This month, two plays are opening up which are based on novels by two brilliant Canadian authors: Fifteen Dogs at Crow’s Theatre and Fall on Your Knees at Canadian Stage. These productions follow closely on the heels of the National Ballet’s production of MADADDAM, based on the trilogy of the same name by Margaret Atwood. As a former Literature Major, this brings me immense joy to see these great works of literature being turned into live performances; it merges my two great loves, what more could I ask for?

            “Fifteen Dogs,” written by André Alexis, won both the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Writer’s Trust of Canada Awards when it was published in 2015. It went on to be a selection for Canada Reads. Side bar: if you don’t already, watch Canada Reads. It’s fascinating. I rarely see Canadians get this passionate about anything other than hockey. I read “Fifteen Dogs” in anticipation of the production, and I can’t wait to see how they’re going to turn this beautiful story into a live production. One element which I loved about the novel was how it was very much about Toronto. The dogs hang out in High Park, several recognizable street names and neighbourhoods are mentioned; I’ve never seen Roncesvalles written out in full so many times! (Locals just call it the Roncey). The stories were heartbreaking and beautiful, and I know I’ll need some tissues when I see the show.

            I’m currently making my way through Anne-Marie MacDonald’s “Fall on Your Knees.” It’s a sweeping historical fiction which I’m loving every word of. I’m definitely interested in seeing how they’re going to turn such a long novel into a play, but with Hannah Moscovitch and Alisa Palmer at the helm, I know it’ll be an emotional, delightful journey. One thing that made me giddy with joy was reading about how MacDonald’s family heritage is almost exactly the same as myself and my mother, and that she wrote that heritage into the characters of the book. Reading about the food I eat when I’m with my Mom’s family, the dances, even some of the language, makes me smile. I knew MacDonald was an impressive writer from her play Goodnight Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet, but reading her novels is taking me to a whole other level of excitement for this amazing author.

            Fifteen Dogs has already begun performances at Streetcar Crow’s Nest Theatre, and has been extended by popular demand. For more information and tickets, visit: Fifteen Dogs (crowstheatre.com)

            Performances of Fall on Your Knees begin on January 21st, and this is a two-play series! The link to that one is: Fall On Your Knees Part One / Canadian Stage

            And look for my reviews on both plays coming up soon! I really hope that this trend continues: great Canadian theatre companies supporting and creating works of other great Canadian artists. What a time to be a reader and a theatre-goer!

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