We're lucky if Calgary's acclaimed One Yellow Rabbit visits our neck of the woods once every three years. The fact that two OYR shows and one written by company member Denise Clarke are being staged within a couple of weeks is reason to thump your tail in excitement.
The troupe's bringing their new show, Sylvia Plath Must Not Die, to run in rep with the acclaimed Doing Leonard Cohen. Meanwhile, Clarke's dance-theatre piece, Radio Play, concludes its run this weekend.
"I enjoy a wide range of work as a mover, dance maker and actor, and I wanted to turn people on to Peggy Baker as an actor," says Clarke about Radio Play, a piece Baker - like Clarke Alberta-born - commissioned.
"She wanted me to make a duet for her and Larry (Hahn, who's nursing an injury and is replaced by actor Michael Healey). And I wondered what it would be like for someone as astounding as Peggy to have to get a job."
She laughs her distinctive husky laugh, only to turn serious.
"As Bruce McCulloch has said, everybody in the arts game is just three paycheques away from a cardboard box. That anxiety plagues everybody. So why not address it in a light comedy? The twist is that Peggy's character - a retired modern dancer - is so dissociated from what's going on that she hears her life as a radio play."
In Sylvia Plath Must Not Die, Onalea Gilbertson plays Plath and Clarke plays her friend and colleague in confessional poetry, Anne Sexton, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who, like Plath, achieved notoriety by committing suicide.
"They were pals and loved to talk about suicide together," says Clarke. "It's interesting how much their poems about suicide shine a big glorious light on being alive."
Even though poetry fashions have come and gone - the once-iconic Sexton's reputation hasn't prospered like Plath's - Clarke calls them both vital voices in the firmament.
"You can tune into either one of them and feel your own life."
And the company learned how fanatical poetry fans can be when they changed a word in a Sexton poem for the work's premiere in Calgary. The word "aggies" - referring to a type of marble -? was replaced by "marbles."
"No less than three people came up and said, ‘Why did you say marbles?'"
The Plath, the Cohen and a piece about the Beat poets called Dream Machine complete the company's "typewriter trilogy," a phrase coined last year by OYR member Blake Brooker. The Rabbits' latest piece takes on another literary epic, but one that's not quite so contemporary.
They've gone back to one of the earliest stories, The Epic Of Gilgamesh, but with a modern twist.
"It's called Gilgamesh La-Z-Boy," laughs Clarke. "It's performed with three microphones and three La-Z-Boys."
For Radio Play and Sylvia Plath, see Theatre Listings.