Forget The Box’s weekly Arts Calendar is back for its last November edition. Take a look at these excellent events if you’re looking for fun and inexpensive things to check out!

As always; if you’re interested in going to one of these events and want to cover it for us, send a message  or leave a comment below.

Beaux Dégâts #45 – Tap Water Jam MTL + Ella Grave showcase

Beaux Dégâts is a time-honoured Montreal tradition that combines improvisation in musical and fine arts to create a unique organic event space. From their Facebook page:

“Beaux Dégâts tries to make a parallel between the reality of street artists and the Fine Arts. It is here to bring back what has been ignored for too long by art institutions and return to the street artist’s reality: the importance of community, sharing, accessibility and uniqueness.

For two hours, six teams of artists will improvise 8ft X 8ft murals on different themes given on the night. Each team will have to research and find visual references to create a production in front of public. All mediums except spray cans are allowed. During the evening, the public will vote for it’s favorite mural using their empty Pabst beer cans. The team that will collect the most cans will win the right to paint over the other artists work if they wish.”

Beaux Dégâts #45: Live Improvised Painting and Music – Wednesday, Nov 30, Foufounes Electriques, 8pm-1am. Entrance: 5$

The Crossing presented by Cinema Politica Concordia

Cinema Politica is a media arts, non-profit network of community and campus locals that screen independent political film and video by Canadian and international artists throughout Canada and abroad. It is volunteer-run and all screenings are by donation.

 

The film that Cinema Politica is screening this Monday, The Crossing, “takes us along on one of the most dangerous journeys of our time with a group of Syrians fleeing war and persecution, crossing a sea, two continents and five countries, searching for a home to rekindle the greatest thing they have lost – Hope.”

The Crossing screening @ Cinema Politica Concordia, 1455 de Maisonneuve Boulevard W, Room H-110, Monday, 7pm. Entrance by Donation

50/50 presented at Mainline Theatre

50/50 is a novel concept; a half-scripted, half-improvised live comedy show! This show was a major hit at Just For Laughs 2016 and will not be back for four months – definitely catch this if you can at the Mainline Theatre.

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Coming off a sellout show at OFF-JFL/Zoofest this past July, 50/50 returns with a new cast blending talented actors and hilarious comedians. In each of the show’s nine scenes, a prepared actor who has learned lines off a real script is paired with an improviser who has no prior knowledge of what the actor has rehearsed.

50/50 @ Mainline Theatre, 3997 boul St-Laurent. Wednesday, November 30th, 8pm. $15 (students/seniors/QDF Members $12)

Is there an event that should be featured in Shows This Week? Maybe something FTB should cover, too? Let us know at arts@forgetthebox.net. We can’t be everywhere and can’t write about everything, but we do our best!

Panelists Katie Nelson and Jerry Gabriel discuss Homa Hoodfar’s detention in Iran, Stella’s campaign against the abolition of sex work and various topics from the news of the week. Plus the Community Calendar and Predictions!

Host: Jason C. McLean
Producer: Hannah Besseau
Production Assistant: Enzo Sabbagha

Panelists

Katie Nelson: Concordia student

Jerry Gabriel: FTB contributor

 

*Homa Hoodfar Report by Hannah Besseau

*Stella Interview by Enzo Sabbagha

Microphone image: Ernest Duffoo / Flickr Creative Commons

Concordia University’s Department of Theatre will debut their production Attawapiskat Is No Exception, an original play conceived in response to 2011’s housing crisis at the Attawapiskat reserve in northern Ontario.

The play is influenced by the historical events and cultural practices of three northern First Nations communities: Sayisi Dene of Manitoba; Lake St. Martin, Manitoba; and Attawapiskat Cree Nation. It draws attention to the problems surrounding living conditions on northern First Nations Reserves, and enacts the troubled relationship between native leaders and non-native policy makers.

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Broad-based research about First Nations issues was carried out by all participants in the early stages of collaboration during the fall semester. Students involved in the production took a required course about First Nations dramaturgy, co-taught by Favel and Neuerburg-Denzer. In addition, Karl Hele, chair of First Peoples Studies at Concordia, gave an in-depth lecture on land rights, and participation in such activities as a visit to Kahnawake’ s Cultural Center, Mc Gill’s First Peoples Week, and the March for the Murdered and Missing Aboriginal Women aided students in their research.

