There are few experiences that are truly dependable. Even the knobs surprise you sometimes, and just when you think it’s a perfect winter’s day, there you are, flat on your back on the icy sidewalk.
But when I go to the theatre, I can count on that frisson of excitement, the delicious sense of not knowing what is going to happen as the theatre lights rise to reveal the stage.
This year marked my first full year writing about live theatre for the Journal, and my delight in this task continues to surprise me. I’ve always loved attending plays (I credit my mother for taking our family to children’s theatre in the basement of the old Centennial Library) but was truly frightened to tackle reviewing. In the past year, I have made peace with my nerves. Now, my struggle is that I work two beats — theatre and food — and as a result, I am unable to get to as many plays (or restaurants) as I would like. I hope local theatre groups will continue to pitch me on their productions; I will write previews or reviews for as many as I possibly can.
Here are some of my best memories of the 2018 theatre year in Edmonton:
January kicked off with a remarkable performance at the Maclab, produced by Catalyst Theatre. The Vancouver transplant, Onegin, was an adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s renowned opera, but with an original book, music and lyrics by Amiel Gladstone and Veda Hille. Fresh and spirited while retaining an old-world charm, Onegin also shamelessly wooed select members of the audience with a round of vodka shots. (Don’t you just love the trend toward immersive theatre?)