Tag Archive: Bard on the Beach

2012 in Review: Shows I Saw

For the last four years I’ve been keeping track of what I see, and each year the number has been growing. This year I saw a staggering 174 different productions (some of them more than once) spanning the performance art disciplines in 10 cities and five countries. I saw a high school production and a West End Musical. I went to the Vancouver Fringe and the Paris National Opera. I saw magicians, musicals, and modern dance; ballet, busking, and butoh; Shakespeare, site-specific, and SummerWorks.

As with every year there are shows I regret missing, but there are way less this year. There were things I wanted to see in London that I didn’t make it to. I couldn’t see every show at PuSh. I missed Terminus at SummerWorks.But overall, I saw more great theatre this year. Of course, I also walked out of two shows this year (something I rarely do) and wanted to walk out of at least three others that I couldn’t walk out of due to political reasons or logistics.

Here they are, the 174 shows I saw in 2012 in something close to chronological order:

  1. Waiting for Godot (Blackbird Theatre at the Cultch)
  2. Never Swim Alone (TWU)
  3. All The Way Home (Electric Company)
  4. Red (Vancouver Playhouse)
  5. The Idiot (Neworld/UBC at PuSh)
  6. Amarillo (Teatro Linea de Sombra at PuSh)
  7. Glory Days (The Boys Upstairs Equity Co-op)
  8. Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner (Chelfitsch Theater at PuSh)
  9. Gunmetal Blues (Playhouse)
  10. El Pasado un animal grotesco (Grupo Marea at PuSh)
  11. Craigslist Cantata (Arts Club Theatre at PuSh)
  12. Almighty Voice and his Wife (Native Earth Performing Arts/Touchstone Theatre at PuSh)
  13. Calendar Girls (Arts Club)
  14. No. 2 (Silo Theatre at PuSh)
  15. Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Pacific Theatre)
  16. Bride on Credit (TWU)
  17. Tempting Providence (Gateway Theatre)
  18. Problem Child & The End of Civilization (Theatre at UBC)
  19. I Love You Because (Intimate Productions)
  20. Intimate Apparel (Arts Club Theatre)
  21. The Silicone Diaries (Nina Arsenault at The Cultch)
  22. Hunchback (Catalyst Theatre at The Vancouver Playhouse)
  23. All Shook Up (Chemainus Theatre Festival & Gateway Co-pro)
  24. Ignorance (Old Trout Puppet WorkShop at The Cultch)
  25. Doubt (Pacific Theatre)
  26. Goodness (Volcano theatre at the Firehall)
  27. King Lear (Honest Fishmongers)
  28. Kismet 1 to 100 (The Chop at Gateway)
  29. A Vessel of Ruins (Taketeru Kudo – Tokyo)
  30. Barber of Seville (Vancouver Opera)
  31. Importance of Being Earnest (Arts Club)
  32. Importance of Being Earnest (Gallery 7)
  33. Flop (Delinquent Theatre)
  34. Snooker (Camillo the Magician)
  35. Fresco (BellaLuna Productions)
  36. The Bombitty of Errors (20-Something)
  37. Scar Tissue (Arts Club)
  38. Henry & Alice: Into the Wild (Arts Club)
  39. EndGame (Main Street Theatre)
  40. A Last Resort (Rough House Productions)
  41. Trial by Jury (VSO & Vancouver Opera Ensemble)
  42. Aida (Vancouver Opera)
  43. The Exquisite Hour (Relephant Theatre)
  44. 100 Saints You Should Know (Pacific Theatre)
  45. Blue Box (Neworld Theatre)
  46. Bliss (Ballet BC)
  47. High Society (Arts Club)
  48. Godspell (Christ Church Cathedral)
  49. Obstructions – Boca Del Lupo
  50. Shelter from the Storm (Touchstone/Firehall)
  51. Fantasticks (Gallery 7)
  52. MacBeth (Bard on the Beach)
  53. Wolf at the Door (Pacific Theatre)
  54. Not Everything You Are (Stones Throw)
  55. Obstructions – Felix Culpa
  56. UnBoxed (Scarlet Satin)
  57. Reasons to be Pretty (Matchbox Theatre)
  58. The Alchemist
  59. Xanadu (Arts Club)
  60. Titanic (TUTS)
  61. The Music Man (TUTS)
  62. King John (Bard on the Beach)
  63. Merry Wives of Windsor (Bard on the Beach)
  64. Alter Boyz (Arts Club)
  65. Armed (Xua Xua)
  66. Mary Poppins (Broadway Across Canada)
  67. Stationary (Delinquent Theatre at Neanderthal)
  68. Coercion (Hardline at Neanderthal)
  69. God is a Scottish Drag Queen (Delcon Entertainment.at Neanderthal)
  70. The List (Bouchewhacked! at Neanderthal)
  71. Tyumen, Then (Groundwater Productions at Neanderthal)
  72. House of X (Wild Excursions at Neanderthal)
  73. The Taming of the Shrew (Bard on the Beach)
  74. Obstructions – Beautiful Karrats (Radix)
  75. Sunday Service (Neanderthal)
  76. Exhibit A (411 Dramaturgy at Neanderthal)
  77. The Marraige of Figaro (Summer Opera Lyric Theatre)
  78. My Pregnant Brother (Freestanding Productions at SummerWorks)
  79. France or the Niquab (Old Pirate at SummerWorks)
