‘Titanic:The Musical’ is a titanic local undertaking
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