Articles Tagged ‘National Arts Centre’

ARTFUL BLOGGER: “Have a great Latter-day!”

By PAUL GESSELL

The Book of Mormon

There is nothing sacred in The Book of Mormon.

Likely Ottawa has never laughed so hard. There’s a campy Christ; a Hitler disco-dancing in Hell; a murderous African warlord with a name too racy to repeat here. OMG!

This Tony Award-winning musical from the company Broadway Across Canada, and which is currently playing onstage at the National Arts Centre from July 15-27, is perhaps the most politically incorrect production to pass through town since the tart-tongued, cross-dressing Dame Edna Everage last visited, tossing gladioli and insults at the audience. Mormons are mercilessly caricatured in this musical. Ugandans are racially stereotyped. Baptism assumes sexual overtones.

It is difficult not to feel guilty laughing at all the jokes. After all, the jokes are mainly at the expense of people who are pretty serious about their religion.

I kept thinking: What would a Mormon think of this? So, once home, I Googled that very question and found news stories quoting some supposedly important Mormons as saying that the success of The Book of Mormon during the last few years has increased interest in the religion and people are now more likely to answer the doorbell when two fresh-faced, young men in white shirts and black ties come calling with promises of everlasting paradise. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has even been known to buy ads in playbills of The Book of Mormon.

“People will become more aware that we’re a Christian church, that we’re not a cult, and that we don’t force our views on anyone, but that we’re happy to share them with those who are interested,” Elder Steven Bennion, a top church official, is quoted as saying.

Now, that makes me feel better. It’s great to have a religion with a sense of humour — which isn’t always the case. Back in 1979, there was outrage from various pockets of the Christian community over a movie caricaturing the life of Christ in Monty Python’s Life of Brian. And we all know about the sense of humour demonstrated by fatwa-invoking Muslim ayatollahs.

The plot of The Book of Mormon involves two naïve young American men — Mormon missionaries — who are sent to rural Uganda. The Ugandans aren’t interested and the missionaries make no converts until one of the young Americans spices up the evangelizing by adding elements from science fiction and The Lord of the Rings. For example, sinners in Mormonland get sent to The Fires of Mordor. The Ugandans become intrigued. They get baptized. And that’s when the problems really begin for the two Mormon missionaries.

In the end, this is a feel-good musical in the vein of Hairspray — except in The Book of Mormon, it’s a fat boy, not a fat girl, who emerges as the hero.

It is simply a perfect production. The songs are catchy. The dance numbers rock. The set changes are magic. Everybody leaves happy. As fat-boy Elder Cunningham would say: “Have a great Latter-day!”

The Book of Mormon

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEEKENDER: What to do on the (week) weekend of July 16 to 19

The Kestrels play at Pressed on Friday, July 18

Kestrels play at Pressed on Friday, July 18

Bad Ass Dash
So, you think you’re a real bad ass huh. I suppose, then, you’ve already signed up for the Badass Dash? It is yet another outdoor obstacle course challenge (a la Tough Mudder, Death Race, Cops and Robbers Run, Spartan Race) for competitive thrillseekers. On Saturday, July 19 competitors will hurl themselves through The Human Car Wash, The Claustrophobic Crawl, The Horrendous Heavy Bags, and the dreaded Australian Back Crawl challenges, which are just a few of the 30+ obstacles along the 7km course. Sadly, the event closes for registration by Thursday, July 17 (register here), but the bad ass you are means you’re likely already signed up. If you missed this year’s registration, come out anyways; spectators are welcome. More info — visit the website. The event starts at 8 a.m. and takes place at the Wesley Clover Parks (formerly Nepean National Equestrian Park).
Wesley Clover Parks is at 401 Corkstown Rd.

