Jack Pines and the quest for the perfect shade of grey
There's nothing quite like a night at the theatre, is there? Going to the theatre makes you lean into the stories unfolding before you just a little bit more, as you wait in anticipation, sure that something truly special is about to happen on the stage. And when that stage happens to be at The Grand Theatre in London's downtown core, the night is even more magical. There is so much to love about the Grand, and I have never had an experience there that was anything less than magical.
This time was no exception.
The Jack Pine, 1916-1917
Tom Thomson Canadian, 1877 - 1917 oil on canvas 127.9 x 139.8 cm Purchased 1918 National Gallery of Canada (no. 1519)
We were fortunate to have been able to attend Opening Night of Colours in the Storm, a celebration of the life of Canadian painter Tom Thomson. The play follows Thomson and a cast of characters he encounters during his time in Algonquin Park from 1912 until the his mysterious death in 1917.
Every one of us has probably seen a Tom Thomson painting, whether hanging in a gallery, in a textbook, or on a postcard, but how many of us know anything about the man behind that iconic Jack Pine? Colours in the Storm brings to life the man and the place that inspired and informed his iconic body of work. Punctuating the story is a stirring collection of songs rooted in the folk-music tradition, songs that play such a pivotal role in the telling of the story that they themselves are akin to another character on the stage. I defy you to not tap your foot along to the music -- I certainly did -- and the powerful voice of Ma-Anne Dionisio as Winnie Trainor will stay with you long after the final curtain call. I promise.
Colours in the Storm is evocative of time and place, bringing to life the sights, sounds, people and places of this country we love so dearly. Beneath the imaginatively conceived set, the beautifully rendered costumes, and the world-class performances beats the heart of everything we are as a people. We are the stories, the music, and the people that make us who we are. We are, in a word, Canadian. And this play highlights that in the very best way.
If you have the chance to take in Colours in the Storm (running now through May 6) I highly recommend you go.