Queer-Storytelling Quadfecta in Halifax this weekend

tomStewart Legere in Tom at the Farm, the Atlantic Canadian premiere of Michel Marc Bouchard’s drama, at the Bus Stop Theatre, Halifax, today and Sunday, 4 and 8 p.m., with $5 rush tickets for any LGBTQ+ folks five minutes before every show. (Tee Johnny)

The U.S. elected its first openly gay governor Tuesday and, this weekend in Halifax, there is a quadfecta of queer storytelling with three plays and one art show.

The world premiere of KAMP — A New Musical, an unforgettable, locally-made, full-length musical about gay prisoners struggling to hang onto their souls through art in a Nazi concentration camp, is sold out for its final weekend.

With music and lyrics by GaRRy Williams and book by Jamie Bradley, the Neptune Theatre/Eastern Front co-production has an amazing cast of 11 featuring Shawn Wright in a fabulous performance as the central Gustav/Luna; a remarkably grim, forbidding set; an intricate, imaginative use of movement; mind-blowing music; tight, passionate direction by Eastern Front Theatre’s artistic producer Sam Rosenthal, and a searing story – rooted in historical fact – that sticks with you like peanut butter in a dog’s throat.

Neptune Theatre’s artistic director Jeremy Webb says KAMP would “likely” have been extended but another show goes into the studio space Monday (the already sold-out YpCo’S Les Miserables School Edition.)

KAMP - A Musical - Dress-110Jake Willett, Robert Clarke, Clint Butler, Shawn Wright and Josh Doig in KAMP — A New Musical, at Neptune’s studio theatre. (Stoo Metz)

“We are meeting today to discuss the next stages for the production,” he said Saturday. “We all believe it needs some more work now we have seen it with an audience. I’m sure this won’t be the last that you’ll see of the show.”

Over at the Bus Stop Theatre, 22013 Gottingen St., is Workshirt Opera’s Atlantic Canadian premiere of Michel Marc Bouchard’s Tom at the Farm – winner of the 2014 Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Drama – in a short run with shows at 4 and 8 today and Sunday. (Matinees are PWYC; tickets at tickethalifax.)

This play about a gay man whose deceased partner’s family knows nothing about him has a stellar Halifax cast of Stewart Legere (Merritt Award winner), Shelley Thompson (ACTRA, FIN and Merritt Award winner), Sébastien Labelle (Merritt Award nominee) and Stephanie MacDonald (Merritt Award winner).

When Tom goes to a remote farm to attend the funeral, he becomes tangled in a web of lies. “It’s a portrait of a family in mourning, and the lengths they will go to protect a lie. It’s darkly funny, poetic and always surprising,” says director Michael Lake.

Real women’s stories of queer birthing experiences in rural N.S. hospitals are on stage today, 8 p.m., and Sunday, 2 and 8 p.m., in What To Expect When You Aren’t Expected at the Museum of Natural History Auditorium, 1747 Summer St., Halifax.

Playwright/director Annie Valentina worked with verbatim text in a cross-section of stories gathered by Dalhousie School of Nursing professors Dr. Lisa Goldberg and Dr. Megan Aston for their scientific report (http://qrbnsandbeyond.ca/). In the cast are Annie LaPlante, Koumbie, Emily Shute and Sophie Schade. (Admission is a suggested $10 to $20 donation.)

If you can get to the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia at all this weekend, you must see the mammoth Miss Chief’s Wet Dream by famous Cree artist Kent Monkman, on view only through Sunday. THEN, you have to up to the third floor for Monkman’s fabulous, humorous and, heartbreaking, multi-room show Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience, on view through Dec. 16.

Miss Chief’s Wet Dream, which is  .5 by 3.5 metres and the size of a small housefront, is Monkman’s provocative tale of a grey, dying Old World meeting a vibrant  New World.

Monkman was inspired by Théodore Géricault’s Raft of Medusa and Eugène Delacroix’s Christ at Sea  to depict a sinking raft of colonial figures like Queen Victoria, Marie Antoinette, a plague doctor, even Jesus Christ, coming in contact with a canoe full of Canada’s Indigenous peoples. Lying in that canoe is Monkman’s queer alter-ego, Miss Chief Eagle Testickle, in her trademark high heels.

The Donald R. Sobey Foundation bought the painting for the gallery. It will go on permanent exhibit in the same spot (first floor of the old building) after the exhibit, Jordan Bennett: Ketu’elmita’jik, Dec. 1 to March 31, 2019.

Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience, created as a critique of Canada’s 150th, is an amazing journey through life-size dioramas, large paintings with a slew of art historical references from Paul Kane to Picasso and artefacts.  Monkman tells you everything you need to know – from an indigenous perspective of pain and perception – about the last 150 years of indigenous history in Canada.

Miss Chief's Wet Dream (2018)Kent Monkman’s Miss Chief’s Wet Dream, purchased for the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia by the Donald R. Sobey Foundation, on view this weekend before being taken down, then re-installed permanently in the spring, 2019.

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