  80. Haunted (The Haunted Group at SummerWorks)
  81. Artaud: un Portrait en Decomposition (TheatreRUN at SummerWorks))
  82. Medicine Boy (Native Earth at SummerWorks)
  83. Purge (Brian Lobel at SummerWorks)
  84. One/Un (Orange Noyée at SummerWorks)
  85. The God that Comes (2b Theatre at SummerWorks)
  86. When it Rains (2b Theatre at SummerWorks)
  87. Petrichor (Kitchenband at SummerWorks)
  88. Barrel Crank (Suitcase in Point at SummerWorks)
  89. Extinction Song (Voodoo Theatre at SummerWorks)
  90. Dutchman (lemonTree Creations)
  91. Wondermart (Rotozaza at SummerWorks)
  92. Marine Life (Theatre Crisis and Aluna Theatre at SummerWorks)
  93. Captain Ron’s Ship of Friendship/Atomic Vaudeville Cabaret (Atomic Vaudeville at SummerWorks)
  94. The Frenzy of Queen Maeve  (Live Lobster Theatre at SummerWorks)
  95. Breath in Between (Breath Collective in Association with Crow’s Theatre at SummerWorks)
  96. 40 Days and 40 Nights (Nina Arsenault at Summerworks)
  97. Your Side, My Side and the Truth (Compass and Trying Science Co-Production at SummerWorks)
  98. Peachy Coochy (Summerworks)
  99. We Will WeeTube (An Experiment with Theatre Replacement’s WeeTube at SummerWorks)
  100. Iceland (The Iceland Collective at Summerworks)
  101. Speed the Plow (SoulPepper)
  102. Motor Vehicle Sundown (Andy Field at SummerWorks)
  103. Midsummer Night’s Dream (CanStage)
  104. Mojo (ItsaZoo)
  105. Eurosmash! (Die Rotten Punkte at The Cultch)
  106. My Marvellous Melcher Machine (James Melcher)
  107. Pirates? (Quimera Collective)
  108. Just Bust a Move (Nathaniel Roy)
  109. Home Free (Staircase XI)
  110. Riverview High: The Musical (Entrance Theatre)
  111. In the Time of the Dream Warrior (Golgonooza)
  112. The 1812 Event (Just Push Play)
  113. Romance (Queer Arts Society)
  114. Adult Entertainment (Squidamisu Theatre)
  115. ReLapse (And the Other Leg)
  116. Miss Cosmos (Bright Young Theatre)
  117. Felony (Dreams Beyond 30)
  118. First Day Back (10 Foot Pole)
  119. Alpha (Compassionate Bone)
  120. Three More Sleepless Nights (o.o.o.o.)
  121. Weaksauce (Sam Mullins)
  122. You Are Here (Allentina Francesca)
  123. Hip Hop Shakespeare Live Music Videos (411 Dramaturgy)
  124. Tales Told by Idiots (Not The Mermaid)
  125. Lost in Twine (Looking for 143 Productions)
  126. Underbelly (Jayson MacDonald)
  127. Zanna, Don’t (Awkward Stage)
  128. Psychopomp (Psyche Theatre)
  129. Smudge (Two Wrongs That Write)
  130. God is a Scottish Drag Queen (Delcon Entertainment)
  131. Peter ‘n’ Chris Explore Their Bodies (Peter ‘n’ Chris)
  132. Loon (Wonderheads)
  133. Gadfly (Theatre of the Beat)
  134. Guernica (Hidden Harlequin Theatre)
  135. Fishbowl (Mark Shyzer)
  136. How to Love (Idea Factory Entertainment)
  137. Welcome to my Wake (INC – Ingrid Nilson Collective)
  138. Little Lady (Sandrine Lanford)
  139. The Histories AKA Will Shakespeare’s ImproMusical (GrinkeInk)
  140. Riot (Carson Graham Secondary)
  141. The Missing Piece (Theresa Hamilton)
  142. The Best, Man (Urban Rogues)
  143. Risk Everything (Squidamisu Theatre)
  144. No Tweed to Tight (Ryan Gladstone)
  145. Vincent (Spitfire Productions)
  146. Bookworm (Corin Raymond)
  147. Blind Date (Rebecca Northan at the Cultch)
  148. Post Secret: The Play (TJ Dawe, Kahlil Ashanti & Frank Warren)
  149. The Spitfire Grill (Midnight Theatre Collective at Pacific Theatre)
  150. Capslock: The Musical (Pipedream Productions)
  151. Master Class (Arts Club)
  152. White Rabbit, Red Rabbit (Elbow Theatre at The Cultch)
  153. A Beautiful View (Ruby Slippers)
  154. Zombie Syndrome (Virtual Stage)
  155. The Unplugging (Arts Club)
  156. Initiation Trilogy (Electric Company/Boca del Lupo/Writers Fest)
  157. Debts (ItsaZoo)
  158. La Boheme (Vancouver Opera)
  159. Dancing at Lughnassa (Capilano University)
  160. Chelsea Hotel (Firehall)
  161. Cozy Catastrophe (theatre Melee with Rumble and the Cultch)
  162. Gold Mountain (Les Deux Mondes & unity theatre at The Cultch)
  163. Dickens’ Women (Miriam Margoyles at The Cultch)
  164. Go Back for Murder (SAMC Theatre @TWU)
  165. Tomb with a View (Genus/Up in the Air)
  166. Far Side of the Moon (Ex Machina @ SFU)
  167. Matilda the Musical (Royal Shakespeare Company in the Westend)
  168. Twelfth Night (The Globe)
  169. NSFW (Royal Court)
  170. The Effect (National Theatre)
  171. Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Zurich Opera House)
  172. Jultrad-i-tion (Gotenburg Opera)
  173. Don Quixote (Ballet of the National Opera of Paris)
  174. Le Retour (Odeon Theatre of Europe)
  175. La Cenerentola (National Opera of Paris)

