Live and in person at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre A Groundwork Redux and Buddies in Bad Time Theatre Production in Association with Obsidian Theatre. Plays until Oct. 1, 2023.

Created, written and performed by daniel jelanie ellis

Directed by d’bi.young anitafrica

Choreographer, Fairy J

Set and costumes by Rachel Forbes

Sound by Stephon Smith

Lighting by Andre du Toit

As director-dramaturge d’bi.young anitafrika writes in her programme note: speaking of sneaking by daniel jelani ellis…it’s an homage to liberation, offering freedom to traverse the infinite spectrums of gender, sexuality, and class via a Black queer lens.” It’s a mashup of dance, poetry and pantomime.

Anansi, the Akan trickster god is manifest in the form of a lithe, agile spider, spinning and weaving its web, beguiling, mesmerizing and drawing us into its beautiful intricacies. daniel jelanie ellis is present as the audience fills in. He scurries, jumps, skitters, and mostly squats close to the ground to skitter, using choreographer, Fairy J’s compelling movement to create Anansi the spider, other creatures, spirits and characters, all with precise detail that differentiates between beings.   

daniel jelanie ellis is a wonderful actor/performer who has created a character from Jamaica that exemplifies the dream of moving away to “foreign” (Canada) to reap its many benefits. He was first taken there by his grandmother. She moved back but he remained. He made his living doing menial jobs in a grocery store, doing on-line sex and other jobs. His family back home believed he was rich and kept asking for money and he felt obliged to help them even though he didn’t have the means.

daniel jelani ellis is an engaging, energetic, very funny actor who puts a lovely spin on the Jamaican patois and also clearly realizes the myth and the reality of living in the imagined glow of “foreign.”

The production under the meticulous direction of d’bi.young anitafrica shimmers with invention and creativity. Rachel Forbes has created an arresting spider web of spindles that shoot out from the central pod. There is also a costume that daniel jelani ellis wears with beautiful wings that suggests a spider. André du Toit’s evocative lighting compliments the whole production and Stephon Smith’s sound design is both other worldly and contemporary.

It’s a terrific production.

Buddies in Bad Times Theatre A Groundwork Redux and Buddies in Bad Time Theatre Production in Association with Obsidian Theatre.

Plays until Oct. 1, 2023.

Running time: 90 minutes (no intermission) plus a talk-back



by Lynn on September 20, 2023

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person at Fort York, National Historical site, Toronto, Ont. Playing until Oct. 7, 2023.

Co-written by Ahmed Moneka and Nicky Lawrence

Directed Ahmed Moneka

Cast: Dillan Chiblow

Andrew Chown

Rudy Ray Kwaku

Nicky Lawrence

Cassel Miles

Tara Moneka (understudy for Ahmed Moneka)

Revelatory and life changing (and I’m not exaggerating).

Background. Ahmed Moneka and his writing partner Nicky Lawrence were invited by Toronto History Museums to expand on an earlier work they created inspired by the history of the War of 1812 centering on Fort York. The focus was to honour “the voices of Indigenous, Black S2LGBTQ+ and artists of colour and sharing stories obscured by conventional history books.”

As Ahmed Moneka and Nicky Lawrence say in their programme note: “As we discovered the multiple voices that helped shape this country, it struck us, that in the telling we consistently found it being told from only one perspective. This we realized must change; for us to know where we are going as a nation, we must tell the true story that reminds us how we became one in the beginning, one that includes us all.”

The Stories and the Production. As the co-writer’s eloquently put it, Spaciousness tells some of the stories “obscured by conventional history books.” It tells the stories of those considered ‘other.’ I love seeing/hearing stories by people who do not look like me, to learn another side of the narrative.

The play takes place at historic Fort York in Toronto’s downtown, on the other side of the paved and curved roller-blading-skate-boarding path under the Gardiner Expressway. You walk along a path to the end of the ‘welcome’ building, walk up several steps and land on a huge expanse (spaciousness?) of grassed grounds, on which are several historic buildings, all part of Fort York. There is a subtle, but constant, sound of bombs and cannons exploding. This is the background ‘noise’ of the fort. We should never forget what this place was for—defending the city in the War of 1812.

The audience gathers in a long room with chairs on either side of the length of it. There are about 40 people in the room. I have never seen such a diverse, multi-ethnic group like this in a ‘theatre’ before. I don’t recognize anyone who I have seen in my regular theatre going. The diversity is wonderful.  

As we settle the stage manager says there will be an understudy for the role of Survivor of Modern War. This part was to be played by Ahmed Moneka, the director and co-writer of Spaciousness, but for this occasion the understudy is Tara Moneka, Ahmed’s sister.

She wears a beautiful white ensemble. She says that she has experienced war in her home country of Iraq three times: when she was two years old, when she was 14 (when the Americans invaded) and when she was 18, civil war. What she doesn’t tell us (I looked it up) was that in Baghdad she was a celebrated singer who gave concerts. The military said to her family that if she did another concert the family would be arrested. As a result they fled to Turkey and then came to Canada as refugees. Ahmed Moneka was already in Canada and the family followed. Tara Moneka said that she became a Canadian citizen. We all applauded. It was very moving.

The audience is divided in two groups and each group is lead around the site into various buildings by a person holding a lamp to light the way. The pace is not rushed but there is walking and there are steps into and out of buildings. There is seating in each building for the audience. A scene is enacted by a character in each building.

I note that Tara Moneka alternated following the two groups around the space of the Fort, but did not enter the buildings. Her presence at the end of a group is like a constant reminder of the Survivor of Modern War, which she is.

We go from building to building watching scenes of people who were involved in the War of 1812. In the Gun Powder Magazine (that’s the name of the building) we hear mournful trumpet music coming from the other side of the wall of the building.  Private William Jones (Rudy Ray Kwaku) appears as if by magic. He is a young Black man in a soldier’s uniform who plays the bugle and writes his mother a letter full of poems and about the horrors of war. It’s a beautiful performance of innocent people caught up in war.

In another building a worried mother, Emma Jones, is played so movingly by Nicky Lawrence, who is dressed in historical garb, sings of freedom.  She frets about her son William, a sweet-faced young man who writes poetry and plays the bugle. But she hadn’t heard from him in six months and so wrote to his commander of his Black troupe asking if he knew where her son was. Connections are made in the individual stories.  

