Press-Republican

September 19, 2013

Montreal theaters offering original works, stage classics

By STEVEN HOWELL Press-Republican
Press-Republican

---- — MONTREAL — The stage is set for a new season of theater in Montreal.

CENTAUR THEATRE

First up, the Centaur Theatre opens with what promises to be a comedic bang. 

Making its premiere is “The St. Leonard Chronicles,” penned by playwright Steve Galluccio, author of “Mambo Italiano,” the comedy smash hit that stands as the Centaur’s all-time box-office record holder. Galluccio once again explores love Italian-style as Terry and Robert, a gay Montreal couple, plan to pack up their bags, shake off the dust of conservative St. Leonard and head to the Montreal West Island enclave of Beaconsfield to set up house. The suburbs will never be the same. 

“The St. Leonard Chronicles” runs Oct. 1 through 27.

Next up, “Seeds” by Annabel Soutar is a “modern day David v. Goliath docudrama” that tells the tale of Saskatchewan farmer Percy Schmeiser and his legal battle against Monsanto. The agricultural giant claims Schmeiser illegally grew its patented genetically engineered canola seeds on his farm, according to the press release, while Schmeiser claims the seeds arrived on his farmland courtesy of Mother Nature herself — on the wings of the wind.

Directed by Chris Abraham, “Seeds” runs Oct. 29 through Nov. 24.

Under the Centaur’s Brave New Looks banner is the Imago Theatre production of “If We Were Birds.” Written by Erin Shields, and winner of the 2011 Governor General’s Award for Drama, “If We Were Birds” offers “a moving, funny and unsettling play that gives voice to women forced into silence through violence,” according to the press release. The work adapts the myth of Ovid’s classic “Metamorphoses” complete with a chorus of women who act as survivors of a modern 20th century conflict.

“If We Were Birds” runs Oct. 9 through 19.

Tickets cost $25, with discounts for previews and students. Matinee performances on Oct. 12, 13 and 19 are pay-what-you-can with a suggested donation of $10. Visit www.imagotheatre.ca for details about the play.

The Centaur Theatre is at 453 St. Francois Xavier St. in Old Montreal. Season subscriptions are available. Call (514) 288-3161 or visit www.centaurtheatre.com for more information. 

SEGAL CENTRE

The Segal Centre for Performing Arts opens its season on a musical note with “Ain’t Misbehavin’ — The Fats Waller Musical Show.” The Tony Award-winning musical revue, which opened on Broadway in 1978, takes a tuneful stroll to 1920s-era Harlem where Thomas “Fats” Waller rose to fame during the golden age of the Cotton Club and the Savoy Ballroom nightclubs in New York City.

The Segal also hosts “Ain’t Misbehavin’” creator Murray Horwitz, who joins Patrick Hansen, the director of opera at McGill University, in a free pre-show at the Segal talk at 11 a.m. Sept. 29.

“Ain’t Misbehavin’” runs Sept. 29 through Oct. 30. Read all about the upcoming Segal Centre theater season with artistic director Paul Flicker in next week’s Out & About.

The Segal Centre is at 5170 Chemin Cote St. Catherine. Season subscriptions are available. Call (514) 739-7944 or visit www.segalcentre.org for more information.

 TALISMAN THEATRE

The Talisman Theatre, which produces English-language Montreal premieres of contemporary Quebecois works, offers a public reading of “Billy (The Days of Howling),” at 4 p.m. Sept. 21. Written by Fabien Cloutier, “Billy” explores “three characters who view each other as lesser or wanting confronted by the repercussions of unforgiving judgments.”

The reading will be followed by a question-and-answer period with the playwright and translator. 

The Talisman is at Theatre La Licorne, 4559 Papineau Ave. Visit www.talisman-theatre.com for details.

 BLACK THEATRE WORKSHOP

Black Theatre Workshop presents the premiere of “Sal Capone: The Lamentable Tragedy Of” by Omari Newton. The work explores class struggles, racism, homophobia, and the “complex relationship between culturally minoritized youth and the police” through hip-hop, spoken word, and experimental sound and video.

“Sal Capone” is presented Oct. 23 through Nov. 10. 

Black Theatre Workshop is at MAI, 3680 Jeanne Mance St. Regular tickets cost $25. For questions, call (514) 932-1104 or visit www.blacktheatreworkshop.ca.

 INFINITHEATRE

Infinitheatre revisits “Kafka’s Ape,” its evolutionary, revolutionary tale based on Franz Kafka’s short story “A Report to an Academy.” The work, adapted from the original German and directed by Infinitheatre artistic director Guy Sprung, offers a satirical romp that stars Howard Rosenstein as a mercenary primate named Mr. Redpeter, who climbs both the corporate and evolutionary ladders.

“Kafka’s Ape” is presented Nov. 7 through 24 at Bain St. Michel, 5300 St. Dominique St. General admission costs $25, and students and seniors get in for $20. The first Sunday of every run is pay-what-you-can. Call (514) 987-1774 or visit www.infinitheatre.com for more information.

Steven Howell is the author of Montreal Essential Guide, a Sutro Media iPhone travel app available at iTunes.com.