Seeds in the sky

Sue Carter Flinn mourns Halifax’s famous hamster.

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Sometimes the show ain’t so dope. Coast cover hamster Copain (see the September 14, 2006 issue) passed away on January 25. Jacob Owens, Copain’s owner and creator of the delightful short films Copain de Paris and Copain de Paix knew the little guy wasn’t well when he started production on the final film in the trilogy, Copain de Mémoires. “Two weeks ago we shot all of Copain’s parts, which isn’t many in the film. It’s like he held on until the very end,” Owens says.

Although Owens won’t divulge details, judging from the teaser it’s a safe bet you should carry Kleenex to this year’s Atlantic Film Festival, where the first two movies premiered. He’s also signing a distribution contract for the trilogy’s DVD, to be released in early 2008. Owens knows Copain will never be forgotten. “I never had a hamster that had that kind of effect on my life, and other people’s as well.”

Watch the heartbreaking teaser-trailer at: www.owensproductions.com

Drive-in theatre

Catch DMV Theatre Co-op while you can. As an equity co-op, DMV is a group of unionized actors who received permission to work on Paula Vogel’s Pulitzer-winning story about pedophilia, How I Learned to Drive. Kate Lavender plays a young woman who unexpectedly enters into a relationship with her uncle (Brian Heighton), who is teaching her to drive.

Directed by Pamela Halstead and assembled in a month, Lavender says that the group was drawn to the play’s humour. “It makes it incredibly human,” she says. “You really like the uncle figure. It’s really great to shake audiences into evaluating why they like something, why they don’t, and looking within themselves. But it’s not an issue play. You fall in love with these characters and that’s difficult.”

Running nightly until February 4, 8pm, at Bus Stop Theatre (2203 Gottingen), tickets are $15 ($12 for students). Reserve by calling 448-7740.

Office spaces

Deal with the mid-afternoon slump with a walk over to the Killam Library (6225 University, fifth floor) on February 1 at 3pm to hear Jackie Torrens read monologues from Fables and excerpts from her new play-in-progress, Cubicle: A Play About Falling, to be developed by 2b Theatre.

Originally conceived as a musical, Cubicle has evolved into a play with music, thanks to its yodelling narrator. “I’m calling it an absurd western fairytale about dying and being resurrected. The play takes place in a small town called Brawley, in the fictional west, and the town is ordinary in every way except it’s surrounded by an inordinate number of canyons,” says Torrens. “The story centres on four people who work together in an office, and they all work in cubicles. And they’re all tight, closed and repressed in their own ways. It’s a play about coming out of that in the wild, wild west. And the big open spaces.”

Peace out

While celebs smiled pretty at Sundance, at the World Peace Film and Music Awards in Lucknow, India, a Halifax film took home top honours. Triad Film Production’s Teaching Peace in a Time of War, directed by Teresa McInnis and produced by Peter d’Entremont, is the third film in a series. Teaching Peace documents the lives of students and teachers at a school in Belgrade, Serbia, and how a decade of violent civil war has impacted their lives.

“It is about not only craftsmanship, it’s also merit, and the festival itself is celebrating peace, and I think this film celebrates peace,” says d’Entremont, who focuses on socially conscious subjects. He’s currently working on another project that deals with ethical dilemma of scientists working on nuclear weapons.

Reading week

Look for Don Hannah reading from his mystical new novel Ragged Islands at Frog Hollow Books (Park Lane) on February 1 at 7pm. Acclaimed historical fiction writer Lawrence Hill reads from his latest, The Book of Negroes at the Halifax North Library (2285 Gottingen) on February 6 at 7pm, and at the Cole Harbour branch on February 7.

Tara Thorne will return next week. Art smarts? Email: tarat@thecoast.ca

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