2011 in Review: Shows I Saw

Last year when I wrote about all the shows I had seen, I set forth a two part goal.  I wanted to achieve balance in my hobbies and I wanted to end the year with no regrets in regards to my theatre viewing.

Now here we are at the end of the year and even though I saw more shows than ever I’d say I did do better in finding balance.  Part of the reason that makes sense is that instead of stage managing all year I spent 5 months working for the Vancouver Fringe.  For the most part it was a day job which left my evenings free to see some awesome theatre.

But I do have a handful of shows that I regret not seeing.  I missed the work of the guys at Main Street Theatre for the second year in a row.  I missed Death of a Salesman at the Playhouse. I didn’t go see Ride the Cyclone more than once. I didn’t see Wonderheads during the Fringe (but lucky for me they won an award and will be at the Cultch next year!). I missed Wicked Shorts. 

For the first time in a couple of years, my list is entirely West Coast – I didn’t make it out to Edmonton or Toronto this year, which I regret, but I’m looking forward to more travel in the coming year – including my first ever trip to Europe!

Here they are – the 155 performances I attended in 2011, in something close to chronological order.

La Marea at the PuSh Festival. Photo by Flickr user jmv

  1. Wee Tube (Theatre Replacement)
  2. La Marea (Boca Del Lupo/PuSh Festival/Mariano Pensotti)
  3. The Pavillion (Osimous Theatre/Firehall Theatre)
  4. Iqualit (Berlin/PuSh Festival)
  5. Circa (Circa/UBC/PuSh Festival)
  6. 100% Vancouver (PuSh Festival/Rimini Protokoll/Theatre Replacement)
  7. Tuesdays With Morrie (Gallery 7 Theatre)
  8. Dead Man’s Cell Phone (UBC)
  9. Floating (Hugh Hughes/Arts Club/PuSh Festival)
  10. Bonanza (Berlin/PuSh Festival)
  11. Whale (Boca del Lupo/Kyle Jesperson)
  12. Gloria’s Cause (Club PuSh/Donya Hansen)
  13. City of Dreams (Roundhouse/PuSh Festival/Peter Reder)
  14. My Name is Asher Lev (Pacific Theatre)
  15. Hard Core Logo: Live (November Theatre/Touchstone Theatre/Theatre Network/PuSh Festival)
  16. Avenue Q (Touring Broadway Production)
  17. August: Osage County (Arts Club)
  18. Peter Panties (The Cultch/PuSh Festival/Leaky Heaven/Neworld)
  19. Clemenzia di Tito (Vancouver Opera)
  20. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Blackbird/Arts Club)
  21. Nocturne (20 Something Theatre)
  22. The Lieutenant of Inishmore (Fighting Chance Productions)
  23. Swimmy, Frederick & Inch by Inch (Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia)
  24. Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train (Glass City Theatre)
  25. Quiet in the Land (Gallery 7)
  26. Cinderella (Vancouver Opera in Schools)
  27. Wild Honey (UBC)
  28. Cinderella (Exit 22 at Capilano University)
  29. Chairs (Itsazoo)
  30. The Philanderer (Arts Club)
  31. 1984 (Virtual Stage/Studio 58 at the Cultch)
  32. Evelyn Strange (StairCaseXI)
  33. The Last 15 Seconds (MT Space Theatre/Firehall Arts Centre)

    The Last 15 Seconds at the Firehall. Photo from http://bikesbirdsnbeasts.blogspot.com/

  34. Under The Influence Cabaret (20 Something)
  35. The Bacche (TWU)
  36. Another Home Invasion (Arts Club/Tarragon)
  37. Jake’s Gift (PT/Juno Productions)
  38. The Forbidden Phoenix (Gateway Theatre)
  39. Rosmershom (United Players)
  40. Letters from a Soldier; My Name is Aslam (Stones Throw Productions)
  41. The Trespassers (Vancouver Playhouse/Belfry)
  42. Ballet BC’s 25th Anniversary (Ballet BC)
  43. Scared Scriptless (Vancouver Theatresports League)
  44. Dress Me Up In Your Love (Theatre Replacement)
  45. The Graduate (Arts Club)
  46. The Wiz (Fighting Chance)
  47. My Funny Valentine (Zee Zee Theatre)
  48. Tape (Alley Theatre)
  49. Side Show (Pacific Theatre)
  50. Mambo Italiano (Firehall/WCT)
  51. Prodigals (20-Something Theatre)
  52. Love/Stories (Kineticism)
  53. Beautiful Problems (Radix Theatre)
  54. The Great Divorce (Pacific Theatre)

    Pacific Theatre's "The Great Divorce" Photo provided.