Pickled Turnips & More
Shawarma — it’s long been Ottawa’s go-to fast food. We love the stuff, which is why there’s so many shawarma shops dotted around the city. Then there’s the potatoes, the salads, the pickled turnips (insert drool) — these and other Lebanese culinary mainstays can be had at the 24th annual Ottawa Lebanese Festival, which takes place Wednesday, July 16 to Sunday, July 20 at the St. Elias Cathedral, directly across from Mooney’s Bay. Enjoy Middle Eastern food, musical entertainment, and even a midway! Admission is $5 opening night, $2 for remaining nights. Festival hours are: Wednesday to Friday 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Musical Mormon Mummery
Poor Mormons — Marilyn Manson burned their Bible onstage at a Utah concert in the 90s; HBO cast a not-so-glowing light on aspects of their faith in the series, Big Love; and more recently, South Park creators (who proudly take aim at everyone and everything with their comedy) get their jabs in with the highly popular Broadway musical: The Book of Mormon. The story involves two missionaries who travel to Uganda where a warlord holds sway over the population — one which is less concerned about “God’s word” and more about everyday violence and disease. As such, the missionaries’ naivety is exposed and hilarity ensues — in song and verse, of course. The musical opened in Ottawa this week at the National Arts Centre, and it has showings on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday — and on, until July 27. Check out the NAC’s website for times. Tickets: from $63.
The NAC is at 53 Elgin St.

Zainab Hussain’s Little Urban Myths (Derelict), 2014, one of her pieces showing in a group exhibit at Blink Gallery from Thursday July 17 to July 27

New Uses for Maps (FREE)
Maps, mostly replaced by GPS now, continue to function in ways beyond simply getting from point A to point B. Blink Gallery’s first summer exhibition features Ottawa artists exploring unique ways of “mapping” the city: Stephanie Morton uses audio and Polaroids to document a moment in a journey through the city; Jessie Raymond documents the waste/garbage (the archeology of the space) he finds in the Hurdman area; and Zainab Hussain examines re-zoning of nature, records tiny fairy communities, and displays the skylines of Ottawa/Gatineau through mirrors, while a stereo audio component is split between the two, so that in each skyline, a different side of the compensation can be heard. The show, curated by Anna Paluch, opens on Thursday, July 17, from 6-9 p.m., and continues until July 27. Blink Gallery is open Fridays, from 6 to 9 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 5 p.m.
Blink Gallery is in Major’s Hill Park.

Kestrels Ride Chrome Waves
I may not be Allan Cross and this is certainly not The Secret History of Rock, but here’s my take on a little-known subgenre of music: shoegaze. It describes slow, distortion-heavy, early 90s music where, unlike the “heavy metal” or performance-based bands of the 80s, musicians (mostly English) would stare down — seemingly at their shoes (they were in fact focusing on their instruments) — focused less on the “show” and more on producing artful, fuzzed out, guitar-based music. The genre has continued to persist, and even more recently, is seeing a resurgence/reinterpretation of sorts. It’s unsurprising then to find a new shoegaze-influenced band emerge from Halifax — especially with its Sub Pop history. The band Kestrels are, perhaps, more explosive and bombastic than other shoegaze bands of old, and draw comparisons to the louder, faster, more melodic moments in the catalogs of My Bloody Valentine, Ride, or even Brooklyn’s Pains of Being Pure at Heart. Currently, they’re touring their newly released EP, out on Sonic Unyon, The Moon is Shining our Way. Kestrels play at Pressed on Friday, July 18, with Harsh Reality and Mnemonics. Tickets: $7.
Pressed is at 750 Gladstone Ave.

Amelia Curran, award-winning singer-songwriter from Newfoundland/Halifax plays at The Black Sheep Inn on Saturday, July 19

Amelia Curran, singer-songwriter from Newfoundland/Halifax, plays at The Black Sheep Inn on Saturday, July 19

Amelia Curran
Now that Bluesfest is over, The Black Sheep Inn in Wakefield is once again filling its evenings with talented musicians. Few are more worthy of the accolades heaped upon her (Juno-winner, East Coast Music Awards, etc.) then Halifax/Newfoundland’s Amelia Curran. Some have compared her to Leonard Cohen or Patsy Cline — but really, her songs are plainly heartfelt, musically deft, and poetic. She’s taking a break from recording her upcoming new album to play at the Inn on Saturday, July 19. Tickets are $25, and the show’s at 8:30 p.m. Note: if you’re driving into Wakefield for the show, Valley Drive is presently closed, so you either have to drive down Rockhurst or all the way around to the end of the highway and double back into town. Fun times.
Black Sheep Inn is 753 Riverside Dr.

