Love can feel like a dizzying ride on a merry-go-round. That circular motion has a different quality in Michael John LaChiusa 's Hello Again , in which 10 people participate in a sexual relay race. Partner B leaves A for C, only to have C parachute out of that relationship to start up a liaison with D, and so on.
The story might sound familiar: LaChiusa's adapted it from Schnitzler's 1900 play La Ronde. The new version not only adds music but leaps from one decade of the 20th century to another.
The project began when four friends, all Sheridan grads -- director Michelle Ouellet and actors Nicholas Carella , Daniel Krolik and Zoe Sweet -- met at a wedding last September and decided to work on something together. Carella suggested Hello Again.
"We all loved the idea because the show's so dark," says Krolik, "not what you'd expect from musical theatre. The piece offers rich material to the actors, asking them to go to sexually and emotionally dangerous places.
"How often do you have a chance to start a show in the 70s and finish in the 20s, with time shifts in every scene? Each character has a neat arc that ends with a different sexual partner than at the start."
LaChiusa's also changed the gender of two characters from female to male, so there's a pair of same-sex scenes.
"Episodes reflect the sexual and political dynamics of the setting," adds Krolik, who had a hit with the 2005 Fringe show In Trousers. "The 50s is tight and constrained, almost sterile, while the 80s is about power and money. The 70s scenes are pre-AIDS, so there's little concern about the consequences of bedding someone."
No surprise that the music also echoes each period. LaChiusa's written a cakewalk for the 20s and a disco number for the 70s, while the 50s ends with "a Neil Sedaka teenybopper pop song."
See Opening, page 109.
The Tarragon Theatre celebrates its 35th birthday this year, and the dynamic Mallory Gilbert has been there for 34 of those years, 28 of them as general manager. She's retiring after helping to make the theatre one of the most continuously prolific on the Canadian scene. Gilbert has also served on various arts panels and has been recognized for her contribution to the growth of culture in T.O. and elsewhere in Canada.
In honour of her work, the Tarragon is establishing the Mallory Gilbert Arts Administration Award , which will train the next generation of general managers by providing a hands-on apprenticeship in arts management at the Tarragon. They hope to have the first apprenticeship in the 2007-2008 season.
Meanwhile, the theatre is celebrating its own anniversary and Gilbert's tenure with a barbecue, show and dance Monday (June 12) at Harbourfront Centre . For info, see One-Nighters, this page.
The Shaw Festival and Theatre Ontario have put out a call for the Shaw's intern director program , which gives two promising professional directors near the start of their careers a chance to work as assistant directors at the festival. The directors work for six months, usually on a pair of shows, under the mentorship of seasoned festival artists, and then direct a one-act piece at the end of the season for an invited audience.
Applicants must be Canadian citizens. Send a resumé and covering letter (no support material) explaining why you'd like to be an intern director at Shaw. Deadline is June 30. Send applications by mail (not fax or e-mail) to the attention of the Shaw Directors Project, Theatre Ontario, 215 Spadina, suite 210, Toronto M5T 2C7.
For more information, contact Theatre Ontario at 416-408-4556 or check out www.theatreontario.org .