; Fun! Fun! Vancouver!: Master Class

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Master Class

Last night I went to watch Terrence McNally's Tony-award winning play Master Class, now playing at the Granville Island Stage.

Although there is a cast of 6, there is no denying here that the shining star of this production is Gina Chiarelli who plays famed opera singer Maria Callas now turned Julliard instructor who relives her tumultuous and not so distant past through her teaching and her students.

Angus Kellett is the patient piano man who is witness to all of Maria's tirades and outbursts. Felix LeBlanc plays the oblivious stagehand, who fetches water and pillows for the diva in distress, either not caring or not knowing whom she is or used to be. The hopeful students are played by Shannon Chan-Kent, Melanie Krueger, and Frederik Robert, all of whom gift the audience with their operatic talents.

This play is not about opera though, not really. So if you're like me and not an opera fan, you will still enjoy this for the writing and most definitely for the acting. This play is about narcissism and holding on to a life long gone. It's a fictionalized portrait of a true life diva, and Gina Chiarelli knocks the performance way out of the ballpark. She is terrific, she is mesmerizing, she is breathtaking, she is tantalizing. Even though she sings only but a few strained bars, she had the entire audience in the palm of her hand with her portrayal of Callas and we ate up every last bit. I was in the second row so I could see the tears that rolled down her face as she gave her heart and soul into a truly stunning and powerful performance. And she has to do this every night? I am exhausted just thinking about it.

I'm sorry I didn't get to see this earlier on as I would have herded everyone who reads this to the show immediately. If you get the opportunity, go attend Master Class. It's one of the best performances in Vancouver I have seen in a long time.

Master Class runs until this Saturday, Oct 27th at the Granville Island Stage.

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