  55. Eurydice (Secretly Women)
  56. Macbeth: Nacht Shakespeare (Theatre Conspiracy)
  57. Hairspray (Arts Club theatre)
  58. What we leave behind (Lamondance)
  59. Community Dinner (Rumble Productions)
  60. Wicked (Broadway Across Canada)
  61. A guide to Mourning (Genus/Enlightenment Theatre)
  62. Merchant of Venice (Bard)
  63. A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline (Arts Club)
  64. BridgeMix (Itsazoo)
  65. Matchmaker (Gallery 7)
  66. Verona Project (Stones Throw)
  67. Bash: Latter Day Plays (Hardlines Theatre)
  68. Bye Bye Birdie (TUTS Vancouver)
  69. The Casino/The Disappearing (Stones Throw)
  70. Party This Weekend (The House Party Collective)
  71. Project X (Faust) (Leaky Heaven Circus)
  72. Other Side Through You (Cat Main)
  73. Visitors (Walking Fish 2011)
  74. At First I Thought It Was (Walking Fish 2011)
  75. Armed  (Walking Fish 2011)
  76. The Gas Heart (Gas heart Theatre)
  77. Homecoming King
  78. Chairs  (Itsazoo) (The revised version)
  79. My Pregnant Brother (Freestanding Productins)
  80. Compassion for Killers (Whirlwind Productions)
  81. Anything Goes (TUTS Vancouver)

    Anything Goes at TUTS. Photo credit unknown.

  82. Troika and The Troubles (Some of the New Bees/Resounding Scream)
  83. Flop! A one man musical (New Hands Theatre)
  84. Bare: a pop opera (Fighting Chance)
  85. When I Was (Les Petite Taquines)
  86. Richard III (Bard on the Beach)
  87. Kunst Rock (Die Roten Punkte/The Cultch)
  88. Sea of Sand (The Only Animal)
  89. As You Like It (Bard on the Beach)
  90. Cativo (Hardline Productions)
  91. Tough (20-Something Theatre)
  92. The Selkie Wife
  93. Trouble in Tahiti (VanCoCo)
  94. Archy & Mehitable
  95. Yum/Yuck
  96. Oh That Wily Snake!
  97. Jigsaw
  98. The Sparrow and the Mouse
  99. Phone Whore
  100. Screaming Silently
  101. wreckage

    Nita Bowerman's Fringe show "wreckage". Photo by Brendan Albano.

  102. This is Cancer
  103. Jesus In Montana
  104. Short & Sweet
  105. The Progressive Polygamists
  106. The Animal Show
  107. Rove
  108. Stay Away from my Boat, @$$hole (ItsaZoo/Vancouver Fringe)
  109. The Razzle Tassel Tease Show
  110. Lost in Place
  111. Duck Off
  112. Fruitcake
  113. The Mystery of the Hungry Heart Hotel (Peter ‘n’ Chris/Vancouver Fringe)
  114. Smile (Awkward Stage Productions/Vancouver Fringe)
  115. Tinfoil Dinosaur
  116. The Other Side
  117. Houdini’s Last Escape (Monster Theatre/Vancouver Fringe)
  118. Night of the B Movie
  119. The Devil & Billy Markham
  120. Giant Invisible Robot
  121. Sally Lives Here
  122. Mr. Kinski’s Cabaret of Bullshit (Vancouver Fringe)
  123. Acrobatic Daredevils

    The Acrobatic Daredevils at the Fringe. Photo by flickr user arianec

  124. Oh My God (Delinquent Theatre/Vancouver Fringe)
  125. Fortunate Son
  126. Willow’s Walk: Ripples in Time
  127. Arnie the Carnie’s House of Fun
  128. Next To Normal (Arts Club Theatre)
  129. Tuesdays with Morrie (Gallery 7 at Pacific Theatre) (The Remount)
  130. National Ballet of Canada’s 60th Anniversary Tour (National Ballet/Ballet BC)
  131. Little Orange Man (Snafu Dance Theatre/Vancouver Fringe)
  132. The Light in the Piazza (Patrick Street Productions)
  133. Circle Mirror Transformation (Arts Club Theatre)
  134. Ride the Cyclone (Atomic Vaudville)
  135. True Love Lies (Touchstone Theatre at the Cultch)
  136. A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Forum (Fighting Chance Productions)
  137. Visions of Vancouver (Pi Theatre)
  138. Love Lies Bleeding (Alberta Ballet)
  139. West Side Story (Vancouver Opera)
  140. Romeo and Juliet (TWU)
  141. 50 Words (Mitch & Murray  Equity Coop)
  142.  Falling in Time (Screaming Weenie)
  143. Vimy (Firehall Arts Centre)
  144. The Outsiders (Gallery 7 Theatre)
  145. Penny Plain (Ronnie Burkett)
  146. Mary’s Wedding (Gateway)
  147. Blood Brothers (Arts Club)
  148. The Patron Saint of Stanley Park (Arts Club Theatre)
  149. A Christmas Carol (Pacific Theatre)
  150. La Cage aux Folles (Playhouse Theatre)

    The wonderful Greg Armstrong Morris in La Cage aux Folles. Photo provided.

