Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fortune Falls from Catalyst Theatre

Hi everyone and happy 2017!

Photo Credit: David Cooper

Wowzers, I have lots of stuff to catch up on. I took a giant blog break for Christmas, and I also had a laptop breakdown, followed by purchasing a new laptop... then a return of that laptop, and then another new laptop! You can now consider me a laptop expert (HAHA), with a million things to talk about.

I'll start with the most timely item - the latest show from Catalyst Theatre (in partnership with the Citadel), called Fortune Falls. Now, I will admit that I entered this show not knowing very much about Catalyst Theatre. I lucked out last year by discovering the Citadel in its 50th season, and every show was epic. As for Catalyst Theatre, I had never seen one of their productions. However, someone I knew wrote me before Christmas and asked if I would consider donating to them, in order to support their (last) play Vigilante on a cross-Canada tour. While I missed Vigilante in the theatre, I think the idea of a made-in-Edmonton play going all the way to the National Arts Centre in Ottawa is pretty sweet. I love Edmonton, I love theatre, and so I thought it was a cool cause to support. 

In fact, I encourage everyone to throw some bucks to the arts. I was surprised to learn that ticket sales don't actually cover the costs of putting on a show. Our local artists bust their backs just to bring us amazing entertainment. And while they deserve to get rich doing it, the reality is that it's a labour of love involving a lot of fundraising! So whatever you enjoy - dance, opera, the symphony - give them some love ($$$) back! 

After learning about Catalyst and donating, one of the perks was attending the premiere of Fortune Falls. I was intrigued with the description of it:
A synthpop musical set to the beat of a revolutionary spirit..Fortune Falls is the allegorical tale of the rise, fall and reinvention of a prosperous town, once home to the world’s largest candy factory. One shocking day the factory is closed, leaving one lonely man to guard the abandoned factory and a community to contemplate endings and new beginnings. 

Photo Credits: David Cooper

I have to say - the premise of the show reminds me of many events happening in the world today. Just recently, driving home for Christmas, I went past the Sheerness Coal Mine, and I could not help but think about how the surrounding town of Hanna will be negatively impacted by the phasing out of coal. Similarly, in Ontario and the US, the auto sector has been hit hard by globalization and the outsourcing of labour. It's a fact of life that economies shift and employment changes... but for the folks caught up in the transition, for the people who lose their jobs and see their property values decline - it is tough. 

Fortune Falls is an aptly named town. They were fortunate when the Mercey Chocolate factory provided good jobs to the townsfolk... but that fortune "fell" with the closing of the factory. Don't expect an uplifting play... it's sort of depressing... but sometimes it's refreshing to see a show that highlights the realities people are facing. It is still whimsical and exciting... just a bit sad. It even tugged on my nostalgia heart-strings, conjuring thoughts of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Tim Burton. 

What stuck out the most to me was the excellent music! I would buy the soundtrack! All of the tunes were spunky and modern sounding, and I was even singing a few after I left the Citadel! C'mon Catalyst - release a Fortune Falls soundtrack for your next fundraiser!!!!

Photo Credit: David Cooper

Another stand-out for me was the costumes. They looked cool! A bit tattered... a bit fanciful... totally hip for today's world...just super-unique and perfect for the young characters. I watched a YouTube video featuring Costume Designer Megan Koshka, and it was interesting to learn about all of the work and creativity that went into the costumes! 

Photo Credits: David Cooper

I enjoyed the show, as it made me think (and sing!), Now I wish super hard I would have seen Vigilante. Don't risk FOMO... get out and see Fortune Falls! It is playing until February 5, 2017. You can still get tickets

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