Plum Viewing

Welcome to the latest edition of Plum Viewing, my weekly roundup of arts and culture to view online.

Hello lovely readers! It’s Friday, again. The weather is (finally!) starting to change, evenings are about to get brighter (don’t forget to spring ahead this weekend!) and dare I say it, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I, for one, am scouting Airbnb for a Costa Rica getaway the minute I can. I have learned that I am a very bad Canadian because I hate being cold (Montreal’s harsh winter has broken me!).

But, until we dust off our swimming costumes, here are this week’s picks. Happy viewing!

I think it’s fair to say, we all watched THAT interview on Sunday evening. Yes, the interview with Oprah, Meghan and Harry. And, we have all been dissecting it since — on both sides of the pond. As someone who lived in the UK for seven years, is married to a brit and briefly touched Buckingham Palace (I worked with Princess Anne), I found it fascinating! But I digress…

I mention all of this as it ties nicely to our first pick this week, Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!, which is now streaming from the Steppenwolf Theater Company in Chicago. This new play, by Vivian J.O. Barnes is framed as an interview between a woman called the Soon-to-Be Duchess and a woman called the Duchess reimagined as a Black woman. The purpose of the meeting is to have the experienced Duchess ‘school’ the inexperienced royal fiancée in the finer points of duchessing: how to hold one’s legs and especially how to hold one’s tongue. Sound familiar?? Well, for 32 minutes, we get to live out that interview. The play is part of Steppenwolf’s online membership called Steppenwolf Now. You can learn more here. And, click here for sneak peek.

For our readers in Canada, you’ve likely read Kate Taylor’s devastating piece on the impact of COVID 19 on Canada’s artists and arts sector. Yet another reminder of how important it is to continue supporting these talented professionals. Sadly, Canada is not the only country suffering. This is felt the world over, including the U.S.

To help bring these conversations to light, the Public Theater is hosting THE WAY FORWARD: THEATER’S EVOLUTION IN MOMENTS OF CHANGE, a three-part series Presented by 92Y and Town and Country Magazine. It starts on March 17 at 7 pm ET, with two other sessions on April 27 and May 20. This series is available for free and you can register here.

Let’s head back now to old favourite, The Village Vanguard. Oh, I long to visit this little gem in person again. Alas, until then, we can tune in this Friday and Saturday to enjoy the Eric Reed Quartet. We’ll have piano, drums, bass and of course saxophone to entertain us. Here’s a snippet of what you can expect. Tickets are $10 and you can purchase here.

Bristol’s Wardrobe Ensemble and Wardrobe Theatre are celebrating their 10th anniversary with a production of the Great Gatsby, told this time with a twist. This retelling features just two-woman, Tamsin Hurtado Clarke and Jesse Meadows, playing all of the parts (Jesse plays Daisy and Nick; Tamsin takes on Tom and Gatsby himself). Filming this year, this version is very much a streamlined version rather than the over the top glitz we’ve come to associate with this Fitzgerald classic, but it maintains the essence of the story. It sounds brilliant but don’t just take my word, the Guardian is also a fan. It’s streaming until March 31 and tickets can be purchased here.

Well, if after watching Gatsby, you are longing for glamour, vintage designs and colourful sets, you will love Wooden Dimes, a ballet film brought to us by Australian choreographer Danielle Rowe. Part of San Francisco Ballet’s online season, it’s the tale of a talented but naive 1920s showgirl named Betty corrupted by success that splinters her marriage to solid but stressed-out accountant Robert. It has all the attitude, drama and vintage glamour we need right now and eye candy in the form of beautifully designed costumes and art deco backdrops. A lovely stylish escape indeed. And, we can mix our own cocktails :) You can learn more here.

And, I’ll leave you with this: a video featuring the singers and dancers for Beetlejuice, Sing Song and more Broadway shows marking the one year anniversary of lockdown, It’s a beautiful and heartbreaking example of what we’re missing. I cannot wait to see ALL the performances again (soon!) and continue supporting these wonderful artists!

See you next week my lovely readers!

And, and ask: While we’re enjoying these wonderful performances, let’s remember that for the arts organizations producing this incredible content, this is their livelihood; not a hobby. If we can, now is our time to continue to support our incredible arts community!

And, if you’d like to receive Plum Viewing weekly, send me a note at maggiefairs@gmail.com and I will add you to my mailing list.

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