The rise of fall arts: performing arts

This season's cultural events will have you exploring inside and outdoors, with its stellar line-up of theatre, dance, comedy and more.


A Beautiful View
October 13-31 at Neptune Theatre, 1593 Argyle Street, $15-$35, 429-7070,
Love without labels. That's what actor-writer-producer Jackie Torrens feels the two women in Daniel MacIvor's A Beautiful View have spent 20 years working towards.

"As humans, there seems to be a need for us to define something, to label it," she explains. "But these two women have been in an intense relationship for a long time---they're more than friends, even more than family. Yes, they've had a sexual relationship, and it sends them for a loop, but it doesn't define the relationship. They spend a lot of time trying to figure out just what they are to each other." Torrens, who stars in the play with Kathryn MacLellan, says itâ's likely to appeal to a wide audience. "Daniel MacIvor"---who is also directing the production---"has a huge following. His plays get an influx of people who are kind of all ages."

MacLellan, Torrens and MacIvor have recently founded a new theatre company called DTS (Distinct Theatre Society) that is collaborating with Neptune to produce the play.

"That's the reality of working in the arts on the east coast," says Torrens with a laugh. "You have to wear many hats." –Kate Watson


East of Berlin
November 29-December 13 at The Bus Stop Theatre, 2203 Gottingen Street, $15-$25,
Hannah Moscovitch's East of Berlin received rave reviews when it premiered in Toronto two years ago. Now its Atlantic Canadian premiere is being produced by 2b theatre company. It's the harrowing story of a young man who has grown up in South America believing his father was a physician in the German army during the Second World War. When he learns that the truth is much more horrific, he flees to Germany where he falls in love with an American Jew. Believe it or not, it was originally conceived as a comedy, and although Moscovitch eventually went in another direction, some humour remains. –Kate Watson


Extinction Song
November 17-29 (preview November 15) at the Windsor Lecture Theatre, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, 1723 Hollis Street, $15-$30, 463-PLAY,
Eastern Front Theatre has left its 300-seat home in the Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth and is staging shows in various smaller theatres in Halifax. This season's first production, Extinction Song, is a one-man show by Cape Breton playwright Ron Jenkins. It stars Edmonton actor Ron Pederson (of MadTV) as a seven-year-old boy whose troubling life causes him to concoct a rich fantasy life involving an alternate family who just happens to be wolves. It's an invitation into the world of a child that promises to be funny, tender and ultimately heartbreaking. –Kate Watson



Lisa Phinney, Analogy for Solid Bones
October 1-3, 8pm at Sir James Dunn Theatre, Dalhousie Arts Centre, 6101 University Avenue, $16.50-$24,
Last January, dancer/choreographer Lisa Phinney premiered a work-in-progress at DANSpace, which was then titled World from a Place, featuring a stellar group of dancers: Jacinte Armstrong, Susanne Chui, Francis Brake and Ruth-Ellen Kroll Jackson. Sexy, funny, smart and incredibly physical, the dancers, dressed in cocktail frocks, crawled, slinked, tumbled and fought as if it was the raucous end to a late-night party.

This October, Phinney is premiering her new work, called Analogy for Solid Bones, inspired by her field research on loons and their ecosystems. Oh yeah, did we mention that Phinney also has her masters in atmospheric science? Presented by Live Art Productions, featuring nine dancers, an original score by Sageev Oore and set design by Peter Dykhuis, Analogy is one of the strongest showcases of Halifax talent happening this fall. –Sue Carter Flinn


Decidedly Jazz Danceworks, wowandflutter
October 8-10, 8pm at Sir James Dunn Theatre, 6101 University Avenue, $16.50-$24,,
When Paul Caskey, Live Art Dance Productions' artistic director, first saw Decidedly Jazz Danceworks two seasons ago, he couldn't forget the company. "Their pieces are very dynamic and high-energy," Caskey explains of his first impressions. The Calgary company brings its international standard of contemporary jazz dance to Halifax with wowandflutter, an African-rooted, swing-based jazz piece choreographed by Kimberley Cooper, with an original sound score by Amon Tobin. "It has a phantasmagorical element to it that makes it great to watch," says Caskey of DJD's new piece, which kicks off the company's 25th year. –Holly Gordon


Fall for Flamenco Festival
October 21-30 at various locations,
For 10 days in October, you can fall for flamenco at this annual festival, run by Halifax's flamenco lady Maria Osende. The festival brings introductory workshops, master classes, free concerts and three larger concerts, including Flamenco Con Fusion (part of the Halifax Pop Explosion) and a show with guest Rafael Campallo, world-renowned flamenco dancer from Spain. Osende, who runs Maria Osende Flamenco Company, is itching to bring this festival to Halifax again. "Flamenco is not something from the past that keeps repeating; it's alive and passionate. Because it's so emotionally charged, people can relate to it, so the language doesn't matter." –Holly Gordon



Louis CK
Friday, September 25, 7:30pm and 10pm at the Rebecca Cohn, Dalhousie Arts Centre, 6101 University Avenue, $37, 494-3820,
Arguably the funniest stand-up comedian currently working, Louis CK's brilliant comedy is being recognized by an ever-increasing audience.

Did it ever matter that prop comedian Gallagher once gave a shit when Louis CK was ranked two spots ahead of him on Comedy Central's list of the 100 Greatest Stand-ups of All Time? Or that Barbara Walters described CK's criminally underrated, misunderstood late sitcom Lucky Louie as "unbelievably vulgar" and "racist?" (See Louis CK's take on his appearance on The View.) Or that he just might be Dane Cook's best (unintentionally so) writer?

Maybe CK's life still stinks---"My life fucking stinks, it just does...When you're a parent...all the pleasures are gone, no one fucks you ever again"---but with a starring role in Ricky Gervais's new movie The Invention of Lying, a sizable upcoming guest role on Parks and Recreation as Amy Poehler's love interest and a new TV series on FX due out in 2010, can it really be all that bad? –Mark Black


Just For Laughs Comedy Tour
Saturday, October 24, 7pm and 9:30pm at the Rebecca Cohn, Dalhousie Arts Centre, 6101 University Avenue, $39.50, 494-3820,
The Rebecca Cohn plays host to the Capital One Just For Laughs Comedy Tour and while it's not clear what Capital One knows about comedy, the line-up of Sugar Sammy, Danny Bhoy, Pete Correale, Godfrey and Steve Patterson is being touted as an all-star roster of Just for Laughs performers of the past and present. Host Sugar Sammy might just be the standout of the quintet. Performing in English, French, Punjabi and Hindi, Sammy's material---while covering the usual comedic topics of race, sex and pop culture---displays a certain polish and perspective that places his performance above his peers. Don't worry, no one will ask you to sign up for a MasterCard. –Mark Black

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