In another building, Private Samuel Keating (Andrew Chown) was sleeping in his bunk and woke with a start and jumps down from the bunk to tell us his story. He was from Dublin and enlisted with his father to fight with the British because they paid you to join and the money would help his mother and all his siblings. He didn’t even know where ‘upper Canada’ was when they set out across the ocean to fight.

Miskwaaki, also known as William Yellowhead (Dillan Chiblow), has his back to us, looking out a window when we enter. He is an imposing man in traditional Indigenous garb. When he turns his face is ‘painted’ with stripes of vegetable colouring. He was the chief of the Chippaweans  and leader of the Deer clan. Miskwaaki led his people in taking arms in defense of Upper Canada with the British because they said they would honour promises to his people. He was thoughtful and compelling.  He wanted to give his people “Mno Bimaadiziwin (A good life) Miskwaaki wondered if the British would keep their promise. The irony of the question was palpable.

The group then goes to the farthest building in the evening, and enters a room that looks like a formal dining room. A long table is beautifully set for about 10 people or so. A Black man enters, fastidiously dressed in pants, vest, shirt cravat/tie, spats and gleaming shined black shoes.

This is Richard Pierpoint (Cassel Miles). When Richard Pierpoint was 16 years old, he was sold into slavery from what is now Senegal. He was eventually ‘bought’ by British officer name Pierpoint (given his name) and trained to be Pierpoint’s valet.  When Richard Pierpoint was much older he wanted to go back to Senegal where he was from, but was denied. He thought he might be granted his wish because he prospered and created a Black troupe of soldiers who fought in the war. He talked of getting a letter from a grieving mother wanting to know where her son Will was. Pierpoint remembered Will but also knew he disappeared. (Not deserted) but disappeared. The stories comes full circle in a way.

There is a courtliness to Cassel Miles’ playing of Richard Pierpoint. I mention the shined shoes. I know Mr. Miles’ work from seeing him as Hoke in Driving Miss Daisy last year. Hoke was a Black man applying for the job of chauffeur to Miss Daisy, an irascible Southern woman. Hoke’s suit was ill-fitting (it was a hand-me-down from someone else), the tie was old but his shoes were gleaming because Cassel Miles shined them every performance. There was pride in Hoke as a human being because of the way Cassel Miles played him. And that care and pride was in the small detail of the shined shoes. The same care went into Richard Pierpoint: fastidious, careful and shined shoes to a dazzling sheen.

Then we all went back to the original building. We sat in the seats. The lights went out and our Tara Moneka, the Survivor of Modern War, appears holding a lit lamp. “Can you see me?” she asks in the glow of the lamp. We say yes. She asks if we can see the person next to us. We can’t. It’s too dark. Then on cue, a curtain is pulled across one end of the room to reveal the various characters we have seen, all holding a lamp up to their face. This adds more light to the room.

Tara Moneka notes that the audience is very diverse–true. She says that was how the country was formed–by all these different stories. And she told us to hold the lamp up and share the light and value the diversity, inclusion and equity. That audience embodied that idea 100%. Spaciousness might be telling the stories of ‘those obscured by conventional history books’ but it invites and embraces everybody to listen, appreciate and consider.

I thought the message was so hopeful. For me the show was revelatory. I was euphoric at its message, possibilities and the wonderful way it was told,  as I walked across the grass and down the stairs to my car. But I was also overcome with the emotion of it all, the stories of selflessness and sacrifice and I wept all the way home.

When you least expect it, a theatrical miracle.

Toronto History Museums presents:

Plays until Oct. 7, 2023.

Running Time: 90 minutes (site specific-no intermission).


Live and in person at Peterborough Alternative and Continuing Education (PACE), 201 McDonnel Street, Peterborough, Ont. Presented by Theatre Direct, 4th Line Theatre Special Event, Prairie Fire and Peterborough Museum and Archives. Plays until Sept. 23, 2023.

Written by Madeleine Brown

Directed by Aaron Jan

Set and Costumes by Melanie McNeill

Lighting by Logan Raju Cracknell

Sound by Uri Livne-Bar

Cast: Lion Addison

Jalen Brink

Edith Burton

Ziqin Chen

Ella Cunningham

Jeff Dingle

Eloise Harvey

M. John Kennedy

Isabelle Siena

Sarah Lynn Strange

Jessie Williams

A fine example of student activism in action to save their beloved school from closing.

The play takes place in 2011, in Peterborough, Ont. Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School is the home away from home for students who want to study the arts and explore who they are, in an accepting, caring environment with their peers. Peterborough Collegiate was founded in 1827.  

But there is trouble brewing. The school is not fully accessible to all students. There are no ramps to enter the building or elevators for those students who find stairs daunting. It would cost too much money to bring the school up to code and so it was set to close.

The students go into action. Lead by two students, Breaker (Jalen Brink) and Bode (The Cat) (Isabelle Siena) they galvanize their student body to protest and form the group Raiders in Action to forward the cause, lobbied their school trustees and teachers, argued their case before various adult groups and continued to ramp up the pressure to keep the story in the news. Breaker also imagines the specter of Rick Mercer (Jeff Dingle) to advise her in how to keep things rolling.

The students contended with siblings who made fun of the effort, adults who treated them as “children” and didn’t take their concerns seriously, and others who ignored them. Through it all they continued right to the last.

The production takes place at Peterborough Alternative and Continuing Education (PACE) on the very sight of the former Peterborough Collegiate. In fact, the name, Peterborough Collegiate, is still there on one sign.

The building is beautiful. It is now used as a continuing educational facility. But it is still not accessible to all students who need/want to go there. There is money to have someone care for the gardens and grounds, raise and lower the flags outside, keep the floors inside gleaming and the building clean, but not enough money to install ramps and elevators.

What is wrong with this picture?

Playwright Madeleine Brown has written a bracing play about student activism and their enthusiasm for a worthy cause. She has written the students with compassion and care. The adults are written with wit and a bit of tongue in cheek. She has also captured the grinding bureaucracy and how the stalwart students coped.

Director Aaron Jan directs his cast of student actors, some of whom have never acted before, with sensitivity. The play takes place in the school auditorium and the acoustics are unforgiving. Some actors are not adept at projection and others, such as Jalen Brink as Breaker and Isabelle Siena (Bode) are quite clear. We cut them all slack for the effort and commitment. The adult professional actors such as Jeff Dingle as Rick Mercer, Sarah Lynn Strange in multiple roles and M. John Kennedy in various bureaucratic roles are all dandy.

