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.

 

To read the whole article: Click here. 

CJLO Magazine: Concert Review

The New Pornographers @ Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre

By Marilla Steuter-Martin

Published Feb. 10, 2015

Vocalist A.C. Newman. Photo by Marilla Steuter-Martin

Vocalist A.C. Newman. Photo by Marilla Steuter-Martin

I fell in the love with The New Pornographers when I was twelve years old. I was an awkward pre-adolescent with truly, utterly terrible taste in music. But then I discovered the Vancouver-based indie rockers and their 2003 sophomore album, Electric Version, and I knew I found something special.

I really love the Corona Theatre as a venue. It’s big enough that it doesn’t feel too crowded with a couple hundred people and the restored frescos and high ceilings gives it a really elegant feeling. The stage is quite large and can at times suffer from looking a bit bare when featuring smaller acts. The New Pornographers however, boasting six members, a full drum kit and two LED-lit mixing stations had no lack of stage presence.

While the opening act, electro-pop trio Operators, was upbeat and decently well received, the real energy didn’t spark until The New Pornographers took to the stage. It was clear from the get-go that the assembled crowd was made up of die-hard fans. There was nothing casual about the emphatic chanting of every lyric from a selection of songs spanning the band’s six-album discography. The set was energetic and got the crowd moving early on. Vocalists A.C. Newman and Dan Bejar, who do most of the songwriting together, are veteran performers and it shows.

Read the full story here: http://cjlo.com/articles/new-pornographers-virgin-mobile-corona-theatre

The Concordian: Arts

Catch Me If You Can doesn’t take off

By Marilla Steuter-Martin
Published Jan. 20

There’s only so much a talented and dedicated cast can do with a sinking ship. The Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society’s amateur production of Catch Me If You Can: The Musical is proof that all the enthusiasm in the world can’t disguise a boring piece of theatre.

While lead actor Brandon Schwartz is a trained jazz singer with a voice comparable to a young Josh Groban, the show’s music, written by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, isn’t quite toe-tapping.

Based on the 2002 Dreamworks film of the same name, Catch Me If You Can follows the true story of a young con artist of the 1960s, named Frank Abagnale Jr., who manages to impersonate a pilot, doctor and lawyer all before his 19th birthday. While the film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, is fast-paced and charming, the musical adaptation relies too heavily on corny jokes, meta self-awareness and extended jazzy dance routines better suited to a Broadway stage than a black box theatre.

Read the full story here: http://theconcordian.com/2015/01/catch-me-if-you-can-doesnt-take-off/

Cult MTL: Arts

“Reviews from the Wildside”

Marilla Steuter-Martin
January 12, 2015

“Johnny Legdick: A Rock Opera Presented by: Playwright Hero and the Jem At first glance, Johnny Legdick: A Rock Opera sounds like a frat boy’s fever dream about a three-legged freak sold into the circus by his parents. A show that could easily have strayed into the offensive and immature, Johnny Legdick turned out to be darkly funny and irrepressibly exuberant. The hour-long musical is vastly entertaining and succeeds in blending dry wit, physical comedy and creativity. It also features a live band that performs some surprisingly well-crafted orchestrations.”

Full story at: http://cultmontreal.com/2015/01/wildside-festival-reviews/

Theatre review: Belles Soeurs

BWW Review: BELLES SOEURS the Musical at the Segal Centre

Marilla Steuter-Martin
October 30, 2014

“When a 23-year-old first-time playwright named Michel Tremblay wrote Les Belles-soeurs in 1965, no one could have predicted how it would turn into an international sensation over the next four decades and go on to be produced in over 30 languages.

The action of the show centers on a small kitchen party of a dozen Montreal women, each with their own hopes and heartbreaks. It is within these emotional and elegantly woven character studies that the play finds its heart and soul.

The English musical incarnation of the show, Belles Soeurs: The Musical, premiered at the Segal Centre in October and will run until Nov. 16.”

For the full story, click here: http://www.broadwayworld.com/toronto/article/BWW-Review-BELLES-SOEURS-the-Musial-at-the-Segal-Centre-20141030?PageSpeed=noscript

The Concordian: Arts

Get swept away by Nabucco’s beauty

By Marilla Steuter-Martin

Published Sept. 22, 2014

“Jealousy, madness, a bloody battle, a desperate grab for power and a love triangle drive the action ofNabucco, one of Giuseppe Verdi’s most celebrated operas. There’s no shortage of drama, nor of talent, in the upcoming production to be staged at the Montreal Opera the last week of September.

Nabucco is an Italian opera based on biblical stories from the Book of Jeremiah and the Book of Daniel, and follows the struggle between warring Babylonians and Ancient Hebrews. The Babylonian king, Nabucco, begins the action by invading Hebrew territory to retrieve his daughter Fenema who is being held prisoner.

Over the course of the four acts, it becomes clear that Fenema has fallen for an Israelite named Ismaele and has converted to Judaism. Things are further complicated by the presence of Fenema’s sister, Abigaille, who is power hungry and jealous.

Director Leigh Holman has been involved with two previous productions of Nabucco, at the Opera Philadelphia and at the Florida Grand Opera in Miami.”

Read the full story here: http://theconcordian.com/2014/09/get-swept-away-by-nabuccos-beauty/

Concordia NOW: News

Exchange students learn about sustainability — and local customs

The exchange between Fulda University of Applied Sciences and Concordia provides for experiential and interdisciplinary learning

By Marilla Steuter-Martin

Aug. 12, 2014

For many, the idea of travelling 5,800 kilometres to stand in the middle of a compost site wouldn’t spark much enthusiasm. But for the six students at Concordia on exchange from the Fulda University of Applied Sciences in Fulda, Germany, spending their summer vacation learning about sustainability was a dream come true.

In the first year of the exchange’s pilot project, students from Concordia’s Loyola College for Diversity and Sustainability travelled to Germany to learn about sustainable practices and partner with other international students to author a joint report.

Concordia returned the favour this year by hosting the Fulda students for a three-week intensive process, where they had the opportunity to experience some hands-on learning.

Read the full story: http://www.concordia.ca/cunews/main/stories/2014/08/12/exchange-studentslearnaboutsustainabilityandlocalcustoms.html