Tag Archive: Fringe

2013: Shows I Saw

It’s that time again – time for the official list of all the shows I saw over the past year. I had to wait until today as I had one last show to see yesterday and I wouldn’t want to miss them from the overall list.

The numbers, you’ll notice, are down this year. And not just by a little bit. It’s over half fewer than last year. And I’m actually really happy about that. If you recall, I’ve suggested that I need to spend less time in the theatre so that I don’t burn out on it, and I think this year helped with it.

Also of note: 25/80 shows I saw were at a Fringe Festival in either Vancouver or Toronto.  That’s huge!  Thank you Fringe’s of Canada for making affordable opportunities for great talent to visit our cities.

2013 Shows Seen List

1. CÉDRIC ANDRIEUX (Jérôme Bel at the PuSh Festival)
2. Winning (Cerca Irish Theater Festival, Edmonton)
3. The Kite Runner (Theatre Calgary/Citadel Theatre)
4. Romeo & Juliet (National Ballet of Canada)
5. Ching Chong Chinaman (Fu-Gen)
6. The Seagull (Upstart Theatre)
7. Medieval Times Toronto
8. My Best Friend’s Boyfriend (New Ideas Festival)
9. Bashir Lazhar (Theatre Projects Manitoba)
10. Daddy Long Legs (Manitoba Theatre Centre)
11. Sexy Laundry (Persephone Theatre)
12. Nanaimo Burlesque
13. Tea: Mirror of Soul (Vancouver Opera)
14. El Jinete (Puente Theatre)
15. Vincent Transitional (Stacy Sherlock at rEvolver)
16. Craigslist Cantata (Arts Club)
17. Sea of Green (at rEvolver)
18. How to Write a New Book for the Bible (PT)
19. Chernobyl: the Opera
20. Dissolve (Shameless Hussy Productions)
21. Kayak (Alley Theatre at rEvolver)
22. Brief Encounters Revisited (at rEvolver)
23. Mump and Smoot in “Something” (Mump & Smoot at The Cultch)
24. Obstructions: Don’t Do Dick (Rumble)
25. You Are Very Star (The Electric Company)
26. Hamlet (Bard on the Beach)
27. Passion Play (Convergence/Outside the March/Sheep No Wool)
28. Genesis & Other Stories (Aim for the Tangent at FringeTo)
29. Polly Polly (Jessica Moss at FringeTo)
30. We Are the Bomb (Theatre Brouhaha at FringeTo)
31. Big Metal Box (at FringeTo)
32. Bad Guys Finish First (at FringeTo)
33. The Truth About Comets (at FringeTo)
34. Jacquieries
35. The Light in the Piazza (Shaw Festival)
36. Merry Wives of Windsor (A Company of Fools)
37. Waiting for Godot (Stratford)
38. Tommy (Stratford)
39. How to Disappear Completely (Elbow Theatre)
40. Seven Important Things (at SummerWorks)
41. The End is Pie (at VideoFag)
42. Miss Shakespeare (MusicalWorks in Concert)
43. Avenue Q (Arts Club Theatre)
44. Hockey Night at the puck & Pickle Pub (Monster Theatre)
45. Dear Life (at VanFringe)
46. Radio: 30 (at VanFringe)
47. My Hole Life (at VanFringe)
48. This is not a Porno (at VanFringe)
49. Meanwhile (at VanFringe)
50. The Troll and the Three Lesbians Gruff (at VanFringe)
51. The Adversary (Andrew Bailey at VanFringe)
52. Ca.Sandbar (at VanFringe)
53. Little Pussy (John Grady at VanFringe)
54. Dirk Darrow: NCSSI (at VanFringe)
55. Threads (at VanFringe)
56. Unpossible (Travis Bernhardt at VanFringe)
57. Kitt & Jane (SNAFU at VanFringe)
58. This is my Room (at VanFringe)
59. Strapless (at VanFringe)
60. Butt Kapinski (at VanFringe)
61. Innocent When You Dream (at VanFringe)
62. Searching for Dick (Tara Travis at VanFringe)
63. 6 Guitars (at VanFringe)
64. The Foreigner (Pacific Theatre)
65. Armstrong’s War (Arts Club)
66. Obstructions: A Certain Kind of Darkness (Theatre Replacement)
67. Of Mice & Men (Hardline Productions)
68. Bulletins from Immortality (Margie Gillis Dance at The Cultch)
69. Communion (Ruby Slippers at PT)
70. Tosca (Vancouver Opera)
71. The Rap Guide to Evolution (at The Cultch)
72. People Like Us (Firehall)
73. Relatively Speaking (Western Gold)
74. The God that Comes (2b Theatre at The Cultch)
75. Cool Beans (Solo Collective)
76. It’s Snowing on Salt Spring (Arts Club Theatre Company)
77. The Daisy Theatre (Ronnie Burkett at The Cultch)
78. Jack & The Bean Stalk: East Van Panto (Theatre Replacement/The Cultch)
79. Little Brother, Little Sister (Caravan Farm Theatre)
80. Uncle Vanya (Blackbird Theatre)

