Plays


Triplex Nervosa
:
a condition effecting property owners in trendy neighborhoods on the eve of a correction

Tass Navor has maxed out her credit cards and put a promising music career on hold to buy a triplex (three storey apartment building) in Mile End, Montreal. When she and her handyman Rakie conspire to make a difficult tenant’s life less comfortable, things go terribly wrong. A comedy about art and property, featuring ambitious young hipsters and their oppressive elders.

Premiered at Centaur Theatre, 2015. Directed by Roy Surette, music by Patrick Watson. Set and costumes by James Lavoie.

Seven actors play 11 roles. Original cast: Holly Gauthier-Frankel, Karl Graboshas, Daniel Brochu, Kayleigh Choinière, Cat Lemieux,
Howard Rosenstein, Brett Watson

Characters:
Tass Nazor
| young woman, building owner.
Rakie Ur | handyman, East European immigrant.
Max Fishbone | 50ish, washed up music producer; doubles as Kevin Fishbone, Chicago lawyer.
Damien-Marie de Beaufort | mid 30s, French, man about town; doubles as Lonny’s ghost.
Alisha Tate | early to mid twenties, would-be painter.
Aaron Klein | any age, Hasidic, scholar; doubles as Alisha’s mother.
Sgt. Germaine Tremblay | female detective; doubles as real estate agent.



Venus of Dublin
Drama


A shabby Dublin hotel room, 1831, the once-great English actor Edmund Kean makes a last lunge at immortality by commissioning a young ruffian artist to paint his portrait. Unable to find the soul of a mercurial performer, the artist struggles to capture Kean’s complex persona in oil. As Mick and Kean do battle, the hotel keeper Ginger Hogan is drawn into a whirlwind of ego and creativity. A rolicking comic/tragic tale about the personal cost of an actor’s life, this play was inspired by a true event, the legendary Kean’s visit to the Huron village of Lorette, Quebec, in the early 1800s.


One woman, two men. Single set.

Premiered at the Centaur Theatre, 2000, directed by Gordon McCall. Starring Mary Harvey, Richard Newman, Eric Davis. Set and costumes by John Dunning. Music by Anthony Rozankovic and Kate Kellar Yoshitomi.



Blue Valentine
Romantic Comedy


On a snowy night in Montreal, a high-powered literary critic encounters twin brothers: a struggling writer and his dazzling other. A thriller with romantic overtones, this biting comedy asks why women fall for Mr. Wrong when happiness waits nearby.

Premiered by THEATRE 1774 in 1996. Directed by Marianne Ackerman, starring Leni Parker and Bruce Dinsmore. Nominated in the Best Play and Best Anglophone Production categories at Les Masques, 1997.

Two roles, man & woman.

Sarah Housser – McGill Daily
If you would like to laugh your way through an unsettling look at the good and evil contained in three very real lives, check out Blue Valentine. This is a very hip piece.

Rea Nolan – The Condordia Link
The slick sets command attention, the action is fast-paced and the play ultimately achieves moments of significance through fast wit and clever repartee. (Leni Parker) is enormously present onstage. … Bruce Dinsmore shifts effortlessly and convincingly between two mirror image characters.



Céleste

A ghostly midnight, Céleste, a bourgeois Westmount widow, recalls her life with Professor David Temple, first as his housekeeper, then his lover and wife. A poetic tale of suppressed emotion and tenderness, exploring Quebec’s Three Solitudes by way of layered characters and a mystery story.

Two actors, one actress. First production directed by Marianne Ackerman in 1995, starring Marthe Turgeon, Tom Rack, Shimon Aviel, with an appearance by Coral Egan. Music by Karen Young.

Marc Gilliam – McGill Tribune
Its timing is eerie. Debuting November 4, in the midst of referendum analysis and political regrouping, Céleste seems to emit an incredibly current commentary. As Céleste returns to her estranged Anglophone husband in Westmount after some international entertaining at Expo, she commits herself to a long-term battle for identity – a battle that doesn’t always reap change or reveal immediate gains. As the curtain closes, Céleste does not protest loudly but remains poker-faced and poised, speaking in underestimated whispers.

Kate Taylor – Globe and Mail
Three mismatched characters are bound together by emotional intricacies they cannot express to each other and their geographic and linguistic differences ultimately come to symbolize the solitude of the human soul. … Ackerman has beautifully scripted the passage of their lives in a very skillful departure from
naturalistic convention. Blending dialogue and narrative in scenes where the three characters sometimes speak to each other and sometimes speak to the audiences as though the others weren’t present, she moves with ghostly grace through two decades.


Sliding in All Directions
music theatre

A soldier and an angel, archetypal lovers, descend into the inferno of urban life in search of each other. The core of the play is four sketches probing the anguish of our time: an off-beat party scene by John Mighton, a father-son memory piece by Norbert Ruebsaat, a tough monologue by Judith Thompson and a mysterious telephone conversation by Donald Molnar. These earthly tales are woven together by a musical score inspired by the Song of Songs. A year in the making, this collaboration between Marianne Ackerman and composer Karen Young won THEATRE 1774 a Masque award for Best Anglophone Production. Their work inspired a film, Les Cantiques, broadcast on CBC and Bravo!

