Calgary's One Yellow Rabbit Company opened on February 20, 1997, a new production titled "Doing Leonard Cohen". It will be performed at the Big Secret Theatre in Calgary through March 8. All texts are written by Cohen; the play is adapted and directed by Blake Brooker.
The Globe and Mail/THE ARTS has a review in the February 24, 1997 issue, written by theatre critic Kate Taylor. Her rating is ****.
The first act features about 50 poems from Death of Lady's Man, The Energy of Slaves, the Spice Box of Earth, and other collections from the 60s and 70s. The adaptation by Brooker mixes the poems with movement and dance and - according to Kate Taylor - often humorously suggest their emotional tone.
There are four performers - Denise Clarke (dancer and choreographer), Michael Green (as a Cohenesque figure), Elizabeth Stepkowski, and Andy Curtis.
Taylor writes: "Doing Leonard Cohen is both very simple and filled to bursting with clever devices to make the words physical and the role of poetry apparent. Early on, all four performers (...) cozy up to different sections of the audience and simultaneously deliver different poems to each. The intimacy of Cohen's poetry, which is largely about sex and love, is instantly established".
The second half is devoted entirely to the novel Beautiful Losers. Green is "I", the narrator, the figure we associate with Cohen, dressed in black jeans and leather jacket. Stepkowski is his late wife Edith, and Curtis is "F".
Kate Taylor: "The images created on stage are as hallucinatory as those of this novel's stream of consciousness, with its sexual escapades both hilarious and violent". It's a glorious evocation of the text."
" ... Doing Leonard Cohen is no poetry reading; it is poetry speaking and moving."
Thanks to Joan Lynch at Stranger Management for the press cutting.