Plants and Animals, Arrogant Worms and the Simpsons all enter the Yukon arts scene

The Simpsons are coming to Whitehorse this winter in MacHomer. Starring more than 50 characters from Springfield...

The Simpsons are coming to Whitehorse this winter in MacHomer.

Starring more than 50 characters from Springfield, the one-man retelling of Shakespeare’s classic is part of Nakai Theatre’s upcoming season.

MacHomer, which includes Marge Simpson giving the “Out damned spot” monologue, is selling out in Toronto right now, said Nakai artistic director David Skelton.

If listening to Homer recite Shakespeare isn’t enough, Nakai is also delving into Filipino cooking and karaoke with Embrace, created in collaboration with the Whitehorse Filipino community.

“It’s a theatre event,” said Skelton.

There’s going to be a supper, which the audience helps cook, then, once people sit down to eat, there will be stories, karaoke and traditional dancing.

“Our immigrant culture is a huge part of this city,” said Skelton.

“But it’s limited in terms of what the mainstream culture sees.”

Embrace is an attempt to stage a meeting between this mainstream culture and the immigrant community, he said.

Making food together brings people closer, he said.

In the same vein, Almighty Voice and His Wife is a theatrical exploration of “dispossessed classes,” said Skelton.

Centred on a First Nation’s martyr, whose story is told through a minstrel show, the performance is “highly theatrical, with white faces and outrageous costumes,” he said.

Nakai is also presenting Living Tall, a play that follows a motivational speaker who shares his secrets on how to increase sales and earn respect, then after letting slip some of his more personal secrets, his well-planned seminar careens off the rails.

This set of shows is all part of Nakai’s annual Pivot Festival in late January.

In the spring, Nakai is teaming up with local playwright and actor Brian Fidler to present Broken. Inspired by Fidler’s own family history, the production follows nine-year-old William’s struggles to understand why his beloved Grandpa Ken – a heroic Second World War photographer – is mentally and physically deteriorating.

There are “lots of aging folks up here,” said Skelton.

“Some are struggling with Alzheimer’s.

“And there are a lot of caregivers who support them.”

Broken will help “bring this into the public eye and make sure they don’t feel left out,” said Skelton.

Nakai is also running its annual Homegrown Festival in May. Over six days audiences can see approximately 20 new shows created by up to 100 emerging and mature Yukon theatre artists.

And for budding playwrights, Nakai’s annual 24-hour playwriting competition and cabaret is November 5 and 6th.

Skelton is also hosting a community arts debate once the territorial election is called, to press the candidates on their arts interests, he said.

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The Yukon Arts Centre also has a full season already underway.

Grotesque clowns Mump and Smoot are getting together for a one-off Yukon performance at the end of the month with Something, a show that is “necessarily not for all children,” said arts centre artistic director Eric Epstein with a laugh.

In contrast, Circus Incognitus, hitting the arts centre stage in February, is very kid friendly.

This week, My Brother Sang Like Roy Orbison is playing at the Old Fire Hall. The play follows Rutherford’s early years against the backdrop of Vietnam, and blends his coming-of-age with the country’s coming apart in an affecting tale of lost innocence.

Also on this year’s marquee is a whole lot of music.

“There is a little less theatre and dance this year,” said Epstein.

Last season, the arts centre ran a deficit and this year Epstein’s being a little more “financially cautious.”

Music is something you lose less money on, he said.

Alt-country rocker Fred Eaglesmith is coming back this season, and so is 1960s, First Nation folkie Buffy Sainte-Marie.

“We hope to get her out to two of the communities this time too, we’re looking at Mayo and Old Crow,” said Epstein.

Musical comedians the Arrogant Worms are also coming north, and so are Montreal rock and rollers Plants and Animals, who are performing at the arts centre on September 15.

At the end of October, Ride the Cyclone is coming for Halloween. Performed by Atomic Vaudeville, this macabre musical ride is about six high school choir members who die on a roller coaster.

In November Daniel Barrow’s Everytime I See Your Picture I Cry is coming to the Old Fire Hall. The live animation features Barrow drawing his story on an overhead projector as he narrates his yarn.

Throughout the year, the arts centre has teamed up with the Yukon Film Society and will be hosting Available Light movies. It’s also teamed up with Whitehorse Concerts and Nakai for a few shows, as well as with Frostbite Music Festival.

The arts centre has upwards of 30 shows this season.

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