First Nations theatre is a new research field for Neuerburg-Denzer, whose area of study has focused extensively on emotion studies for performers. “Through the research and creation of Attawapiskat is No Exception, I expressly aim to help conserve and develop knowledge specific to Canada’s First People” she says, “so that the relations between native and non-native individuals and groups might be improved.”  Floyd Favel is a theatre and dance (contemporary and native traditional) director, performer, writer and teacher from Poundmaker Reserve in Saskatchewan. He is currently in writing and co-producing a feature length film, Sweet Cherry Wine, that will be performed entirely in Cree.

There will be a roundtable discussion after Saturday’s matinee performance about the issues raised by “Attawapiskat” and the ways the performance addresses the intersection between aboriginal and “western” playmaking strategies, including the special responsibilities of a predominantly non-native co-creative team. The roundtable will be moderated by M.J. Thompson (Art Education) with Floyd Favel, Ursula Neuerburg-Denzer, Karl Hele, Anik Sioui and Emilie Monnet of Odaya Drum Group, Chelsea Vowel (activist blogger and Cree instructor) and the student actors Tyson Houseman and Brefny Caribou-Curtin. A talk back session with the cast and designers will take place directly following the Friday night show.

Attawapiskat Is No Exception runs April 2 to 5 at 8pm, April 5 and 6 at 2pm at D.B. Clarke Theatre (1455 De Maisonneuve Blvd. West). Tickets ($10 regular, $5 student) available at the door or in advance. To purchase tickets, email  your name, phone number, number of tickets requested, and the date and time of performance.

 

The genuine enthusiasm and energy with which Alessandro Mercurio, the director of Concordia’s upcoming production of Tonight We Play “A Soggetto”, speaks about the show is palpable. It’s obvious that much care and effort has gone into creating a magical world where theatre, in its entirety, can be explored, expanded and celebrated.

Tonight We Play “A Soggetto”—or Questa sera si recita a soggetto in Italian—opens on Wednesday, February 12 at the F.C. Smith Auditorium. Written in 1928, it’s the final part of Nobel Prize-winning writer Luigi Pirandello’s “theatre within theatre” trilogy and is a script that Mercurio has much experience with. As a student at the Accademia Nazionale D’Arte Drammatica Paolo Grassi in Milan, he worked on the play with Massimo Castri, one of Italy’s most renowned Pirandello scholars. With Castri he spent months analyzing the script, something that has also been part of the process with his Concordia cast.

“The script for Tonight We Play ‘A Soggetto’ is a text that you have to change every time you work on it” he explains. “It’s very linked on the present moment. You have to understand who you are, who is your audience, what kind of society will see this show.”

“It’s the story about a company who is playing a play” Mercucio says. For this reason “every actor has to create two characters: the actor involved and that actor’s character.”

“The script is a celebration of theatre,” he continues. “I wanted to celebrate theatre not only as an art but as a physical space.”

The result is a translucent realm of visibility. The actors are always visible to the audience and to each other; their costumes are translucent and there is a transparent curtain which exposes everything behind it. The entire theatre is in want of the audience’s attention.

Mercurio also celebrates theatre by weaving a variety of theatrical forms throughout the show. Each scene will pay tribute to different cultural theatre traditions, such as Commedia dell’arte, German expressionist theatre and Indian shadow puppets.

In one scene, Mercurio uses a miniature puppet theatre and shadow play to subvert associations of largeness and grandeur that are often attached to the opera. This choice also explores another theme of the show: the permeable boundary between fiction and reality. The small-scale puppet theatre is a playful representation of an opera house, but the audience will still experience a display of abundance through the oversized shadows cast on the wall.

The F.C. Smith Auditorium is an intimate theatre, one that Mercurio says is ideal for this show. “The whole space is used. Theatre is the main character.”

Tonight We Play “A Soggetto” plays at the F. C. Smith Auditorium (FC Building, 7141 Sherbrooke Street West, Loyola Campus) on February 12, 13 and 15, 2014 at 8 p.m., with matinee performances at 2 p.m. on February 15 and 16.

Montreal Poutine Week

Poutine Week is a festival where we get to celebrate poutine in Montreal! Between 20-30 restaurants prepare a special poutine just for the occasion for $10 or less. Fans get to vote for their favourite ones by using the unique code provided by each restaurant. By the end of the week, winners are declared. Log on to http://lapoutineweek.com/ for the list of participating restaurants and to cast your vote. Poutine week ends on Friday February 7.

An Evening of Multimedia Performance: “Deep Screens”

The performance series “Deep Screens” showcases live music/film/video acts that extend the screen into physical/virtual space through performance and formal interventions. This inaugural version of the series focuses on acts that use optical illusions, 3D animation, props, synthesizers and wicked tricks to expand screen planes and alter planes of consciousness.

