieties too, like dates and pistachios, all very yummy, very healthy, very Biblical, and very sensual in a Song of Songs sort of way.

The photograph at the top is of a favourite mug of mine. The lower photograph was lifted from the website of Théâtre Denise-Pelletier and I believe it was taken by Hugo Bélanger.

No comments: