Arts Seen – week of March 27 2014

Politics sex and parenthood take over Calgary stages this week.

Opening at Theatre Calgary on Friday March 28 The Mountaintop imagines a conversation between Martin Luther King Jr. and a “feisty” maid that takes place in room 306 in the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis where the leader of the African-Amercian Civil Rights Movement spent his last night before his assassination on April 4 1968. The two-person play by Katori Hall who grew up in Memphis near the hotel features Kevin Hanchard (who was nominated for a Canadian Screen Award for his role as a detective in Orphan Black ) and Beryl Bain and runs until April 20 at the Max Bell Theatre ( theatrecalgary.com ).

Sexual politics take the starring role in Patrick Marber’s Closer (pictured) a dark romantic drama involving two couples that examines truth passion and betrayal. Artistic director Ryan Luhning of Ground Zero Theatre which is presenting the play with support from Hit & Myth Productions calls it “sexy dirty and relentless.” Having seen this play more than a decade ago at Theatre Junction and Hollywood’s version on the big screen I’d say that’s an accurate description — and I’d go see it again. The play runs at Vertigo Studio Theatre until April 5 ( groundzerotheatre.ca ).

Prior to his career on the stage and screen Dave Kelly taught junior high students which sounds both terrifying and dangerous. But it was his first close encounter with a newborn that really put the fear into him. Kelly who is best known to Calgarians as former host of Breakfast Television is taking to the Lunchbox Theatre stage to share his own story about becoming a father in Dad Day 1 . In addition to his immediate concerns (apparently he can’t remember where he parked and still hasn’t put together the crib at home) he reflects on his own upbringing in a conservative Catholic family and the familiar struggle of many parents to avoid becoming their own mothers and fathers. The play runs from March 31 to April 19 ( lunchboxtheatre.com ).

April is National Poetry Month but there’s no need to wait for it.

The Single Onion is presenting part three of its 2014 lecture series on March 27 at 7:30 p.m. at Shelf Life Books featuring a lecture by Cecelia Frey and readings by Vivian Hansen Stuart Ian McKay and Erin Dingle ( shelflifebooks.ca ).

On Sunday March 30 a new book documenting the city’s visual and literary arts will be launched at the John Dutton Theatre at the Central Library. The Calgary Project: A City Map in Verse and Visual is a collaboration between Frontenac House the RE:act Collective and House of Blue Skies led by co-editors Dymphny Dronyk and Kris Demeanor (read the story in this issue). The anthology celebrates the two-year term of the city’s inaugural poet laureate Demeanor himself. His term wraps up this month and the next poet laureate will be announced sometime before the end of April.

When April finally arrives so does the Calgary Spoken Word Festival with more than 30 poets taking part in 10 events from April 1 to 6. Read about it in this issue and see the schedule online ( calgaryspokenwordfestival.com ).