By Daunia Del Ben
Special to the Eagle
Cochrane’s Teatro dell’Eco presents Morag Northey and Eugene Stickland in ‘17’ – When Emptiness Turns Inside Out, on Nov. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Cochrane RancheHouse Theatre.
‘17’ is a 50-minute theatrical, multi-genre fusion of poetry, prose, cello, voice, storytelling, composition and improvisation that takes its audience on one whale of a ride through Morag Northey’s journey as a woman, artist, mother and indomitable spirit.
Morag Northey is one of Canada’s preeminent cellists. She has played conventional symphonic works with a number of orchestras, and on many musicals in the pit. At the same time, she has always been a restless explorer of further musical possibilities. She has performed several series of improvised concerts, guided only by her musical intuition and her instinctive and soulful attraction to the great library of song: Bach, baleine whales, a golden eagle, Brahms, the song of a babbling brook – all embraced in her immense repertoire of music and song.
In 2016, Morag set out to create a personal narrative that would encompass her compelling life story, a mixture of text and music, some composed and some from the cannon. She engaged award-winning author Eugene Stickland to assist with the process. With the support of the Sunset Theatre in Wells, British Columbia, in 2016 they created “17”. They returned the following year to finish the process and performed the piece for enthusiastic audiences.
So what exactly is this piece entitled 17? Is it theatre? Is it music? Is it performance art? Is it a text-based musical recital? Yes it is, and no it’s not. It’s all of these, and more. At its heart, it is the story of Morag’s life journey told through minimal vocal narration and a virtuosic cello performance.
One thing is certain: the honesty of Morag’s story and the force of her vocal and cello performance has profoundly touched and moved audiences. It’s a night in the theatre quite unlike anything you have ever seen – or heard – before.
Tickets for the show are available for $25 per person.
Teatro dell’Eco was founded in Italy in 2007 and moved to Edmonton in 2013. In 2013, the non-profit company wrote and produced three plays; The Importance of Garlic, Greek Chopsticks on Spaghetti Tales and Notes from the Sky and appeared in five festivals: Garlic Festival, Santa Maria Goretti Festival, Heritage Festival, Italian Festival and the Verdi Festival. In 2014 created The Nino&Nina Show, a monthly comedy/variety appearing on the last Sunday of the month between January and June. In 2015 Teatro dell’Eco produced two première plays: The Garbpires and Dump. In the same year, it created Le Maschere for the Italian Festival. In 2016 created Commedia Strategy and moved to Cochrane where is now based. In 2017 Teatro launched the first Cochrane Theatre Season, also creating and producing created and produced “Dreaming Alberta”, an environmental play about organic waste collection. With the support of the Town of Cochrane, Teatro dell’Eco presented the Cochrane Theatre Season at the Cochrane RancheHouse Theatre in 2016/17 and 2017/18. ‘17’ is the first presentation in the 2018/19 Cochrane Theatre Season.