Fringe, Renovictions, & Neuvo Vallarta

The last two months – since I returned to Vancouver from Toronto – have been crazy.

Hanging out at the Fringe with volunteer (and SLIP-friend!) Jordan.

Upon my return I jumped straight back to work at the Fringe. And when I say straight back to work, I mean I caught an early morning flight, landed at 9am, and was in the office – still dressing in my closing night party clothes – by 10:30am.  Things were running full steam and the Festival this year was bigger than ever. I was so proud of the work that the Onsite artists did this year, and even pushed some of my own boundaries by giving a speech and presenting an award on the last night of the festival.  My final “shows attended” count for the festival this year was 44 (including Pick of the Fringe shows).

Just as I was attempting to recover from the Festival (and really, two weeks of not eating or sleeping right do require recovery), I got word that the building I’ve lived in for the past three years had been sold and the new owners wanted to meet all of us. The next day I was handed a piece of paper saying that I had two months to move out as they were going to be renovating the building.  Here in Vancouver, we call this “renovictions” as they often happen as a way for owners to get rid of longer term renters whose rent is below current market value so that they can crank up the rent. But they’d done all the right paperwork, so I’m now getting ready to move out in 5 weeks.  Thankfully when landlords do something like this, they give you some time rent free, so financially that’s helpful.

Even Cue got in the vacation spirit, lounging on the beach with a novel

And then a week later I met up with my parents and jumped on a plane to Mexico to really relax. My brother flew down from Mexico to meet us there.  I got home last night after a full week away and my body hasn’t stopped feeling like I’m still being rocked by the waves yet. I would spend many hours a day in the water, many more reading, and none of them working.  I read a novel completely for pleasure, two non-fiction books that were semi work related, five scripts for upcoming projects, and a couple of classics that I have in my Kindle app, but am sad to admit I had never read before (like Alice in Wonderland & The Jungle Book). It was wonderful.

And now I’m home, packing, organizing, and preparing to jump into the next couple of adventures – and don’t worry, there’ll be more on them soon.

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.

Fringe is Coming!

Last week the 2011 Vancouver Fringe program guide came out, listing all the shows that will be  part of this year’s festival and this morning the tickets went on sale. You can buy them online HERE.

Currently, I think I am going to be able to see FORTY shows during the festival.  Here’s the list I’m working with right now, in terms of what I will be able to see:

*The Selkie Wife
*Finding Beauty Here
^Trouble in Tahiti: A One Act Opera
^Archy & Mehitabel
^Screaming Silently
*wreckage
Like Father, Like Son? Sorry.
This is Cancer
Jesus in Montana
^Short & Sweet
The Progressive Polygamists
The Animal Show
Arnie the Carnie’s House of Fun
Fruitcake
*Stay Away from my Boat, @$$hole
Mana
^Every Story Ever Told
*Lost in Place
*Duck Off
^Peter & Chris and the Mystery of the Hungry Heart Hotel
^Smile
^Tinfoil Dinosaur
*The Other Side
Houdini’s Last Escape
^Siddhartha
Whisky Bars
*Goblin Market
^Sally Lives Here
Acrobatic Daredevils
^Oh my God
Fortunate Son
Burning Brothels
*Willow’s Walk; Ripples in Time
Oh, That Wiley Snake
^Jigsaw
Sparrow and the Mouse
Phone Whore
*Yum/Yuck
*Rove: The Legend of Rusty Point

PLUS all of the Fringe special events: Opening Night, Fringe-for-all, Mr. Kinski’s Cabaret of Bullshit, Awards Night and a number of the bands & workshops.