FROM THE PRINT EDITION: Diversity — and commitment — drives Ottawa’s theatre scene

By JANET UREN

Laura Hall and Cindy Beaton in Ottawa Little Theatre’s production of Mauritius. Photo by Maria Vartanova

Laura Hall and Cindy Beaton in Ottawa Little Theatre’s production of Mauritius. Photo by Maria Vartanova

Earlier this year, CBC Radio hosted a phone-in program asking listeners to respond to the question: “Is live theatre dead?” Some callers agreed, saying, more or less, “It’s been replaced, and good riddance.” Others insisted that nothing rivals the sheer human power of live performance.

In fact, not only is theatre alive, it is growing. Market research done using Statistics Canada data reports that between 2001 and 2008, total consumer spending on live performance increased by 49%. Canadians spend twice as much on performing arts as on live sports, and — according to a 2010 survey — theatre attracts 12.4 million Canadians annually, compared with only 11.1 million for live popular music. That means that almost half of all Canadians over the age of 15 attend live theatre at least once every year.

Still, the economics of theatre — where production costs typically exceed revenues — are brutal, and the average performance-related annual income of actors hovers around $12,000, as reported in The Toronto Star in 2009. “Many actors and comedians leave the occupation because of high job insecurity,” says Service Canada in a report called “Job Futures.” “Like many other occupations in the arts, multiple employment is common.”

There is a lot of competition in Ottawa. With most of the oxygen being taken up by the National Arts Centre and the Great Canadian Theatre Company, there may actually be more companies producing good work here than there is audience. But John Muggleton, an actor who worked in television in Toronto before returning to Ottawa as director of marketing at the Ottawa Little Theatre, says that the competition is not waged with other theatres. “It’s Future Shop and Best Buy that hurt us, all selling products designed to keep people at home.”

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Ottawa Little Theatre, founded as the Ottawa Drama League in 1913

If theatre has survived, it is an economic miracle, largely because of the commitment of driven artists. As David Whiteley of Plosive Productions says: “Nothing else is so comprehensive, so expressive. Nowhere else do you work so closely, so creatively with others. Nothing else brings together so many of the arts — visual arts, music, story-telling, writing. Theatre is complete.”

The Gladstone Theatre shines as an example of theatrical passion. The venue — on Gladstone Avenue west of Preston — was a tired old commercial space until 1982, when the Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC) converted it into a rough-and-ready theatre space. There, the company presented Canadian works for over 25 years. In 2007, it was strong enough, financially and artistically, to move into a new purpose-built home. The old bare-bones garage-cum-theatre on Gladstone was left empty. Enter Steve Martin.

In one of Ottawa’s most gallant theatre adventures, Martin purchased The Gladstone and renovated it into a little jewel of a theatre. He had a vision of a small, classy theatre, managed as a business and producing a year-long list of good plays, well publicized and featuring the city’s best artists. The results were disappointing. Martin now leases The Gladstone to Plosive Productions, which manages it as a rental facility and uses it for its own productions. One of those was a recent production of the Canadian classic Billy Bishop Goes to War, a one-man tour de force with actor Chris Ralph playing 18 roles; the play has been nominated for a Rideau Prize for Outstanding Production and Performance.

John P. Kelly of Gladstone Theatre - Photo by Lois Siegel

Director John P. Kelly of SevenThirty Productions, a company that presents regularly at The Gladstone Theatre – Photo by Lois Siegel

 

One of the regular tenants at The Gladstone is John P. Kelly’s SevenThirty Productions, which mounted November last fall — a play that won Best Professional Production and Best Actor awards for Todd Duckworth from the Capital Critics Circle. Kelly came to Ottawa in 2004, expecting to find work here. Instead, he was forced to found his own company, though the last thing he ever wanted was to produce. The results have been artistically acclaimed, but it is a hard living. What keeps Kelly going? “It’s what I do,” he says. “It’s who I am.”