Bravo to all of them for a robust production.

Presented by Theatre Direct, a 4th Line Theatre Special Event, Co-Produced by Theatre Direct and Prairie Fire, in Association with Peterborough Museum and Archives.

Plays until Sept. 23, 2023.

Running time: 75 minutes (no intermission)


Live and in person at the Streetcar Crowsnest, Produced by Crow’s Theatre, Toronto, Ont.

Playing until Oct. 15, 2023.

Written by Michael Healey

Based on “Sideways: The City Google Couldn’t Buy” by Josh O’Kane

Directed by Chris Abraham

Set and props by Joshua Quinlan

Costumes by Ming Wong

Lighting by Kimberly Purtell

Sound by Thomas Ryder Payne

Video Design by Amelia Scott

Cast: Christopher Allen

Ben Carlson

Phillipa Domville

Peter Fernandes

Tara Nicodemo

Yanna McIntosh

Mike Shara

Stellar in every single way.

The Story. The Master Plan is a kind of political-thriller-David vs Goliath comedy drama involving slick operators from New York City backed by Google, vs the hard-working, by-the-book civil servants who try to keep up with the shenanigans.

Larry Page was one of the young creators of Google—a monster of a search engine. What Page dreamed of was to create the perfect self-sufficient city using high tech to create automated vehicles, efficient waste management, sidewalks that don’t need shoveling because they would be heated to melt the snow and an efficient rapid transit system—that’s not an oxymoron. 

A subsidiary of Google was formed called Sidewalk Labs to work on this project. Sidewalk Labs was headed by Dan Doctoroff, a slick operator from New York City.

In 2017, Waterfront Toronto, which was the Toronto organization responsible for the development of the waterfront, approached Sidewalk Labs to develop 12 acres of underdeveloped waterfront to fulfill the experiment.

Dan Doctoroff came to Toronto with his shined shoes, smart suit and $50 million to get things rolling. It was thought that the scheme for Toronto could then be marketed to other cities around the world and Sidewalk Labs would rake in the money.

But after three years of squabbling, misunderstanding on the part of Sidewalk Labs about how Waterfront Toronto works, miscommunication, mishandling of details, and secret backroom deals, it fell apart in 2020.

Globe and Mail reporter, Josh O’Kane wrote about the details of the scheme and the eventual debacle for two years. It resulted in his book “SIDEWAYS, THE CITY GOOGLE COULDN’T BUY.”

Playwright Michael Healey was commissioned by Chris Abraham, the Artistic Director of Crow’s Theatre to adapt the book into a play and the result is The Master Plan now at Crow’s Theatre.

The Production. The audience sits on four sides of the playing area designed by Joshua Quinlan, who also designed the props. When the audience enters there is an expansive model of wood configurations on a large table. One assumes this is the model of the ideal city. Eventually the model is removed and characters sit at the table with their laptops, cell phones and other necessities. The floor of the stage is composed of octagonal shaped pieces that fit together and can be easily removed if one of the pieces wears away.

Suspended above the playing area is a frame on which is projected information, facts, headlines, timelines, meetings, maps, the area of the waterfront at stake and other areas that Sidewalk Labs wanted. There is also a running tally of the many and various people on boards, in jobs and positions that are constantly shifting. One name is crossed out and another name takes its place. The use of tech is impressive.  At every turn you are bombarded with projected stuff. Kudos to Amelia Scott, the video designer for amassing such an array of videos.

Cast members in costume mingle with the audience as they file in, sometimes chatting them up in their seats. No one came near me so I don’t know if it’s the actor engaging with the audience or the character. It’s interesting watching them interact with the audience before the actual production ‘begins.’

The play is loaded with dates, meetings, facts, figures, reports, information and lots and lots of people being ignored while the folks in charge are running roughshod over everybody. I think director Chris Abraham does a brilliant job of realizing the dense, dizzying accumulation of facts, fiction and misinformation that went on over that time.  He has directed his stellar cast to deliver the information with conviction, urgency and a sense of absolute importance.

The cast that is always on the move, lobbing information at us as well. The acting company is superb. SUPERB!!!

Mike Shara plays Dan Doctoroff, the CEO of Sidewalk Labs. Doctoroff never met a back room he didn’t like for his secret deals and it never involved a slice of wedding cake for him to get what he wanted.  Mike Shara plays Dan Doctoroff in a tailored suit, shined shoes and the most understated polka dot socks. Doctoroff was a slick New Yorker. He could not understand the Canadians with their adherence to rules, public town halls for the public’s input and process. He just cut through stuff, ignored people who got in his way and bulldozed through. Mike Shara plays him with charm and a penchant for thinking quickly on his feet.

He is matched by Ben Carlson as Will Fleissig, of Waterfront Toronto who remembered exactly what was said and not. Fleissig’s control of information and the facts are always at odds with the seat of your pants thinking of Dan Doctoroff. Ben Carlson illuminates Fleissig’s frustration, exhaustion at the going’s on and disappointment with he gets bad news he doesn’t expect. Ben Carlson plays Will Fleissig as tempered, contained and anxious to be accommodating.

Just to show how anxious the Canadians are to be accommodating there is Philippa Domville playing Meg Davis (her father was Bill Davis—who knew a thing or two about politics). In her first scenes, all she does is smile and nod in agreement at what Dan Doctoroff is saying. It isn’t unctuous, it is hopeful that this would work, until it doesn’t and then she is fierce.

Peter Fernandes plays Tree (an actual tree, and he’s dandy) and is a narrator. He constantly circles the space offering information in a rapid-fire way that illustrates the urgency and importance. Tara Nicodemo plays Kristina Verner of Waterfront Toronto, who with Meg Davis, tries to keep track of the changing plans and shenanigans brought about by Dan Doctoroff. She is more forthright than the calm Meg Davis. Kristina Verner is more likely to explode in invective than Meg Davis, and that is a thing of beauty. Yanna McIntosh plays Helen Burstyn, the head of Waterfront Toronto and is commanding, devoid of small talk and all business. When she fires someone it’s swift and without sentiment. Yanna McIntosh also plays many and various characters with variation, distinction and nuance.   

