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May 2007 - Nr.


The Editor
My Mother
Was ist eine Mutter?
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Germanica 2007
KW & Beyond
For the Youngster...
Two Very Special Concerts
Nine New "Chevaliers"
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Ham Se det jehört?
John G. Diefenbaker-Preis
Canadian Stage Company
German Films in San Francisco
Goethe Institutes in Canada
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Liquid Assets
Physicist Von Weizsäcker Died
Powerhouse in Solar
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Wind Energy Grows Fast
Brighter Future for Germans
Bunker Attraction

KW & Beyond

  by Irena Syrokomla

Irena Syrokomla

Private Lives – Theatre Athena in Waterloo

It used to be a movie theatre. It used to be Waterloo Stage Theatre. Two years ago it closed its doors and the future seemed uncertain. Then in the fall of 2006 it reopened as Theatre Athena for plays and Waterloo Entertainment Centre for musical events. The first season has been rocky and artistic director Allison Grant recognizes that the concept of the theatre needs to be refined: perhaps the tickets prices were too high, maybe the programs were too innovative. As we look forward to a new season, we hope the new style will be well received.

As I write these words the last production of the season is being played with the closing date at the end of April. Private Lives, a comedy by Noel Coward, is better than most comedy as it requires some depth and imagination, some experience and observation skills. Then it really shines. Two couples of newlyweds are about to spend their wedding night and honeymoon in adjoining rooms of the Mediterranean hotel. It just happens that the groom of one couple used to be the husband of the bride of the other couple. They recognize each other, old attraction flames and the comedy begins. The new spouses are apparently rather unsuitable matches, they refuse to move to some other location for the honeymoon and the newlywed exes decide to elope. The chemistry between them is vivid, but old resentments and old habits come to the surface as well. What a farce!

Private Lives - ltr.: Juan Chioran (Elyot), Jacklyn Francis (Amanda, Mary Ashton (Sibyl) and Michael Spencer-Davis (Victor)   [photo: courtesy of Waterloo Entertainment Centre]The principal parts are played by Mary Ashton and Juan Chiran (who happen to be married to each other in real life). Both are experienced professional actors, and Chiran is carrying credits from Stratford. Both are excellent in their roles. Michael Spencer-Private Lives - Juan Chioran (Elyot), Jacklyn Francis (Amanda)   [photo: courtesy of Waterloo Entertainment Centre]Davis and Jacklyn Francis are also a good match as new spouses. The acting is fluent and natural, the fights and arguments so natural, the audience could only nod their heads and share the jokes and reasoning with the parties on stage.

My congratulations to Allison Grant for directing this play. Set and costumes by Allan Wilbee (also from Stratford) are very much worth mentioning, setting the events so much in the 1930’s. The theatre was full on opening night and the mood was upbeat.

The second season for Theatre Athena will offer a mix of plays, the first one being Master Class by Terrence McNally (September 27 – October 13), a story of Maria Callas leading three operatic students through music classes. Douglas Beattie will direct Wingfield on Ice (November 13 to 24) and a children’s play Bunnicula is planned for December 13 to 29. This one is different from traditional Christmas plays and should delight both children and their parents. The last play will be The Man in the Desert by Peter Colley, bringing new points of view to the life story of Lawrence of Arabia.

Waterloo Entertainment Centre (same location, different venue) will present several vocal performances, some classic, some more popular, and all planned as one evening events: Kimberly Barber – a marvelous soprano, incidentally a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, Rob Shabo a local songwriter and musician, The Mantini Sisters with a Christmas Medley of seasonal favorites, Joe Sealy – a jazz singer, and Suzie LeBlanc specializing in baroque and early classic music. A New Years party of cabaret music is planned with Jean Stilwell at the piano.

Altogether it looks like an interesting season, new ideas, different productions, something for everybody. --- and so conveniently located in the heart of Waterloo.

The phone number is 519-883-0300 and the web site is


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