Archives: Canadian drama

A Flower Is A Star: photo by Marilyn Cornwell

A Flower Is A Star: photo by Marilyn Cornwell

Photographer Marilyn Cornwell remembers being in a production of James Reaney‘s play Colours in the Dark and being inspired by the line “A flower is a star”:

I was a student at Brock University from 1969-73 in the English Department with a Theatre Major in the Drama Division. I became familiar with James Reaney’s work at Brock, as the Drama Division was very committed to Canadian playwrights. In 1970, I was in a production of Colours in the Dark mounted by the Drama Division.

When I photographed this clematis, I immediately thought of that simple but powerful line in Colours in the Dark – A flower is a star.  This image is my  visual version of his metaphor.  I named it as a tribute to him and his work.

Thank you, Marilyn, for sharing your memory of the play and your beautiful photo.

A Flower Is A Star by Marilyn Cornwell

A Flower Is A Star by Marilyn Cornwell

One Man Masque (1960)

One Man Masque (1960)

James Reaney’s One Man Masque was first performed by the author as part of “An Evening with James Reaney and John Beckwith” at the Hart House Theatre in Toronto on April 5, 1960. Originally planned as the premiere of Beckwith and Reaney’s opera Night Blooming Cereus, One Man Masque and Beckwith’s Five Pieces for Brass Trio were added to form the first half of the program.

One Man Masque first performed by James Reaney on April 5, 1960 as part of "An Evening With James Reaney and John Beckwith". From the program: "A ONE-MAN MASQUE by James Reaney -- Life and death in Canada (The poet does not promise eternity.)

One Man Masque first performed by James Reaney on April 5, 1960. “A ONE-MAN MASQUE by James Reaney — Life and death in Canada (The poet does not promise eternity.)”

 

In his article “An Evening With Babble and Doodle: Presentations on Poetry” (Canadian Literature 12 Spring 1962, pages 37-43), James Reaney describes his ideas for presenting the poems as a masque:

Since the opera was to last only an hour John suggested that I read some poems to raise the curtain. I decided that something more than just a reading was called for, [… and] I ended up writing another libretto for a masque — masque in the sense of a series of tableaux and spectacles, or stage images. I had been working on a series of poems that presented a subject in various keys: you start out with a Dwarf, modulate to a poem about a Baby, proceed to one about a Dauphin (baby Prince) and eventually fly from it all with that baby among the birds — the humming-bird. This suggested a stage picture that started out with a cradle, proceeded through chair, table, bed, rocking-chair to coffin… [pages 41-42]

One Man Masque has been performed by Jerry Franken in 1974 at the Tarragon Theatre, Jeff Culbert at the Grand Theatre in 2002, and by Larry Beckwith at Nuit Blanche in 2010.

Jeff Culbert in One-Man Masque, Grand Theatre McManus Studio, London, Ontario, 2002

Jeff Culbert in One-Man Masque, Grand Theatre McManus Studio, London, Ontario, 2002

Jerry Franken in James Reaney's One Man Masque, 1974 at the Tarragon Theatre

Jerry Franken in James Reaney’s One Man Masque, 1974 at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

© 2017 James Reaney