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Canadian plays can be funny -- here's the proof
To jump or not to jump, that is the question one man faces on the seventh story of a building.
Before he can make that decision, he encounters a rash of quirky characters. Fashion fascists, soulless party-goers, an unhinged insomniac, a religious schemer, a false-moustache wearer, a dysfunctional couple, and a sour nurse and her wrinkly old charge.
Vignettes of others' lives weave around this fellow, as he desperately tries to get on with minding his own business. He becomes a wary participant in and witness to the foibles of those around him. How will these incidental characters influence his decision?
Seven Stories, by Morris Panych, is a fast-paced philosophical comedy put on by the student-run TNC theatre in Morrice Hall and funded by the Department of English. For 20 years, Tuesday Night Café has provided a space for experimental theatre and unique shows.
Director Greta Papageorgiu chose this play because it's one of her favourite comedies. "I don't know many people who've heard of him. McGill students should know there are funny Canadian plays." As CBC put it, "Panych mixes Magritte, Sartre, Woody Allen and the Book of Job with Buster Keaton and Magic Realism."
Papageorgiu has been involved in theatre for years, and studies English literature and political science. She hails from Toronto, and at Tarragon Theatre she participated in a "Spring Training" theatre workshop headed by British Columbia-based Morris Panych. Since then, she's been an avid reader of his wit-filled work.
Panych won a Dora Mavor Moore award for Seven Stories, and later won a Governor General's award for The Ends of the Earth. To date, Vigil is his most performed play.
Also an actor, you may remember Panych as "Grey-Haired Man" from assorted X-Files episodes ("Piper Maru," "Memento Mori," etc.). He has been on DaVinci's Inquest, narrated an NFB film about crows, and is in the movie Cheaters. His extensive professional background is as eclectic as the plays he writes.
Papageorgiu was keen to tackle the challenges of this play. "How do five actors play 17 roles? Further, how do you bring an audience to the seventh story?" Through deft make-up, direction and performance, it all comes true.
Seven Stories runs October 24-27 and October 31-November 3 at 8:00 pm. Morrice Hall is located at 3485 McTavish, with the entrance on campus. Tickets cost $6 for students and seniors, $8 for adults. The space is, shall we say, intimate, so make reservations by calling 398-6600 or emailing TNC_Theatre@hotmail.com.
Activist @ McGill
As an environmentalist, writer, activist and lawyer, Elizabeth May is truly a multidimensional woman. And, as of October 30, she can also be called McGill's 2001 Muriel V. Roscoe Lecturer.
May will be giving a talk entitled "Women, Health and the Environment: Making the Links," in which she plans on discussing how our polluted environment can make people sick.
May has been one of Canada's top environmental crusaders since the mid-'70s, when she fought insecticide spraying on the forests near her home on Cape Breton Island. Today, the 47-year-old is executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada and she sits on the boards of various do-good organizations, including the International Institute for Sustainable Development.
She is also a part-time author, having written Budworm Battles, Paradise Won: The Struggle to Save South Moresby and At the Cutting Edge: The Crisis in Canada's Forests. Her most recent title, co-written with fellow activist Maude Barlow, was released in 2000: Frederick Street: Life and Death on Canada's Love Canal.
A graduate of Dalhousie University, she became the first holder of the "Elizabeth May Chair in Women's Health and Environment" at her alma mater in 1998. The position was established in May's honour, from a $1.6 million donation from an anonymous American, so she and successors could advocate for women's and environmental causes.
May's 2001 Muriel V. Roscoe Lecture is at 6 pm in room 232 of the Stephen Leacock Bldg. Her talk is being jointly presented by the McGill Centre for Research and Teaching on Women, the McGill Women's Alumnae Association and the McGill School of Environment. For more information, please call 398-3911.
Tales of New York
You'll always remember where you were when you heard the news on September 11. Four journalists who were in New York delivering that news will present their perspectives in a panel discussion this afternoon called "Experiences at Ground Zero."
Justin Hayward and Loreen Pindera from CBC Radio, John Moore from FM-96 and Lynne Robson from CBC TV will talk about their experiences in dealing with the story of the year -- maybe the decade.
Kyle Beauvais, a Mohawk iron worker who began working on rescue operations at Ground Zero shortly after the attack, will also speak about what he has seen.
Sponsored by the First Peoples' House, the event begins at 4 pm at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College (3473 University) in Convocation Hall.
Rally round the Redmen
Chuck McMann's first season as head coach of the McGill Redmen hasn't been an easy one, especially in the wake of a heartbreaking 31 - 28 loss to Concordia during the waning moments of last Saturday's football game.
Still, Redmen players have managed some impressive performances. Middle linebacker Mike Mahoney (pictured) recently became the first player ever to be named on consecutive weeks as the Canadian university defensive player of the week.
The Redmen play host to Laval this Saturday. It's a chance to root for the home team and give to a good cause. For every ticket sold, two dollars will go to Centraide. Ticket prices are: $9 for general admission, $5 for students, and free admission for kids under 14.
The game begins at 1:30 pm in Percival Molson Stadium.
Of jocks and jurisprudence
McGill's Black Law Students Association and Pro Bono Students Canada, a national volunteer network of law students, lawyers and public interest organizations, are co-presenting "Sports, Law & Pro Bono," an event taking place on Monday, October 29, at 6:30 pm in New Chancellor Day Hall's Moot Court (3644 Peel).
Keynote speakers will include Chancellor Richard Pound (pictured), a Commonwealth Games gold medalist as a swimmer in 1962 and the current chair of the board for the World Anti-Doping Agency. Other participants are Anne Peel, a former Canadian Olympic race-walker, vice president of Olympic Aid, and a Toronto-based lawyer, and Jock Climie, a Vancouver-based lawyer who doubles as a wide receiver for the Montreal Alouetttes.
There will be a $1 raffle with all proceeds going to Olympic Aid and other charities. Admission is free. For more information, please contact Tracy Austin, the student coordinator of Pro Bono Students Canada, at 398-6159 or via email at email@example.com, or Jessica Peterkin, the president of the Black Law Students Association at 485-3480 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.