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Showing posts from November, 2011

The Russian Play & Mexico City!

Halifax’s 2b Theatre Company was founded in 1999 and has since staged 15 productions, including 11 world premieres. Since 2004, the group’s work has been nominated for 34 Theatre Nova Scotia Robert Merritt awards, including 4 nominations for best production. In 2010, 2b was awarded the Scotland Herald Angel Award for their production of Invisible Atom at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. In 2008 2b took home 3 Merritt Awards (Best Director, Best Lighting Design, and Best Actor). At home and abroad 2b has earned a reputation for work that is innovative and precise, intelligent and moving. Recently AE spoke with Christian Barry about the troupe’s new production, The Russian Play & Mexico City, which runs from November 29-December 4 at the Neptune Theatre in Halifax.
AE: How long have you been involved with 2btheatre? CB: I was one of the co-founders of 2b in May 2000. Anthony Black and I have been the Artistic Co-directors since 2004.
AE: What are the biggest challenges of your profession…

The Halifax Club Literary Luncheon

The Halifax Club Literary LuncheonMonday, November 28, 2011, 12pm

The Heavyweights ~ Wayne Johnson & Ami McKay Join two of the country's most prestigious and bestselling authors - Wayne Johnson & Ami McKay - as they read from, and discuss, their latest books. Wayne Johnston is one the greatest story storytellers of his generation. The Goulds, Newfoundland native is the author of numerous bestselling and multi award-winning novel, including The Divine Ryans, The Colony of Unrequited Dreams, The Custodian of Paradise and his latest narrative, A World Elsewhere. “A brilliant and accomplished writer…” - The New York Times“Prodigiously talented...”- The Globe and Mail“A World Elsewhere marks perhaps his greatest achievement…” - Telegraph-JournalAmi McKay hit the mark with her first full-length novel The Birth House; the touching tale of a Nova Scotia Midwife resonated with readers and critics alike, earning the Scots Bay resident numerous awards, nominations and a lengthy stay atop…

Heart of the Rock

Wayne Johnston remembers the struggle.

“We moved back to St. John’s in 1986,” recalls the multi-award winning author over coffee in Halifax, where he is touring his latest work A World Elsewhere.

“I found it extremely difficult to write with all of the distractions. Everywhere I went there were characters from my books walking down the streets.”

After three years of diversions, the fifty-something scribe and his wife packed their bags and headed west. Aside from his four years as a writer-in-residence at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, Johnston has been content to create in The Big Smoke.

“In many ways Toronto has been an ideal place for me,” he notes. “I enjoy an anonymity there that I was unable to have back home. And, in some respects, the city lacks a definitive personality, which serves my process well.”

Noting that novelists need time and space above all, Johnston’s small studio is as non-descript as the Metropolis in which he resides.

“There are no windows, nothing on …

Our National Passion!

Jim Prime knows sports. With a bevy of bestselling baseball books already under his belt, the Nova Scotia author goes north of the border for his latest effort, How Hockey Explains Canada. Co-written with Canadian hockey legend Paul Henderson, the brilliant, behind-the-scenes book explores our national passion for the game through hearts and minds of players, announcers, writers, coaches, and fans from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Recently, AE spoke with Prime about the all things hockey.
AE: What inspired you to put this book together? JP:How Hockey Explains Canada was inspired by a very successful book from a few years ago entitled How Soccer Explains the World. I was asked by the publisher to take the theme and run with it, and they gave me free rein to do what I wanted. They wanted me to collaborate with a well-known hockey personality and asked who I'd like to work with. In a heartbeat I answered Paul Henderson. To me, Henderson and Jean Beliveau epitomize all that is good and gre…

Corner Boy

Robert Hunt says that writing his latest book Corner Boys (Flanker Press / 162pp / $17.95) was a labour of love.
“It is all about the turbulent, but wonderful times we had growing up here in the 50's and 60's,” explains the St. John’s scribe via email. “Corner Boys is a coming-of-age story of two young boys from the age of six through to their teenage years. It is very much a portrait of both myself, and of those times.”
The process of piecing the past together was not without its challenges.
“Recalling all the events of the past 55 years wasn’t easy,” admits the author. “But by the first month I already had written about forty parts of my life, and when I was finished I had over one hundred.”
He says that the experience was both educational and therapeutic.
“I learned a great deal about who I am and where I came from. One should never forget their heritage or their past. Looking back, I now realize that life was not as bad as it sometimes seemed to be at the time.”
Hunt acknowledge…