  151. Hotel Bethlehem (Ruby Slippers Theatre)
  152. Sound of Music (Gateway Theatre)
  153. Christmas Carol Project (Brass Monkey Productions at the Cultch)
  154. The Gift Horse (Caravan Farm Theatre)
  155. Christmas Presence (Pacific Theatre)

I am already excited about what is to come in 2012.  My first booking of the year is for Blackbird Theatre’s Waiting for Godot.

Through Different Eyes

Adri and I at Queen Elizabeth Park the day she arrived in town. Clearly we were enjoying each other's company.

Last week I had the pleasure of having the lovely Adrianna Prosser visit from Toronto.  I first met Adri a year and a half ago when I was in Toronto. One night my host had to work, so I tweeted that I was looking for a show to see and people to hang out with and Adri replied that she was going to a show and I was welcome to join. Well that show was so awful that we walked out at intermission, but we bonded over how bad it was at a Starbucks and have been friends ever since. So when she got a couple of auditions in town, it only made sense for her to stay on my futon.

The thing that I found most interesting was what it was like to see Vancouver through her eyes. I’m pretty spoiled – I grew up in the Okanagan where it’s a 25 minute drive from some of the best skiing in the country to beautiful lakes with sandy beaches.  Adri is an Ontarian through and through and there were times where I watched her react to what she was seeing and it was so fresh.  The day she arrived we walked up to the Queen Elizabeth Park and walked through the gardens before sitting down under a tree and reading and giggling.

Adri & I at Bard!

We went to Bard twice while Adri was here, seeing shows on both the studio stage and the mainstage (Richard III and As You Like It), and while I’ve always appreciated the view out the back of the tent (including the kids with kites), I feel like I saw it in a whole new way this time. And while my views of performances are colored by having seen these performers in multiple shows both at Bard and elsewhere, it was refreshing to discuss it with someone who isn’t accustomed to seeing these people on stage. This new view of the city is also why there are photos – there’s something about being on vacation that encourages people to take pictures, but I feel like I’m reaping the benefits of that by actually having photos of my summer!

In addition to Bard, I took Adri out to see The Only Animal‘s new show Sea of Sand out at Spanish Banks.  We were talking about it and she informed me that in Toronto there simply isn’t site specific theatre like that – what there is are shows in parking lots behind malls.  When the sun began to set at Spanish Banks, Adri started to cry because of the beauty of it all.  I can’t think of the last time a sunset hit me like that – it’s an every day thing to see the sun set behind a mountain and to have ocean around.  I forget the amazing things because I see them so often.

Adri taking in the view from the Sea Wall in Stanley Park

It was the same when we went to Stanley Park – we saw otters swimming as we walked the sea wall and we braved the cold water to go for a swim ourselves.  We had a picnic. We laughed in the sun. We got sunburned and dehydrated. We smushed our toes down in the hot hot sand. We read smutty passages from romance novels. It was a perfect summer day and something that I so easily take for granted.

We did all those Vancouver summer things that I never do by myself.  We even went down to Robson Square and watched The Muppet Movie on the blow up screen outside.  We shopped both main street and down town.  We people watched in English Bay.  We played Cards Against Humanity. We ate way too much. We made a podcast. 

But at the end of the day, what I have taken away from her visit (besides an awesome friend!) is that sometimes its worth looking at everything through a fresh pair of eyes.  For 10 days I saw my city and my theatre through a different set of eyes and it made me think about how I talk about both of them and how I experience both of them.  Adri left yesterday and I miss her already, but I hope that I can maintain some of the sense of newness as I approach what I see in the weeks to come.








2009 In Review: Shows I Saw

Fringe!One of my New Year’s resolutions last year was to start seeing more theatre.  I had decided that if I was really passionate about this, I probably needed to see more than 2 shows a month.  I settled on 3 per month, figuring that to be a fairly easy place to start.  I did, of course, surpass those numbers, seeing 76 plays in 2009.  That averages out to just over 6 shows per month.  Double my original goal.  Below you will see my list of shows, in nearly chronological order (some are out by a little bit, but its very close).

The shows I have seen vary. I saw plays in Canada & the USA. I saw plays at the largest local theatres (Playhouse, Arts Club, Bard),  at the smallest (Little Mountain Studios) and everything in between.  I saw kids doing Shakespeare in the park in Kamloops, I saw my first show at Vancouver Opera, I saw my first ballet in years.  I saw musicals, comedies, dramas, & horrors.  I saw mask pieces, movement pieces, character pieces, plays that were all about the set, or costumes, or script, or directing.   I saw almost everything I wanted to see (there were a few shows I missed, which I think is inevitable when one works in theatre and only has maybe 2 days a week in which to attempt to see plays).

