Long before there was Reality TV, there was Theatre. Aristophanes, Shakespeare, Shaw – they were all making social commentaries of their time: they mocked, questioned, entertained and provoked conversation. And while Jersey Shore is certainly no Hamlet, you can certainly draw comparisons to Much Ado About Nothing.
It goes to show that there’s a reason that Shakespeare’s plays are performed all over the world today. They’re still relevant & still resonate because the human condition remains the same. No matter how much technology changes and we “evolve”, we still laugh, cry, struggle, fight, want, lust and love.
A lot of people know West Side Story is just a retelling of Romeo & Juliet and 10 Things I Hate About You is The Taming of the Shrew. For that matter, Big Momma’s House is classic 16th Century Italian Comedy, and in a lot of ways You Tube is just an electronic version of Vaudeville.
We have amazing talent here in this country but, for few exceptions, we still have an innate need to be validated by someone else before we embrace our own.
Nobody paid much attention to Ellen Page’s pout in Marion Bridge, but suddenly Juno‘s a hit in the states and she’s a big star back home. So too Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, Rachel McAdams and Elisha Cuthbert, to name a few.
I think it’s time we got to know some of what our country has to offer, from actors and comedians to playwrights and artisans.
Like TV, there’s some bad shows, and like movies, there are some duds; but there are also a lot of hidden gems and mega hits.
Last week, for example, marked the launch of Theatre 20. A group of artists got together to form a company to foster development and creation of Canadian musical theatre. Headed by some spectacular talent, many of them starred on Broadway and London’s West End, and yet have chosen to come home.
Why? Because we’re a country ripe with talent and unmined jewels.
It’s time to start digging, and right here, at Cocktails and Curtain Calls, is a great place to start.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be chatting with everyone in the biz from performers and producers to critics and craftspeople. I’ll also be checking in with a group of Canadians on Broadway, and finding out how Black History Month translates on stage.
So, if you have any questions, like what’s a Sound Designer, is it bad luck to whistle in a Theatre, or why Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country was named from a Shakespearean soliloquy, now’s the time to ask. Have someone you’d love to know more about? Tell me who it is and I’ll see what I can do.