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The one about Halifax: local cafe turns into Central Perk from Friends for one night


HALIFAX - For one night only, a downtown Halifax café is transforming itself into Central Perk, the coffee shop frequented by the characters from the sitcom Friends.

Chinese youths chat at a cafe modeled after the "Central Perk" cafe in the "Friends" sitcom long popular amongst young Chinese audience in Beijing Monday, July 19, 2010. The Old Apothecary cafe in Halifax will be recreating the famous Central Perk cafe this weekend as part of the annual Nocturne: Art at Night festival.

As part of this year’s Nocturne: Art at Night festival this Saturday, The Old Apothecary is doing double duty.

The establishment will host the Nostos Collectives Dance Association performance, Deconstructing Boundaries, in its upstairs space.

But downstairs, it’ll be all about Central Perk.

“I’m going to be Monica because she was the chef, and we’re going to have Rachel and Gunther and paint the windows up like Central Perk and just have fun with it,” explained The Old Apothecary’s owner Laura MacLeod on Tuesday.

She had initially considered getting large coffee cups to replicate those used at the fictional sitcom café, but is sticking with her usual ware.  

MacLeod and her staff do plan to move things around a bit to make it more reminiscent of the Central Perk set, but for the most part they’re going to “wing it.”

“We were going to have a sofa stuck in the stairs with a repeat of Ross doing the pivot, but obviously now we can’t block the stairs where the dance group is going to be,” MacLeod laughed, referring to a scene where the character Ross tries to get a new sofa upstairs into his apartment.

MacLeod said Phoebe (a character well-known for strumming her guitar and singing her song ‘Smelly Cat’), will also be there for the Nocturne event.

“We’ve told her she’s not allowed to sing Smelly Cat more than once an hour,” MacLeod joked.

Also, unlike the first season of the show, there will be no Marcel the monkey making an appearance.

The transformation of the café’s space is an extension of Argyle Fine Art’s Nocturne exhibit called GET SET, a group show featuring nostalgic pieces inspired by TV shows from the past and present.

“Welcome to Fox Mulder’s office and Seinfeld’s apartment,” a press release states.

The gallery will also host The Slow Awakening,  a show of charcoal drawings by artist Abigail Lower.

When asked about the Central Perk pop-up at Nocturne, chairwoman Lindsay Ann Cory laughed.

“I knew there (was a project) happening at The Old Apothecary but I didn’t know about that one,” Cory said.

“That’s kind of the beauty of Nocturne though. A lot of the projects end up being quite rogue…They even surprise us on the night of. “

Gearing up for the night

An interactive installation at the law courts, a tea ceremony and a video installation on both sides of the harbour are just a few of the events happening this Saturday at part of this year’s Nocturne: Art at Night festival.

“In past years it has been kind of sad to see Parade Square not being used during Nocturne…but this year we have three amazing projects happening at Parade Square,” she said.

“One of them is a projection mapping City Hall to turn it into this wildlife projection so it’s really bringing the natural into the urban. It’s going to be the entire City Hall. It will be impressive,” she said.

There are also many projects in Dartmouth this year, and all events run from 6 p.m. to midnight.

More detailed information is on the festival’s website.

Cory said 30,000 people hit the streets of downtown Halifax for last year’s Nocturne event. 

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