* = shows that are a part of the Fringe Onsite program that I’ve been running since April
^ = shows that are BYOVs at the Fringe, which I am also responsible for coordinating

Which shows are you most excited about seeing?

Job Posting: Stage Manager for Site Specific Fringe Show

I got the following email from Nita Bowerman, one of my Onsite artists, today looking for a stage manager for her show, wreckage.

I’m doing a Fringe show under a wharf on Granville Island.  I’m making a homemade raft to float on the water and I’ve begun a conversation with a diver who may be interested in coming on board to animate the water for the show.  Regardless of how that develops it is time for me to bring a stage manager into the fold.  I’m looking for someone reliable and hearty.  It’s a 50 minute show, but I will need assistance with set up and strike every night (I’m cognizant about keeping it as minimal as possible).  Dates of engagement would be possibly late August and definitely early September through the run which is from Sept 8-18.  The show is at 9pm.

I’m offering a 33% split of the box with a minimum guarantee of $500.  It is the same offer I am extending to the diver.  The remaining 33% goes toward paying down the production costs and any other contingencies (like an audience shepherd or other crew).  The Stage Manager will be responsible for audience safety (required to be ready with a life preserver as they will be on a floating dock) and will run minimal lights and probably some sound.  If all goes well I can also extend the offer that should the production be remounted with a bigger budget, I will the ask the SM to do the remount with a properly paid salary.

Interested? Email me at Lois@LoisBackstage.com and I will put you in touch.

I’d Rather Be Busy

“I’d rather be busy than bored.”

It’s become a familiar refrain to my friends – something I say without thinking whenever someone comments on how insane my schedule appears to be. But this past week I’ve been reminded just how much I love the insanity of jumping from contract to contract – the sheer adrenaline rush of closing a show Saturday night and starting rehearsals again Monday morning (which means that the entire week before I’d be doing prep for the new show by day and doing performances of the old show at night).

I haven’t had a really crazy time in a number of months now. My four months in Chemainus were busy in their own way, but it was only ever with one show, and everything was so well organized that it never felt nuts. In fact, I spent more time in Chemainus sitting on the beach, star gazing, or hanging out with the cast & crew than I spent working. And since I’ve been back in Vancouver I’ve been rehearsing four nights a week for my latest project, Death of a Clown, which we are touring to Victoria. (I leave this Thursday for 2.5 weeks in BC’s capital city and couldn’t be more excited about getting to both spend time in Victoria, and have what will be essentially a working vacation.) And yet, the four nights a week is not enough to make me feel busy. In fact, my days feel empty.

I can’t remember how it was that I managed to stand being unemployed for an entire summer one year. I’m sure at that point it felt fun – I was fresh out of school – but I think that if I had three months without work at this point in my life I would be going crazy. Heck, three weeks has been enough to make me a little mental. And that’s with having seen 21 shows (everything from the Fringe to Tear The Curtain! to The Park at Studio – and there really was everything in between), volunteering, spending lots of time with friends, watching 22 movies and baking five kinds of cupcakes. It’s a little bit ridiculous that despite all of that my days still feel empty.

I guess there is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment in seeing a show have life breathed into it by the actors, director & designers and being able to facilitate that process. Here’s looking forward to the tour to Victoria and then a busy winter! (I hope!)

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For more information on the show in Victoria, click on over to the UVIC theatre page. Tickets range from $6 – $22 and can be booked by calling the Phoenix Theatre box office at 250-721-8000.

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For a smart commentary on Tear the Curtain! check out this blog post over at Irresistible Theatre.

Vancouver Fringe 2010

So I had this brilliant plan that I was going to blog about the Vancouver International Fringe Festival shows I saw as I saw them.  That clearly didn’t happen.  Pick of the Fringe is now over, though there are still a few shows being held over out at the Jericho Arts Centre this weekend.

This year I managed to see 15 fringe shows (up 1 from last year!)

In no particular order:

My 2011 fringe paraphernalia pile.

