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May 200
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The Editor
Meiner Mutter
Ich weiss es noch
Mother's Day
Dear Mothers
KW and Beyond
Mayday at Concordia
Herwig Wandschneider
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
City of Glass
New Bells Consecrated
Rostock Olympic Bid
Elizabeth Kuehn
Opera York at Maxim's
Michael Schade's Solo
The New COC
10 Years Forget-me-nots
150 Year Duneden

KW and Beyond

  by Irena Wandschneider

Theatre & Company
- "Einstein’s Gift" by Vern Thiessen -

It is being played downtown Kitchener – as we speak, right now, April 10 to 26 at 7:30 nightly – and although I have not seen it I would expect it to be as good as any other production of Theatre & Company.

And I am not paid or bribed to say so: I have seen three plays staged at the current premises by the current producers’ team, "Lettice and Lovage", " An Ideal Husband" and very recently " Crossing Delancey". Each play was very different, nothing repetitive, nothing borrowed, each time actors actually offering their craft of high quality and the director doing his job with appreciation for the period and characters. Each time the décor, background music, costumes, props are carefully selected and consciously used. The actors utilize speech patterns and individual accents to enrich the characters, small details of stage design creating the world the audience is being transported to, whether it is some country manor presented to tourists, premises of the dilapidated rooming house, a drawing room in a stylish English country house, apartment in New York City or a bookstore – all of the above prepared with care and attention to details, researched and reconstructed for our benefit.

I am impressed with the professionalism and care given to the productions of the Theatre & Company. Each and every show I have been to was exceptional. "Einstein’s Gift" is written by a Canadian playwright and was staged for the first time in Edmonton. This is the Ontario premier.

It is Albert Einstein’s account of his fellow scientist, Nobel Laureate and friend Fritz Haber, who - seeing his humanitarian research being used in the war - begins to recognize consequences and implications of his actions. There are some worthy quotations such as "I was under the impression we were using science to help people" and "You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war, it defies all possible logic." It seems to be particularly relevant in what we are experiencing today on the international scene.

Tickets are $19 - $29, rush seats for students and seniors $10. You can get tickets on line at http://www.theatreandcompany.org/ or calling box office 519-571-0928. There is also information on the next season 2003-2004 available. It is worth to keep track of what is being presented in downtown Kitchener.


Stratford Festival – Summer of 2003

Stratford is only a short drive from the Kitchener/Waterloo area and from Toronto less than a 2 hours drive. It is possible to go either for an evening performance or, so much better, make it a weekend outing. There is quite a variety of accommodation available in the area, also a number of good restaurants, in Stratford itself or in the vicinity, such as in New Hamburg. And this summer program is really special.

There is the usual program of Shakespeare and classics, less heavy this year and offering "The Taming of the Shrew" and "Love’s Labour Lost". Aside of that there is a very interesting combination of plays somehow linked together "Anthony and Cleopatra", "Pericles" "Troilus and Cressida", then "Agamemnon" by Aeschylus and "Electra" by Giradoux. Quite a selection of ancient Greek and Roman history as presented by Sir William, complemented by Aeschylus and the modern French approach of Giraudoux. Old family feuds, old sins with long shadows presented by one of the best repertory theatres in North America. After seeing "Elizabeth Rex" and " Medea" in recent seasons, there will again be something special to be seen and enjoyed in those plays of antiquity.

Then there are several more recent plays – challenging in many ways, out of the ordinary. "The Hunchback of Notre Dame", for one, Noel Coward’s "Present Laughter" featuring Brian Bedford (are we lucky to have him!) and two (I repeat T-W-O) plays by Sartre "No Exit" and "The Flies". I have reviewed "No Exit" staged by Waterloo Little Theatre in the winter of 2002. It is a complex play, by now a classic of existentialism and difficult to present. "The Flies" is in a way a modern play written during the Nazi occupation of France telling the ancient story of Orestes homecoming. Again a connection with several plays based on motifs from Antiquity.

To provide the audience with entertainment – just pure joy and laughter – there are "The King and I" and "Gigi". Both musicals have great catching melodies and eternal charm – for those who have seen the movies and for those who have not. Suitable for any age and for those with less exposure to classic theatre, for all to enjoy before or after a leisurely meal and walk along the lake.

For more information on performance schedules and tickets see www.stratfordfestival.ca or call 1-800-567-1600


Shaw Festival – Niagara-on-the-Lake

There are two of Shaw’s plays this summer at the Festival, "Misalliance" and "Widower’ House". The first one has been staged before and is a frequent occurrence to the summer theatres, not too strenuous, the second one more challenging and less performed. It is one of Shaw’s satires on society, disclosure of its dirty back-stage sources of livelihood, questioning the comfortable order of the universe. From the same era "Three Sisters" by Chekhov , "Diana of Dobson’s" by Cicely Hamilton and a bit later "Happy End" by Bertold Brecht with music by Kurt Weill. Last year "The Three penny Opera" was done at the Stratford Festival and much enjoyed by the audience. There are some connecting motifs at Niagara-on-the-Lake as well – "Afterplay", a very recent creation by Brian Friel is exploring "what if?" alternative outcomes of "Three Sisters" and "Uncle Vanya". It is to be a small jewel in one-act lunchtime performances for a price of a lunch itself.

Possibly as a gesture to Queen’s Elizabeth’s half a century anniversary, there are two plays referring to British monarchy "The Coronation Voyage" by Michel Marc Bouchard in 1995 and "The Royal Family" by George Kaufman and Edna Faber, written in 1927. The first one takes place on the deck of Empress of France, an ocean liner making the trip from Montreal to London for the coronation of Elizabeth II. The second is a Broadway crazy play celebrating a family madness and comic bedlam.

Again, we are offered a good mix of delightful comedies, thoughtful plays, and an opportunity to spend an evening or a weekend in a not-too-distant Niagara-on-the-Lake. No need to mention gourmet food, lovely B&B’s or hotels and the proximity to Niagara Falls.

For more information, dates, schedules, and tickets please see www.shawfest.com or call 1-800-511-7429

Looking forward to finally warm days, after a long and heavy winter, I remain yours truly

Irena Wandschneider


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