You may wonder, how do I afford to see 6 plays a month on a stage manager’s income? I volunteer. A lot. Probably two-thirds of the shows on this list I have been able to see for free because I volunteer as an usher, bartender, a poster-puter-uper, a money counter, or whatever else the company needed.  I also have a lot of friends in theatre, so sometimes I can get free tickets for opening nights or days that they are running slow.  Probably only 20% of the shows were paid for, and half of those were at a reduced rate as an “artist” or “friend of cast” or “2-for1″ or “rush ticket” promotion.

Seeing theatre doesn’t have to be expensive.  It can be a very affordable way to spend a night out.  And, for those within the theatre community, what better way to open your next cover letter than with genuine praise for the work of the company you are applying to.

As I look forward to next year, I will probably scale back a bit.  I will probably aim for four shows per month (in the middle between 2008’s two and 2009’s six).  I saw a lot of theatre this year, but I did it at the exclusion of other things & now it is time to be pickier about my theatre and make time again for the other things I love to do.

Here is the official list of plays I saw in 2009:

1.Miss Julie: Freedom Summer (Vancouver Playhouse)
2.Skydive (Arts Club /Reelwheels/ Push)
3.5 Days in March (PuSh/Cheltfish)
4.There Came A Gypsy Riding (United Players)
5.Whale Riding Weather (Zee Zee Productions)
6.20 minute musicals (Rumble/ Push)
1. Distant Second: The Steve Fonyo Story
2. Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata
7.Bye Bye Birdie (Studio 58)
8.Medea (UBC)
9.The Be(A)st of Taylor Mac (Club Push)
10.Coriolanus (Coriolanus Equity Co-op {Mad Duck Collective})
11.Shocker’s Delight (Squidamisu)
12.Beggars at the House of Plenty (Evolving Arts Collective)
13.East of Berlin (Tarragon/Touchstone/Firehall)
14.Rigoletto (Vancouver Opera)
15.Under The Hawthorne Tree (The Two Marys)
16.Munsch Alley (Carousel theatre)
17.The Idiots Karamazov (UBC)
18.Death of a Clown (ITSAZOO)
19.The Real Thing (Arts Club)
20.Where The River Meets The Sea (Presentation House)
21.LifeSavers (Ruby Slippers)
22.Earnestine Shushwap Gets Her trout (Firehall Arts Centre)
23.John & Beatrice (Pi Theatre)
24.Secret World of Og (Carousel Theatre)
25.36 Views (Tempus Theatre)
26.Antigone Undone (Leaky Heaven Circus)
27.Fat Pig (Mitch & Murray Equity Co-op)
28.Les Miserables (Arts Club)
29.Top Girls (Vancouver Playhouse)
30.Palace of the End (Felix Culpa, Touchstone Theatre, & Horseshoes & Hand Grenades)
31.Othello (Bard on the Beach)
32.The Tempest (2-bite Bard)
33.SchoolHouseRock Live (Small Nest Productions @ Edmonton Fringe)
34.Rent (Fighting Chance Productions)
35.Macbeth (Limbo Circus Theatre)
36.Orestes (Cambiare Productions)
37.Unidentified Human Remains; or, the True Nature of Love (20 Something Theatre)
38.Alls Well That Ends Well (Bard on the Beach)
39.Dog Sees God (Fighting Chance Productions)
40.Kicked (Project X)
41.The Saddest Girl in the World
42.Circus x2 (Cabbage Under Heavy Fire)
43.Nggrfg (Small Brown Package)
44.Drinks with Friends (Whirlwind Productions)
45.Lavignia: A Modern Fairy Tale of Gigantic Proportions (Sticky Fingers Production)
46.Some Reckless Abandon (Over the Moon Productions)
47.Cabaret of Bullshit (Vancouver Fringe)
48.Caberlesque! (BSide Productions)
49.AfterLife (Sunset Gun Productions)
50.murder, hope (Infinity Live Productions)
51.The Veil (Presentation House & OneLight Theatre)
52.Midsummer (The Cultch & Traverse Theatre Company)
53.The House of Kosa (TigerMilk Collective)
54.Gift of Screws
55.The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Pacific Theatre)
56.Any Night (Touchstone, DualMinds & The Cultch)
57.Lot’s Wife (Studio 58)
58.Love You Forever & More Munch (Carousel Theatre)
59.Becky’s New Car (Artists Repertory Theatre – Portland)
60.Evil Dead: The Musical (Downstage Right Productions)
61.Anatomy of Gray (TWU Theatre)
62.Master Builder (UBC)
63.Joseph & The Amazing Technicolour DreamCoat (Footlights Theatre Company)
64.The Big League (Carousel Theatre)
65.The Project (Solo Collective)
66.Moulin Rouge: the Ballet (Royal Canadian Ballet)
67.These Walls Are Paper Thin (Critical Mask & Mind of a Snail)
68.The Vertical Hour (United Players)
69.King Arthurs Kitchen (Axis Theatre)
70.Demon Voice (Touchstone Theatre)
71.After The Quake (Pi Theatre/Rumble Productions)
72.Wired (Green Thumb Theatre)
73.A Winter’s Tale (Studio 58)
74.Robin Hood (Carousel Theatre)
75.A Beautiful View (Ruby Slippers Theatre)
76.Anne (Chemainus Theatre Festival)

Previously: 2009 in Review: Work

September Theatre Re:View

Fringe September’s been a busy month for me. Between volunteering at the Vancouver Fringe Festival and getting Frozen up and running I’ve had little time to see anything else.  If you look at the photo to the left you can see my collection of 2009 Fringe paraphernalia – programs for most of the shows I saw, the calendar, my volunteer pass, and my ticket to the midnight cabaret.  It was a great fringe this year.  And I still managed to see a couple of other shows too.  Here’s the list of what I saw in September.

