‘Ti­tanic:The Mu­si­cal’ is a ti­tanic lo­cal un­der­tak­ing

Lethbridge Herald - - HOMETOWN NEWS SOUTHERN ALBERTA - Dave Ma­bell

It be­came an un­for­get­table day in Cana­dian his­tory. Any vis­i­tor to Hal­i­fax can read­ily learn about the im­pact of the 1912 sink­ing of the Ti­tanic — fol­lowed five years later by the mam­moth Hal­i­fax Ex­plo­sion. They’re as much a part of our na­tional nar­ra­tive as the role that city’s Pier 21 played in wel­com­ing mil­lions of new­com­ers to Canada.

To­day we can see the grave­yards, the mon­u­ments, the mu­seum ar­ti­facts. We learn what a cru­cial role the Hal­i­fax tele­graph of­fice played in the Ti­tanic res­cue ef­forts.

But what can we learn from the lives of those men and women — res­cued or drowned — who were aboard the fated steamer?

That’s what “Ti­tanic: The Mu­si­cal” al­lows us to do. It recre­ates the op­ti­mism and ex­cite­ment of pas­sen­gers and crew who be­lieved they were part of an en­gi­neer­ing marvel, sym­bol­iz­ing the lat­est ad­vances in a world where trans-At­lantic travel was be­com­ing af­ford­able to many.

South­ern Al­berta au­di­ences will get a glimpse of that dur­ing a four-day run, Thurs­day to Sun­day at the Yates Cen­tre.

The songs and en­ter­tain­ment, as well as the high-style women’s fash­ions, re­flected good times and high hopes. And trav­ellers re­ally be­lieved their brand-new ship was un­sink­able. But sud­denly . . . How those pas­sen­gers — rich and poor — re­sponded to dis­as­ter is what makes the story so fas­ci­nat­ing. The script is based on true-life in­ter­views of the sur­vivors, recorded many years ago. Af­ter the dis­cov­ery of the Ti­tanic's wreck in 1985, au­thor Peter Stone wrote a book based on those ac­counts, which Broad­way writer Maury Ye­ston fash­ioned into a show that de­buted there in 1997.

But it’s a gi­gan­tic pro­duc­tion — more than 100 per­form­ers on stage in the Yates pre­sen­ta­tion — and few com­mu­nity the­atre direc­tors have ac­cepted the chal­lenge. That didn’t stop Fran Rude and Ken

Rogers! They’re pi­lot­ing a cast of 41, a cho­rus of 42 plus an orches­tra of 20 Leth­bridge mu­si­cians through the grip­ping flash­back to an ear­lier, tragic time.

The show is spon­sored by the Leth­bridge Se­nior Cit­i­zens Or­ga­ni­za­tion, with pro­ceeds sup­port­ing its many mem­ber ser­vice pro­grams. It’s close to “sold out,” but some seats may still be avail­able at the En­max or Yates ticket wick­ets.

••• Ready for some­thing “com­pletely dif­fer­ent?” How about five films, in four dif­fer­ent lan­guages?

That’s the lineup for this year’s nocharge For­eign Film Fes­ti­val at the down­town li­brary.

They’ll be run­ning this Mon­day to Fri­day, 7 p.m. in the The­atre Gallery.

“In the Fade,” Mon­day’s show (in Ger­man) stars Diane Kruger as a bomb­ing sur­vivor seek­ing re­venge. In Tues­day’s se­lec­tion, “Happy End,” direc­tor Michael Haneke shares the story (in French) of a bour­geois oc­to­ge­nar­ian forced to share his pala­tial home with his dis­rup­tive off­spring.

Filmed in Yid­dish, a Brook­lyn wid­ower fights for cus­tody of his son in “Me­nashe,” the Wed­nes­day fea­ture. Then on Thurs­day, French direc­tor Philippe Van Leeuw puts a hu­man face on the hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis “In Syria.”

And Fri­day, the Academy Award-nom­i­nated “The In­sult” shows what hap­pens when a Lebanese Chris­tian and a Pales­tinian refugee end up in court over a mi­nor dis­agree­ment. Filmed in Ara­bic, it’s been pro­vided with English sub-ti­tles, as have the rest.

••• Much closer to home: The Galt Mu­seum is con­tin­u­ing its pre­sen­ta­tions on Black­foot cul­ture and his­tory with ses­sions on le­gends and Napi sto­ries on Tues­day, then Black­foot sto­ry­telling on Wed­nes­day (both at 10:30 a.m.) fol­lowed Oct. 23 (same time) with a look at Black­foot pro­to­cols.

••• Back at the li­brary, the Cen­tre for Oral His­tory and Tra­di­tion of­fers two no-charge pre­sen­ta­tions this month. On Oct. 21, the film “We are the Roots,” fo­cus­ing on black set­tlers and their ex­pe­ri­ence of dis­crim­i­na­tion on the Prairies, will be fol­lowed by dis­cus­sion led by re­searcher Jenna Bai­ley from the Uni­ver­sity of Leth­bridge. The ses­sion will run from 2 to 4 p.m.

Then on Oct. 25, at 6:30 p.m., a pub­lic round-ta­ble will fea­ture three Indige­nous speak­ers on First Na­tions knowl­edge vs. ur­ban her­itage plan­ning.

••• Shall we go back in time — to Time Air? The 1980s Leth­bridge air­line will be re­mem­bered Oct. 23, 7 p.m. at the li­brary. There’s a his­tor­i­cal so­ci­ety ded­i­cated to this home-grown en­ter­prise, with mem­bers in Cal­gary and be­yond as well as here. Their most re­cent work in­volves phys­i­cal me­men­tos from Time’s fi­nal years — be­fore its ab­sorp­tion by Pa­cific Western — when it ac­tu­ally flew jets.

••• And we have plenty of last­minute re­minders:

This evening, soloists from the uni­ver­sity’s Opera Work­shop will be joined by the

Uni­ver­sity Singers for “Au­tumn Magic,” a 7:30 p.m. ben­e­fit con­cert at St. Au­gus­tine’s Angli­can, in sup­port of Syr­ian refugee fam­i­lies who’ve set­tled re­cently in Leth­bridge. A free-will of­fer­ing will be col­lected.

There’s also a Leth­bridge Folk Club con­cert tonight, fea­tur­ing the group Ro­tary

Park, with mu­sic start­ing about 8 p.m. in The Cave at Leth­bridge Col­lege; tick­ets at the door.

The Leth­bridge Sym­phony Orches­tra opens its sea­son Mon­day, with “Rus­sian In­ferno” at South­min­ster United — with any re­main­ing tick­ets avail­able at the door be­fore the 7:30 p.m. start.

And Thurs­day at the Geo­matic At­tic, it’s Kat Danser and the Tall Tales; check their web­site for de­tails.

Dave se­nior the Leth­bridge Ma­bell re­porter is on Her­ald’s news team. His col­umn ap­pears each Satur­day. If you have an item of note, please email dma­bell@leth­bri dge­herald.com

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