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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Theatre Alberta - Theatre in Alberta - A Board Meeting in Calgary and a Trip to The Mountaintop

This past weekend I took a trip to Calgary for one of my quarterly Theatre Alberta Board Meetings.  This was a big one, chock full of great conversation about what Theatre Alberta is and what we want it to be in order to best serve theatre practitioners in the province.  We also had time for strategic planning to look forward into the future.  That's always a challenge because you never know what the future will bring, but the optimism and vision of this Board is inspiring to me.  We have a fabulous mix of people on the Board from a variety of theatre practices and above-all they are all invested in the cultivation of a healthy arts culture within the province. We also have amazing Staff and every Board meeting I leave more impressed with those who do the front line work. I drove done with one of our relatively new Board members and this was not only great company for the drive, but it also gave me the opportunity to get to know her better and she is delightful.

One of the other things we did was take in Theatre Calgary's production of The Mountaintop.  I was very glad to be able to do this.  As you may well have guessed from the contents of this blog, I love to see theatre, and in particular I love to see a great variety of theatre of different types and in different spaces produced by different artists, so this was a great treat!

The play was very well done and it was a fascinating 'what if' story of the last night of Martin Luther King Jr.'s (Kevin Hanchard) life.  A visitor comes to the room but it becomes clear that she is more than what she seems.  I guessed early on that something was up with Camae (Beryl Bain) as there was a manner to her that seemed a little at odds with what she purported to be.  Both Hanchard and Bain were strong playing off each other and although the piece is overall respectful of King's memory, it also does not forget that he was a real man. I will say I liked the first 75 minutes of the show, but I absolutely LOVED the final 15 minutes. I think the pace could have picked up in some place early on, but that might just be the wanting to get there in retrospect.  The ending very much answered my most important question about any play, "Why this play now?" in a flash and boom!  It made me think and continues to make me think.

I do have to say one thing though.  We were in the second balcony and I thought I was going to pass out from the heat. Heat rises and boy did it ever.  It was a real relief to walk down the stairs to the lobby after the show.  I would have stood for the bows, but with the heat I was a little worried about vertigo hitting since the balcony is so high and steep.  Always cool to be in a new theatre, but I think I would have liked to have been closer to the ground.

In any case, a great night of theatre as a capstone to the excellent Theatre Alberta weekend!

1 comment:

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