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See The Guardians of the Cross this weekend only at Theatre St. Catherine

Posted by David / December 19, 2013


Upon first walking into Theatre Ste-Catherine, Alain Mercieca, Artistic Director of Le Nouveau International and all around main TSC man, was on the phone. He was going on about monologues rewritten and ad hoc rehearsal times. After hanging up, he took a few minutes to explain to one of his people that he'd be "running the lights," and what that entails. He then spent a few more minutes with a Nouveau members discussing what kind of music they want for a scene or two--Mingus and the Hymn of the 183rd Brigadier (your guess is as good as mine) were mentioned.

In the span of a short 10 minutes I waited, he seemed to juggle directing, writing, stage managing and all-around boss duties, and this seems altogether routine at TSC. Everyone else was also biting off their fair share, throwing in whatever they needed to; it was Saturday night, and tonight opening was 5 days away. Everything at TSC was business as usual.

In fact, the kind of last-call breeziness I walked in on last Saturday is something Mercieca told me is in many ways necessary to what they do at TSC. The stuff they put on is deeply rooted in improv, and reliant on a certain kind of loosy-goosey showmanship often foreign to theatre today. As he puts it, TSC plays are "theatre for people who hate theatre," and he counts himself among them, to a certain extent; the usual unionized flawlessness one tends to encounter in a theatre often bores him. The stuff at TSC is by no means highbrow, but it guarantees a certain spark, a faithful bit of show-time magic that leaves it all out there --and that has kept many TSC patrons coming back for more.

As such, by-the-seat-of-one's-pants and alive will continue to win out on impeccable and stale at TSC, and Le Nouveau's latest offering is no exception. The Guardians of the Cross/Le Dernier Brigadier is Mercieca fourth new original play this fall, more or less right on the heels of his one-man show at Mainline, Adopted at Death. In line with this past September's Depflies (Le Nouveau's sixth installment of the live sitcom), Guardians promises to wade in that St-Henri nostalgia that has marked so much of Alain and Le Nouveau's work. Yet another in a long line of the theatre's bilingual romps, this latest one is a who-dunnit murder mystery involving crossing guards. Again, "theatre for people who hate theatre."

It opens tonight, and while I expect a snafu or two, I'll mostly look forward to something, well, new--more unique and un-boring a promise than is altogether usual. The play runs December 19-21, including an open wrap party Saturday night. Be sure to head down for your dose of rambunctious, inspired and lively hijinks.  



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