Review: Eye in the Sky

Civilian casualties of war seem to loom large over our collective consciousness this summer. The plot of  Captain America: Civil War was set in motion because of the impact of those casualties. Now we have Eye in the Sky, a modern war thriller with a classic ethical dilemma at its core. On a sunny day in Nairobi, Kenya, key members of the terrorist group Al-Shabab meet in a suburb. Members of the British and United States forces watch drone footage of the meeting and plan a drone strike. As the Al-Shabab members suit themselves up in suicide bombing vests, a young girl sets up her bread stand outside of the terrorists’ house and well within range of an air strike. […]

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Theatre review: The Butcher

The ideal audience member for Nicolas Bisson’s Butcher is a clueless one. That’s why it’s hard to write a review of the production, which is currently playing at the Great Canadian Theatre Company (GCTC). Bisson’s story begins with familiarity and then steps slowly out of safety and into darkness. I experienced that progression knowing what was coming. I think it would have been even more effective if I’d gone in blind. Hamilton Barnes enters the narrative blind. The bookish British lawyer, played by Jonathan Koensgen, is called to a Toronto police station on Christmas Eve. There he meets Detective Lamb, who explains the circumstances: A strange old man has arrived at the station with a butcher’s hook around his neck, […]

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GCTC’s Butcher takes dark thrills and mystery to stage

A mysterious man appears at a police station one night with a meat hook around his neck and no way to explain himself—this is the premise of Nicolas Billon’s Butcher, a play which will open at the Great Canadian Theatre Company March 3. Butcher tells the tale of Josef, a man whose past actions set a narrative of brutality and revenge in motion. “I really wasn’t prepared for how upsetting some of the process was going to be,” said director Eric Coates. “I find myself in the middle of the day sometimes convinced that this story is actually unfolding in front of me in real life . . . The material here is so powerful you can’t help it sometimes.” […]

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Q&A: The Crucible directors Jake Pitre and Keith Hickey

Sock ’n’ Buskin’s latest production, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, opened last weekend, and continues its run from Jan. 28—Jan 30. The play is co-directed by two journalism students, Keith Hickey and Jake Pitre. Both actors appeared in last year’s Sock ‘n’ Buskin’ production of The Mouse That Roared, and this is the directorial debut of both students. The Charlatan spoke to the pair on flipping a classic, collaborating with the cast, and what characters they identify with. The Charlatan (TC): To start off, how are things going? Jake Pitre (JP): Good, going well. TC: How has it been directing for the first time in your lives? JP: It has been very stressful but very exciting at the same time. I […]

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Commentary: The Bluebird of Happiness

“It’s kind of like a punch in the stomach.” That’s how project manager Julie Hodgson described SAW Gallery’s current exhibit The Bluebird of Happiness. I’m inclined to agree. Walking through the series is like walking through a child’s nightmare. The Bluebird of Happiness is the work of painter Ruby Ewen. In the 1950s at age six, Ewen was sent to a Vancouver boarding school. “I was there for a year and a half and during that time I was abused . . . and was witness to a murder on the grounds of the school of the woman who tried to protect me,” Ewen said. Ewen said she could have ended up drug-addicted in the Main and Hastings neighbourhood of […]

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