Featuring: Le Révélateur/ Sabrina Ratté / Alaska B/ Katherine Kline / Leyla Majeri. The event takes place Friday, February 7 at Studio XX.

LE RÉVÉLATEUR / DATA DAZE from Sabrina Ratté on Vimeo.

Concordia University Department of Theatre Presents: Tonight We Play “A SOGGETTO”

concordiaWith only a few weeks to go, Concordia Theatre students are busy preparing for their production of Tonight We Play “A Soggetto.” The show is a metatheatrical experience that challenges conventions and actively leaps from comedy to drama while exploring the permeable boundary  that separates life from fiction and actor from character.

This third part of Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature Luigi Pirandello’s “Theatre within Theatre” trilogy takes an incredible and extreme situation as the starting point to question the meaning of theatre: a director/scientist asks a group of actors to improvise an entire show in front of the public.

Concordia’s version of Tonight We Play “A Soggetto” is a never ending rollercoaster ride. A true challenge for young actors, it is a pyrotechnic game and a leap into the world of theatre that draws on theatrical forms such as Commedia dell’arte, German expressionist theatre, puppetry, musical theatre and the Italian lyric opera.

Wednesday, February 12 to Sunday, February 16 at F.C. Smith Auditorium (Concordia’s Loyola Campus).

Persephone Productions Presents: The Walnut Tree

walnut tree

The Walnut Tree tells the story of the intense journey of Sussel, a young, privileged Jewish woman who grows up in Czernowitz, studies in Prague and Paris, endures the horrors of World War II in Eastern Europe and ultimately escapes to the peace and promise of a new life in Saskatoon. The character of the older Sussel looks back at her life, accompanied by her alter ego, a Musician, who performs on a piano. This powerful, transcendent drama sets the devastating power of historical events against the personal forces of reconciliation. The Walnut Tree deals with vital social, political, and ethical issues, and finally (most importantly) with enduring love.

February 20 to March 1 @ Centre Culturel Calixa-Lavallée.

You have an awesome event coming up? Send us all the info at arts@forgetthebox.net.

This past Saturday Concordia University welcomed noted intellectual, prolific writer, MIT Professor Emeritus, movie-maker, linguist and self-described anarcho-syndicalist Noam Chomsky to its downtown campus. Booking Mr. Chomsky, who was in town for another event later that same day was quite the coup for Concordia Student Union’s VP External and Mobilization Caroline Bourbonnière.

Despite some outcry by those who were unable to snag one of the 350 tickets, the event went off without a hitch; organizers set up a live feed that could be viewed in a adjoining room, the footage of which should soon be available to all online.  In the meantime, the transcript of an almost identical lecture can be found online.

In his talk tilted “The Neo-Liberal Assault on the Population” Mr. Chomsky discussed the chasm that exists between democracy and what he labels “really existing capitalist democracy” or in other words, a plutocracy. For examples that highlight how out of touch the political system is with those it espouses to represent, Mr. Chomsky contrasted public opinion with public policy: while a clear majority of the US population is in favour of tax hikes for the rich and environmental regulations, those in power are more concerned with deficit reduction and ignore looming environmental catastrophes.

To be sure, these issues, while viewed largely as matters of domestic policy, have global repercussions. Mr. Chomsky also pointed out that America’s always-at-the-ready nuclear arsenal and its behaviour as an irrational and out-of-control state actor as a matter of policy places us all on the precipice. Nuclear war, along with environmental degradation, are the two most serious threats the world faces today.

But Mr. Chomsky is no Debbie-Downer. Hope for a more egalitarian society in which the will of the people is truly expressed and manifested can be seen in the likes of contemporary student movements and in the move towards more worker-owned co-ops.

On a larger scale and in a not-so-historically-distant-past the strides made by the women’s movement and the increasing self-determination of Latin American states are examples of changes possible within the system. Interestingly, he claimed that it is now Canada and the United States that risk being isolated from the rest of the Western Hemisphere.

Benjamin Prunty, CSU’s VP Sustainability who helped organize the event, hopes it will galvanize the student body into action: “having such an important intellectual essentially reinforce as fact that feeling that I think many of us have, that the system is not only fundamentally failing today but is also on course to fail us all much worse in the future, will help thrust those on the verge of political action right into its throes.”

“Power is very fragile,” Mr. Chomsky reminded the rapt audience at the end of his lecture; food for thought in this world where we often feel powerless against political and corporate behemoths.

* photo of Chomsky at the UdeM conference by Marco Simonsen-Sereda (blogocram)