Expect to be enchanted by the Concordia Theatre Department's Christmas production of The Nightingale, a play that features singing and fun for the whole family, now playing at the D.B. Clark
Based on the popular fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen, author of such children's classics as The Ugly Duckling and Thumbelina,The Nightingale is adapted for the
stage by former Montrealer John Lazarus.
"The Nightingale is such a magical, delightful piece that it's perfect for Christmas time," said director Elsa Bolam, who is founding artistic director of Montreal's Geordie Productions. "I've loved this story since childhood."
Two hours in length, with a cast of 15 student actors, the play should appeal to children and adults alike. "The adults, especially, should enjoy the satire on government abuses
of power, bureaucracy and the Nightingale's wish for artistic
freedom," she said.
Set in China, The Nightingale is the story of an emperor who lives a lonely, isolated life, huddled in his opulent palace, completely unaware that a sweetly singing bird lives in his own backyard until he reads about its wonders in a book.
He summons the bird to be brought to his residence and listens to it sing from its cage every day -- until he is sent an ostentatiously bejeweled mechanical "nightingale" that his music-master claims is superior. The real nightingale manages to escape, only to return and literally sing the emperor back to life.
"This play really possesses universal truths," Bolam said, such as how we should appreciate the splendours of nature and the things that we have. "It also teaches that there are more important things in life than material objects."
Can you think of a better theme during the gift-giving season?
The Nightingale, with original music composed by John Roby, Chinese-influenced costumes by Pat Flood, a versatile set lighted by Kairiin Bright and designed by Dominique Guindon, is playing at the D.B. Clark Theatre, 1455 de Maisonneuve Blvd., from December 4 to 13. See the Back Page for times. Tickets are $6 for children under 14, $8 for students or seniors, and $12 for others. Call 845-9810 for more information.
Two of the Theatre students in the cast of The Nightingale, a holiday-season entertainment for the whole family. Michelle Girouard (left) is the Nightingale, and Charles Bender is the Emperor in this bewitching Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale set in China.