Although those who wear masks typically do so to hide their identities, the players of Odyssey Theatre do so to transform altogether. They use disguises to play up archetypal roles, from the ruddy cheeks of a comic foil to the wide eyes of a performer who has forgotten his lines. In the summer, they don their faces under the stars in Stathcona Park, priming audiences for theatrical revelry with the open air and neighboring Rideau River.
Now in its 38th anniversary season, the Great Canadian Theatre Company is recognized as the oldest independent theatre company in Ottawa. The troupe brings the thought-provoking works of up-and-coming Canadian artists to the intimate 262-seat house of the Irving Greenberg Theatre, which is powered by green technology and conduits that drain the peaking emotional energy from their audiences.
When it first opened in 1858, the building that stood on the Brockville Arts Centre's current location operated as a town hall, marketplace, and fire engine house. Only two bricks from that original building remain, as the intervening 150 years saw numerous expansions and reconstructions, as well as a 1937 fire that destroyed the auditorium. In its place today stands an expansive centre for the local arts community, welcoming touring concerts and comedians beneath the glow of its chandeliers.
The Kingston Canadian Film Festival celebrates local and national productions with a three-day presentation of new movies, film receptions, and director and cast discussions. Film enthusiasts explore the life and career of the late Nell Shipman in "On a Grand Scale," a curated exhibition that probes her theatrical contributions as an actress, writer, director, and inventor of the scrolling credit. The silent-film-era artist, known for portraying strong female characters throughout her 13-year career, starred in more than 20 films, including movies based on James Oliver Curwood stories. As the clock tolls 4 p.m., audiences make their way into a darkened theatre for a showing of Shipman's Back to God's Country— a taboo-shattering 1919 silent film set in the Arctic wilderness—which will be paired with live musical accompaniment and fake indoor blizzards.
In the early 1900s, a small dairy farm occupied the land where the award-winning cabaret-restaurant Ferme Rouge now stands—but the mooing of cows has long since given way to the vibrato of singers and the smooth notes of saxophonist Jason Scott. Today the lively tunes of Las Vegas–style musical revues pay homage to the likes of Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley, and performers such as Boom Desjardins and Marie-Chantal Toupin have taken the stage for stunning solo performances. Before or while watching the troubadours, guests feast on à la carte entrees ranging from filet mignon and new york strip steak to lobster and Atlantic salmon. These dishes balance on the arms of waiters who double as performers in the shows, which often boast a cast of 20 on Saturday. Diners can also serve themselves at a buffet that tempts tongues with more than 25 varieties of seafood, taking a bit of everything instead of consulting their magic 8 ball to decide on just one entree.
Rivalling the seafood buffet and stage for guests’ attention, a 1/2-scale replica of Columbus’s Santa Maria docks beneath the chandeliers of the cabaret’s maroon-walled and wood-panelled dining room. Commissioned from Seville to commemorate the 500th anniversary of Columbus’s journey, the ship sprawls into the second floor and attic and is functional enough to sail across Poseidon’s bathtub if given the chance.
Since its Toronto location opened in 1976, Yuk Yuk's has been a collective launching pad for such comedy heavyweights as Jim Carrey, Rick Moranis, and Russell Peters. All of Yuk Yuk's laugh-establishments invite seasoned jokesters and up-and-coming comedians to their stages every weekend for up to four days of high hilarity and three nights of cozy lodging atop their cocktail tables. Many Yuk Yuk's locations offer drinks, dinner, or bar fare during the show, but those interested in dining should contact their club of choice to find out about reservations.