KW & Beyond
by Irena Syrokomla
Twelve Angry Menat the Princess of Wales Theatre
A superb review in The Globe and Mail newspaper motivated me to take a wintry trip to Toronto. At the Princess of Wales Theatre, the touring production of Twelve Angry Men, written by Reginald Rose in 1954, runs for a limited time only - until February 10 - and the theatre is again and again filled to the last seat on the top of the second balcony.
It is an old story of 12 jurors about to decide the fate of a teenage boy accused of murdering his abusive father. A movie of the same title was made a long time ago, starring Henry Fonda. The stage set takes us right back to 1954 on a hot summer day in New York, with dusty rooms and all details of décor transported in time. Twelve male jurors are all white Americans from the early 50’s with their mannerism, preferences, convictions and prejudices. Richard Thomas (excellent and understated in the role of Juror Eight) has some doubts about the guilt of the defendant. The rest of the team is ready to convict and move on to the ballgame or at least go home. The jurors have individual personalities, past history and present life outside the jury room. There are no cardboard characters here, - each one of them is a complete person forced to review the case and honestly decide either to condemn or acquit. The audience can feel this, as the acting is superb. Alan Mandell in the role of Juror Nine, an 80-year-old actor, deserves special recognition. His acting is detailed: stumbling, scratching his ear and shortness of breath. What an actor!
The play runs for 90 minutes, and the clock on the wall actually moves, showing the same time. They smoke, as was customary in those days, the sun goes down, it rains, the lights in the windows in the building across the street come up. We know the story and the outcome, but this production makes the audience sit and watch and anticipate it all over again. The production received four stars in the Globe and Mail and it is superb. It is a great success not only for the actors but also for Scott Ellis, Director, Allen Moyer, Set Designer, and all other team members contributing details.
Next door to the Princess of Wales Theatre in the Royal Alexandra Theatre Dirty Dancing is going strong. It opened in November last year and it is selling to an enthusiastic audience. I have heard it is brilliant and uplifting both in spirit and actual sense – so if you cannot make it to see Twelve Angry Men why not go for Dirty Dancing? The dancing is phenomenal!
Both theatres are part of Mirvish Productions - the phone number is 416-593-4225 or look them up on the internetwww.mirvish.com. Enjoy!!
Signature Series– K-W Symphony
at Centre in the Square
The fourth Signature Series concert opened with two pieces by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, a perfect match for the snow falling silently outside, and the four landscape paintings of flickering Northern Lights hung as a background for the orchestra.
The concert opened with Valse triste with KW Symphonic orchestra expanded by a number of KWS Youth Orchestra members keeping pace with senior musicians. It is a well-known piece, subtle and melancholic, flowing gently with the unmistakable waltz motif. The young musicians received a well deserved acclaim.
Next came Sibelius’ Symphony No.3 in C major composed in 1907 and still bearing romantic elements although much cleaner than other symphonies of the romantic era. It is multilayered, the motives repetitive, gradually evolving and blending into new forms. What a pleasure to experience such deep emotions and peace!
After intermission, came Johannes Brahms’ Piano concerto No.1 D-minor with Edwin Outwater conducting and Ian Parker on piano. They are both so young and so devoted to music, and SO good! The pianist and the orchestra were so tuned together, the music carrying them through 44 minutes of intricate musical composition; Parker’s technique was clear, precise and emotionally charged. He received a well-deserved standing ovation.
Both Outwater and Parker were impressive in their command of the performance without notes.
Next Signature concert on March 7th and 8th will feature Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade with Edwin Outwater conducting. He seems to be really embracing our community and responding to the audience.
The 2007/08 program details are still available atwww.kwsymphony.on.ca and the tickets can be purchased by calling 519-578-1570 or 1-800-265-8977 or pick them up at Centre in the Square. Looking forward to this conductor’s youthful creative spirit!
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