Companies like Plosive and SevenThirty are keeping The Gladstone alive, and Martin remains convinced that his vision is tenable. He believes, however, that theatre-goers are looking for a “blue jean” experience, something that rivals film for ease of access and affordability. He will test that theory with a new show this summer, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet. Ticket prices will be low, and Martin intends to marry theatre with live dance music on weekends to appeal to a younger, music-oriented crowd.

The newcomers may be struggling, but Ottawa veterans have arguably survived by identifying a clear niche, venue, and audience.

 

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Odyssey Theatre ensemble photo by John Forster

Odyssey Theatre, for example, is Ottawa’s pioneer “theatre in the park.” Since 1986, it has been producing its annual flagship play in Strathcona Park, where it specializes in commedia dell’arte (the classic masked street theatre of Italy). Ottawa people like to stay outdoors in summer. The Odyssey has captured their attention and used its seasonal success to build, grow, and diversify. It has taken time.

The GCTC also found its way. It started in 1975 with an identifiable constituency — cultural nationalists who wanted to see Canadian works on the stage. It has worked for over three decades to develop that audience and to build a strong business. It has taken patience.

Avalon Studio - photo by John Muggleton

Avalon Studio – photo by John Muggleton

 

A close and disciplined focus may have worked for established companies, but diversity is the emerging trend. Ottawa’s newest theatre business, for example — the Avalon Studio — has several strings to its bow. Last fall, Muggleton and actor/teacher Chris Ralph discovered a long-abandoned vaudeville theatre on Bank Street that had been repurposed for office space. They have reopened it now as a modestly sized and wonderfully atmospheric old theatre, but the Avalon is also making its living as a recreational drama school and event venue.

Ralph, whose acting career includes a diploma from the National Theatre School and work in Montreal and Toronto, is optimistic about the industry. “Theatre isn’t dead,” he says, “but it is evolving. To survive, we have to be flexible and inventive.”

Plays have to change as well, says Muggleton, and to have smaller casts. “As we work out of smaller venues, we need a different kind of play — two- or three-handers that we can afford to mount. Plays also have to be shorter, faster, and more dynamic.” And those plays have to be strong enough to please audiences trained by the consumer market to expect consummate polish and high-paced delivery. There is no room, ever, to compromise quality.

Quality is not the issue for Third Wall Theatre. The company has been presenting classic plays to Ottawa audiences for the past 13 years. It is a critical favourite, recently nominated for five Rideau Prize awards. It is worth noting that although the critically acclaimed God of Carnage drew the second largest audience of any show in Third Wall’s history, it was not a financial success. Welcome to the world of theatre.

Third Wall Theatre - God of Carnage - 2013 - Mary Ellis, Todd Duckworth, John Koensgen & Kristina Watt

Third Wall Theatre – God of Carnage – 2013 – Mary Ellis, Todd Duckworth, John Koensgen & Kristina Watt

 

Third Wall is remarkable in that it has a resident company, a body of actors on which it draws for all productions. This is an unusual model for a small company, but it has allowed Third Wall to build a winning theatrical team. Not only is the company able to count on some of the city’s best actors, but the model helps actors develop onstage relationships. Third Wall has also invested in the nationally recognized director Ross Manson.

Quality is expensive, and Third Wall has felt the sharp end of the financial stick. It too has diversified to survive, notably with the Empty Space Series, where actors gather in the splendid hall of Glebe St. James United Church to read from short stories, letters, or poetry. The company has also created the Third Wall Academy, a training program for young actors. And it is currently hammering out a new business model, including partnerships to develop new theatre works based on classic works of fiction.

At least Third Wall has found a home. Earlier this year, it staged Harold Pinter’s classic one-act play The Dumb Waiter in the friendly, rough-hewn Avalon Studio. In doing so, it benefited from the affordability of an intimate space, the marketing expertise of Muggleton and Ralph, and access to the emerging Avalon community. Third Wall also experimented with an innovative ticket system for that show, with gradually increasing prices for ticket-buyers. This gave the company access to upfront revenues and helped build buzz around the production.

