Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde

Scripted and directed by Ronald Weihs
Original music by Timothy Minthorn

Original choreography by Hedy Minten
with Hedy Minten, Michael Spence, Scott Bell and Bruce Beaton
June 22-July 9, 1995

A new theatrical adaptation by Ronald Weihs of Geoffrey Chaucer’s classic tale of love and betrayal, set in ancient Greece in the darkest days of the Trojan War. Performed in modern English, with music and dance.

A love story in a war zone. Set in the time of Homer, this play recounts an incident in the bitter siege of Troy by the Greek army. Troilus, a Trojan soldier, falls in love with Criseyde, whose father has fled to the Greeks. Troilus’ best friend, Pandarus, acts as a go-between and persuades Criseyde to come to a secret rendezvous with Troilus.
Criseyde’s choices, and her reasons, form the core of this great love story.

Notes from the director Ronald Weihs:
Troilus and Criseyde is one of the great love stories in the European tradition. The story of Troilus’s love for Criseyde (or Briseida, as she was originally called) was invented by writers of medieval versions of the story of the Trojan war, and then picked up by Boccaccio, who used the story as an allegory of his love for his own mistress. Geoffrey Chaucer translated and added to Boccaccio’s poem, enriching it in plot, psychology and expression.

Shakespeare did with it what we in the late 20th century are so fond of doing: he deconstructed it, depicting the characters as self-serving and cynical, unloving and unlovely. We call our play Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde to make it clear that this is not Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida.
This is a love story, the original love story as Chaucer told it. It is about what happens when two young people encounter each other, and suddenly nothing else much matters except being in each others arms. (This does happen, even nowadays.)

The context for this love, however, is very grim, very 20th century. There is a terrible war on. The combatants, the Greeks and the Trojans, very similar in language and culture, are locked in a death-grip over a matter of national honour that has lasted nine brutal years. It will end in the total destruction of the home of the two lovers.
Love in a war zone. The human spirit struggling to survive.

For this work, we have commissioned an original musical score by Timothy Minthorn, a talented young pianist and composer.

Our approach to this work uses an ensemble acting style with a strong basis in dance and movement. Hedy Minten, the dancer who plays Criseyde, has choreographed the dance sequences.
Our text is based on a translation of Chaucer’s work into modern English. We have cut to the crucial scenes, but are otherwise using the verse translation exactly as it comes. Chaucer had a very astute understanding of the human psyche – the scenes play as drama marvellously well.

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Artword Theatre since 2008

A poster of Artword Theatre’s projects in Hamilton since 2008. We closed our most recent live project (“Walter” starring Sean Emberley) on March 14, 2020, due to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Meanwhile we continue to add videos of our shows on the Artword Theatre Youtube Channel.

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Scroogissimo! on YouTube

Scroogissimo for Christmas:
Free YouTube Premiere, December 11, 7:00 pm. Scroogissimo launches on the Artword Theatre Channel on YouTube on December 11 at 7:00 pm.

Ron has finally finished editing the video of Scroogissimo, shot and recorded by Gabe Etele at Artword Artbar on December 13, 2018. It was a great performance, and the video version is really good (Ron says modestly).

Here’s the link:

Click on the link on December 11 at 7 pm (Hamilton time). There will be a half hour of live chat. Judith and Ron will be there, chatting from Rome (1:00 am). Charly will be there and other Artword people.
Then at 7:30, the movie starts and we’ll watch it together. It runs about 1 hour 40 minutes.

If you like it (and you will) please click the Like button. And Subscribe to the Artword Theatre Channel. (It helps us a lot with YouTube.)

After the premiere, Scroogissimo will be permanently available on the Artword Theatre Channel, along with other full Artword plays and performances, trailers and samplers.

And everything on the channel is free to watch.


Scroogissimo is Artword Theatre’s hit show based on “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Written by Ryan Sero and Charly Chiarelli. Directed by Ronald Weihs, produced and designed by Judith Sandiford.

Charly plays “Ebenezu Scroogie”, a Sicilian Hamiltonian who hates Christmas (bah, umbago) and terrorizes his clerk, Bob Cratchit, played by Jon-Gordon Odegaard. His nephew Fred is played by Jay Shand.