I must mention Christopher Allen as Cam Malagaam—there’s a lovely trick about his name that is explained at the end. Cam Malagaam worked for Dan Doctoroff, only he was the genuine deal and not tainted. As Cam, Christopher Allen describes the beauty of the project and how it would be a great creation, helping build a livable city. His description is so quietly intense, so full of conviction it is absolutely moving. You are caught up short by the honesty and humanity of this character as played by this gifted young actor.

Playwright Michael Healey knows how to get to the heart of political issues because he’s done it before in such plays as Generous, Courageousand Proud. More than anything he finds the folly in situations and realizes the humour, perhaps gallows humour, when things go sideways, as this scheme did. Michael Healey knows how to realize the satire from politicians, smooth operators who try to bamboozle people, and even those trying to follow the rules and do a good job. But more than anything, Michael Healey realizes and celebrates the humanity of those who have dedicated their lives to work that is important. His plays are full of that humanity.  

Comment. Is The Master Plan overwhelming with information? If you let it. Don’t let it. Is Google overwhelming? Sure…one screen leads you to two more and then more. I think you get overwhelmed by it and can’t look away. In the case of The Master Plan it’s very tempting to feel overwhelmed by the information. Don’t. Take in the information as it pertains to the larger picture. Be aware of the various players and not so much the details. Be aware that there are people in the scenario who could remember what was said and what wasn’t. That’s one of the beauties of the play and the production. The speed of the info can suck you in—resist.

I loved the production because everyone involved gives the audience credit for having intelligence, common sense, humanity, a sense of humour and an appreciation of wonderful theatre.

Which The Master Planis.

Crow’s Theatre presents the world premier:

Plays until Oct. 15, 2023

Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes. (1 intermission).


Live and in person at the Stratford Perth Museum, 4275 Huron Rd., RR#5, Stratford, Ont. Produced by Here for Now Theatre. Plays until Sat. Sept. 16, 2023.

Note: Sometimes I Love You Always is a late addition to the Here for Now Theatre season. It plays for only three performances: Sept. 14, 15, 16.  Worth the trip to see it.

Written and directed by Booth Savage.

Cast: Booth Savage

Janet-Laine Green

A bitter-sweet love-letter about getting old, remaining feisty and unpredictable in spite of aches, pains and hearing aids, with a keen appreciation of Steven Seagal movies.

The Story. She is a senior citizen named Mary-Louise. He is also a senior citizen named George. They met on the internet. His grandson is in some kind of trouble in another country and needs money to get out of the jam. George daren’t go to his daughter for help. So, he comes to Mary-Louise for the loan of the money. Did I mention they met on the internet?

George arrives one dark and stormy night at Mary-Louise’s house for the money, after his car hits some kind of glitch in the road. When George appears at Mary-Louise’s door he is sopping wet.  She’s alone. Her husband Kirkland is not there. She begins to take off George’s wet clothes except the undies, to dry the clothes. She gives George some of Kirkland’s clothes and a pair of his new socks. Kirkland loves new socks.

George wants the money so he can leave. Mary-Louise seems to flirt and toy with him. She talks about her son who worries that she is losing her faculties or at least her memory. She brings a large bag presumably with the money in it. And she gives him a muffin. Is this a cat and mouse game? Who is chasing whom? Things are not what they seem? This is good.   

The Production and Comment. The set is simple: two comfortable chairs with a table just up with a flower in a vase. Neat, simple. A man in a plush, blue bathrobe wanders around the tent while the audience files in. This is Booth Savage. When they are about to begin he goes to the far end of the tent and waits for Janet-Laine Green to enter—she is petite and spry in jeans and a work-shirt. She banters. Their characters have not really been introduced to us yet—part of the mystery of the piece.

She wants to tell him of a quote she heard from Clint Eastwood. They flip quips quickly (don’t say that fast) as if they are a comedy duo who know the routine really well, or are long married, which Booth Savage and Janet-Laine Green have been, to each other. Just when the one-liners zip through the air at a furious pace, he pauses and says, “You’re gorgeous.” It’s honest, true and heartfelt. It makes one gasp in surprise and delight. It’s not clear yet who these two ‘characters’ are but somehow it seems they know each other well.

At a point he takes off the robe and puts on a jacket and a cowboy hat to make his ‘entrance’. She looks as if she is spying on him as he stands outside while she checks him out through the window inside. She is disappointed that he looks so old. She sees that his car hit a bump in the road and the car will need towing. Her house is far from ‘civilization.’

She lets him in the house. They have arranged this meeting. The conversation is polite from him—his name is George. He knows she is Mary-Louise. They banter. She is direct and perhaps a bit flirty. He is quietly charming. He is also wet from the rain. She helps him out of his wet clothes and expertly unzips his pants—she seems to have practice here. He appears startled and ‘shy’. She’s in control. He has come for ‘the loan.’ What is going on?

We ask these questions as the power shifts between the two of them. Are they role playing? Is he really her husband Kirkland and they are playing a game? Is George really a fellow senior with family problems and has innocently come to her for a loan. Is she too trusting when she brings a huge paper bag that seems to be bulging with stuff and we assume money? Or is she really the power here and will haul out an Uzi if he gets shifty?

One of the beauties of this quirky play, is that we are not sure. Another beauty is that it is funny and heartfelt in equal measure. Booth Savage has written a bitter-sweet love letter about getting old, getting creaky, needing a hearing aid, losing one’s memory or worse, being alone, without family or friends, finding life is slipping away but there is still the drive to hold on as best as one can to what one still has. Janet-Laine Green is that fragile and feisty presence who is both in control and terrified of losing it. Her look of terror when the memory might be fading hits to the heart. And just as important, Sometimes I Love You Always is a love letter between two actors who know, respect and love each other really well.

Here for Now Theatre Presents:

Plays until today, Sept. 16, 2023—they only played three performanes.

Running time: 1 hour 10 minutes (no intermission)


Live and in person at the Stratford Festival, Stratford, Ont. Playing until Oct. 1, 2023.

Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Peter Pasyk

Set by Julie Fox

Costumes by Sim Suzer

Lighting by Arun Srinivasan

Composer and sound design, by Thomas Ryder Payne

Fight director, Geoff Scovell

Choreographer, Stephen Cota

Cast: Elizabeth Adams

Hilary Adams

Celia Aloma

Cristo Graham

Jordin Hall

Matthew Kabwe

Wahsonti:io Kirby

Qianna MacGilchrist

Chris Mejaki

Chanakya Mukherjee

Tyler Rive

Andrew Robinson

Tyrone Savage

Michael Spencer-Davis

Jane Spidell

Amaka Umeh

Hannah Wigglesworth

A stylish production envisioned by director, Peter Pasyk, in which a group of aristocratic young men vow to live to learn without distraction (without women) for three years, until they meet a group of equally aristocratic young women, who charm them.

