The 11th edition of Centaur Theatre’s Urban Tales presents 5 shows until December 16, 2017. Immigrant Song: First Xmas in Montreal is this year’s theme for the storytelling series of rare and unusual holiday yarns, curated and directed by Montreal playwright, actor, director, and educator, Harry Standjofski, who also provides the live music. The Cole Foundation was a major contributor to this year’s event.
Some of Montreal’s best writers with roots in Haiti (Order of Quebec and Order of Canada and member de l’Académie Française novelist Dany Laferrière), the Philippines (Marie Barlizo), Italy (Michaela Di Cesare), Lebanon (Pascale Rafie), Turkey (Harry Standjofski), and rural Quebec (Urban Tales co-founder, Yvan Bienvenue) dip into their memories and imaginations for a behind-the-looking-glass view of Montreal’s holiday season.
Despite living in a country populated by people from around the world, Christmas with all the trimmings is inescapable from the day after Halloween until Santa squeezes down the chimney. For newly arrived immigrants, navigating the onslaught of religious and social customs can be overwhelming as they try to adapt to their new home while clinging to the familiar, comforting traditions and memories of home and family.
The process of reaching out to local playwrights for material has become less of a necessity over the years as the popularity of the event grows. With Urban Tales entering its second decade, Standjofski now receives unsolicited work from playwrights as well as other theatre professionals working onstage and behind the scenes. Sometimes the scripts coincide with the year’s theme but those that don’t are kept for future Urban Tales, as Standjofski explains. “We usually get more than we can produce in one show anyway but those scripts are by no means wasted efforts. In fact, we’ve built quite a storehouse of outstanding material for future events.”
Eda Holmes, Centaur’s Artistic and Executive Director, said, “We are so fortunate in this city to have such a rich and diverse theatre community. With this year’s Urban Tales, we shine a spotlight on some of these incredibly versatile and talented writers and performers. I’ve heard such fun and intriguing comments about this event; I can’t wait to be initiated into my first Centaur holiday tradition!”
Here is a short teaser…
Unang Pasko Sa Montreal written by Marie Barlizo, told by Kenny Wong
We take the elevator up to the presidential suite; it’s the only room on the floor. When I open the door my jaw drops. The walls look like solid gold in this place. There are topless HOT blonde women in G-strings and high heels surrounding my friend Justin, who’s seated at the head of the dining room table. All eyes are on the Sushi Chef who’s preparing sushi on a naked, big breasted young woman. “Ay Dieus mio!” I pray for strength to fight temptation. A boy screams, “Ay-yia –yia. Did I just die and go to heaven?” Justin gets up from the table. The DJ cuts the music as Justin says, “Maligayang Pasko, Joseph! Tatay … merry Christmas! Join us!”
453 St François Xavier, Montreal
Source: Centaur Theatre