Blood Wedding

This week, Dal Theatre in Halifax presents Blood Wedding, a three-act tragedy by Spanish poet and dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca. AE spoke with the play’s director Jure Gantar about the production, which runs from Nov 22-26 at the Sir James Dunn Theatre in Halifax.
AE: How long have you been involved with Dal Theatre? JG: I came to Dalhousie in 1992 and directed my first production (Aphra Behn’s The Lucky Chance) in 1995.
AE: What are the biggest challenges of your profession? JG: The biggest challenge for a director is not to impose his or her own personal style on a production but instead to let the interpretation emerge from everyone involved in the show.
AE: What are the rewards? JG: A director should never forget that any theatre production has a collective rather than a subjective identity.On the other hand, simply seeing a production completed is the greatest reward for a director. Even when a director’s vision is not fully realized, a production is something that starts from virt…
Jacques and His Master
The Theater Department at Acadia University in Wolfville, NS, kick-starts its 2011-2012 performing season with Jacques and His Master, an entertaining and thought provoking road story by Milan Kundera. Kundera, author of The Unbearable Lightness of Being, sets his protagonists, the Master and his servant Jacques, in an 18th century landscape where fact is woven together with fiction and the past competes—literally—with the present for their attention. The romantic follies of the two men intertwine during their road trip, one in which they seem to be going backwards as much as forward. In the recounting of their amorous adventures they explore the nature of friendship, and the human need to find meaning in our actions even as we learn the uncertain nature of life and love. Director Michael Devine shares his thoughts on his passion for both his profession and the production.
AE: How long have you been involved with The Acadia Theatre Company? MD: This is my 9th year…

The Passion of Adele Hugo!

Eastern front Theatre kicks-off its 2011-2012 season in grand style this week with The Passion of Adele Hugo, a new musical based on the outrageous but true story of Victor Hugo’s daughter’s doomed romance with a rakish British soldier. AE spoke with EFT’s Scott Burke about the production.
AE: What did you choose The Passion of Adele Hugo to kick-off the new season? SB: Eastern Front Commissioned this new musical in early 2008 and the script and music have been in development ever since. We've made a considerable investment in the show over the years, with two workshops, the first of which was held in conjunction with the Charlottetown Festival. The work has grown and improved during it's development, becoming richer, deeper, and more theatrical in the telling of a great story about romantic obsession. As I am wrapping up my tenure with Eastern Front, and been so involved in this play, its fitting that we produce it now. It will be a nice way to round out my time with Eastern Fr…

Gettin' Kinetic!

The intimate, minimalist setting of the Kinetic Studio showcased the talents of three Nova Scotian choreographers Saturday night.On Nov. 5th Sarah Cox, Sara Coffin and Jacinte Armstrong each preformed individual multimedia pieces, on a bare stage without costumes or elaborate props.
Cox’s is a work in-progress as she is this year’s “Exploration” and has the course of 9 months to change and improve her piece. Coffin’s was an excerpt from a larger work of hers scaled down and Armstrong’s performance is also in the developing stages while she is deciding what it means to her.
The performances, Northern Lights, Presence of Absence, and (we) are here, fused technology with movement. Cox and Armstrong projected images behind them, while Coffin actually used delayed live images as part of her choreography.
“…the jury’s still out on that one” said Sheilagh Hunt, artistic director of Kinetic Studio, when asked what she thought of technology being mixed with dance. She believes that such a heavy …

Kinetic Energy

This weekend Kinetic Studio in Halifax presents Jacinte Armstrong, Sarah Cox and Sara Coffin as part of their Studio Series at Danspace-on-Grafton. AE caught up with Kinetic’s Chris Majka to talk about the performance, as well as other upcoming productions.
AE: How long has Kinetic Studio been in operation? CM: Next year will be our 30th season! It originally started in 1982 under the name of the Modern Dance Committee of Dance Nova Scotia. It later changed its name to DAPA - Dance As a Performing Art - before becoming Kinetic Studio, a registered non-profit, charitable organization with its own board of directors, in 2003.
AE: What is Kinetic’s core mandate? CM: The formal mandate says "Kinetic Studio is committed to developing, seeking support for, and carrying out projects and programs to nurture Nova Scotian professional dance artists and to stimulate the growth of dance as a professional performing art within the Maritime region." What this means is that we have developed …

"Passion & Precision"

BJM Dance November 2, 2011 Rebecca Cohn Auditorium, Halifax
The BJM Danse Montréal performance at the Rebecca Cohn Theatre was a night of outstanding technique, deep reflection, humour and thunderous applause.
On Wednesday Nov. 2nd, Live Art Dance presented BJM Danse’s North American premiere of Fuel as well as two other pieces, Locked up Laura and the show stealer, Rossini Cards.
“[It’s] a very technical company so their dancers are well-trained” said Paul Caskey, artistic director of Live Art Dance. He often hears audience members enraptured by the effortlessness of the dancers after the show. A reputation the company upheld throughout this performance.
“BJM has always been leading edge… push[ing] the boundaries of physical space,” says Stephen P. Clare, publisher of arts east. A concept the dancers explore throughout the three pieces but most forcefully in Fuel.
The first piece was feminine; it was “graceful” as Clare says. With the focus on technique it was an exquisitely executed piec…

Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal

Two years ago BJM Danse (les Ballets Jazz de Montréal) thrilled Halifax with a virtuosic performance that brought the audience to its feet. This year’s program features two works of exceptional quality that will surely set soles on fire. Recently, AE spoke with Paul Caskey of Live Art Dance Productions about BJM’s November 2 appearance at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium in Halifax.
AE: This the second time that you have presented les Ballets Jazz de Montréal (BJM) correct? PC: Yes, this is the second time we'll present BJM Danse, but actually the third time they'll perform in Halifax since 2004.
AE: And this show is quite different from their previous appearance is it not? PC: BJM Danse is a repertoire company, meaning they hire different choreographers to create new works on their dancers. What's exciting about this is that each new show carries the individual aesthetic of the artist making the work. BJM's Artistic Director, Louis Robitaille, has a keen eye for choosing risin…