The Story. King Ferdinand of the Kingdom of Navarre and his three companions: Longaville, Dumaine and Berowne, make a pact to remain celibate and study for three years.  There are other conditions to which King Ferdinand has his colleague agree, pertaining to how many times they may eat per day (once) and how much/little sleep they will have. To strengthen his pact, King Ferdinand decrees that no woman shall lodge within one mile of his court for the three years.

He seems to have forgotten that the Princess of France and her three ladies-in-waiting; Rosaline, Maria and Katharine are scheduled to arrive on diplomatic business on behalf of the King of France. Fortunately, Berowne is in the know (he’s the smartest (sort of) of the lot of men and knows the women are expected. He also offers logical opposition to the stringent conditions of the three years.

Matters of celibacy and scholarly study go out the window when the men see the women and their resolve dissolves. The men can’t tell each other, to save face, so they each conspire to privately write to the woman who has charmed him. The ‘situation comedy’ ramps up when a hapless messenger delivers the wrong letter to the wrong woman.

The aristocratic women have their own plans to get even with these fellows. There are also common folk who are smitten and they have their own ways of dealing with the pangs of love.

Love’s Labours Lost is a comedy with serious notes and lots of wisdom, from the women. The women tap dance rings around the men for smarts and offer a reasoned solution to these guys. One wonders if they will be wise enough to take up the challenge.   

The Production and Comment. Director Peter Pasyk, set designer Julie Fox and costume designer Sim Suzer have created a modern world of money and privilege. From the precisely shaped topiary and curved manicured lawn it looks like the leaves and grass were cut by nail scissors and not gardening shears for that perfect look. We get the sense of the size of the King of Navarre’s manor house by the huge wood doors and the two ‘impressive’ moose heads on either side of the door.

Ferdinand The King of Navarre (Jordin Hall) and his three friends: Berowne (Tyrone Savage), Dumaine (Chanakya Mukherjee) and Longaville (Chris Mejaki), gather for Ferdinand’s press conference announcement of their plans for the next three years. The men are beautifully dressed in Sim Suzer’s pastel-colour-coordinated, beautifully tailored casual suits. Every word Ferdinand says in his speech announcing his plans, is videoed as is his ‘argument’ with Berowne over the onerous conditions of the three years. As is the penchant for our world, it seems every minute of every day is recorded for posterity, only Ferdinand has servants for that.

The announcement done, Ferdinand provides ‘simple’ clothes to his colleagues and himself for their three years of simple living: it’s an ensemble of white pants, a white top, a white robe and sandals. The clothes look to be silk. I love the wit and impishness of Sim Suzer’s costumes.

When the Princess of France (Celia Aloma) arrives with her ladies-in-waiting: Rosaline (Amaka Umeh), Maria (Qianna MacGilchrist) and Katharine (Elizabeth Adams) they too make a statement about their privilege and status. They are dressed from top to toe in designer clothes and carry designer ‘bags.’  They are assisted by Boyet (Steve Ross) the Princess of France’s officious and proper majordomo.    

The women all move with that exaggerated body language that shrieks confidence and attention being paid. When Ferdinand and his colleagues are introduced to the delegation from France, the men don’t have a chance. They are totally smitten and their commitment to their oath to Ferdinand dissolves.

Love seems to have aroused the hormones of many others on Ferdinand’s estate. Don Armado (a preening Gordon S. Miller), in a chic track suit that looks like fitted pajamas, long, flappable hair, and a wonderful Spanish accent that plays fast and loose with pronouncing ‘s’ with a ‘th’, sometimes, is in love with Jaquenetta (Hannah Wigglesworth), a lusty young woman in the household. He sends her a soppy letter that is delivered to the wrong person as well.

Costard (wonderfully played by Wahsontí:io Kirby) is a grounds person who is dexterous and suggestive with a leaf blower, when in close proximity to Jaquenetta. Costard is attracted to Jaquenetta as is Don Armado. Overseeing this is mayhem is Dull who is more taciturn than dull (Jane Spidell) and Moth played with great irreverence by Christo Graham.

There to instruct the ‘scholars’ are two pedants, Holofernes (Michael Spenser-Davis) and Nathaniel (Matthew Kabwe) who attempt to one-up each other in Greek, Latin, and obscure English. They don’t appear to be in love with anyone except their own intellect.

Director Peter Pasyk has a lively sense of fun, if a bit predictable–Costard’s wayward leaf blower. Love’s Labors Lost is a great opportunity for those in the Birmingham Conservatory of the Stratford Festival, to step forward into leading roles and flex their acting muscles. Many in the cast have been trained over the years in the Conservatory. Peter Pasyk has a sensitive but firm hand in guiding his cast of young actors. And while the acting abilities are a bit uneven across the board, they are all committed.

As Ferdinand the King of France, Jordin Hall is stately, determined that his extreme idea of study for three years will succeed, and instantly thwarted when he sees the Princess of France. Both Tyrone Savage as Berowne and Amaka Umeh as Rosaline have gone from strength to strength over the years. The interplay between Berowne and Rosaline is like watching championship tennis between equals. They lob quips, volley and slam shots to make points. It’s always with the intention of illuminating their characters. Tyrone Savage and Amaka Umeh are two actors who are always compelling. As Moth, Christo Graham is irreverent to be sure, as he observes the goings on there but there is also a layer of watchful observation that goes deeper. Nothing surprises this character which makes him even funnier.

Once again, Shakespeare writes women characters who dance rings around the men for smarts, wisdom, common sense, wit, whimsy and in the end, maturity. The play is bracing and funny. For the most part, the production rises to the occasion.     

The Stratford Festival Presents:

Runs until: Oct. 1, 2023

Running time: 1 hour 50 minutes (approx.) (no intermission)


Heads up for the week of Sept. 11-17, 2023.


Sept. 8 – Oct. 1, 2023

At the Studio Theatre, Stratford, Ont.

Written by William Shakespeare

Directed by Peter Pasyk

A group of courtly men swear to dedicate their lives to scholarly pursuits. Then a group of charming women change their minds, sort of.


