May 2, 2022

SCPA drama professor’s award-winning play to be performed

Calgary’s Sage Theatre presents Clem Martini’s remarkable play, Cantata (Rumours Of My Crazy, Useless Life) until May 7
Cantata by Clem Martini
Cliff Kirchoff
University of Calgary School of Creative and Performing Arts, Division of Drama, Professor Clem Martini

Calgary’s Sage Theatre is presenting School of Creative and Performing Arts drama professor Clem Martini’s award-winning play, Cantata (Rumours Of My Crazy, Useless Life).

Cantata is a dramatization and fictionalization of Martini's experience as a caregiver for a brother with schizophrenia and a mother developing dementia. The family struggles to cope as the delicate balance of caregiving unravels.

Family has played a large part in the formation and creation of Cantata. Not only is the show semi-autobiographical and based on Martini’s life, but it’s actually an adaptation of the book that the two brothers wrote, The Unravelling: How Our Caregiving Safety Net Came Unstrung and We Were Left Grasping at Threads, Struggling to Plait a New One. The book is a memoir, told through illustrations and text, exploring similar themes that the show touts. The Unravelling won the Alberta Trade Fiction Book of the Year Award in 2018 and was shortlisted for the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize in the same year. Cantata won the 2021 Theatre BC National Playwriting Competition, and was one of the three finalists for the Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama in the 2021 Alberta Literacy Awards.

There are many, many people who find themselves in situations like this, who realize their circumstances are no longer sustainable, but possess no back-up plan and no additional resources. The governments of this country, federal and provincial, have turned to family caregiving as the go-to solution for those struggling with mental illnesses. But what happens when that solution collapses?

The play will be accompanied by original composition on a marimba, musically developing with the story, performed by SCPA music professor Dr. Rod Squance.

Cantata takes place April 28 to May 7 at cSPACE King Edward, 1721 29th Ave. S.W., Calgary.