The two main English-language theatres in Montreal are the CENTAUR, in Old Montreal, and the SEGAL CENTRE, on Côte-Sainte-Catherine in Côte-des-Neiges, near Snowdon or Plamondon subway stations. The first one showcases more experimental productions and lesser-known pieces, such as works by Marie Brassard, which I wrote about in a previous post. Two of her plays, Jimmy and The Glass Eye will be featured at the Centaur from the end of November until early December. The Segal Centre does not concentrate solely on theatre but also features productions from a range of all the performing arts. Whether you’re into music like jazz, circus arts, multimedia or cinema, the Segal Centre has an impressive, diverse program every season. They also have a Yiddish Theatre, in addition to an internationally acclaimed company that promotes the Yiddish culture and language.
My favourite venue, however, is a bit different. First of all, you might not even see it when you pass by on the street — HERE’S THE GOOGLE STREET VIEW of the theatre entrance on St. Laurent. Can you see the tiny little door with flames next to the sign that says, ‘Frozen fish from Portugal’? Well, then you’ve found it. The minute you step inside the MAIN LINE THEATRE, you’ll notice that it feels exactly like an apartment. Plus, you’ll find, among other things, a couch in the middle of a real living room, two fridges — even plastic plates with fake Chinese food. It’s a bit weird, but kind of cool as well. Who said that a play can’t be held in an apartment? It’s just like going to meet a friend at their place — except your friend is a talented young artist who stages rather unconventional plays at night.
This place is the perfect setting for the Main Line’s current line-up. Suburban Motel is a series of six plays written by George F. Walker, an author who began as a taxi driver and quickly became one of Canada’s most influential writers. First produced in 1997, Suburban Motel is a six-play program that focuses on the blue collar, working class neighbourhood of East-end Toronto, where Walker grew up. Problem Child, Featuring Loretta, Criminal Genius, Adult Entertainment, The End of Civilization and Risk Everything all explore sexuality, relationships, identity and madness, with twenty characters passing through a cheap motel, their stories unfolding in six different parts, detailing the failures and contradictions of human nature.
For ticket and schedule information, check out the theatre company’s website, TABLEAU D’HÔTE, and you’ll find out everything you need to know about Suburban Motel.
PHOTO: MARTIN REISCH, SUBURBAN MOTEL