Sept. 12-Oct. 1. 2023

At the Streetcar Crowsnest Theatre, Dundas and Carlaw.

By Michael Healey

How Google tried to buy Toronto and failed.


Sept. 12-16.

At Trinity St. Paul’s

Composed by Spy Dénommé-Welch and Catherine Magowan

This intercultural production showcases the rich talents of four Indigenous singers and an ensemble of five historical instruments


Sept. 13-Oct. 7, 2023.

Written by Ahmed Moneka and Nicky Lawrence

Staged at Fort York National Historic Site, Spaciousness is a compelling new theatrical experience. Be transported to the past to encounter a multitude of characters who bring to life expansive stories of love, life, and loss during the War of 1812. Then be brought back to present day with a story of surviving conflict that encourages us towards peace.

Traverse the grounds of Fort York and meet a cast of characters while travelling from one historic building to another, becoming immersed in stories of life during wartime.

Spaciousness poses vital questions about conflict and peace while focusing on lives lived through war and histories traditionally obscured from this time and place.


Sept. 14-16, 2023

At the Stratford-Perth Museum, Stratford, Ont.

By Booth Savage.

A love story for two actors.


Sept. 15-23, 2023.

Written by Madeleine Brown

Peterborough Alternative and Continuing Education, 201 McDonnel St., Peterborough, Ont.

Presented by Theatre Direct.

Inspired by real-life student activism, Give ‘em Hell is a new play that retells the final school year leading up to the 2012 closure of Peterborough Collegiate and Vocational School (PCVS).

Theatre Direct is organizing a Toronto – Peterborough return shuttle for this performance. Please e-mail for pricing and to register. Limited spots available.



by Lynn on September 10, 2023

in The Passionate Playgoer

Live and in person at the Stratford Perth Museum, produced by Here for Now Theatre,  Stratford, Ont. Playing until Sept. 23, 2023.

Written by Judith Thompson

Directed by Murdoch Schon

Set by Bonnie Deakin

Costumes by Barbara Kozicki Beall

Cast: Clare Coulter

Allegra Fulton

Caroline Gillis

Michael Neale


Cait Watson

A senior in a nursing home imagines herself as a Warrior Queen, proving that old age is not for sissies. A world premiere from Judith Thompson in a production worthy of celebration.

The Story. Mrs. Nurmi is a bitter, old woman, living in a run down, shabby nursing home in Cornwall, Ont. Almost no one visits. One day her beloved grandson Jake comes with a great idea for a podcast series on the stars. All he needs is the money and he wants Mrs. Nurmi to provide it. Mrs. Nurmi is also estranged from her daughter (Jake’s mother) and we learn why eventually. When Mrs. Nurmi has to face these obstacles, she conjures her alter-ego, Queen Maeve, a warrior Irish queen who led her troupes 3000 years ago.

The Production. Director Murdoch Schon’s production is suffused with care. The audience sits under a tent and one side is open to the fields in the distance. Bonnie Deakin’s set of Mrs. Nurmi’s modest room has a comfortable easy chair with well-worn pillows, a set of drawers and other bits. To the far stage left side is a covered stump, a standing microphone and various musical instruments, especially penny whistles and a variation of a flute. This is where musician Cait Watson sits quietly creating beautiful, ethereal, Irish-sounding music for the show. She wears a costume that looks like it’s from another time; robes over robes. It can reference those times when Mrs. Nurmi becomes Queen Maeve, ready to wreak havoc, but accompanied by lilting Irish music and various sound effects. When she isn’t playing the music, Cait Watson watches the scene attentively, and of course so do we.

Mrs. Nurmi (Clare Coulter) sits in her easy chair. She wears a nightgown and pajama bottoms. Siobhan (Caroline Gillis) her Personal Service Worker, (dressed in functional pants and a top) slowly cleans the floor with a large mop. The strokes are methodical and thorough. She does not rush this job. It’s important for Siobhan to take care.

When she leaves, Mrs. Nurmi played by the fearless Clare Coulter, rises and stands center and discourses on her world, how she found herself in Cornwall, of all places, the shabbiness of the nursing home, her loneliness, her beloved grandson, her estranged daughter, getting older. It’s a performance by Clare Coulter, this towering presence in Canadian theatre, that is quirky, knowing, ferocious, prescient and so full of detail that one thinks to one’s self “God, I’ve missed seeing you on a stage.” And the same can be said of the playwright, Judith Thompson. The dialogue dances and trips off the tongue. It’s poetic, literate, and conjures a woman of intelligence and imagination.

Mrs. Nurmi’s beloved grandson, Jake (Michael Neale), arrives (we see him walking outside the tent making his way inside), bearing a bouquet of flowers. He’s just travelled far from Sudbury to Cornwall, by bus, just to see her. She is delighted. So is he. She wants to know all about how he’s kept himself. Here Clare Coulter’s face crinkles in a smile. She is exuberant and totally loving to Jake.  Michael Neale as Jake is a bit awkward yet lively, buoyant it seems. He’s been fine but has had some bad luck. He’s got a great idea for a podcase series on the stars—he’s always loved the stars. It’s just that he needs money for the technical side and hopes that his grandmother will provide it.

In a flash, Clare Coulter’s loving Mrs. Nurmi disappeared. The face sagged; the eyes peered. Suspicion entered the room. Jake pleaded in desperation. Mrs. Nurmi knew the money would be used for drugs and she promised his counsellor she would not give him money. And then from nowhere Mrs. Nurmi had a huge sword in her hand. She was transported back 3000 years. She spoke Irish? Perhaps intoning a spell. She swung the sword overhead and Jake fell to the ground.  Clare Coulter as Mrs. Nurmi says with regret that she killed her grandson. “Figuratively.”

Mrs. Nurmi conjures her Queen Maeve when she is triggered—either challenged, lied to, tricked etc. Her daughter Georgia (Allegra Fulton) comes to visit to commiserate about her son Jake. Georgia is estranged from Mrs. Nurmi because of past behaviour both to her mother and her son. Mrs. Nurmi can’t forgive her. Georgia is an artist. She is beautifully dressed, as if she’s trying to impress her mother. Allegra Fulton as Georgia is dramatic, emotional guild-ridden, and defensive about her past behaviour. Trying to get her mother to see her point of view is impossible.

