Friday, March 23, 2007

Getting pumped for Friday night (is there a prize for lamest title?)

I love everything about going to the Pumphouse Theatre. I love the setting, a former pumphouse nestled amongst the trees along the Bow River, which admittedly, if you are first approaching it in the dark, is a trifle disconcerting, lying as it does on the edge of an industrial area that feels distinctly abandoned and sinister on a winter night. But the parking is easy and ample and right on the doorsteps of the Pumphouse Theatre itself.

The theatres themselves (there are two at the Pumphouse) are the type of intimate space that I gravitate toward. There is a vast difference between watching a play at a luxe, but cavernous, auditorium and being immersed in the drama unfolding quite literally at your feet in a close and personal space.

That’s one of the reasons that I am so excited to be spending a bit of time at the Pumphouse Theatre in the upcoming weekends. That, and the excitement over the plays themselves.

Tonight, I see Bloody Sunday: Scenes from the Saville Enquiry. This is a courtroom drama, presented by the Liffey Players, about the aftermath of the1972 Bloody Sunday shootings, in which 26 Irish civil rights protesters were shot by British forces, 14 of them fatally. This of course is generally seen as the incident which cemented support for the Irish Republican Army, and touched off the subsequent decades of turmoil within Ireland. It should be a fascinating play.

Next weekend, I am thrilled to be once again attending a production by Sage Theatre. Each time I see one of Sage Theatre’s plays, I ask myself how they can possibly surpass it, what they can conceivably offer for their next production. This of course, is the theatre group who started off this season with their stunning production of Trainspotting. But they are a clever bunch, and rather than try to reproduce the experience with their next production, the troupe instead completely reinvented themselves with The Dazzle, the heartbreaking and fascinating true story of two brothers who barricaded themselves in their house for decades.

The only similarity between The Dazzle and the current production of Music for Contortionist seems to be the fact that they are both based on the lives of actual people. While The Dazzle was largely a drawing room piece, Music for Contortionist would appear to be distinctly burlesque. It is based on the cabaret performances of Valeska Gert, an avant-garde dancer from the Weimar-era scene. Gert appears to have been the original performance artist, incorporating social satire and the breakdown of artistic norms in new and often grotesquely different forms. Her dances took on popular dance and cultural entertainment of the day and exaggerated their focal points to extreme and bizarre measures.

I can’t wait to see how Sage Theatre handles this one.

(the above is reprinted from a post I just wrote for the Calgary Arts Development site, because I am a lazy arse that way.)


And this being Friday and all, it's random playlist time. As is becoming quite comon around here, it's not entirely random, as I intentionally began with a song that had been rocking my brain all morning and I went from there. RIP, Ian Curtis.

I don't know why but I had to start it somewhere, so it started there. (sorry, Pulp)

Love will tear us apart - Joy Division
Colour me impressed - the Replacements
The boy with the thorn in his side - the Smiths
Turkish song of the damned - the Pogues
Neighbourhood # 1 (tunnels) - Arcade Fire
Today your love, tomorrow the world - the Ramones
Truth be told - Joel Plaskett
Turn the page - the Streets
Walt Whitman's niece - Billy Bragg and Wilco
Sympathy for the Devil - the Rolling Stones

Have a beautiful evening, you unbearably gorgeous creatures.
You are the Brett Anderson of our generation.


John Mutford said...

Your explanation more than redeems your title. Sounds very interesting.

Love your playlist. Sympathy For The Devil has gone up so much in my books since its use in C.R.A.Z.Y.

mellowlee said...

Wow, I can't wait to read what you thought about this play. I loved your review of The Dazzle. Have a great time Barb. Im staying in and hiding from the rain...there will be chocolate involved :O)

Allison said...

Now its my turn to say I want to live in your playlist. Seriously.

Enjoy the theatre tonight. Can we expect a post post? Hope so :)

Karen said...

Sounds like you've got some good times coming up! Make sure you give a full report :)

Johnny Yen said...

"Everybody's dressing funny/Color me impressed"-- love that Replacements song!

I always think of Ian Curtis' suicide as the beginning of the post-punk era.

hilary m. said...

Awesome playlist!

I wish I went to the theatre more, we always walk past Pumphouse (although my mum refuses to go alone at night) and loop into Kensington. Have a great time at the theatre.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Whew, so I won't get banned from the blogosphere for the lamest title in existence, John? That's a relief.
I've actually always liked Sympathy for the Devil, but YES, its use in C.R.A.Z.Y. was fabulous! I loved that scene.

If you were here, I would drag you to the plays with me, Mel. I think you'd really like the Sage Theatre productions; I've always been impressed.
Is it still raining there? Stock up on the chocolate, girl. Strictly for medicinal purposes of course.

I was pretty pleased with the playlist myself, Al. I may have to let JD start things off more often, although Primal Scream have been begging for a turn lately.
Yes indeedy, a review of Bloody Sunday will be forthcoming, and then of course next weekend, I'll review Music for Contortionist.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Play attending is becoming a favourite activity around here, Karen, especially since the concert scene has been on the skimpy side recently.
Full report coming up!

The Replacements had some great lyrics, Johnny Yen, and possibly one of my favourite videos (Bastards of Young).
Yes, Ian Curtis' death certainly came at a time when the Manchester scene was rising and, along with post-punk, the rave scene really got came into its own - perfect setting of course for New Order to rise from the ashes of Joy Division.
Have you seen 24 Hour Party People btw?

That would be a really lovely walk, Hilary. I saw it in the daylight for the first time last night and it's a great mix of industry, natural setting, and commercial. Bringing the camera next weekend!
You should really take in some of Sage Theatres productions. They put on some of the most compelling plays I have seen.

Deb said...

That looks/sounds like a great place to take in a play...I look forward to your review(s). You party animal you, two plays in two weeks!

Dale said...

I remember well your review of The Dazzle and hope you'll enjoy these two as much and be just as inspired! I agree with the need for intimate theatre sometimes.

Toccata said...

Oh good I see by your comment that you are indeed going to write up a review. I'm looking forward to it.

It was interesting to see Wilco on your list. That band has been popping up everywhere lately.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I found out last night that the second stage there is a bit larger and more conventional than the one I am used to, Deb, but it's still a great venue.
I can handle multiple plays even at my advanced age, because I get to sit - so luxurious.

I'm touched that you remember, Dale. But it was a very memorable play (as was Trainspotting). I wouldn't want to put on a production of the Lion King in a theatre like Pumphouse, but then I likely wouldn't be going to see that anyway.

A review is on it's way, Toccata.
Yeah, Wilco's been a favourite of mine for a few years now, but I haven't really given their new cd much of a listen yet. I must correct that.