Hrant Alianak

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The Blues

Ladies and Gentlemen...

The Blues...

Aldo's Bar...

New York...


With these words, the play opens and the blues begin. To the throbbing accompaniment of Billie Holiday's saddest hits, four people play out their tenuous lives in a down-at-the-heels bar. Ripples, the lady of the night, bewails her lost loves and nurses her hurts. The Salvation Army girl, Virginia, learns what sin means. Aldo, the bartender, watches the great parade and tops up the drinks with philosophy. And finally, the writer, Tyrone, buys love for $20 a shot and labours over his typewriter, turning the dingy bar into the setting of a bad novel.

As these B-movie types enact their fantasies and obsessions in the bar, the resulting scenes are sometimes pathetic and sometimes hilarious, creating a pastiche of lonely midnights, love for sale and the losers who always hope to win.

Production History

The Blues was first produced at the Theatre Passe Muraille, Toronto, May 1976 with the following cast

Ripples- Elan Ross Gibson
Aldo - Howie Cooper
Tyrone- Booth Savage

Virginia-Fina MacDonell

Directed by Hrant Alianak

The Blues (revised version) was first produced at the Theatre Passe Muraille, March 2003 with the following cast

Ripples- Linda Griffiths
Aldo - David Bolt
Tyrone- Eric Peterson
Virginia-Janet Burke

Directed by Hrant Alianak

Set Design by Steve Lucas & Sherri Hay
Costume Design by Angela Thomas
Sound Design by Terry Crack & Joe Mancuso
Stage manager Renee Schouten

Selected Reviews

“An entertaining play of outstanding integrity and artistry"
- Toronto Sun

"Uproariously funny…inspired satire…hugely entertaining, especially the brilliant marathon soliloquies"
- The Globe & Mail

" Brilliantly imaginative"
- Montreal Gazette

"Alianak 'showed an affection and talent for shaping melodrama, movie romanticism and film noir into his absurd universe in The Blues'"
- Ottawa Revue

Publishing History

The Blues was published by Playwrights Canada in 1985. ISBN 0-88754-381-2.

The revised version of The Blues was published by Scirocco Drama in 2003. ISBN 0-920486-35-5.

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