In Search of Mrs. Pirandello astounds

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published June 16, 2015

In Search of Mrs. Pirandello is an enthralling and vivid play that boasts an ingenious script, a cast of superb actors and a refreshingly original thesis.

This special look at one of literary history’s voiceless and forgotten players is both evocative and inspiring. Blending fascinating historical research with gripping prose, In Search of Mrs. Pirandello provides a post-modern commentary on mental illness, women’s issues and the artistic process.
The play follows the story of a young scholar, known only as the Searcher, who travels to Italy to learn more about the mysterious life of Luigi Pirandello’s wife Antonietta. After suffering a mental breakdown, she was institutionalized for “morbid jealousy” in 1919 and spent almost 40 years in an asylum.
The play was written by up-and-comer Michaela Di Cesare, a former playwright-in-residence at Montreal’s Imago Théâtre company.
Read the full story here.

CJLO Magazine: Theatre

Captain Aurora is a smashing success

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published June 14, 2015

Captain Aurora: A Superhero Musical hits exactly the right chord as this highly professional and fully fleshed-out musical comedy sings and dances its way into the Fringe history hall of fame.

The play tells the story of a banker-by-day/superhero-by-night lead who struggles to find purpose in an increasingly routine life. When her life is shaken up by political plot, alien invasion and the threat of exposure, Captain Aurora will have to rise to the challenge, regardless of the sacrifices she may unwillingly make on the way.

The play makes clever use of pre-existing and oft-overused comic book tropes and ultimately succeeds in lovingly parodying and paying homage to some of the elements that make classic superhero stories great.

Eva Petris, who shines in the role of Dawn and her alter ego Captain Aurora, is very talented and delightful to watch. Her enthusiastic performance is rivalled only by her impressive vocals and concrete commitment.”

Check out the full review here.

CJLO Magazine: Theatre

Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche will leave you wanting more

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published June 14, 2015

“Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche is, at a glance, an absurd, apocalyptic, queer comedy of manners. The show is largely character driven and its five leading ladies hit the right combination of pep and pluck as egg-worshipping, 50s-era closet lesbians.

The play takes place during the 1956 annual quiche breakfast of The Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein. The five executives of the society are preparing for the tasting of the quiches when an air raid siren goes off. On lockdown in the bunker, the so-called widow and ladysisters must come to terms with themselves and face each other in this winking, tongue-in-cheek comedy.

The Society has two rules: no men, no meat, all manners. They worship the egg and their illustrious founder and pay homage every year in the annual quiche tasting.”

Read the full story here.

CJLO Magazine: Theatre

The Shiner dishes out bittersweet comedy

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published June 14, 2015

“The Shiner is a relatively simple one-woman show that succeeds in its heartfelt and poignant storytelling.

Focusing on stories originating in the school system, the show will resonate with anyone who has spent significant time observing and engaging with young minds.

Performed by local sketch comedian and spiritual animator Katie Leggitt, The Shiner weaves together different narratives that reflect on the experience of educators and students alike.

Funny and at times bittersweet, Leggitt smoothly transitions from precocious school girl to gruff physical educator to earnest animator.”

Read more here.

Cult MTL: Theatre

This play skewers the Canadian film industry

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published March 30, 2015

“Vittorio Rossi’s The Envelope has all the ingredients for the making of a sharp, original and funny script: a firmly established local setting, a cast of quirky secondary characters and jokes about being Italian.

And yet, running at 160 minutes, the Centaur Theatre’s production (also directed by Rossi) drags and proves unable to break out of its static talking heads set-up. Set in an Italian restaurant in the present day, the action of the play focuses on playwright and screenwriter Michael Moretti (played by Ron Lea), who must decide whether to sell the rights to his script for a big payday or retain creative control over the project.

Dubbed as a satire, the play is ultimately a 160-minute skewering of the Canadian film industry and the schlock it turns out annually. As the show goes on, the initially humorous trash talk starts to feel progressively more like ranting.”

Full story at:

Broadway World: Travesties

BWW Review: Travesties is Widly Funny

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published April 21, 2015

Tom Stoppard is the kind of playwright who is so clever that it almost feels like he’s showing off.

Travesties is one such example of Stoppard’s brilliance, as he seamlessly combines past and present, reality and fiction in an inventive and Wildean play that, believe it or not, was inspired by real events.

The play focuses on the recollections of one very real Henry Carr, who rubbed elbows with some of the greatest minds of the early 20th century while posted in Zurich for the British Consular Service in 1917.

While performing in a production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, Carr develops a petty feud with the show’s business manager, who just happens to be world-renowned author James Joyce.

Told through the lens of Carr’s fictional and often confused memoirs, Stoppard combines history, literature and his own comedic touch to great success.

Read the full article here.

Theatre: The Concordian

The Cherry Orchard is funny and fearless

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published April 6, 2015

Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard occupies a wonderful ambiguity between comedy and drama. While the early 20th-century Russian play is undeniably hilarious, the ending is unabashedly tragic. This weekend, Concordia’s Liberal Arts College Theatre Society put on a production of the play, with all the proceeds going to Literacy Unlimited.

The play was lighthearted and played into the farcical nature of Chekhov’s original text. The plot centres around a wealthy family that has fallen down on its luck and is forced to sell its estate, and the adjoining cherry orchard, to pay its debts.

The mother and uncle try to explore other options to remedy their situation, with the help of a business-minded family friend, while the possibility of romance sparks for daughters Anya and Varya. When all seems about to be resolved, hopes are dashed on all fronts and the family is left to deal with grim reality.

Running just over two hours, the show was a perfect blend of silly and serious. In particular, the scene in which the family governess furiously eats a whole cucumber while passionately delivering her monologue really set the tone for the piece early on. The cast, many of whom have relatively little acting experience, were staunchly committed and unfailingly energetic.

Read the full story here.

Broadway World: theatre review

BWW Reviews: RANDOM is Rapid Fire

Cult MTL: Theatre review

Hosanna tells a timeless, universal tale

Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published March 20, 2015

Michel Tremblay is known for his incredibly human characters. Throughout his body of work, he has shown himself to be an expert at capturing unique and often unpopular or marginalized voices. His play Hosanna is a prime example.

While Hosanna has graced stages around the world, Tableau D’Hôte Theatre’s production marks the Montreal premiere of the 1974 English adaptation. Translators John Van Burek and Bill Glassco clearly put a great deal of thought into retaining certain stylistic elements of Quebec culture that lend authenticity to the dialogue.

Full story here.

Montreal Gazette: News

Proposed regulations for gender status change spark debate

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published March 5, 2015

Jacky Vallée faces a problem many trans people face when trying to change their legal gender status.

“I don’t want any surgeries,” Vallée explained.

Despite going through hormonal treatment for the last seven years and getting a legal name change, Vallée feels backed into a corner when it comes to the bureaucratic process of legal gender marker change.

Under the Quebec Civil code, people applying to have their gender on official documents changed have to undergo sexual reassignment surgery.

The Quebec government eliminated this requirement in December 2013, but in the absence of a new regulation, the change has not yet come into force. Now, the proposed regulation to replace the old policy requires a sworn statement from the applicant, as well as medical letters of evaluation.

The statement requirement itself has been the subject of debate in the trans community. It asks a person to swear they have been living “at all times, for at least two years, under the appearance of the sex for which a change of designation is requested.”

Despite being eligible to apply under the proposed regulations, Vallée is hesitant to do so.


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