It has got to be very exciting for everyone involved when a theatre company opens it’s new season. I, personally, had never experienced an Opening Night for a season until last Thursday when I had the pleasure of attending Prairie Theatre Exchange’s (PTE Winnipeg) newest production, The Best Brothers for their 2013/14 year.
I attended with my good friend, Cheron Long-Landes, the founder of the Company of Women‘s Winnipeg chapter and we had a lovely Girlfriend Date Night. The theatre was packed and there was a buzz of anticipation in the air. The cast and crew did not disappoint as laughter abounded throughout the theatre during the show.
Becoming a PTE Subscriber really has it’s benefits, including: free underground parking at Portage Place Mall, opening night receptions, meet and greet opportunities with the cast and much, much more! Please visit PTE’s website for all the details.
The Best Brothers two-man cast were really kept hopping throughout the performance, or so they told me after the show at the meet-and-greet in the lobby. It makes sense because for the whole show it was one or the other on-stage, plus they also brought in their own props. They did a marvelous job and thoroughly entertained the sold-out crowd.
Local actors, Paul Essiembre and Carson Nattrass had everyone both laughing and crying along with them throughout the play. I loved their irreverence, as well as the way playwright, Daniel McIvor wove the “other actor” throughout the script. No spoiler alert required… but it’s a must see for that one reason alone. Well done, gentlemen!
The poignant blend of tongue-in-cheek humour and emotional sharing between the two brothers – one an architect and the other a real estate agent – over the unexpected passing of their mother touched a chord in myself. I felt drawn into the story line perhaps more than the average attendee, as I too had lost my own mother, many years ago, very suddenly.
Hampered by past resentments and the age-old sibling-rivalry question “Who did Mom love best?”, they struggle to understand one another’s way of grieving, to accept one another’s picture of who their mother was — and to decide who has to take her dog (the real love of her life).
Though we never got to meet the pup, much to my disappointment, the play brought to mind all the challenges that those left behind must deal with after a loved one dies. I was reminded once again, and it seems to be a theme for me this month… that it is so very important to always have your affairs in order – no matter what age you may be.
The play brought back memories of the days of planning the funeral, writing the obituary for the newspaper, and selecting the floral arrangements. I recall feeling like I didn’t know my mother at all while my family made funeral arrangements. I believe that it’s such a smart plan to have these end-of-life discussions with your adult children, especially after having experienced a sudden loss myself.
There are some interesting new additions to PTE for this show, including Carson’s posts from the Rehearsal Studio and videos on the PTE blog. However, my favourite new enhancement to the PTE experience had to be their brand new projection system (above left in the background) that creates unique and easy-to-change backdrops on a solid screen behind the actors. This use of technology for the stage, I thought, was so stunningly effective.
I thoroughly enjoyed the performance of The Best Brothers, and high recommend that you pick up tickets for the play before it ends on November 3rd. As an added bonus, this play is only 90 minutes in length, with no intermission — perfect for a quick evening of culture and entertainment.
And if you cannot make it downtown before The Best Brothers ends, PTE’s next production will be Social Studies by Trish Cooper – 1 of 7 local women writers to premiere on Winnipeg stages this year. Learn more about the Group of 7 female playwrights from the Winnipeg Free Press.
Did you attend The Best Brothers too?
Please feel free to share your comments and opinions below.