Good Theatre at the Right Price

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Don’t think for a minute that theatre tickets are only for the well-heeled. Here are but a few of the best deals around this season.

Jour de fête is a special promotion offered by Théâtre la Chapelle. For a mere $15, you can attend the premiere of any of its fine productions. Do mention this when calling the box office, but don’t delay, as the offer is limited.

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Mardi petit prix is a two-for-one offer available every second Tuesday of a production staged by Théâtre Prospero. Accès Montréal card holders are also granted a $5 rebate on the price of a regular ticket to this theatre’s main stage.

Aux Écuries, the city’s new kid on the theatre block, allows you to name the price of your ticket when you show up at 6 p.m. on Friday. Further discounts are available for students, teenagers under 16 and those living in the neighborhood. But the best deal of all is a three-show subscription that works out to no more than $15 a ticket.

Twice a year, La Licorne offers its two-for-one deal for certain shows, one in its larger theatre (La Grande Licorne) on Saturdays at 4 p.m., the other in its smaller room (La Petite Licorne) on Mondays at 7 p.m.

Ton âge = ton prix is an original ticket pricing scheme devised for young audiences by the Théâtre Jean-Duceppe. It allows anyone in the 18 to 35 range to purchase one or two tickets at a price corresponding to one’s age. Of its productions, one is a single-act play based on a concept from Scotland, a.k.a. A Play, A Pie and A Pint, that will occur in the wings, all for a modest $20. Also of note for theatre lovers is Le Loup by Nathalie Doummar. Directed by the marvelous Chloé Robichaud with Maude Guérin and Luc Guérin starring, this production runs from March 4 to 27.

Graduates from the French-language program of the École d’art dramtique will be performing excerpts from Claude Gauvreau’s L’asile de la pureté under the direction of Alice Ronfard. This event, running from Nov. 19 to 23 at the impressive Ludger-Duvernay hall of the Monument National, is well worth the voluntary contribution given at the door, and a fine way to encourage a new generation of talents.

Students of the Conservatoire, under the direction of Florent Saud, take on nothing less than Hamlet for a nine-day run starting on Oct. 25. Its next production, Small Talk, by Carole Fréchette with Benoît Vermeulen directing, runs from Jan. 24 to Feb. 1. The season finale (May 1 to 9) pairs two works by Marivaux (La dispute and Le legs), directed by Catherine Vidal.

Montreal’s Accès culture program incorporates many good shows in its yearly program, some performed on more than one occasion. Its presentations are mostly free of charge but a pass is still required, either by picking one up at the venue or reserving it online at minimal charge. Of the many shows offered, here are a few good recommendations:

Whether you have seen it or not, fans of spoken word should see Os la montagne blanche by the very talented Steve Gagnon on Oct. 9, enhanced with musical accompaniment.

On Oct. 18 Étienne Lepage and Frédérick Gravel present once again La logique du pire, an utterly sensual encounter between modern dance and theatre.

Magali Chouinard’s promises a sure crowd-pleaser for young and old alike on Oct. 10 with the staging of her beautiful poem La femme blanche, complete with mask and marionettes.

La LNI s’attaque aux classiques is a series of presentations devoted to playwrights as diverse as Réjean Ducharme, Michel Tremblay, Robert Lepage and Berthold Brecht. With all due respect to these writers, three actors will improvise around scenes contained in works by the aforementioned. This series, running between Oct. 8 and April 16, will enable novices to acquaint themselves more fully with these writers and gain greater understanding of their works.

Designed for children aged 5 to 9 (and all poets at heart), Comment j’ai appris à parler aux oiseaux is a graceful show presented anew by D. Kimm, a genre-bending artist and director of the highly imaginative Festival Phenomena. Several performances will take place between Nov. 16 and March 15, with musical accompaniment provided by violinist Guido del Fabb and lighting by Lucie Bazzo.

Set a date aside if you can for the single performance on Nov. 16 of Simon Boudreault’s semi-autobiographic tragicomedy Comment je suis devenu musulman.

Dis Merci is a play by Catherine Bourgeois about new arriving immigrants on our soil. This production, slated for Feb. 28, is a must-see because of her company (joe, jack and john) and its mission of greater inclusiveness.

Alice Pacual has toured the province in the remarkable play Madame Catherine prépare sa classe de troisième à l’irrémédiable. Now comes our turn to discover her and this work on March 21.

Other suggestions: How about a wordless Macbeth (March 27)? Or a masked theatre for the whole family (April 3) with the utterly moving Les trois petits vieux qui ne voulaient pas mourir by the Théâtre du Fret? Then again, there is the Théâtre de l’œil’s production of Marco Bleu, a sure winner for audiences ages 5 an up (Oct. 13). Also for young audiences (in the 6 to 12 range) is La mère troll by the ever dependable Jasmine Dubé (Feb. 16); C’est ma sœur !, finally, is a production conceived for all little ones aged 3 to 7 by the delightful Nathalie Derome (March 15).

Translation by Marc Chénard

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