The Ghost of Christmas Past is played by Pamela Gardner.

The Ghost of Christmas Present is played by Paula Grove.

Val Kay plays the Ghost of Christmas Future, as well as Mrs. Cratchit.

See the full story of this production in the 2018 Scroogissimo post.

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Judith and Ron nominees for City of Hamilton Arts Awards 2021

… And the winner is Tom Wilson, Hamilton local hero, musician and artist.

“2021 Arts Awards Short List: Lifetime Achievement Award nominees Judith Sandiford & Ronald Weihs.

Judith Sandiford, an artist and designer, and Ronald Weihs, a playwright and director, have been creating original theatre and promoting the arts for thirty years. Their projects include Artword Artists Forum, Artword Theatre, Artword Gallery and Artword Artbar, a welcoming environment for theatre, music, dance and visual art in Hamilton.”
The other nominee in this category is the renowned musician and author Tom Wilson.

“A panel of 45 local artists and arts professionals evaluated 122 public nominations for the 2021 Arts Awards, shortlisting 37 nominees to move forward for final adjudication for an award. … Award recipients in all categories will be announced via online presentations during Hamilton Arts Week (June 3 to 12, 2021). 
“Creator Award
(28 shortlisted): Conferred to individual artists and artistic collectives (including bands) working in any artistic discipline and at any career level.
Arts Champion Award (7 shortlisted): Honours the work of arts sector volunteers, advocates, or board members who are essential in supporting success in the arts community.
Lifetime Achievement Award (2 shortlisted): Recognizes those who have contributed substantially to the artistic vitality of the city over the course of a career.

Here are some photos from our various adventures in theatre
(not a whole lifetime, just the bit since 1994). But it does include three facilities for performance, over 26 or so years.

#1. Artword Theatre at 81 Portland Street Toronto, 1994 to 1999. (left)

#2. Artword Theatre at 75 Portland Street, Toronto, 1999-2006. Proud of our small-budget high-standard 150-seat theatre, plus art gallery and 60-seat studio theatre. This was a make-over of our landlord’s garment factory.

#3. In Artword Gallery, the lobby of Artword Theatre, 75 Portland Street, Toronto, from 1999-2006.


#4. Out in front of Artword Artbar on Colbourne Street at James, for “Open Streets”, back when street festivals were home-made:
Ron on fiddle, Judith with a microphone, and pals Charly Chiarelli on harmonica and Venesio Salvo on guitar.

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Final concert Hill Brothers videos

Artword Artbar closed it doors forever just before Covid slammed into our lives. Talk about timing! November 17, 2019, the Hill Brothers Bluegrass Band played our final concert to a sellout crowd. The musicianship is brilliant: Randal Hill (mandolin), Rocky Hill (guitar), Tim McDonald (banjo), Greg Street (bass). Videos of that final concert are now on the Artword Theatre YouTube channel. Beautifully shot, with excellent sound quality, by Gabe Etele (CMNIproductions).

Two sample songs for starters.

Sample song from the first set. “It Ain’t Nothin”,
sung by Rocky Hill:







Sample song, second set, “Crossties on a Railroad”
sung by Randal Hill:







Full videos of the first set and the second set.

Part One: Full video of the first set







Part Two: Full video of the second set:

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Charly’s Piano now up on Youtube!

Artword Theatre’s production of Charly’s Piano, performed by Charly Chiarelli is now up on the Artword Theatre Youtube channel. This 60-minute version was performed in the 2019 Hamilton Fringe Festival, and videoed on July 25, 2019. Watch Charly’s Piano on Artword Theatre Youtube channel

Charly’s Piano is written by Charly Chiarelli and Ronald Weihs, directed by Ronald Weihs, with songs by Charly Chiarelli. Ronald Weihs accompanies on guitar. Charly’s Piano tells the true tale of Charly as a young hippie looking for work in Toronto in 1972. He gets a job in a psychiatric hospital, and organizes a fundraising concert by patients and doctors to buy a piano.

See the reviews and background here in the show post:


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