The War of 1812: The History of the Village of the Small Huts, 1812-15

Video Cabaret gives Canada's past a good dressing up in this victorious production

Presented by Video Cabaret
Written and directed by Michael Hollingsworth
Associate director Deanne Taylor

Cast of Video Cabaret's The War of 1812. Photo by Michael Cooper, 2013.

This Saturday, April 27, is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of York. The perfect time to check out Video Cabaret's The War of 1812: The History of the Village of the Small Huts, 1812-1815, a hit at last year's Stratford Festival, now on stage at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts.

Created by the ever-adventurous Michael Hollingsworth (other historical works include The Great War, and The Life and Times of Mackenzie King), The War of 1812 is a chapter in an epic 20-part play cycle, gleefully chronicling defining moments in Canadian history. Described by the playwright as a "comedy of manners" and "the Canadian book of the dead, a merry tale told by ghosts and demons," the show is a brilliantly staged dramatization of the events surrounding America's declaration of war on Britain and the Canadian territories.

Featuring eight talented performers—Paul Braunstein, Aurora Browne, Richard Alan Campbell, Richard Clarkin, Mac Fyfe, Derek Garza, Jacob James and Linda Prystawskaportraying more than 30 characters, the show employs Video Cabaret's signature black box style, where the actors appear almost like life-size marionettes, framed in each scene by beams of light cutting through the surrounding darkness.

Told through the eyes of various historical figures, including President Madison (James), General Isaac Brock (Clarkin), the aboriginal leader Tecumseh (Garza) and his prophet brother (Browne), Captain Fitzgibbon (Fyfe) and his "Bloody Boys," Governor General Prevost (Braunstein), the farmer James Secord (Campbell) and his wife Laura Secord (Prystawska), this amusing production pokes fun at everyonethe British gentry, angry Yankees, swooning maidens, dullard soldiers, effeminate, ineffectual and cowardly generals, drunks and opium addictsin a condensed version of the conflict that is both factually accurate and wildly over the top.

Theatregoers will be amazed by the rapid scene and character changes, as the ensemble flips between personalities at lightning speed, sporting elaborate costumes by Astrid Janson and wigs by Alice Norton, under exceptional lighting by Andy Morro. From the capture of Detroit to the burning of York, Washington and everything in between, The War of 1812 takes the audience on a brawling, bawdy and beguiling journey into the heart of one of this country's most exciting periods.

The War of 1812 runs until May 18 at the Young Centre for the Performing Arts. Visit for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Tue, 2013-04-23 - Sat, 2013-06-01
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