Gunslingers, war survivors, crazy painters and crazed sociopaths will fill the 1997-98 season at Calgary's Alberta Theatre Projects.
ATP will begin its second quarter-century in shoot-'em-up style with The Collected Works Of Billy The Kid, a wild west drama adapted by Michael Ondaatje from his own epic poem. Billy attempts to "strip away years of stereotypes and cliches about "Western" heroes. Gunslinging cowboys, outlaws and "lush frontier harlots" populate the landscape, created by the author of The English Patient.
The Collected Works Of Billy The Kid runs Sept. 7-Oct. 4.
In Theresa Tova's Still The Night, a mother and daughter survive the Nazi era in Europe and try to create a life for themselves in post-war Calgary. Tova and fellow actress Liza Balkan interweave Yiddish vaudeville and original music (by John Alcorn) into the historical story (Tova's parents survived the Holocaust).
Still The Night runs Oct. 12-Nov. 8.
In a much lighter vein, Daniel Sullivan's holiday farce Inspecting Carol continues ATP's tradition of offering alternative Christmas shows. Carol goes behind the scenes of an embattled artistic director of "The Soap Box Playhouse" as he tries to rehearse the Dickens chestnut amidst motley actors, misfiring effects and fears of losing funding.
Inspecting Carol runs Nov. 23-Dec. 20.
Works have not yet been announced for the PanCanadian PlayRites Festival `98, Jan. 16-March 1, 1998, which features mainstage stagings of four works, readings, a site-specific performance, and other events -- not to mention a Sunday morning pancake breakfast.
Steve Martin's popular comedy, Picasso At The Lapin Agile will follow, March 15-April 11, 1998, wherein Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso trade ideas at a French cafe -- with a special appearance by someone who may be Elvis Presley. Capping the season will be the darkly satirical musical Assassins, by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman. One of the few Sondheim shows to open Off-Broadway, Assassins studies such unnatural-born killers as John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald, and would-be assassins like Lynnette "Squeaky" Fromme -- all of whom tried (and some succeeded) in killing U.S. presidents.
Assassins runs April 19-May 16, 1998.
Under consideration for ATP's summer cabaret are Paul Ledoux's Judy, the musicals Cowgirls, Oil City Symphony and Das Barbecu, Supreme Dream by Rhonda Trodd & Frank Moher, and a Vancouver ensemble piece, Mom's The Word.
Currently, Alberta Theatre Projects is readying for the July 6 opening of Hank Williams: The Show He Never Gave, a biographical revue by Maynard Collins. Dave Kelly stars in the revue, which is directed by Dianne Goodman. Costumes are by Judith Bowden; lighting by Brian Pincott.
A four-piece band backs up Hank Williams, which author Collins describes as "a flashback in the mind of Hank Williams at the moment of his death." The show runs to Aug. 3.
For information on Alberta Theatre Projects productions call (403) 299-8888.
--By David Lefkowitz