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Monday, March 4, 2013

Openings We're Tracking This Week, March 4-11, 2013


The Merchant of Venice is not an easy play. Companies think long and hard before daring to present it. Though called a comedy, it is full of dark themes of anti-Semitism, cruelty and bullying. Blood is promised, humilation delivered with, ostensibly, a laugh. The theatre department at University of Fraser Valley is not saying what they will do to make the Bard's work less (or more) contentious, they are advising simply: Judge for yourself. (Chilliwack, BC)

And more Shakespeare! A much-praised hit from Calgary's Uncle Will Productions, When That I Was, is pitching its tent in the provincial capital this month, under the banner of Shadow Theatre. The work, a solo starring Christopher Hunt, takes place in 1650. The English Renaissance is dead, the Puritans have closed the theatres and an actor of the Bard's greatest works remembers...and plays, and plays and plays. (Edmonton)

If you do not know David Henry Hwang's play, M Butterfly, you are in for a treat. At the centre of this work loaded with ideas, are two mysteries surrounding the fictionalized true story: is she or isn't she?; did he know or didn't he? We're not saying anymore than that because that would be spoiling. Suffice it to say that this is the story of a French diplomat stationed in Communist China who falls for a glamourous star of the opera. The problem? It's the Cold War. (Scarborough, Ontario)