Nora McLellan will star in a production of the Willy Russell comedy SHIRLEY VALENTINE. Shirley is a bored, lonely, working class Liverpool housewife. As she prepares dinner, she ponders her life and speaks aloud (though no one else is present) about her family, her past, and an invitation from a girlfriend to join her on holiday in Greece. Shirley secretly packs her bags, heads for the sun and begins to see the world and herself very differently. The production will run from 22 May to 10 June at the Victoria Playhouse in Petrolia, Ontario (about 30 kilometers southeast of Sarnia). Tickets are now on sale. A video of McLellan in rehearsal for the play is available on Vimeo. McLellan tweeted on 15 May that “Shirley Valentine opens with a song by @mariadkennedy and Kieran Kennedy!” Continue reading →
A year after its release, Katie Boland‘s collection of short stories EAT YOUR HEART OUT found me quite by accident. After watching SEX AFTER KIDS, I was on Amazon looking for more films with Boland and the book popped up in search. A quote from page one got me hooked:
“I was having my daily beers. [Says Rich, who is telling the story] I think I was on the third one, so I was feeling loose but I hadn’t heard the click in my head yet. The click tells me it’s time to stop. Time to go home. Some days the click is harder to get than others. This day the click was being a real mother.”
I bought the kindle edition immediately and continued to read. The first story’s title is Tragic Hero, and a bit further in, Rich says: “I was reading a book when I met her, The Sun Also Rises or something like that. I only read the classics. There’s too much shit people read today, that’s why they are so stupid. Makes me real sick when I get to thinking about it, so I’ll change the subject now.” Hemingway once said that a writer’s style should be direct and personal, his imagery rich and earthy, and his words simple and vigorous. Even if he didn’t know it was about him, Rich the underemployed newsman would have liked this story, and probably the rest of the book as well.
I devoured the first four stories in a day, but story number four, The Falling Action, was so jarringly out of tune with the first three that I needed to go away from it for a while. It would be several weeks before I got back to reading.
My return to the book was also accidental. After hearing that Emily Hampshire had been cast in SyFy’s remake of 12 MONKEYS, I went searching looked for Hampshire films to stream and found DIE, which is an extraordinarily strange bit of cinema, and it happened that Ms. Boland was playing a main character. The film’s title is a pun. The philosophy of its villain is that life choices should be determined by chance, and his selected victims are subjected to justice administered in doses determined by the roll of a die. DIE is not a pleasant film but it is a fascinating and well-acted one and Boland is terrific as Melody, and I wanted to stop watching (and tried repeatedly to do that), but I watched the whole thing in one sitting. Then I picked up the book again.
The next story, Swelter, has a marvelously appropriate Bob Dylan quote, but I’m not going to tell you what it is. You need to read it as part of the story to appreciate it. Swelter is my favourite story of the collection. The narrator introduces herself this way: “I’m Louise. I hate that name, but it’s not like I picked it. My other option is Sugar Tits, so said Colin. I chose Louise.”
The last of the ten stories in the collection is called Mama, and somebody should really make a movie out of that.
Katie Boland will star in HUNTER’S MOON, a new film by Matt Campagna which will begin shooting in Toronto on 13 August. It will be filmed with the “world’s first 4k full frame camera” (the Sony A7S?). Also in the cast is Ari Millen (the male clone on ORPHAN BLACK’s Project Castor), and Holly Deveaux (Portia in LOST GIRL episode 1.11 Faetal Justice). In HUNTER’S MOON, an eccentric billionaire loses control after the launch of his mobile game called Werewolf and people start dying. Release is scheduled for the fall of this year.
Dominic James, who directed DIE, will also direct DISTANT SHORE, another film dealing with the effect of random events on human intentions, which will star Randy Couture and Scott Adkins. In it, a couple sails off into the ocean to die, but encounters another strange (and hostile) vessel and decides to fight to stay alive.
Emily Hampshire will play Jennifer Goines, a female adaptation of the character Jeffrey Goines, in a 13 episode TV adaptataion of 12 MONKEYS, which will air on SyFy (US) sometime in January. The miniseries will begin filming in Toronto in late August. Hampshire will also be Stevie Budd in the 2015 CBC comedy series SCHITT’S CREEK.
EAT YOUR HEART OUT by Katie Boland is available in a Kindle edition or in paperback.
DIE (he unrated director’s cut) can be streamed on Netflix (US) and is also available on DVD.