3 for the weekend: theatre, film and music, music, music

The GCTC hosts a new play presented in french with English surtitles. Cecil B. Demille's silent epic The Ten Commandments — gets a dramatic musical treatment. And a cosy home concert offers comfort food to the comforting music.

French play for Anglos, epic music for an epic film, and a cozy home concert

A silent film like you've never heard it before, a homey evening of music, and theatre from a French company for an English audience. 

Bridging two solitudes

Have you ever wanted to immerse yourself in French culture, but were too intimidated by the language barrier? Well this is the play for you.

Ottawa's Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC) has teamed up with its French-language equivalent Théâtre la Catapulte, to try something new, by presenting a play written and performed in French for its typically English audience.

While the action takes place, surtitles in English run above the stage, in the same way they do in many opera presentations. The two local companies commissioned  Les Passants, a series of vignettes about contemporary relationships, from playwright Luc Moquin, as part of a Canada 150 initiative.

The french language play is being performed on the GCTC stage. 1:02

" I created a show that you can watch and listen to at the same time," said director Jean Stéphane Roy, of Théâtre la Catapulte, who adds that the company hopes to create an experience that will bridge cultures. 

"I wanted to be sure that even if it's in French, anglophones would be able to grab on to something, so we worked really hard to make it really beautiful."

Where:  GCTC, 1233 Wellington St. West

When: Tuesdays through Sundays until March 12

Cost: Tickets run from $30 to $40, and can be purchased here.

Thou Shalt watch and listen

Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 film The Ten Commandments, is the definition of the word epic — a cast of thousands, spectacular sets and a menagerie of exotic beasts. It all combined to make it the most expensive production of its time.

Now, the silent classic is getting the epic treatment from local choral groups Seventeen Voyces and the Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys who are merging their voices to breathe new life into the old film.  As the movie is screened, the choirs will perform from Handel as well as popular fare from the 1920s. It's not well known, but the second half of this version of the film — not to be confused with Demille's Technicolor classic from the 1950s — is set in modern times.

Seventeen Voyces and the Cathredral Choir of Men and Boys in rehearsal at St. Matthew's Church. 0:30

'We're so far away from the silent era, everything that is old is new again," said Kevin Reeves, choir master and arranger.

"The acting in the silent era is so grand and over the top, and then to hear live music on top of that , it's an interesting cross-pollination of two disciplines that really thrills everybody because it's just brand new to them."

Where:  St. Matthew's Anglican Church, 130 Glebe Ave.

When: Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.

Cost: $25 for adults, $15 for students, and youth under 16 accompanied by an adult enter free. You can purchase tickets here.

Cozy music for a winter's night

A big old comfortable house, some cozy chairs and pillows to curl up on, comfort food, good company and lots of music — that's the recipe local singer-songwriter Amanda Cottreau has put together for her series Glebe House Concerts, that take place at Angela's Bed and Breakfast in the Glebe.  

'You're coming into a space where all are welcome," said Cottreau, who says she's preparing a big pan of paella for the evening. "Connection is at the heart of it."

Singer-songwriter Amanda Cottreau hosts a regular house concert series to bring people together to share food and music. 4:01

Cottreau will share the bill with Spanish guitarist  Raymundo Pizana and spoken word artist Just Jamaal the Poet.

Where:  Angela's Bed and Breakfast, 166 Glebe Ave.

When: 6:30 p.m. Saturday

Cost:  $20 for adults, $10 for students and those on a fixed income and can be purchased here.

A caution, because it's a house concert, spaces will fill up quickly, but if you register on the site your name will be added to the list for upcoming house concerts. 

About the Author

Sandra Abma


Sandra Abma is a veteran CBC arts journalist. If you have an event or idea you want to share, please do at sandra.abma@cbc.ca.