Sunday, 16 June 2013

Theatre Festival Ottawa

Ottawa with the summer season approaching has several Theatre Festivals. You are not at a lost in the City if you want to go to a play. We have an amateur theatre which is 100 years old, The Ottawa Little Theatre on King Edward. The comedian Rich Little started with them. There are other venues, with professional actors like the National Arts Centre which offers one season of English theatre and one season of French theatre, different plays and different audiences. The Great Canadian Theatre Company known as GCTC also offers great plays and we have season tickets with them. Then there are all the other groups which come to town from all over Canada. We also have comedy clubs. The scene is rather full. I have not mentioned the musical scene but on that score we also have numerous festivals for all taste.

A few days ago we went to see a play by the Toronto Video Cabaret which is part of the Magnetic North Theatre Festival.

The Video Cabaret presents plays on the history of Canada and it is set up as if the stage was a video screen with lighting providing sharp angles like a video screen presentation would. The play was entitled The War of 1812 based on The History of the Village of the Small Huts.
This is apparently what the word Canada (Kanata) means in Native language.

The plot shows all sides USA, Canadians with the British in the background and the Natives, some of the characters are seen in a better light like General Brock or Tecumseh, others in the role history gave them. The story plot is described this way: After 3 years of bloodshed on land and lake, the Yankees have burned York (Toronto), the Yorkees have burned Washington, and everyone has burned the Natives. Peace is signed in 1814 and nothing has changed between Canada and the USA but the Natives lose all their lands south of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

It was very entertaining and we enjoyed it immensely. The play was presented in the Arts Court which is the 1870 seat of the Court of Justice of the City of Ottawa and the counties. Many years ago the building which is quite large and made of massive stone work was converted into a theatre venue, on any given evening 3 to 4 events are going on. The Saw Gallery is also located there. The Prison Yard at the back is where the last public hanging in Canada, that of James Patrick Whelan took place in 1868 in front of a crowd of 5000 people. The yard is open and mostly used as a parking lot. He was accused of murdering Thomas D'Arcy McGee, a politician, Father of Canadian Confederation and a friend of Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald.



  1. The last time I was in Canada, 2012, there was a lot of '1812' activity. I was fascinated. Not only do I love history, I love hearing 'the other side'. In the States, this war is either forgotten or remembered as an 'actual win'?!?! I bought a Canadian book on the topic. Robertson Davies (the dear!) reminds me we tried to invade Canada several times only to be either repulsed or at least declined - no one wanted to join the USA? incredible!
    When I go to NOTL this August, I am keen to see Fort George.

    1. When you are in NOTL look around the old homes there, several have a plaque stating how the terrible Americans burned old widow so and so out of house and livelihood. Atrocities abound, oh the horror. No you lost the war fair and square. But its ok we still love you.

    2. NOTL loves me because I spend lots of $ there.