December 18, 2018

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Home sweet home

Royal MTC's 2018-19 season features female empowerment, classics, offbeat fare

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/2/2018 (318 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In announcing the recurring theme of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s 2018-19 season, artistic director Steven Schipper hit on the theme of “home” in his Friday evening announcement of the venue’s 61st year.

“As we all know, home is where the heart is, and the heart of Royal MTC’s next season is home,” Schipper told invited subscribers, donors and staff Friday evening.

Schipper didn’t necessarily mean happy homes. One of the notable plays he announced is A Doll’s House, written by Henrik Ibsen, the Norwegian “father of realism” who will be the featured artist of the 2019 Master Playwright Festival.

A Doll’s House plays at Royal MTC Warehouse from Jan. 31 to Feb. 16, 2019. But Royal MTC will effectively accommodate its own double shot of Ibsen with A Doll’s House, Part 2, a sequel to Ibsen’s work by contemporary playwright Lucas Hnath. The play — “often very funny,” Schipper says — imagines a meeting between estranged couple Nora and Torvald 15 years after Nora closed the door on the relationship in Ibsen’s revolutionary play that debuted in 1879. It plays on the John Hirsch Mainstage Feb. 21 to March 16, 2019.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 3/2/2018 (318 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

In announcing the recurring theme of the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre’s 2018-19 season, artistic director Steven Schipper hit on the theme of "home" in his Friday evening announcement of the venue’s 61st year.

"As we all know, home is where the heart is, and the heart of Royal MTC’s next season is home," Schipper told invited subscribers, donors and staff Friday evening.

Evan Agostini / Invision files</p><p>The cast of Matilda: The Musical perform at the Tony Awards in New York in 2013. The musical adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl novel can be seen on the Royal MTC mainstage from Jan. 10 to Feb. 2, 2019.</p></p>

Evan Agostini / Invision files

The cast of Matilda: The Musical perform at the Tony Awards in New York in 2013. The musical adaptation of the beloved Roald Dahl novel can be seen on the Royal MTC mainstage from Jan. 10 to Feb. 2, 2019.

Schipper didn’t necessarily mean happy homes. One of the notable plays he announced is A Doll’s House, written by Henrik Ibsen, the Norwegian "father of realism" who will be the featured artist of the 2019 Master Playwright Festival.

A Doll’s House plays at Royal MTC Warehouse from Jan. 31 to Feb. 16, 2019. But Royal MTC will effectively accommodate its own double shot of Ibsen with A Doll’s House, Part 2, a sequel to Ibsen’s work by contemporary playwright Lucas Hnath. The play — "often very funny," Schipper says — imagines a meeting between estranged couple Nora and Torvald 15 years after Nora closed the door on the relationship in Ibsen’s revolutionary play that debuted in 1879. It plays on the John Hirsch Mainstage Feb. 21 to March 16, 2019.

Those two plays reflect a strong feminine presence to the season, kicking off at the mainstage with a world première of an adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility by Winnipeg playwright Ellen Peterson, commissioned by Royal MTC, which will run this fall, from Oct. 18 to Nov. 10.

A more juvenile approach to feminine empowerment comes via Matilda: The Musical, on the mainstage Jan. 10-Feb. 2, 2019. An adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1988 children’s novel, it’s about a smart little girl with unusual powers who is forced to reckon with her own negligent parents and the monstrous headmistress of her school.

Pulitzer Prize winner Annie Baker closes the Warehouse season with John (April 4-20, 2019), a story of a troubled couple trying to confront their issues in a Gettysburg, Pa., bed and breakfast. It’s "spooky, spiritual and fascinating," Schipper says.

If Come from Away was the current season’s most challenging ticket — all performances quickly sold out — next season’s most difficult "get" may be 887, visionary Quebec playwright Robert Lepage’s one-man performance piece, which Schipper says he had sought for years. It plays on the mainstage for three performances only from Feb. 8 to 10, 2019.

Another one-man mainstage show, enhanced by state-of-the-art technology, is Boom X (March 21 to April 13, 2019), a sequel to Rick Miller’s Boom (which played the mainstage in 2016). Boom X continues where Boom left off — at Woodstock. Playing more than 100 characters, Miller carries us through a baby-boomer history encompassing 1969 to 1995.

MTC artistic director Steven Schipper announces the theme of the 2018-19 season on Friday. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

MTC artistic director Steven Schipper announces the theme of the 2018-19 season on Friday. (Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press)

Next year’s Christmas mainstage play is a returning show, It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play (Nov. 22 to Dec. 15), which was first presented on the mainstage in 2009. Adapted by Philip Grecian, it’s a retelling of the perennial Christmas classic as presented as a radio play, complete with an onstage Foley artist providing sound effects.

Another world première closes the mainstage season. The Cottage, the first play by Winnipeg writer Jake MacDonald, places three dissimilar siblings in the family cottage to determine which of them will inherit it to honour the wishes of their ailing, elderly mother. "We’re thrilled to welcome Jake MacDonald the novelist, and introduce Jake MacDonald the playwright," Schipper said.

The Tom Hendry Warehouse will feature more offbeat fare, beginning with Vietgone (Nov. 1 to 17), playwright Qui Nguyen’s stylish history of his own parents’ escape to America after the fall of Saigon, incorporating notes of hip hop and kung fu movies.

Another cultural memoir is Made in Italy (Feb. 28 to March 16, 2019), written and performed by Farren Timoteo, recalling the son of a recent Italian immigrant growing up in Jasper, Alta., in the 1970s. "He was the only kid at school with a three-piece suit and a lunchbox full of cured meats and aged cheeses," Schipper says.

Subscription packages for the 2018-19 season start at $162.

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @FreepKing

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Randall King

Randall King
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In a way, Randall King was born into the entertainment beat.

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