So is live theatre dead in Ottawa? In this brave new world, where newspapers, books, and cursive writing are all threatened with extinction, will theatre be among the casualties? Let us look for an answer to Mark Twain, who once famously observed, “Rumours of my death have been greatly exaggerated.”

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“Passion Play” originally appeared on Page 27 in the MAY 2014 Issue of Ottawa Magazine.

SOUND SEEKERS: Highlights and exclusives from the NAC Presents lineup — plus best bets for the week

NAC Presents producer Simone Deneau tells Sound Seeker’s Fateema Sayani what she has on tap for the new season. Photo by Dwayne Brown

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani

On Tuesday, the National Arts Centre will announce the full lineup for the NAC Presents series, which runs from October 5 until May 2014.

It’s the third season of the all-Canadian music series, which has a contemporary bent and is growing in popularity. The 2012-2013 season featured some 30 shows — a number of them sell-outs — by Emm Gryner, Royal Wood, Whitehorse, and Elizabeth Shepherd. The 2013-2014 season features more than 50 shows, including performances by Martha Wainwright (October 17), Rufus Wainwright (November 2), Ian Tyson and Corb Lund (November 30), and a number of others who are listed on the the NAC’s sneak peek site.

Sound Seekers asked NAC Presents producer Simone Deneau for some exclusive highlights for the next season. On Tuesday, she’ll announce the following shows as part of the series.

Cuff the Duke

Cuff the Duke, which melds indy, country, and experimental music, is on Deneau’s must-see list.

Phil Nimmons and David Braid
Nimmons, the jazz clarinettist who turned 90 this summer, teams up with 30-something jazz pianist Braid to play music inspired by oceanic images of a photographer friend. The show takes place in November at the Fourth Stage.

Oliver Jones
The pianist will return to the NAC to play the studio with his trio on April 24, 2014.

The 24th Street Wailers
The Toronto four-piece is shaking up the Blues world. The band received a nomination for Artist of the Year at the Maple Blues Awards in 2011, one year after releasing its debut album. The band is fronted by singing drummer Lindsay Beaver. See them at the NAC in January 2014.

Cuff the Duke
The band that melds indie, country, and experimental music will start writing its next studio album after their current tour concludes. The band released two albums and two cover EPS in the last two years and will be in Aylmer in November as part of their fall tour. They’re back in the area for the NAC Presents show in early 2014.

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WEEKENDER: Laila Biali at the NAC! Easter eggs at the Museum of Civilization! An assortment of outings and activities to get you through March Break

SHOSTAKOVICH’S CELLO CONCERTO
Perhaps the rich and melodic sound of the cello will coax spring into arriving a little sooner this year. Superstar German-Canadian cellist Johannes Moser performs pieces from Shostakovich, Haydn, and Brahms. From $22. Thursday, March 14, and Friday, March 15. National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin St., www.nac-cna.ca.

ELEGANT EGGS
Proof that Easter eggs aren’t just for kids, artist Valentyna Galadza-Park of ArtsyEggs.com leads a three-hour workshop in psyanka, eggs decorated in traditional patterns using dyes and wax. All supplies are included, so all you need to bring are your design ideas and willingness to get a little messy. $30. Thursday, March 15, and Sunday, March 17. Canadian Museum of Civilization, 100 Laurier St., www.civilization.ca.

The whole family can learn about our solar system at the Helen Sawyer Hogg observatory.

SOLAR OBSERVING (FREE!)
Get up close and personal with the sun at the Helen Sawyer Hogg Observatory, where you’ll safely observe solar activity and sunspots. It’s a fun way for the whole family to learn a bit more about our solar system. Saturday, March 16, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Canada Science and Technology Museum, 1867 St Laurent Blvd., www.sciencetech.technomuses.ca.

ST. PATRICK’S DAY PARADE (FREE!)
Wear green and show up along the parade route with the whole family for a fun Irish-themed celebration. Bring (non-perishable) food and cash donations too: volunteers will be collecting them along the parade route to benefit the Ottawa Food Bank. Saturday March 16, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. See website for parade route information, www.irishsocietyncr.com.

