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Showing posts from April, 2013

Mike Melski: Eighteen

Unlike his beloved Toronto Maple Leafs, Halifax playwright and filmmaker Mike Melski has enjoyed some real success in recent years. His latest theatrical effort, Eighteen, is the story of an elderly Nova Scotia couple who stumble upon the fountain of youth while golfing in Florida. Recently AE spoke with Melski about the production.
When did you come up with the idea behind the story? It was a happy confluence of a few notions I was having a couple of years ago. I write from experience, and have done plays about hockey, fly-fishing, marathon running, and I never quite found the right idea for probably my favorite pastime, golf. I wanted to explore the magic of the game, the 'zen-ness' of it, but put it in the context of a funny and heartfelt story. I've had several experiences in the strange locale that is Florida, so when Golf collided with Ponce De Leon (legendary quester for the Fountain of Youth in FLA) in my head, I had this thought: "What if you had a mulligan for…

Poet Susan Gillis!

Susan Gillis has lived on either side of the country (in Halifax and Victoria). She now calls Montreal home, where she writes poetry, teaches English and explores! Gillis’ previous published works include Swimming Among the Ruins (Signature Editions, 2000), Volta (Signature Editions, 2002, winner of the A.M Klein Prize for Poetry in 2003) and Twenty Views of the Lachine Rapids (Gaspereau Press, 2012).Below, Gillis shares some internal musings pertaining to another recently released book of poetry, The Rapids (Brick Books, 2012) and some profoundly open words for aspiring poets or lovers of poetry. http://www.brickbooks.ca/?page_id=5&authorid=147
AE:What inspired you to put this collection together?
SG:I’d been thinking about how, and what, we see when we look atthings—so much depends on what’s going on around us and within us–and I wanted to slow down my looking, observe it. I haven’t alwaysthought of myself as being especially visually oriented, so the choiceto look at the river, at…

Mayworks Festival

The Mayworks Festival kicks off in Halifax today, featuring diverse forms of art with connections to HRM, Cape Breton, Cuba and beyond. In its fourth year, the festival “strives to bring workers and artists together, using art to explore economic and social justice”…with the belief that the “Labour Movement must engage in cultural work,” says a press release issued by the Halifax Dartmouth and District Labour Council (HDDLC), the festival’s organizers. HDDLC’s Vice President Admin & Communications, Debbie Richardson, fills us in on the festival’s philosophy and purpose, and highlights just some of the events scheduled throughout the nine days.
AE: What is the festival’s history?
DR: There have been Mayworks Festivals in other cities for a number of years. The Halifax Dartmouth and District Labour Council, and in particular Margaret Anne McHugh and Scott Gillard, put together the first Mayworks Festival in 2010.

AE: Why is it important for the labour workforce to engage in cultural …

Live Art Dance presents 3 x 3 x 3

Dance takes on unimaginable proportions this Thursday to Saturday at the Sir James Dunn Theatre— unimaginable except in the creative minds of Halifax’s Jacinte Armstrong, Quebec City’s Maryse Damecour and Montreal’s Dorian Nuskin-Oder.
Live Art Dance presents 3 x 3 x 3 to showcase three different works by the three different choreographers hailing from three different cities. The program is part of the Candance Creation Exchange Project, allowing all three artists to present their choreographies in each other’s cities. The tour begins tomorrow in Halifax.


“I feel like anything that I’ve done and do since this piece has been really, really positively affected by the experience of making it.”

Armstrong, a fixture in Halifax’s dance and choreography community, is also performing her piece (Falling Off the Page)with Susanne Chui (artistic director of Mocean Dance).
“This is my first piece that I’ve worked really in depth on,” says Armstrong who had already choreographed quite a number of danc…

Let Me Clear My Throat by Elena Passarello

Arts East is based out of Halifax, and we don’t always get to present the diverse talent in other parts of Atlantic Canada as much as we’d like or should. So we were thrilled when talented PEI writer, Mo Duffy Cobb, offered to share her gorgeously vivid prose--this time in the form of a review of Elena Passarello’s Let Me Clear My Throat.
Mo Duffy Cobb is a student of Creative Nonfiction at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She has been published in Red: The Island Storybook, and popular travel blogs, and is currently working on a memoir of her time in Asia. Her blog, FurtherMo, is a record of her passions of traveling and parenting on the journey to inner wisdom. She lives in Prince Edward Island where she teaches English.


Let Me Clear My Throat Essay Anthology by Elena Passarello Sarabande Books, October 2012 ISBN-13: 978-1-936747-45-0 Paperback: 240 pp; $22.95 Review by Mo Duffy Cobb
You’ve been thrilled by the shriek of a child, riveted by one of Robert Plant’s quivering tones or energi…

Award Winning Poet Julie Bruck!