This too conjures Queen Maeve and her impressive sword to wreak vengeance on those who have disappointed her. Mrs Nurmi lives a life of solitude because she has chased everybody away, except Siobhan (Caroline Gillis), the Personal Service Worker. As Siobhan, Caroline Gillis offers Mrs. Nurmi kindness mixed with firmness. While Mrs. Nurmi is obstreperous and doesn’t want to wash or clean up, Siobhan firmly but kindly convinces her this is good for her and finally Mrs. Nurmi agrees.

The synopsis of Judith Thompson’s play (in the programme) suggests that the play asks if forgiveness is impossible; will we know when we need to make amends? Is it ever too late to find true empowerment? There are no pat answers in Judith Thompson’s play. Mrs. Nurmi is a tough old woman who never gives an inch with her two relatives. And they have their own issues. Jake is an addict who we know little about except that he has issues with his divorced parents and perhaps that’s a reason he took drugs. Gloria, again a wonderfully regretful performance as played by Allegra Fulton, is guilt ridden by her behavior towards her son and is full of remorse about what happened to him. Mrs. Nurmi doesn’t seem to have any regret about her behaviour. If she feels she was a bad mother, she never says it to the person who needed to hear it—her daughter. If she feels regret, remorse or guilt for her behaviour to anyone, she doesn’t tell them directly—just to the air in her solitary room. Does that count? I don’t think so. This is not a neat ending. But it’s a true ending.  

Comment. Queen Maeve is a bristling play by Judith Thompson, one of our leading playwrights. It has at its center Clare Coulter as Mrs. Nurmi, alias Queen Maeve. Two perfect reasons to take a trip to Stratford to see Here for Now Theatre’s production of this bracing production.

Here for Now Theatre presents:

Opened: Sept. 9, 2023

Closes: Sept. 23, 2023.

Running time: 90 minutes (no intermission).


Marti Maraden: Photo by Ann Baggley

Marti Maraden was an oasis of calm. Soft-spoken, impish-grinning, gentle-hugging. No matter the aggravations you had in your day—difficult people, disappointments, challenges—Marti would meet you at her front door with a smile and a hug and the aggravation would slip away.

Her house was not only pristine and neat, it exuded warmth and calm, like its owner. Light poured in through the curtains.  The house was filled with mementos, pictures of family and friends, books (lots of Shakespeare), a piano, all perfectly placed. (It made me want to tidy when I got home, such was Marti’s effect). There were pots of flowers and herbs on the back deck. There was always tea, cookies and conversation. Marti listened intently, offering carefully thought-out comments and advice. I never heard her raise her voice on stage or in person. And it speaks to her effect on people, that I doubt anyone would be loud in her presence.

She was an extraordinary actress, director, artistic director, mentor and cherished friend. She could charm the most obstreperous and prickly people and win them over. They would be friends for life.  

In one of the many, many tributes about Marti, Ric Waugh said, “She was softness and light with a spine of steel.” All three descriptors were present in her wonderful work as an actress and director. I was fortunate over the years to see so much of her work in both capacities: an ethereal Juliet, a luminous Ophelia and Irina, this last in the legendary production of Three Sisters with Maggie Smith and Martha Henry. Marti did stunning work at the Shaw Festival. And on and on.

Marti’s was a career of ‘firsts’. Marti became one of a very few women (Diana Leblanc, Martha Henry) making a living as a director. She was the first ever, and still only, woman Artistic Director of the Stratford Festival.  

When Marti began directing she found a new way to blossom. This is when her ‘spine of steel’ came in. She dug deep into every production to realize the playwright’s intention. She faced the challenges of each production head on. She directed probably the best production of The Merchant of Venice I have ever seen, with Douglas Rain as Shylock and Susan Coyne as Portia. It shimmered with dignity, heartache and when you least expected it, compassion.

I gladly drove to Ottawa to see her productions when she became Artistic Director of English Theatre of the National Arts Centre (1997-2006). I was particularly impressed with her production of After the Orchard by Jason Sherman—a reworking of The Cherry Orchard transplanted to Ontario, where a Jewish family debates what to do with a cherished family cottage. If ever there was a play I want to see again, it’s this one, all because of Marti’s sensitive direction.

I gladly went to Chicago when she directed for the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Marti directed several productions for Drayton Entertainment. Sweet and challenging productions such as On Golden Pond, Driving Miss Daisy and The Odd Couple. Then she blew us away with the angry muscularity of A Few Good Men and Twelve Angry Men.

It’s important that actors and theatre creators respect the director. In Marti’s case, they also adored her. From all the tributes that have poured in from actors and colleagues. it’s clear they would all swim through oceans of gore rather than disappoint her if they didn’t give 110% to the work.

Marti and I had a ‘short-hand’ routine. As many of you may know, I give out Tootsie Pops to theatre creators to say ‘thank you for making the theatre so special for me.’ After one of her openings, I would approach Marti, ‘Tootsie’ firmly in hand. She would approach me, smiling, eying the Tootsie, her eyes gleaming and say, “Do I deserve one of these?” and then just as firmly pull it out of my hand, laughing.

Marti took ill while visiting family in Sweden. She was taken to hospital where she had surgery. Marti was intensely private. The small group of friends responsible for providing information about her situation was aware and respectful of that. A site was established to provide information. The last notice, announced the unthinkable:

“Our beloved Marti died early this morning (August 31). After her surgery, she developed organ failure and intensive care efforts were not successful. She didn’t regain consciousness. Her cousin has said: ‘She had a calm last night and slept until the end. We will always remember Marti with joy and lots of good times together.’

With her bright smile and twinkling eyes, Marti has made each of us feel special and treasured. Please reach out to each other to share support and love as we all face this profound loss of Marti.” That last line says everything about her effect on us all. We carry it forward.

But I’m still heartbroken at the loss of this glorious friend.

All the world is made of faith, and trust, and pixie dust. – J.M.Barrie, Peter Pan



Live and in person at the Festival Theatre, Stratford Festival, Stratford, Ont. Playing until Oct. 28, 2023.

Lucy Peacock as Germaine Lauzon. Stratford Festival 2023. Photo by David Hou.

Written by Michel Tremblay

Translated by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco

Directed by Esther Jun

Set by Joanna Yu

Costumes by Michelle Bohn

Lighting by Louise Guinand

Composer and sound designer, Maddie Bautista

Cast: Bola Aiyeola

Akosua Amo-Adem

Joelle Crichton

Allison Edwards-Crewe

Ijeoma Emesowum

Diana Leblanc

Jane Luk

Seana McKenna

Marissa Orjalo

Lucy Peacock

Irene Poole

Jamillah Ross

Tara Sky

Shannon Taylor

Jennifer Villaverde

Michel Tremblay’s wild ride of a play that still has resonance today with many shining performances.

