Poster for Revolver 101 (Courtesy Resonator Theatre)
We don't get a sprinkling of independent theatre in Winnipeg - we get a full-on blizzard.
It's frankly a rare week where you can go to a different live theatrical production in Winnipeg every night of a weekend. But the next week offers no fewer than a half-dozen independent shows.
Here's what's coming up:
1. The Gypsy Woman by Don Nigro and Other Lazzi (Black Hole Theatre Company) - Do you love people falling down and getting hit with things? If so, the University of Manitoba theatre company's opener will be right up your alley. Drawing on commedia dell'arte, this contemporary production promises lots of racy, slapsticky laughs. (Nov. 15-26)
2. Revolver 101 (Resonator Theatre) - Violence, gunplay, and a classroom hostage scenario. Resonator Theatre has a track record for edgy theatre - they did a version of Taming of the Shrew at the 2010 Fringe that I didn't think quite worked, but it sure was bold. I'm curious to see what they do with this original piece, and if you like theatre with bite, you might want to check it out. (Nov. 17-19 and 24-26, 7:00 and 9:00 nightly. 91 Albert St. Tickets $10.)
3. Hey Shorty! Vol. 2: An Evening of Short Plays and Films (Snakeskin Jacket) - Some of Winnipeg's best established and emerging artists get together to show off their stuff. Talent featured includes Fringe favourites like Megan Andres, Mike Bell, Rod Beilfuss (fresh off outstanding work with this fall's Generous), Burning Meatloaf, Darcy Fehr, and more. (Nov. 17-19)
4. O. Henry On Stage (Winnipeg Mennonite Theatre) - No spoilers, please. WMT offers up four one-act playlets based on O. Henry stories, including the Christmas classic "The Gift of the Magi." (Nov. 18 and 19 at 8:00 and Nov. 20 at 2:00 - St. Boniface College Salle Martial Caron Theatre, 200 Avenue de la Cathedrale. Tickets $15.00.)
5. Cyrano (University of Winnipeg Department of Theatre and Film) - You nose it! (Sorry, couldn't restrain myself.) This adaptation of Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac - about the long-nosed poet who becomes a ghostwriter to a verbally-challenged lover - is by Oscar nominee Frank Langella. In Rick Skene's production, several different actors will play the title role, highlighting the different aspects of the character. And you can't go wrong for the price - like all U of W student productions, this one's free. (Nov. 22-26)
6. Spring Awakening (Winnipeg Studio Theatre) - WST has an outstanding Fringe record, producing hits like Altar Boyz (returning to PTE this season) and Hersteria. This month, they'll bring the multiple Tony-winning coming-of-age rock musical to Winnipeg. This company does monster box office at the Fringe, so hopefully all those Fringe fans find them at the MTC Warehouse. (Nov. 24-Dec. 4)
Samantha Hill/Jeremy Walmsley in Winnipeg Studio Theatre's Spring Awakening (Courtesy WST)
7.Avenue Q (District Theatre Collective) - Okay, this one is looking waaaay ahead, but I'm awfully excited about it. This saucy - and very adult - Sesame Street send-up is another multiple Tony winner, and was a huge Broadway hit. A new independent company is offering the first Winnipeg production this spring. Tickets are already on sale, and I'd suggest grabbing 'em early. (Feb. 2-5)
Joff Schmidt, CBC Theatre Reviewer (CBC)
1. Poster for Black Hole Theatre Company's The Gypsy Woman (Courtesy BHTC)
3. Image from poster for Snakeskin Jacket's Hey Shorty! Vol. 2 (Courtesy Snakeskin Jacket)
5. Image from poster for U. of W. Theatre Dept.'s Cyrano (Courtesy U. of W. Dept. of Film & Theatre)