The year on stage | Arts & Culture | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST

The year on stage

Intimate plays, ambitious dance pieces and promising works in progress were the tops in 2017.

click to enlarge The year on stage

The Boat,
Theatre New Brunswick
Presented by TNB at Neptune's Studio Theatre, Ryan Griffiths' The Boat is an adaptation of Alistair MacLeod's beloved short story of the same name. It is a deeply affecting memory play about the lives of Cape Breton fisherman, beautifully written and impeccably acted here.

Bone Cage, Matchstick Theatre
A great indie production from an intrepid theatre company, Bone Cage boasted a mesmerizing lead performance from Jessy Matthews, and a tour de force script from the great Catherine Banks. It's also a relevant story about the ramifications of the logging industry in our province.

Burnwater: Alchemy, Mocean Dance and
Here Hear Productions
An adaptation of a 2013 site-specific work, Burnwater: Alchemy was an immersive performance about the life and times of East Dover blacksmith John Little. A meditative, introspective experience with dancer Susanne Chui and percussionist Doug Cameron, who incorporated Little's sublime iron sound sculptures.

The Hours Turn To Nothing, Xara Choral Theatre
Telling the story of the midwives who came to Halifax to care for the many women who went into labour in the aftermath of the Explosion, The Hours Turn To Nothing was a gorgeous production that combined theatre and choral singing, written by Ami McKay. There was not a dry eye in the house after the performance at St. Matthew's Church.

KAMP, by Garry Williams and Jamie Bradley
KAMP is an astounding new musical about a group of gay men in a Nazi concentration camp who create a musical revue in their barrack. Created by Garry Williams and Jamie Bradley, the project has had multiple in-progress performances, but the impact this play could have with the right production is immediately evident. This is a project to keep an eye on.

Kinetic Studio's Open Studio Series
There is something undeniably exciting about seeing works-in-progress, and Kinetic Studios continues to present bold new work through its Open Studio Series. This year, Toronto-based dancer Molly Johnson and Halifax's best-kept theatre secret Dustin Harvey were highlights, presenting two off-the-wall works that blur the lines between theatre and dance.

Lullaby: Inside the Halifax Explosion,
Eastern Front Theatre
A moving tribute to the people affected by the Halifax Explosion. Karen Bassett's script features a Mi'kmaw teenager from Turtle Grove, a Black man from Africville and a white woman from Halifax, all brought together by the disastrous event. Lullaby managed to say something new about a familiar part of Nova Scotian history.

Prismes, Montreal Danse
Presented by Live Art Dance, Montreal Danse showcased its conceptual performance on the Halifax stage in what was perhaps the best dance event of 2017. A physically gruelling undertaking for the performers, and a challenge of ideas to the audience, Prismes was confounding, exhilarating and utterly stunning.

Slut: The Play, LunaSea Theatre
Katie Capiello's play Slut was a piece of verbatim theatre about slut-shaming and sexual assault, performed here by a talented ensemble of young women. Aimed at teenagers—but of the utmost important for any audience—Slut succeeded in addressing its topic head-on, embracing it in all of its nuance and complexity.

There Might Be Others, Mocean Dance
Directed and choreographed by former Haligonian Rebecca Lazier, this experimental performance brought 15 dancers and 12 musicians to the stage for a thoroughly strange and compelling spectacle. With 40 modules within which the performers can improvise with a set of rules, no performance is ever the same. Worth seeing again and again.

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It's official. Toronto has next on a new WNBA team! About time. Should Halifax follow?