"First we take Manhattan, then we take...Victoria, BC???"
Forgive the wordplay on the Leonard Cohen lyric, but fans of the Canadian troubadour -- considered a living legend by many of his countrymen -- have only a few more chances to hear excerpts of his prose and poetry in a theatrical context. Sincerely, A Friend, which began previews at the Belfry Theatre Nov. 11 and opened there Nov. 13, adapts and interprets such Cohen tunes as the ruminative "Bird On A Wire," the plaintive "Hallelujah," the cynical "Everybody Knows" and the gentle "Sisters Of Mercy." The show ends its scheduled run Nov. 30.
Albums by Cohen include "Songs From A Room," "Death Of A Ladies' Man," "I'm Your Man" and "New Skin For The Old Ceremony." His music was featured in the Robert Altman film, McCabe And Mrs. Miller.
[By the way, Sincerely, A Friend, is not to be confused with Doing Leonard Cohen, a Cohen revue staged by Alberta's One Yellow Rabbit company in March. That piece concentrated more on Cohen's prose efforts, such as Beautiful Losers and Flowers For Hitler]
Taking its title from the last line (revised) of Cohen's song, "Famous Blue Raincoat," Sincerely, A Friend was created by playwright/director Bryden MacDonald. The piece brings together "five lost souls reliving their heartbreak" in a dark, eerie building. Sincerely was first staged in 1991 at Newfoundland's Stephenville Festival. Starring in Sincerely, A Friend are Karin Konoval, Cliff Le Jeune, Camille Miller, Ann Warn Pegg and Francisco Trujillo, backed by a five-piece band. For tickets ($12-$22) and information on Sincerely, A Friend at the Belfry Theatre on Gladstone Ave., call (250) 385-6815. Up next at the Belfry: the comedy troupe, "The Number 14," Dec. 3-21.
-- By David Lefkowitz