Montreal-born and raised, Julie Bruck is an award-winning poet, teacher and writing mentor. She has been honored with numerous prizes, including Canada’s 2012 Governor General’s Literary Award for Poetry, The A.M. Klein Award for Poetry and two Gold Canadian National Magazine Awards. She has three books of poetry published through Brick Books (The Woman Downstairs, 1993; The End of Travel, 1999; Monkey Ranch, 2012) and her work has also appeared in numerous magazines/journals, from The New Yorker to The Malahat Review. Bruck took some time, from her San Francisco home, to share the creative process that went into her latest poetry collection, her views on the state of poetry in Canada and some inspiring words for aspiring poets. www.juliebruck.com
AE:What inspired you to put Monkey Ranch together? JB: Though Monkey Ranch is my third book, I have yet to set out with a clear idea of a collection ahead of time. I tend to let the poems lead, and figure out the rest as a final step. This tim…

Dartmouth Players Presents: "Come Back to the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean"

Although I had heard the word grouping “Come Back to the Five & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Deannumerous times, I had never seen a production of the Ed Graczyk play until today. Sitting inside the Dartmouth Players’ theatre minutes before the “curtain went up,” based on title alone, I was expecting a light comedy reminiscent of Happy Days.
I quickly learned my assumptions were wrong and for the first 10 or so minutes my mind wandered away from the Texan five-and-dime scene before me. This is no fault of the actors or the script, as it is no easy task to immediately engage an audience with a dialogue-intensive script
As it turns out there was no need for a flashy sock hop scene or a James Dean look-a-like speeding across the stage in a Porsche Super Speedster. After an initial period of distraction, my focus became wholly engrossed in the performance and before I knew it, it was intermission! For the first time in quite a while, a longer than average play (two-and-a-half hours) flew …

Theatre Arts Guild Presents A Man for All Seasons

Review by Martin Wallace
Theatre Arts Guild (TAG) advertises itself as “Canada's oldest continuously operating community theatre.” While in some cases the term “community theatre” can seem as much a warning as a description (think of “Waiting for Guffman”), in the case of TAG what’s remarkable is the level of professionalism that seems evident in every aspect of a production.
Last Thursday, I attended the opening night of TAG’s production of Robert Bolt’s “A Man for All Seasons,” (which the older among us may remember most from the 1967 film adaption), the story of Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor to King Henry VIII, who, for reasons of religious conviction, refused to endorse the King’s wish to divorce his Queen and marry the sister of his former mistress. While the specific political and theological issues may seem distant from the concerns of a modern audience, the theme of sticking to one’s beliefs, in the midst of overwhelming pressure to change them, is timeless. “A Man for Al…

Bedford Players presents The Mousetrap

The Bedford troupe officially opened Agatha Christie’s 60-year-old playThe Mousetrap last night, but a crowd was treated to a preview show a couple evenings prior.

On Tuesday night, an almost packed house gazed upon an impressively dressed stage flavoured down to the last gold-rimmed mirror and roll-top desk. Before the lights went out, the front of house manager encouraged the audience not to share the plot’s shocking secret outside the theatre. “One key to The Mousetrap’s success is the secrecy asked of the audience at every performance—it is a whodunit—when you leave us today, please don’t reveal the solution,” reads the Bedford Players’ program.
Indeed, if partaking in the play for the first time, spectators are prone to suspect each of the eight characters who grace the Great Hall of Monkswell Manor, not only because of Christie’s superb script, but also, because of the Bedford Players’ interpretation of her work. From the chilling, yet comedic laugh of an unexpected guest to the s…

Frye Festival / Festival Frye

If you live in the Moncton area, or are looking for an excuse to take a road trip, check out the Frye Festival/Festival Frye from April 22 to April 28. In its 14th year, it is the country’s only bilingual literary festival (and Atlantic Canada’s largest literary festival).
This year Frye Fest is showcasing 30 renowned and budding, regional, national and international authors (who combined boast 40 literary award wins and nominations) in 50+ events, from music and reading showcases, roundtables, book clubs and workshops to school visits, a trivia night and family activities. Many of the events are either free or pay what you can.
“This year, I think what’s most impressive about our line-up is that each and every writer in his own right is just a fantastic storyteller and a really, really strong writer,” Danielle LeBlanc, the festival’s Executive Director, eagerly shares. “All of the books that are featured in our program are some of the best books that came out in 2012 and to put all of…