Tag Archive: Frozen

Go Ahead, Push My Boundaries

After seeing Ghosts in the Cottonwoods in NY, Sabrina Evertt (Artistic Director of 20-Something Theatre) wrote a blog post asking where the line is in what we portray on stage – are some things simply too dark and disturbing to put on stage? Are we appalling our audience and then abandoning them?

Walter (Dirk Van Straelen) befriends Robin (Camille Beaudoin), shortly after being released from prison.

I’ve probably done more than my fair share of plays with dark and disturbing subject matter. There was The Woodsman which is mostly known for the film starring Kevin Bacon, but it is also a stage play (which the film was adapted from).  The premise: A pedophile, recently out of jail, moves into an apartment across the street from an elementary school and begins his rehabilitation by making friends with an 11 year old girl.

There was Mourning Dove, a play based on a true story about a father who euthanizes his daughter who is wracked by unremitting pain. Frozen‘s main character is man who sexually assaults and murdered young girls, Refuge of Lies gives a sympathetic portrayal of a Nazi, Kindertransport is about children being shipped away from their parents during WWII, Memory is simultaneously set in the Holocaust of WWII and in the 90’s Israel/Palestine conflict, and (I Am) Nobody’s Lunch is a cabaret about fear in post-9/11 America. I’ve worked on three productions of Hamlet, and one of MacBeth.

In every situation I heard from people who wanted to see the show but wouldn’t. With The Woodsman & Frozen a number of people said they couldn’t see a show that might show a pedophile as anything other than a monster. That was a line they wouldn’t cross. For Kindertransport & Memory I heard from people for whom it would hit too close to home. Refuge of Lies was too sympathetic to a Nazi for some; Mourning Dove was too difficult for many parents to watch.

Having worked on these plays, I’ve been privy to a lot of conversation anticipating audience response and trying to figure out how to ensure that the audience is able to process what they are seeing. In the cases of The Woodsman & Mourning Dove the company presenting them decided to add talkbacks. The Woodsman had talkbacks every night after the show, hosted by myself and a volunteer from COSA (an organization that works with sex offenders after their release to re-integrate into the community). This gave the audience an opportunity to dialogue about the issues raised with someone who knew real world situations and with someone who knew the play inside and out (that’d be me). There was no requirement to stay – we had a 10 minute break between the end of the show and the start of the talkback for folks who wanted to leave to do so, but many chose to stay. Sure, there were nights where the talk backs were intense – I remember one woman who was increasingly angry that anyone would support a pedophile and work with them towards rehabilitation – but for the most part the audience was full of questions and searching to understand.

Similarly, Mourning Dove had talkbacks once a week, hosted by myself with Dr. Paul Chamberlain (professor of philosophy and ethics at Trinity Western University and author of Final Wishes: A Cautionary Tale on Death, Dignity & Physician-Assisted Suicide). Again, this gave the audience the choice to attend the show on a night when there would be an opportunity to converse with their fellow audience members as well as experts on the difficult ethical issues raised.

With other shows, however, there has been a conscious decision to NOT do extra talkbacks. With Refuge of Lies it was really important that the audience come to their own conclusions – we as a company didn’t want to tell them what happened – the ambiguity was important.

Of course, I am not only a practitioner: I am also an audience member. I have attended a number of shows that have pushed my boundaries and that have, at times, made me uncomfortable or angry. But here’s the thing: I don’t want them to stop. So often when I leave the theatre feeling uncomfortable or angry I end up having these amazing conversations either with my fellow audience members or else with friends at a later date.

I think of If We Were Birds at Tarragon Theatre this past May which I attended with Nancy Kenny and Brittney Filek-Gibson. That show was extremely dark – based on Ovid’s myth – and ends with an incredibly dark image. At the end of the show we didn’t want to clap – we even took a long time leaving the theatre as the imagery sat with us. But for the entire rest of my time in Toronto (and even after I returned west) we spoke about the show, digesting what we had seen (no pun intended for those who saw the show).

And that’s what I LOVE about theatre – it forces me to explore issues I’ve never been confronted with in my day to day life. Despite being faced with uncomfortable situations or plays, I’m always glad to be pushed.

2009 in Review: Work

Whenever I meet new people, one of the inevitable questions that comes up is “So, what do you do?” and whatever that piece of information is, it becomes one of that person’s defining characteristics. He’s a chef. She’s a banker. They are artists. Our work often defines us as people.

I am currently stage managing The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe which continues at Pacific Theatre until Jan. 2, 2010.

I am currently stage managing The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe which continues at Pacific Theatre until Jan. 2, 2010.

