Reviews and recommendations are unbiased and products are independently selected. Postmedia may earn an affiliate commission from purchases made through links on this page.
The wait is finally over. Alberta Theatre Projects’ artistic director Haysam Kadri is announcing a truncated season of four plays which he calls Short Season, Big Drama.
Last November, ATP suddenly parted ways with Rohit Chokhani who had led the company for just one year. Kadri was hired six months later and tasked with creating a season. Two of the plays will be presented in partnership with Theatre Calgary, and a third with Vancouver’s Arts Club Theatre. ATP will produce a fourth play on its own.
The season opens Oct. 17 to Nov. 11 with Made in Italy, a co-production with Theatre Calgary of Farren Timoteo’s solo show which has been a hit across Canada since 2017. Billed as the coming-of-age story of a Canadian-Italian kid with the heart of Rocky Balboa and the hair and moves of John Travolta, it chronicles the hilarious generational differences in an immigrant Canadian family.
From Feb. 20 through March 10, ATP will present an all-new version of the W.O. Mitchell classic The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon. It was more than 25 years ago that ATP first presented this hilarious story of a Prairie shoemaker who foolishly muses aloud he would give anything to skip his curling team in the MacDonald Brier. The Devil offers him that chance in exchange for Wullie’s soul, but Wullie offers a counter bargain which old Lucifer just can’t refuse. Kadri says he can hardly wait to “bring back this classic Canadian play with a fresh twist, and schedule it during the Scottie Tournament of Hearts so that two iconic institutions coincide in our city to create an unforgettable bonspiel experience.”
ATP will again partner with Theatre Calgary from April 2 to 27 to present the world premiere of local playwrights Maria Crooks and Caroline Russell-Kings’ Selma Burke. It’s the story of the Black American sculptor who played a major role in the Harlem Renaissance movement of the 1920s and ’30s. One of her creations was a plaque of President Franklin D. Roosevelt which is widely accepted to be the basis of the design of the American dime, an accomplishment for which she never received credit. Kadri calls Selma Burke “a stirring play about the importance of art, courage, romance and justice” and stresses the two collaborations with Theatre Calgary “strengthen ATP’s commitment to bring diverse and engaging theatre to our audiences.”
ATP’s mini season will conclude May 7 to 26 with the presentation of the award-winning Vancouver Arts Club production of the Canadian comedy The Birds and the Bees about a divorcee who moves back in with her mother, only to find both of them in some wild romantic entanglements. Set in adjoining bedrooms on a modern Canadian farm, the play tackles topics as wide-ranging as sex, love, science, family, and the artificial insemination of turkeys. The Birds and the Bees was written by Mark Crawford, who gave ATP its runaway hit production of The New Canadian Curling Club in 2019.
In unveiling the season, Kadri says ATP looks “to reflect on the rich history and celebrated milestones of our theatre, and we look ahead to our 50th anniversary season in 2024-25, and are eager to explore new artistic horizons that inspire future generations of theatregoers.”
Two-play subscriptions to The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon and The Birds and the Bees are available now starting at $57, as are single tickets to Made in Italy and Selma Burke. Single tickets to The Black Bonspiel and Birds and Bees will go on sale in October.