  1. Alls Well That Ends Well (Bard on the Beach)
  2. Dog Sees God (Fighting Chance Productions)
  3. Kicked (Project X)
  4. The Saddest Girl in the World
  5. Circus x2 (Cabbage Under Heavy Fire)
  6. Nggrfg (Small Brown Package)
  7. Drinks with Friends (Whirlwind Productions)
  8. Lavignia: A Modern Fairy Tale of Gigantic Proportions (Sticky Fingers Production)
  9. Some Reckless Abandon (Over the Moon Productions)
  10. Cabaret of Bullshit (Vancouver Fringe)
  11. Caberlesque! (BSide Productions)
  12. AfterLife (Sunset Gun Productions)
  13. murder, hope (Infinity Live Productions)
  14. The Veil (Presentation House & OneLight Theatre)
  15. Midsummer (The Cultch & Traverse Theatre Company)

The Jericho Arts Center is still hosting a holdover for a few Fringe shows, so if you wanted to see Circus, which I highly recommend, check out the schedule at http://jerichoartscentre.com/

Shows to See: September

September is a busy theatre month in Vancouver, but that’s primarily becuase the Fringe is in town.  However, there is still a lot going on outside of the Fringe.  Here’s my list of shows I want to see not including the Fringe. You can check back next week for more info on the Vancouver Fringe.

1. All’s Well that Ends Well (Bard on the Beach)
It hadn’t started yet when I left town for the summer, and from what I hear is a great production. For that matter, I’d love to catch any of the Bard shows that I have not yet seen, and you should too!

2. The Veil (Presentation House)
The fictionalized biography of a Persian woman: I’m curious to see middle east politics on our stage.

3. As You Like It (First Impressions @ Deep Cove)

4. The Way of the World (United Players @ Jericho Arts Centre)
The main reason this is on my list is director Adam Henderson. He’s done some great work, and I’m looking forward to see what he’s done with this.

And of course, since I am working on it (and even if I wasn’t!), Frozen (Shameless Hussies @ UBC)

The June Review & July "To See" List

Leaving town June 14th really did make it next to impossible to see anything in Vancouver during the month of June.

I did see Othello at Bard, but was not thrilled by the production. I attended a preview and the cast was still tripping over the set, costumes & at times their lines. Hopefully I will make it to a studio stage show by the end of the summer, but I do not know how that will work.

As for VACT’s Flower Drum Song, I made my way to see it and then found out that their weekday matinee began at 1pm, not 2pm, so I had missed the first 40 min. They offered to still sell me a ticket and let me watch the rest, but at that point I was frustrated and uninterested. The lesson I learned from that: Always triple check performance times. Just because every other matinee is at 2pm, doesn’t mean the one you are attending is.

I’ll be continuing to live in Kamloops throughout the month of July, and as far as I know nothing else is playing in town during that time. This is a sad theatrical drought, but I have no doubt that I will be seeing oodles of plays when I return to Vancouver this fall (date TBC).

The June To-See List (and what I saw/worked on in May)

It’s been a very busy month for me theatrically.

In May I saw the following plays:

  1. John & Beatrice (Pi Theatre)
  2. Secret World of Og (Carousel Theatre)
  3. 36 Views (Tempus Theatre)
  4. Antigone Undone (Leaky Heaven Circus)
  5. Fat Pig (Mitch & Murray Equity Co-op)
  6. Les Miserables (Arts Club)
  7. Top Girls (Vancouver Playhouse)
  8. Palace of the End (Felix Culpa, Touchstone Theatre, & Horseshoes & Hand Grenades)

Based on this list, I still missed one show from my “To-See” list last month (Dying City), however I added Top Girls & Antigone Undone, so overall I feel pretty good about it as a month of theatre seeing.

I also rehearsed and opened You Still Can’t at Pacific Theatre. This monster of a show features 14 emerging theatre artists from a variety of theatre training programs as well as three “extras’ who volunteer and rotate through from night to night. In addition to a large cast (at least for our little 20″ by 22″ stage), it’s a very props heavy show. I’ve mentioned the dozen custom-made latex turkeys, but there’s also a working amusement park model, a Beatles-themed feast, & a working radio DJ booth. It’s been a crazy ride and it still runs for another two weeks.

The day after You Still Can’t closes I’ll be hopping a 7am bus to Kamloops to spend my summer working with Project X Productions on Hamlet & Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. It’s going to be a fun summer as far as I’m concerned. Also, it will be a nice break from Vancouver (not that I hate Vancouver. I love Vancouver. I just need a bit of time to get away) and a chance to be close to my parents for a while.

