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.

Seven actors play 11 roles.

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.

Music by Patrick Watson

Venus of Dublin
Drama

 

A poignant tale about the personal cost and public inspiration of an actor’s life, this play was inspired by a true event, the legendary English actor Edmund Kean’s visit to the Huron village of Lorette, Quebec, in the early 1800s.

Premiered at the Centaur Theatre in 2000.

A shabby Dublin hotel room, the once-great actor Edmund Kean makes one last lunge at immortality by commissioning a portrait from a young ruffian artist he met in a pub. Unable to find the soul of a mercurial performer, the artist struggles to find the true man beneath his complex persona. Meanwhile, the hotel keeper Ginger Hogan is drawn into a whirlwind of ego and creativity. This play will strike a chord with anyone who has dreamed of escape from the self, and woken up to the familiar.

One woman, two men. Single set.

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 juicy roles, man & woman.

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

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.

Céleste

Céleste recalls her life with Professor David Temple, first as his housekeeper, then his lover and wife. A poetic tale of memory, suppressed emotion and tenderness, an exploration of Quebec’s three solitudes by way of characters.

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

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 skilful 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.

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.

Sliding in All Directions
Music Theatre, 1995

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.

Sample the music here on YouTube More about the project from Karen Young here. Text and score available from the author.

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, in French, English and Gaelic.

Premiered by Theatre 1774 in 1990, reprised for the Celebration ’93 Festival, L’Affaire Tartuffe toured to Sherbrooke and Toronto.

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.

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.

Woman by a Window
Poetic Drama

Woman by a Window is a venture into the unconscious, modern dance without the footwork. The only character is Emma, personified by voices doing battle in her head: Will, Desire and Soul – played by three actresses.

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.

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.

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.

Alanienouidet
Collaboration with Robert Lepage

A loose text created for the improvisational approach of Robert Lepage. The idea was inspired by an historical incident: in1826 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 him in native regalia (pictured here) 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.

Why We Pay Rock Concert Prices for Robert Lepage. | Toronto Life, October, 2010 By Marianne Ackerman | Available from the author

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.