Montreal's senior monthly since 1986

Feb '10

Columns

That paper on your doorstep every morning? It's a miracle

Publishing a monthly newspaper like The Senior Times sometimes requires a bit of divine assistance, but putting out a daily newspaper in today’s environment requires The Daily Miracle.

And that is indeed the title of a new play at Infinitheatre’s Bain St. Michel outpost. Written by David Sherman, a former critic and copy editor for the Montreal Gazette, as well as a playwright in residence at the Centaur, it has the ring of truth.

While Citizen Kane and The Front Page portray the newspaper industry for cinema, there are surprisingly few stage efforts with that theme.

The Chinese were the first to print a newspaper in 740 A.D.; the first newspaper in Europe did not appear until 1536, in Venice.

By 1702, England caught up, with the first English paper, The Daily Courant. It still wasn’t until 1783 that the first U.S. daily, The Philadelphia Evening Post, emerged.

So it wasn’t so long ago, only about 200 years, that the daily papers we grew up with and assumed were part of the fixed landscape grew and flourished. Today, with the advent of the Internet, we see many established brands closing or reverting to digital only. Reporters no longer schmooze together at pubs, and don’t always work in the office, sending in their stories by keyboard clicks from home.

The cover story of the Jan. 25 issue of The Nation, “How To Save Journalism,” highlights this problem.

The harried characters in The Daily Miracle have to balance syntax and accuracy with deadlines. The excellent cast includes Ellen David and Arthur Holden. The Daily Miracle runs till Feb. 14. 514-987-1774

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Jack Kerouac’s On The Road became the literary Bible of a generation. An imaginary meeting in Florida between Quebec playwright superstar Michel Tremblay and Quebec–American Jack forms the basis of George Rideau’s miraculously posited play at the Centaur, Michel & Ti-Jean. Set in 1969, the use of an imaginary trip smacks a bit of What Happened After, Ray Robinson’s award-winning 2008 novel imagining Jack’s aborted trip to his ancestral province. This is a must-see, especially for fellow Kerouac freaks. How can you go wrong with Alain Goulem as Jack in a Sarah Stanley-directed play? A personal plea: Don’t refer to Jack as “king of the beats,” a media term he disliked. Michel & Ti-Jean runs till March 7. 514-288-3161

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Constructed in 1172, the Leaning Tower of Pisa has miraculously not toppled yet. Nor has its fellow Italian city of Venice sunk into the ocean yet. These construction problems are joined by human relationships gone askid in Geometry in Venice at the Segal. Written 20 years ago and based on a Henry James novella, “The Pupil,” it is an opportunity to see the work of Michael Mackenzie. His Cirque de Soleil show KA is playing in Las Vegas. His The Baroness and the Pig won 2008 MECCA awards. National Theatre School wunderkind Chris Abraham returns from Toronto to direct. Geometry in Venice runs till Feb. 14. 514-739-7944

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Gods can perform miracles, but cannot escape the ravages of time. That is the conceit behind The Mid-Life Crisis of Dionysus, the latest musical offering at the Mainline. Written by Fringe Theatre Festival managers Jeremy Hechtman and Patrick Goddard, with original music by multitalented Nick Carpenter, this promises to be literally a romp with the gods. Patrick also acts in the play, as does emerging star Paul Van Dyck.

The Mid-Life Crisis of Dionysus plays from Feb. 16 to March 6. 514-849-3378

Ed Note: No divine assistance was required for this edition of The Senior Times.

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