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February 2007 - Nr. 2


The Editor
Herz und Rose
KW & Beyond
Albert Kergl
Herwig Wandschneider
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Growing Organic Needed
New German Films
Goethe Institut President Limbach
Peter Hessel's New Book
A Schubert Valentine
Canadian Opera Company
The Erik Bruhn Prize
Orchestra Toronto Event
Yo! Germany Raps
Grade 5 SnowPass
Crime of the Century
The Falun Dafa Association
Arctic Voyage
Ontario Good Citizen Award
Boost to Arts Education
Heart-Healthy Meals
Clean Wood Burning
Wood for Energy
Centre of European Union
'Industrial Revolution'
Food to Karamoja

KW & Beyond

  by Irena Syrokomla

Irena Syrokomla

Following much turbulence and deliberations, K-W Symphony is looking forward to a new beginning with the announcement in the local newspaper in December of the appointment of a conductor: Edwin Outwater. He has been selected from more than 160 candidates and has expressed his excitement about being No.1 in an orchestra like K-W Symphony. Prior to accepting this position he completed a five-year tenure with San Francisco Symphony as a resident conductor. Although a native Californian, Mr. Outwater does not seem concerned about Canadian winters as he recalls his experience in Boston where he studied English literature at Harvard. His contract calls for 11 weeks of conducting per year; however, he said he would be looking for part-time accommodation in the area as he is planning to be here for longer periods of time.

He said he does not just want the orchestra to sound good. He wants it to rock!

Good for him. Good for us. Welcome to Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario, Canada!


Another new name in the cultural world of our region is Daryl Cloran, new artistic director at Theatre & Company. He is young, graduated from Queen’s University in 1997 and along with a group of enthusiasts founded Theatrefront in Toronto. Theatrefront has staged 21 productions since 1995 and some of them won critical acclaim and awards. There were total of 34 applicants from across Canada and the U.S. and the committee was impressed by the quality of the candidates. Mr. Cloran is planning to relocate to our community and settle here with family. We are happy to have a new enthusiastic individual and look forward to meeting him and seeing his stamp on Theatre & Company.

This winter Touchmark Theatre based in River Run Centre in Guelph is staging only two productions, - the first will be Bell, Book & Candle by John Van Drutten, a romantic comedy about witches in 1950’s in Manhattan. The shows will run from February 16th to 24th in River Run Centre and the tickets are priced very modestly in the $16.50 to $33.00 range. On February 18 at 2 pm (Sunday) the show is "pay what you can" with open sitting. Knowing the quality of workmanship and talents of the artistic director Dough Beattie I am eagerly awaiting his 2007 productions.

Canstage in Toronto presents Half Life
written by John Mighton,
directed by Daniel Brooks

Several times a year I venture outside of my comfortable Waterloo Region and this time the decision to do so happened almost instantly as a result of reading a review with four stars attached to it and printed in the weekend edition of The Globe and Mail, where reviewers usually are not too generous with the stars so I started reading about Half Life, written by John Mighton in 2005 (so great plays can be written in current days too!) and directed with care and understanding by Daniel Brooks.

It is a drama about ageing, memory loss, enjoying perhaps the last years if not months or days of life, small things, classic routines, full of repetitions and recollections. Three residents of the nursing home and two of their adult children together with a nurse and a chaplain take their place on stage, the décor is sparse and hardly important, a couple of chairs, some nursing equipment, a bed. There was really hardly anything happening, and still the audience was sitting in stone silence mesmerized by the acting in front of them. Frankly it is rare to see such acting: composed, graceful, subtle, taking your breath away. Two old people meet by coincidence in the nursing home and recognize that they have met once possibly 60 years ago. Maybe it was not they, maybe it is all illusion and wish, but they fall in love (again) and wish to marry. Their adult children see it as absurd and unthinkable and having power of attorney – do not permit it. The couple has to be kept apart and whatever appearances preserved.

In a surprising way the play is not sad, it is amusing, optimistic and very gentle. Forgetfulness, physical incapacity, confused outbursts, and typical interactions with the family, the nurse or the priest – all of them appear so normal and expected. Eric Peterson, Carolyn Hetherington, Barbara Gordon, Diego Matamoros – it is difficult to pick who is the best from among the actors, each one created a unique individual portrait, layered with past experiences, character and personality. What theatre, what acting!!

The Canstage production of Half Life took place in Bluma Appel Theatre in St. Lawrence Centre and needless to say, the majority of the audience was over 60. Obviously Baby Boomers are ageing and there is more interest in different aspects of the later stages of life. Regrettably Half Life closes February 3rd.


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