Tag Archives: annette loiselle

The Mothers, by Nicole Moeller

Nicole Moeller’s new play The Mothers opened Thursday night and is running at the Alberta Avenue Community League until March 8th as parts of the Skirts Afire festival.   It’s a solo show performed by Annette Loiselle and directed by Glenda Sterling.  Like The Pink Unicorn, it is a story from a mother’s perspective, examining a parent’s role and responsibilities over a teenager’s choices.  Was the mother oblivious to some long-standing problem of her son?  Were the stories she told about him just ordinary stories that didn’t explain the current crisis?   Did it make a difference that she had been young and unprepared to parent?  What I liked best about this story is that the answers to those questions were not obvious.

Although the boy got himself into huge newsworthy trouble, the story on stage was the smaller story of the the mother’s life afterwards.  “Just start over,” is a recurring suggestion, but maybe she can’t and maybe she doesn’t want to.   Bit by bit, as she goes through her son’s belongings in a stark packed-up basement bedroom, she re-examines her life and her son’s life, trying to figure out how her son got to be the person he became, and whether she could have – should have – done anything differently.   Although her relationships with her husband and daughter are not smooth either, they don’t seem to be nearly as fraught as the link she’s had with her son, who’s had some of the same struggles she has.

I wondered before I went why the plural Mothers in the title, when it was going to be a solo show.  (I had similar thoughts about the drama Mothers and Sons which I saw on Broadway last year, and I ended up concluding that it was supposed to represent the universality of the story.)  But it did kind of make sense, with the narrating character Grace talking about her interactions with other mothers affected by the events, and wondering how it felt to be them.

Partway through the performance, I got wondering whether the narration was going to have a tidy or satisfying end, since it didn’t seem to follow a careful chronological order. It did end with a retelling of the son’s crisis and with the mother’s resolve to, not quite start over, but get on with the next things needed.

I identified with the mother.  I’ve never needed to deal with the kinds of decisions and consequences she was dealing with, and I’m glad I haven’t.  It would be interesting to see how this story is heard by people who would be more inclined to identify with the son.  Tickets for shows up to March 4th are available at Tix on the Square, with same-day tickets at the venue until they sell out, and during the festival weekend March 6-8 admission is by donation at the door.

A Christmas Carol at the Citadel

One of my motivations for writing up notes on what I see and posting them here during the run of the show is to encourage other people to go see the show, or to tell people enough about the show that the people who will like it will go.

But in the case of A Christmas Carol at the Citadel, I’m not sure whether I need to do that.  I had the impression that anyone in Edmonton who would like it has already seen it in previous years, and if they wanted to see it again they would already get tickets.  And when I saw it opening night, I guessed that most of the audience had seen it before, based on lots of them seeming to be anticipating the special effects that kept catching me by surprise.  I ended up seeing it closing night as well, and I can see why it’s such a perennial favourite with a long run every December.   It seemed to have a demographically diverse audience, some families with little kids, some families with older teenagers, and adults of all ages.  I wondered whether it was too intense or scary for some of the littler kids, or whether the story was familiar enough to them from other adaptations like “The Muppet Christmas Carol” and readings-aloud that they could get past the scary bits remembering that at the end Scrooge isn’t really dead and neither is Tiny Tim.

The play has a cast of 42 with a lot of the adults playing more than one character. James MacDonald was Scrooge, and he was particularly fun when he giddily realises that he has time to mend his ways and change the outcomes.  Julien Arnold was the ever-grinning Bob Cratchit, and Eric Morin was Scrooge’s nephew Fred.  Belinda Cornish did Mrs. Cratchit very well, conveying warmth and optimism while damping her usual powerful stage presence and upper-class accent enough to be convincing in the role.  Many other names on the cast list are familiar local actors and instructors at Foote Theatre School.

A lot of complicated scenery is moved quickly and smoothly on the Maclab Theatre thrust stage, much of it while our attention is distracted elsewhere.  Some magical special effects delighted me just as much on second viewing.   The ornate costumes clearly conveyed the class distinctions and the era and were fun to look at.

If you missed it this year, I’m sure it will come around again.  But in the meantime, there’s going to be lots of other great entertainment at the Citadel and around the other Edmonton stages in 2014.  I can’t wait.