LIVE ANIMALS FROM THE ST. LAWRENCE VALLEY
Local wildlife takes over the Museum of Nature! Zoologists from the Ecomuseum Zoo are on hand to introduce your family to the amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds from around our region, plus give talks on diversity and conservation. $12, students and seniors $10, children (three to 12) $8, children two and under free. Saturday, March 16, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod St., www.nature.ca.

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WEEKENDER: Rock of Ages brings back the ’80s, the Travel and Vacation Show gives you wanderlust, and five more fun events to keep you busy this weekend

It's all about rousing numbers that will have you dancing in your seat at Rock of Ages. All Rock of Ages photos © Scott Suchman.

ROCK OF AGES
“Don’t Stop Believin’” in the power of love and ’80s rock and roll. Rock of Ages, the five-time Tony-nominated smash hit, comes to town with Broadway Across Canada. The story is this: a young girl comes to L.A. in search of stardom and gets swept up the in the fast-paced life of the big city, meeting a boy named Drew along the way who’s got his eyes set on fame. Meanwhile, a developer is trying to change the Sunset Strip and tear down the beloved club the Bourbon Room where all the dreamers come to play. And the ultimate bad boy, rock star Stacee Jaxx, has returned for his final concert with the band Arsenal. The show is edgy, sexy, and campy, and features popular songs by Journey, Night Ranger, Styx, White Snake, and so many more. From $38. On until Sunday, March 10. National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin St., www.nac-cna.ca.

VAGINA MONOLOGUES
To raise funds aimed at ending violence against women and girls and in support of the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa, VDAY Ottawa presents their take on Eve Ensler’s iconic play. Be prepared to hear a range of stories that range from hilarious to heartbreaking. $25. Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9, 8 p.m. The Bronson Centre Theatre, 211 Bronson Ave., www.vdayottawa2013.com.

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STAR POWER: A Q&A with opera singer Wallis Giunta, who debuts as a soloist with the NAC Orchestra Feb 27/28

The 2012-2013 season has been kind to young mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta. After a summer of international performances, the 27-year-old Ottawa native went on to make debuts with local company Opera Lyra, the Edmonton Symphony, and Concierto Madrid, all while enrolled in the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. This February, Giunta returns home to debut as a soloist with the National Arts Centre Orchestra. Here, she opens up to Ottawa Magazine’s Erica Eades about hometown pride, her love of Mozart, and the importance of staying grounded.

Wallis Giunta performs at the NAC on Feb. 27 and 28. Photo by Barbara Stoneham

How did you get into opera?
I started singing with choirs in Ottawa. First it was the Ottawa Central Children’s Choir, which led me to perform with the Opera Lyra chorus. Being in their chorus showed me how much I love opera and what a great career it would be.

What have been some of your favourite roles to date?
Cherubino [of the opera Le Nozze di Figaro] tops the list. It’s a pants role where I get to dress up as a young boy and pretend to be a pubescent 13-year-old troublemaker. But I also loved the role of Hermia in [Benjamin] Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The play is incredible, but what he has done with the opera is just magic.

You’re currently in year two of the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. What attracted you to this project?
For developing young opera singers, this program is ideal to give us the exposure and the experience we need in the professional world. At the same time, it gives us the luxury of a little more time in the incubator before we’re completely on our own. The program involves a lot of different things, including singing lessons with a private teacher, language coaching, movement classes, and acting work.

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WEEKENDER: Love songs, pancake meals, a craft beer fest, and the Funatorium are all on the bill this Family Day weekend

METAMORPHOSES
Director Jillian Keiley makes waves with Mary Zimmerman’s take on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, a collection of myths involving transformation.  The play interprets 10 of those myths and sets them in and around a giant swimming pool, exploring the ideas of water, fluidity, and change. The Romans could be a little saucy, so this one’s recommended for audiences ages 16 and up. On until Saturday, February 16. From $22. National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin St., www.nac-cna.ca.

Two families get together to discuss an incident involving their sons in God of Carnage. Photo by Richard Ellis.