1. Bildungsroman (Itsazoo)
2. The Exquisite Hour (Relephant Productions)
3. Titania (Frances Kitson)
4.  Stretch Dog (Glass City Theatre)
5. Lust of the Swamp Witch (Mad, Bad & Dangerous Theater)
6. Every Job I’ve Ever Had (Barry Smith Presents)
7. Peter N’ Chris Save the World (Peter N’ Chris)
8. Oh The Humanity! (Staircase Xi productions)
9. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog (Relephant Productions)
10. Deadley (And Why Not Productions)
11. Racoonery! (Morgan Brayton)
12. Value Village (Boca Del Lupo)
13. 52 Pick Up (WE Productions)
14. Happily Ever After? (Polema Productions)
15. When Harry met Harry (Flaming Locomotive)

The shows I saw were a wide variety of genres, lengths, and production qualities.  Some were slick and well polished while others truly felt like Fringe theatre.  I saw two musicals, five one-person shows, and only three shows from existing scripts (and that’s counting Dr. Horrible which existed in another medium but was a new theatre script).

This was also my first fringe festival as an artist – a producer in this case.  We are still figuring out the details financially, but I would say that Stretch Dog was a success, in as much as it was a great first producing experience for us (Glass City Theatre) as a company.  We now have a benchmark to consider as we work on producing our full production of Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train this spring.

I also took in a couple of the concerts at the Fringe club and visited with a ton of other artists, audience members & volunteers.  I’d say that’s a great fringe!  Here’s to 2011!

Introducing: Glass City Theatre

A few months ago I got an e-mail out of the blue from a friend of a friend.  It’s subject line was “A New Thing?” and inside it said:

Hello, my name is Rob Olguin. I have been talking with our mutual friends, Ron Reed and Angela Konrad recently and wanted to introduce myself to you….Recently the idea of…a new company has come up. We are in the process of determining what that might look like. After reading and enjoying your blog, and a glowing endorsement from Ron and Angela, I would love to get together and formally introduce myself. My dream is an ensemble company – working, training, and creating together – HOWEVER, the reality is, I don’t know a strong community of theatre artists up here yet. Are you free anytime this weekend or next week to get a coffee, introduce ourselves, and chat about this idea of a new company?

And that’s where it started. Coffee.

In actuality, coffee became a three hour conversation and when I left I was taking a script with me for consideration and seriously contemplating not just being a part of a new company, but co-founding it.  My mind was racing. I’d been contemplating producing for a couple of years but hadn’t taken any serious steps towards making it happen, even as a one off, and now I was looking at co-founding a company. Was I insane?! (Ken Davenport would argue not at all – you need to produce, not just talk about it!)

I talked to some people whose opinions I trust and told them what I was thinking: that I was terrified but excited.  Their response? “If you’re terrified of it that’s exactly why you should do it. You have the skill set necessary. Make it happen.”

I eventually e-mailed back and said that I was in. This lead to more coffees and beers. A name for the company. Glass City Theatre. An e-mail from Rob which read, “I can’t believe we are doing this! Lets be COURAGEOUS and down with Cowards and Nay-Sayers.” We added a third member to our little tribe: Michael Wipf who is experienced as a producer with the Push Festival & Touchstone Theatre. We took the leap and programmed two shows for our first year out.

The first show is Stretch Dog, a one-man show written & performed by Rob Olguin & directed by Michael Wipf as a Bring Your Own Venue production at Pacific Theatre during the Vancouver Fringe Festival.

Think of the worst commercial you’ve ever seen. Now think of the poor jerk who had to be in it. He didn’t want to be there, but he’s got a wife, a baby, a mortgage, and believe it or not, talent. Trouble is, he’s also got an agent.

The second show is Stephen Adly Guirgis’ Jesus Hopped the “A” Train which will run at Pacific Theatre from March 11 – April 2, 2011. I will, of course, be stage managing it, and it will be directed by Angela Konrad.

Rikers Island. Two men sit in solitary confinement, 23 hours a day. Lucius Jenkins is a serial killer who awaits execution, Angel Cruz stands accused of a murder he doesn’t believe was a crime. One has found God, the other needs to find himself. Visceral, gritty, harrow- ing – an uncompromising drama about contradiction, contrition and hypocrisy by the author of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.

The website is in development and will contain our mandate and all the other things that theatre company websites have. This morning I got the proofs for the Pacific Theatre season brochure which includes info on our shows and all of a sudden it was real.  It wasn’t just me and the guys making plans over beers at a restaurant; it was all of a sudden a real company.   And let’s be honest. I’m still terrified. It’s a big commitment. But I’m also excited.  It’s a huge leap, but I’m holding my breath and flinging myself over the edge.  Because after all, the most exciting things – the most exciting art – happen when you let go and go for it.

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