Ottawa·The Weekend List

Hit play returns to NAC this weekend

A rousing play makes its triumphant return, a photography exhibit lets parrots show their true colours and a documentary festival introduces some new heroes.

Old Stock comes home, abandoned parrots get their 15 minutes and Wakefield Doc Fest introduces some new heroes

The inimitable Halifax singer-songwriter Ben Caplan plays The Wanderer in Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story. (Stoo Metz Photography)

A rousing play makes its triumphant return, a photography exhibit lets parrots show their true colours and a documentary festival introduces us to some new heroes.

Triumphant return

After touring the world to packed houses and critical acclaim, Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story returns to the National Arts Centre this weekend.

A romance set in perilous times, Old Stock tells the story of two young migrants fleeing violence in search of a safe haven. It's based on the true story of Ottawa playwright Hannah Moscovitch's great-grandparents' arrival in Canada.

Comedy, compassion, folk tales and plenty of high-spirited klezmer music preformed by the multi-talented cast are woven together to tell this sweeping tale. 

The actors also perform the klezmer score in Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story. (Courtesy: Jamie Kronick)

"People use humour to get through hard times," director Christian Barry observed. "This show talks about hard times, but it makes us laugh along with the tears."

  • Where: National Arts Centre, 1 Elgin St.
  • When:  Friday 7:30 p.m., Saturday 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. The play runs until Oct 27.
  • Cost: Tickets start at $31 and can be purchased online here. For those 29 and under, same-day tickets are available for $15.

Parrot portraits

Christine Fitzgerald employed a century-old developing method that enhances the deep, rich colouring of her portraits. (Christine Fitzgerald)

Fine art photographer Christine Fitzgerald felt moved to seek out the abandoned parrots housed at Parrots Partners Canada after learning about the many injured and abused birds, many of which have outlived their original owners.

Over several months Fitzgerald visited the rescue facility in Carleton Place, Ont., to capture the beauty and nobility of these colourful, intelligent creatures that can converse and even sing opera. 

Fitzgerald took months to capture the personalities of the parrots living at Parrot Partners Canada in Carleton Place, Ont. (Christine Fitzgerald)

"It was a lot harder than I expected," Fitzgerald said, noting some of her subjects were uncooperative at first.

"I realized that just like taking portraits of humans, I had to get to know the parrots," she said. "I kept going back [and] taking pictures until I captured their personalities."

  • Where: Studio Sixty Six, 858 Bank St., Unit 101.
  • When:  Oct. 17 to Nov. 24.
  • Cost: Free.

Fighting the good fight

Wakefield Doc Fest celebrates the heroes who choose the road less travelled. (Werner Herzog)

This  season's Wakefield Doc Fest pays tribute to the brave souls who fight the good fight, venturing forth where others fear to tread. The international roster of documentaries include profiles in courage of community crusaders, feminist politicians and intrepid adventurers. 

Director Viktor Nordenskiöld will be Skyping from Stockholm on Saturday afternoon about The Feminister, an intimate portrait of Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallström. Nordenskiöld said the film shows how in the face of dire world events, it's important to seek out messages of hope and inspiration. 

"I think we have to be optimistic," Nordenskiöld said. "We have to constantly fight for democracy and human rights and freedom of speech. We all have to know that we have to fight to that fight every day."

  • Where: Gwen Shea Hall at Centre Wakefield, 38 chemin de la Vallée-de-Wakefield.
  • When: Screenings take place from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon.
  • Cost:  Admission to each screening is $15; a festival pass can be purchased here for $50. 

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


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