Reviewed by Paula Citron
September 2, 2011
Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Written by Michel Tremblay (translated by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco)
Directed by Weyni Mengesha
Performed by Gareth Potter and Oliver Becker
Jul. 26 to Sept. 24, 2011
Michel Tremblay’s Hosanna is one of the most famous plays in Canada. The excellent English version that captures the original joual dialect is by John Van Burek and Bill Glassco.
The 1973 megahit, to say the least, is an interesting choice for Stratford. This festival that celebrates the classics, is now mounting a Canadian classic.
The famous plot focuses on a hairdresser/drag queen called Hosanna, who mirrors himself after Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra. His lover, Cuirette, is a biker. On a political level, it’s the identity of Quebec trying to break free of English dominance. On a personal level, it is about finding your true self.
Director Weyni Mengesha bravely walks the fine line between sentimentalism and melodrama. Her characters electrify the stage with their passion.
Gareth Potter’s excellent Hosanna is achingly poignant, while Oliver Becker is brilliant as his loudmouth foil.
This production is another glorious page in the play’s distinguished history.
Hosanna continues at Stratford’s Studio Theatre until Sept. 24.