GOD OF CARNAGE
Third Wall Theatre Company presents the outrageous tale of two sets of upper class parents who meet to discuss an incident that happened between their two sons. If you’ve seen Roman Polanski’s Carnage, this will sound familiar: his film is an adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s play. $35, seniors $27. On until Sunday, March 3. Irving Greenberg Theatre Centre (Great Canadian Theatre Building), 1233 Wellington St. W., www.thirdwall.com.

BRIGHT NIGHTS: THE 3RD BALTIC-NORDIC FILM FESTIVAL
Back by popular demand, the Canadian Film Institute presents the most recent incarnation of the Bright Nights film festival. Winterlude partners to bring Inuk, the hard-hitting Danish film and coming-of-age story that addresses the issues facing the Greenlandic Inuit, to Canadian audiences. Director Mike Magidson will be in attendance to introduce and discuss his film. See website for full list of films being screened and detailed festival dates. Friday, February 15, 9 p.m. $12, seniors/ students $8. Canadian Film Institute, 2 Daly Ave., www.cfi-icf.ca.

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SOUND SEEKERS: Highlights from the 2013 concert calendar, including Elizabeth Shepherd, The Skydiggers, and more

Sound Seekers by Fateema Sayani is published weekly at OttawaMagazine.com. Read Fateema Sayani’s culture column in Ottawa Magazine and follow her on Twitter @fateemasayani

Elizabeth Shepherd, who performs as part of the NAC Presents series. Photo by Zuzana Hudackova.

It’s the dead of winter and some of us are buggering off to warmer locales, some of us are whinging and moaning about the cold, and some of us are celebrating the best of the season — such as those nice granola folks in Wakefield, Quebec who organize the annual In the Dead of Winter of Festival, which is a spin-off of a similar event that takes place in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This year’s festival, which starts tonight, features performances by Mo Kenney, Justin Rutledge, and others with balmy vocal tones. Full details here.

A couple of years ago, Elizabeth Shepherd released a jazzy album called Parkdale, which was full of observations about her Toronto neighbourhood of the same name. Shepherd’s got a cool vocal style which finds a line somewhere between hip-hop and doo-wop. On her current release, called Rewind, she takes a turn toward the mellow by performing standards like “Love for Sale,” but with more of an edgy delivery than the originals. She’s part of the NAC Presents Series at the Fourth Stage. See her there Friday, 7:30 p.m.

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WEEKENDER: An indie wedding show, a design showcase, a fairytale-themed party, and six more spectacular events

Maria Gabriela Sanches, whose Tin House Courtyard installation involved placing reflective artefacts in a gathering space in Ottawa, will be one of the people showing her work at Design Lines. Photo by Sarah O’Neill.

DESIGN LINES: MASTERS OF DESIGN SHOWCASE (FREE!)
Come meet and mingle with the design stars of tomorrow. Carleton University’s Master of Design Program celebrates and showcases the innovative design work for which its students are known with this exhibit that highlights projects and achievements as well as the career paths students followed after graduation. Friday, February 8, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. MDES Space, 4th Floor Azerieli Pavilion, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Dr., www.id.carleton.ca.

ON THE ROCKS: FAIRY TALES OF NORWAY
Skål! The Royal Norwegian Embassy and the Ottawa Art Gallery celebrate winter with a fairytale themed party for adults, including gløgg (warm mulled wine), aquavit (a traditional flavoured spirit), Norwegian cheeses, smoked salmon, and other hors d’oeuvres. There’ll be music, stories, art, and (weather permitting) an outdoor lounge. $20. Friday, February 8, 7:30 p.m. Ottawa Art Gallery, 2 Daly Ave., www.ottawaartgallery.ca.

OTTAWA FASHION WEEK
Hot fashion trends warm up Winterlude as Fashion Week struts its way to its ninth season. Get ready to be inspired by a great mix of international designers and local favourites, including Jana and Emilia Fashion, Dare by Gwen Madiba, and Copious by Carissa McCaig, who are all returning from past seasons’ to show at OFW. $45, all three days $90. Friday, February 8, to Sunday, February 10, 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Ottawa Convention Centre, 55 Colonel By Dr., www.ottawafashionweek.ca.

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