Last Friday night Odyssey Theatre, Ottawa’s premier outdoor summer theater company, launched The Things We Do For Love, three Spanish one-act plays that celebrate the passion and pursuit of love. I found it marvelous and advise you to go if you can.With puppets and mask work, the classic tales from Spain’s Cervantes, García Lorca and Tirso came to life under the talents of director Laurie Steven and nine professional Canadian actors.
1. Saving Melisendra! is based on a chapter of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote. Master Pedro’s chivalric puppet play takes a surprising turn when an unexpected
audience member arrives!
Due to the drabness of the costumes and muted quality of the flamenco music in the opening, the first play lacked spirit. However, the puppets were endearing and Karen Knox gave the best human horse performance I have ever seen and heard.
2. The Things We Do for Love blends the traditional with the contemporary, infusing classic tales of chivalric love with longing, lust … and laughter!
I found this play a little dark, despite its hilarity. It is the most modern and brings to mind a terrorist mentality.
3. Whether You Like it Or Not, the main show, is a comedy in which the whimsical heroine concocts outrageous schemes to finally trap the man who has stolen her heart – whether he likes it or not!
This is what I came for (and there was more, with issues of gender identification, patriarchy and feminism): challenges, duels, chases, mistaken identities, evil lies, impersonations, hidings, mystery, intrigue, denial, insanity, yoga inserted incongruously, royalty, aristocracy, jealousy, rage, frustration, exasperation, accusation, condemnation and an out-of-control spiral of misunderstanding. If it hadn’t been for the irony of it all, the audience would not have been able to keep sitting until the whole deceit collapsed in a moment of truth and we were released. It all came with real birds tweeting in the background and stars up above. Best of all, we sat a few feet from the stage, in awe of the youthful beauty of the artists and their growing fame, not only in theater but also on television and film.
For 30 years, Odyssey Theatre’s Theatre under the Stars series has been performed annually in Ottawa’s Strathcona Park on the banks of the Rideau River five minutes from downtown. Residents and tourists love the unique entertainment experience.
Happy Reading and Theater-going from Cozybookbasics!