Karen Young created a best-selling CD from the material called Canticum Canticorum (Le Cantiques des Cantiques), songs and lyrics by Ackerman and Young.

Directed by Guy Sprung. Cast: Karen Young, Roc Lafortune, Bruce Dinsmore, Lise Roy, Anne-Marie Leduc, Erwin Potitt. Musician Vassil Markov.
Set and lighting by Jean-Charles Martel. Movement coach Marie-Andrée Gagnon. Costumes by Mireille Vachon.


L’Affaire Tartuffe, or the Garrison Officers Rehearse Molière


Montreal, summer of 1774: a troupe of British Garrison officers attempt to stage Molière’s Tartuffe, directed by a young Seigneur whose hidden ambition is to flout the authority of the Catholic Church. The project pits Conqueror against Conquered, with tragic results for the play.

The idea was inspired by historical fact: that in 1774, Garrison officers in Montreal staged plays by Molière – in French – thereby ending a Church ban on theatre dating from 1694. A fresco of French, Canadien, Scottish, Irish, English players on the eve of the American Revolution. With war brewing to the south, a pact is struck between French and English élites.

The result: Two Solitudes – not the consequence of military victory, or of happenstance. Rather, a lucid deal struck between Conquered and Conqueror. A pact still defended to this day.

Ten actors, speaking French, English and Gaelic.

Premiered by Theatre 1774 in 1990, directed by Fernand Rainville. Revised script premiered in 1992, directed by Guy Sprung. Reprised for the Celebration ’93 Festival, toured to Sherbrooke and Toronto. Set by Maryse Bienvenue, costumes André Brosseau. Music by Bill Gagnon and Geneviève Mauffette. Cast: Gaetan Dumont, John Dunn-Hill, Paul Essiembre, Marie-Josèe Gauthier, Daniel Giverin, Patrice Godin, David Ley, Jennifer Morehouse, Maxim Roy, Robert Vézina.

Anne-Marie Lecomte- Voir
Il faut voir la pièce du Théâtre 1774 pour l’intelligence de son propos, l’éclairage qu’elle jette sur cette periode decisive de notre historie don’t les effets se répercutent plus de deux siècles plus tard.

Louise Blanchard – Le Journal de Montréal
La demarche originale et – j’insiste – très important culturellement de cette pièce ne doit pas passer inaperçue en cette rentrée théâtrale. Il est temps que l’on regarde autre chose que son nombril (francophone et Anglophone), au theatre comme au cinema, vite que l’ouverture de Théâtre 1774 à la réalité contomporaine – i.e. celle de la culture québécoise issue de la rencontre de deux peuples – ait des repercussions ailleurs!

Jean Beaunoyer – La Presse
une oeuvre remarquable qui change les règles du jeu et permettra – je l’espère – d’établir de nouvelles relations entre les deux solitudes théâtrales à Montréal.



Woman by a Window
Poetic Drama


Woman by a Window is a venture into the unconscious, modern dance without the footwork. Three actresses play one character – Emma – personified by voices doing battle in her head: Will, Desire and Soul. The play combines language, image and emotion to talk about a sharp corner in a woman’s life journey.


Premiered by THEATRE 1774 January-February 1992. Directed by Paula de Vasconcelos. Starring Clare Schapiro, Sheila Langston, Marthe Turgeon. Set and costumes by Raymond-Marius Boucher, lighting by Jean-Charles Martel, sound by Wayne Tepley.

Lynda Burgoyne – Spectacles Critiques
D’entrée de jeu, j’ai été séduire par l’étrange beauté que recèle ce texte. Marianne Ackerman manie l’art de dialogue avec un doigté alchemique. Si elle aborde les themes déjà énumérés avec humour et sensualité, le brin de causticité, qui parfois s’insinue subrepticement dans le ton, en dit fort long sur les tribulations de la conscience d’Emma, femme postmoderne aux abords de la quarantaine.

Pat Donnelly – The Gazette
Exactly what the point is depends on the eye of the beholder. And therein lies the beauty of this piece. The questions it raises – like whether love is still possible in the final decade of the 20th Century – defy answering.


Alanienouidet
Collaboration with Robert Lepage


A loose text created for the improvisational approach of Robert Lepage. The idea was inspired by an historical incident: in 1826 British stage icon Edmund Kean make a North American tour, stopping in Montreal and Quebec City. Three native Indian chiefs attended a performance of Richard III at the Royal Theatre in Quebec, and afterwards, invited Kean to visit their village at Lorette.

They presented him with tribal robes and gave him the honorary name of Alanienouidet, meaning ‘a strong wind on drifting snow’. For years, Kean could be seen roaming the streets of London dressed as a Huron chief.

A portrait of Kean in native regalia hangs in the Garrick Club, London. This play deals with Kean’s visit to Lorette, his visions and memories of the lost weekend.

Premiered at the National Arts Centre in January 1992, directed by Robert Lepage starring Randy Hughson, Marie Brassard, Anne-Marie Cadieux, Yves Sioui Durand, and others. Also presented at the Carrefour Theatre Festival in Quebec City.

Laim Lacey – The Globe and Mail
From an intriguing piece of history, Ackerman and Lepage have created a dreamy, centrifugal play that radiates from the centre of Kean’s disintegrating imagination to form a complex metaphor of colliding cultures.

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