‘Crim­i­nals In Love’ be­gins its spree at HAT

Cape Breton Post - - ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT - Ken Chisholm Ken Chisholm lives in Syd­ney and has writ­ten plays, songs, re­views, magazine ar­ti­cles.

As it’s Fe­bru­ary of­fer­ing, The High­land Arts Theatre is stag­ing Ge­orge F. Walker’s Gov­er­nor Gen­eral’s Award­win­ning play, “Crim­i­nals In Love,” open­ing on Mon­day for a six-night run.

One com­men­ta­tor de­scribes “Crim­i­nals In Love” as “a ram­bunc­tious, deft and hi­lar­i­ous work about destiny, love and the classes” from one of Canada’s most pro­lific and hon­oured play­wrights.

Teenaged Ju­nior is be­ing black­mailed from prison by his father to fol­low him into a life of crime. But Ju­nior loves Gail and soon the two of them are deal­ing with the denizens of a crim­i­nal un­der­world that de­fies de­scrip­tion. At turns tragic, far­ci­cal, ro­man­tic, and po­etic, “Crim­i­nals In Love” has been a hit with crit­ics and au­di­ences since its de­but in 1984. Its pop­u­lar­ity has also led to two se­quel plays catch­ing up some of the char­ac­ters as their re­la­tion­ships evolve.

“Crim­i­nals In Love” is di­rected by Hi­lary Scott, who is a HAT au­di­ence fa­vorite as a highly skilled ac­tor, and as­sisted by Ali­son Crosby, who has stage-man­aged sev­eral of HAT’s ma­jor pro­duc­tions.

On Tues­day, Feb. 21, 8 p.m., the Gov­er­nor’s Book Pub wel­comes a very spe­cial guest, Wanda Rob­son, to com­mem­o­rate Nova Sco­tia’s African Her­itage Celebration 2017.

Vi­ola Des­mond has been hon­oured with a Her­itage Mo­ment doc­u­ment­ing her stand against the ra­cial seg­re­ga­tion­ist pol­icy of a New Glas­gow movie house in 1946. Ms. Des­mond’s stand for her rights was also com­mem­o­rated on a Cana­dian postage stamp. And this past fall, the Cana­dian govern­ment hon­oured her con­tri­bu­tion to our coun­try’s civil rights strug­gle by an­nounc­ing her im­age would be fea­tured on the coun­try’s $10 bank note.

Wanda Rob­son, Ms. Des­mond’s sis­ter, did much to bring Ms. Des­mond’s coura­geous ac­tions to the pub­lic’s at­ten­tion. She has also au­thored a book of rem­i­nisces about her sis­ter, “Sis­ter to Courage” (Bre­ton Books).

Also speak­ing at the book pub is Jon Tat­trie, au­thor of “Re­demp­tion Songs” (Nim­bus), which tells the ex­tra­or­di­nary story of how one of Bob Mar­ley’s great­est songs was born from a speech Mar­cus Gar­vey de­liv­ered in Syd­ney in 1937.

Af­ter Ms. Rob­son’s and Mr. Tat­trie’s talks, the book pub will con­clude with its reg­u­lar open stage ses­sion where all as­pir­ing au­thors can present a short se­lec­tion (on any topic) from their un­pub­lished work.

Ad­mis­sion to the book pub is by dona­tion to the “Jar of Con­se­quence” which earns pa­trons a chance to win a fab­u­lous door prize.

Rob­son will also be speak­ing the next day, Wed­nes­day, Feb. 21, 1 p.m, with Dr. Gra­ham Reynolds, au­thor of “Vi­ola Des­mond’s Canada” (Fern­wood Publishing). This event takes place at Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity’s Li­brary Stu­dent Lounge and is open to all mem­bers of the pub­lic.

One re­viewer de­scribes Dr. Reynold’s book as “a sig­nif­i­cant and timely con­tri­bu­tion to the bur­geon­ing field of African Cana­dian his­tory and so­cial jus­tice stud­ies.”

Also at CBU the week be­fore, on Thurs­day, Feb. 16, 3 p.m., for African Her­itage Celebration 2017, will be poet and nov­el­ist Ge­orge El­liott Clarke for a read­ing at the CBU Li­brary Stu­dent Lounge.

Clarke is cur­rently serv­ing as the Cana­dian Par­lia­men­tary Poet Lau­re­ate and has pub­lished the crit­i­cally ac­claimed novel “Ge­orge and Rue,” the play, “Why­lah Falls,” and sev­eral books of po­etry in­clud­ing the Gov­er­nor Gen­eral’s Award­win­ning RIGHT: Pi­o­neer black ac­tivist Mar­cus Gar­vey, gave a speech in Syd­ney in 1937 that in­spired Bob Mar­ley to write “Re­demp­tion Song”, and be­came the sub­ject of the book “Re­demp­tion Songs” by Jon Tat­trie. Tat­trie is a guest at the Fe­bru­ary Gov­er­nor’s Book Pub. “Ex­e­cu­tion Po­ems.”

This event is also open to the pub­lic.

Fi­nally, this col­umn moves to a dif­fer­ent day of the week and will pub­lish ev­ery se­cond Wed­nes­day, be­gin­ning Feb. 15.

The new day of the week will al­low me to re­view some plays that are still in their per­for­mance run and spot­light up­com­ing events in plenty of time for the week­end.

Look for it on the Arts and En­ter­tain­ment page as usual.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO PHOTO COUR­TESY OF CAPE BRE­TON UNIVER­SITY

Wanda Rob­son, at her home in North Syd­ney, re­views ma­te­rial about her sis­ter, Vi­ola Des­mond, and her fight for her civil rights. Rob­son will be a spe­cial guest pre­sen­ter at the Feb. 21 Gov­er­nor’s Book Pub.

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