Because I leave town on June 14th, my “To-See” list for June is quite short, though I’ve decided that I will list shows that I will not be seeing but that I think the rest of you should make sure to check out.

June To See List:
1. Othello (Bard on the Beach)
2. Flower Drum Song (VACT)

Shows that you should see, even though I won’t be seeing them:
1. The Walking Fish Festival (www.upintheairtheatre.com) {from what I hear this year has a whole range of shows from amazing to terrible – I’d love to hear what people think!}
2. The Comedy of Errors (Bard on the Beach)
3. All’s Well that Ends Well (Bard on the Beach)
4. Mixie and the Halfbreeds (Neworld Theatre)
5. Alter Boyz (Arts Club)

And for those of you in Vancouver for the month of June, don’t forget to attend the Jessie Richardson Awards for theatre. If I were in town, I’d definitely be there!
Let’s all see some theatre!

2008/2009 Jessie Nominations

This afternoon I attended the Jessie Nominations Party. It was the second year that I’ve gone, and I go because its much more fun to hear them read of the list of shows nominated (and sit in my seat playing the “I did see that, didn’t I?” game) than it is to read them on the internet later.

A few of my favorite moments:

– The announcers did not know how to pronounce ITSAZOO when announcing their nomination for Costume Design (Small Theatre)

– Celebrating with cast and designers I’ve worked with over the past two years on their nominations: Ron Reed (nominated for Best Supporting Actor, small theatre), Hamza Adams (nominated for Significant Artistic Achievement – Ensemble Cast, TYA), Drew Facey (2 nominations), Julia Mackey (nominated for Best Actress, small theatre) & Duncan Fraser (nominated for Best Actor, large theatre)

– Meeting @kenjimaeda in person (and on a day he got nominated!)

– Eating cherry tomatos stuffed with bacon?

I really enoyed my time this afternoon but there were a few things that kind of made me go “hmm…..”

– For all of Bard on the Beach’s 19 nominations, 15 were for the studio stage shows and 4 were for the mainstage.

– Ruby Slippers’ Life Savers, which I thought was okay, but didn’t love (which seems to be a common response from people I know who saw the show, and the critics) got 7 nominations across disciplines, the second highest in the small theatre category. I didn’t think it was that amazing.

– I spent much of the reception recognizing people and then playing the “I think I know who you are” game in my head, but not actually interacting with most of them. Makes me think that Vancouver Theatre needs more social events for folks in the industry to get to know one another.

To see a full list of nominees, visit www.jessies.ca.

Top Five of 2008

After yesterday’s post I thought it only fair that I list my top five of 2008, but then I couldn’t limit myself to just five because they were all so different, though I did refrain from including anything I worked on (because that wouldn’t be fair!).

So here are the SIX shows I saw that deepened my appreciation for theatre in 2008, and what it was about each of them that stuck out:

Corteo (Cirque du Soliel)
My first ever Cirque show. The decadence on stage for only a moment of time. Spectacle to the greatest degree, and yet not hollow entertainment. I was so enthralled with what was going on that I couldn’t applaud each act, for fear of missing a part of the next. It gave me a new appreciation for the possibility of what theatre is capable of with large budgets & new ways of storytelling.

Jake’s Gift (Juno Productions & The Cultch)
The opposite end of the spectrum from Cirque: just a bench and a table on an otherwise empty stage. But the characters! Julia Mackey has created such a lovely pair of characters whose lives are woven together with such care. I sat in my seat with tears streaming down my face. To have characters that one can invest in so deeply is a marvelous thing.

The Tempest (Bard on the Beach)
What a feast for the senses. With a stunning cast, Meg Rowe’s first attempt at directing was lovely. She had fantastic material to work with, but the decision to make Trinculo & Stephano women was richly funny. The Shakespearean language is always so rich, but this production really came alive for me.

Unity: 1918 (Theatre at UBC)
I’ve already raved a bit about this show here, but what I loved about it was the way it used design to help tell the story. With what appeared to be a very simplistic set, beautiful images were created that were individually poetic, but within the greater story they were stunning. It wasn’t the strongestly acted student show I saw this year, but it had very strong direction.

No Exit (Electric Company & Virtual Stage)
One of the most unique uses of space & technology I have seen in theatre. Locking the actors in a small room and allowing the audience to watch them voyeristically on huge screens gave a whole new sense of the Hell that Sartre was intending.

The Space Between (Circa)
A cross between dance & theatre, this movement in this show made me re-examine the beauty of the human body. There was no set, just a blank stage, but the images that the performers created through their movements were strong & evokative.

This list certainly reflects my bias towards shows with strong images, but it also leans towards the fact that I love theatre that does what only theatre can do (something I picked up from some wise friends). The thing about all of these shows, despite their differences in budget, cast size, plot, theme, etc was that I left the theatre each time, feeling like my soul had been refilled. As though I had just discovered something new. And remembered that ultimately, theatre is about the relationship between the audience and the performers & we are each changed by what we collectively experience.