The Story. Germaine Lauzon is a working-class Montreal housewife who has just won a million Gold Star stamps from a local grocery store. In order to trade those stamps for goods/furniture/appliances, she has to paste the stamps in booklets. She decides to have a stamp pasting party and invites her sister Rose, her daughter Linda and her friends in the apartment building. There will be 15 women in all (including Germaine).

Germaine gleefully tells those in attendance what she will buy with the stamps—she will redecorate the whole apartment. The women react to this news seething with anger and jealousy in varying degrees. Over the evening they individually vent about their disappointment in life and then they get even with Germaine.

In typical Michel Tremblay fashion, he does not judge his beloved characters. The play is bitter-sweet and hilarious.

The Production. Playwright Michel Tremblay wrote and set Les Belles-Soeurs in Montreal in 1965, during ‘the Quiet Revolution’, which changed the course of Quebec and was anything but quiet. The translation by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco captured the language (joual) and tone of the times and that place. From the distance of 1965 to 2023 to some the play might seem dated. How? It’s about 1965 and informed that time. We see echoes of it in our world. That’s the beauty of theatre, to transcend time. And how many of us can name anybody as a neighbour, let alone 14 people? Different times but not dated.  

Michel Tremblay grew up in a crowded house of women—five women raised him. So, when he began writing he knew instinctively how to write for and about women. He wrote about the strong hold of the Catholic Church on family life at the time; the dominance of men over the women in the home; the demand for sex as a marital right; the grinding effect of poverty on the working class; the bitterness of disappointment. And through it all he found humour that made one laugh out loud.

Joanne Yu’s set of Germaine Lauzon’s apartment is homey, perhaps a bit shabby and well worn. We get a sense of the apartment building where Germaine lives with her family, by the line of laundry drying strung along the top of the stage. As per a line in the play, there is no underwear—a lovely touch.

Michelle Bohn’s costumes are terrific. They speak volumes about the characters and their attitudes. Initially Germaine Lauzon, played by a lively Lucy Peacock, appears a bit hunched, in a house coat and fuzzy slippers. She shuffles her feet as she prepares the house for her guests. Then Germaine changes into a dress with a belted waist and a sash that announces she is a winner and the body language changes. As played by Lucy Peacock she is confident, buoyant and effervescent. She is not aware of the jealousy and anger of her guests towards her good fortune.

Marie-Ange Brouillette (Shannon Taylor) is a bitter, disappointed woman who appears in a non-descript dress, suggesting she put little effort into her appearance. That says so much about her. Others are in black, prim, proper, almost buttoned up. Pierrette Guerin (Allison Edwards-Crewe) is Germain’s estranged sister. She works in a club and so her reputation is not pristine according to many of the women. She is dressed in pants in red with a vibrant coloured coat and top. She knows what people think of her. She will stare them down. The clothes say everything.

Olivine Dubuc (Diana Leblanc) is a woman of a certain age, wears a beret and nondescript clothes, and is in a wheelchair pushed (and occasionally thumped) by her daughter-in-law Thérėse Dubuc (Irene Poole). Olivine is generally silent, still and seemingly comatose. When she is ‘awake’ she looks confused, annoyed and perhaps obstreperous. She is also hilarious and you cannot take your eyes off her.  Director Esther Jun keeps moving the wheelchair from upstage in full view to other parts of the stage, obstructed by other characters. In one scene Olivine slowly slides out of her chair onto the floor and rolls downs a bit downstage and over a step. Part of the movement is obstructed and a surprise when we finally see it. It’s hilarious, but would have been more shocking and funny had we seen the whole slide and roll clearly of Diana Leblanc as Olivine. Michel Tremblay wrote that part to be ‘hiding’ in plain sight; why try to hide her?

With 15 characters to maneuver director Esther Jun has created a production that always seems to be moving. It’s not forced. And again Tremblay wrote this cohesive play so that every character had a story and a scene to spotlight it. In true illuminating style, lighting designer, Louise Guinand gives each woman her own spotlight in which to shine. Each story is distinct, revelatory and often stunning. There are so many standouts. The aforementioned Lucy Peacock as Germaine Lauzon. She is curt to her daughter Linda (Ijeoma Emesowum) who is none too happy about being corralled into this stamp pasting party. Linda is petulant and wants to go out with her boyfriend. A fine performance by Ijeoma Emesowum.

As Pierrette Guerin, the outcast, Allison Edwards-Crewe is brassy, tough and heartbreaking as she navigates a world controlled by men. Angéline Sauvé, as played by Akosua Amo-Adem, prim, proper, black-clad and has a terrible secret she is trying to hide. We sense her terror when Pierrette Guerin appears. Akosua Amo-Adem as Angéline Sauvé, is so self-contained and compelling.  As Rose Ouimet (Germain Lauzon’s sister), Seana McKenna appears commanding, in control and forthright. It’s a different story when she tells of her sexually demanding husband. It’s as if Rose’s strength dissolves as Seana McKenna reveals the tight, claustrophobic world in which Rose lives. Each woman has secrets and disappointments—they all know luck is not on their side—but Rose is a person apart and McKenna’s searing performance makes one grip the armrest. Shannon Taylor is a fine actor. As Marie-Ange Brouillette she is an angry, jealous woman at Germaine’s good fortune and is the first to take advantage of the situation (nicely illuminated in Esther Jun’s direction). But as Marie-Ange Shannon Taylor does not hold back and her rage comes out in a torrent. A more tempered release of that rage would have held more surprise longer for the audience.

Comment.  In Les Belles-Soeurs Michel Tremblay has created a specific world of these women in which he makes a universal statement. In Esther Jun’s Stratford production many of the actors illuminate that specific world in which they are cohesively joined. Some, however, give the sense they don’t know that world and seem to be in a different play. It’s as if the effort to be universal was more important than first creating the specificity. It works from the specific to the universal, not the other way around. Still, I was grateful for those shining performances and to hear Michel Tremblay’s towering play again.   

The Stratford Festival presents:

Plays until Oct. 28, 2023.

Running time: 2 hours, 22 minutes (1 intermission)