In the past 12 months I worked on 12 shows for seven different companies. There was a one-woman show about the birth of modern dance at the time of WWII (A Time To Dance), a collaborative storytelling project to celebrate World Theatre Day 2009 (My First Time: The Tour),& a clown show (Holy Mo). There was Shakespeare in a park (Hamlet), Stoppard in a park (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead), and a magic show (Unshuffled). I stage managed a a dark tale of pedophilia, murder , & forgiveness (Frozen), a response to gay-bashing (Stop Kiss), and a magical Narnian adventure (The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe). I worked with 22 emerging artists on a showcase piece(You Still Can’t), 16 musicians & storytellers on a Christmas extravaganza (Christmas Presence) and the graduating class of the William Davis Center for Actors’ Study (Memory).

Of those twelve shows, some of them were only a single night (Unshuffled, My First Time: The Tour) while others ran for six weeks or more (The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe; You Still Can’t) and the rest were somewhere in between. Each time, a new venue, a new group of people, a new set of challenges to look forward to.

The variety is part of the fun of being a freelancer. I get to take on all different

Cast & Crew from shameless hussy's production of Frozen.

Cast & Crew from shameless hussy's production of Frozen.

sorts of projects over the course of the year, working with all different sizes of companys and on all different sorts of projects. I have a couple of contracts in place for 2010: I”ll be returning to Pacific Theatre to Stage Manage Refuge of Lies by artistic director Ron Reed which opens mid-April and I’m booked for the month of February as well. Other than that the new year is a blank slate. I’m sending resumes across the country. I’ve told myself that I will apply for every stage management position I hear of that I could even possibly qualify for. Chances are I will have moments where I look just as crazy as I did last March when I did that mailout. I’m taking a leap of faith that there will be work for me and that I will continue to be able to live off my theatre income.

My work related goal for the next year: get my first equity apprentice stage management credit.

October’s Theatre Adventures

October was a busy month for me theatrically. The month began with Frozen, I had the run of Memory in the middle of the month, and have spent the past week in rehearsals for The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe.  And somewhere in there I found time to see ten shows and take a vacation.  It’s almost too much. And yet, not at all.

  1. The House of Kosa (TigerMilk Collective)
  2. Gift of Screws
  3. The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Pacific Theatre)
  4. Any Night (Touchstone, DualMinds & The Cultch)
  5. Lot’s Wife (Studio 58)
  6. Love You Forever & More Munch (Carousel Theatre)
  7. Becky’s New Car (Artists Repertory Theatre – Portland)
  8. Evil Dead: The Musical (Downstage Right Productions)
  9. Anatomy of Gray (TWU Theatre)
  10. Unshuffled

Even with seeing all of those shows there were still a number of shows that I intended to see, yet missed. Shows like The Miracle Worker & Nelly Boy, as well as the potential trip to Kamloops for Sexy Laundry that didn’t end up happening.

I’m fairly certain that November will be pared back comparatively, though that will become apparent in my next post!

Tonight’s Live-Tweet of Frozen

Frozen2For any of you who wanted to follow along with the live-tweet of Frozen but missed it, you can check it out below.

Reminder: I will be live tweeting tonight’s performance of #Frozen from the booth. 7:30 pm PST.

Just arrived at the #theatre for tonight’s performance of #frozen and found an SM’s nightmare: the set falling down http://bit.ly/5ykKM

Never fear! The set designer is on his way to help repair it before tonight’s show. Just a little #Frozen excitement.

Stage is mopped, house is open. We’re 20 min til curtain for#frozen.

It’s 5 min til #Frozen, but when I just checked in with the box office there were lots of tickets to be picked up, so we’re holding for 5

Turns out a bunch of people went to the wrong theatre. We are waiting for them to make their way over. #Frozen

Instead of a front of house speech #Frozen has the sound of ringing phones five minutes before curtain. Just let them ring. Almost curtain

Lights are up! We are going with #Frozen. @Shamelesshussy is the first one on stage. The first 11 scenes are monologues.

#Frozen is the story of Nancy whose 10 yr old daughter has gone missing. It asks whether or not all sins are forgivable.

In addition to Live-Tweeting this performance I am also running the sounds and projections. Hooray for multitasking

FOH let a bunch of latecommers in during that scene change, but unfortunately the latecommers were quite loud. Sad. #Frozen

Now the action of #Frozen jumps ahead 7 months. Nancy: “I’ve gone back to smoking. Cast iron excuse. Even my mother has to let me.”

Getting ready for scene 6: Standby LX 12, SQ 21, Projection 7, Dowser 12. #Frozen

Go! #Frozen

If you are looking for more background info on #Frozen check out www.shamelesshussy.com

Jumping 4 years ahead now. Nancy is speaking to school groups “I know she’s alive. I have faith.” #Frozen

Ralph, our resident serial killer, is showing off his tattoos to the audience. He has 5 of them, all air brushed on nightly. #Frozen

Just had a latecomer sneak in. The play was scheduled to start 45 min ago, don’t know what she was thinking…or why FOH let her in.#Frozen

Nancy: “All this time I’ve been growing her up when she’s been…he’s had her buried away.” #Frozen

We are back to @shamelesshussy’s character Agnetha who is presenting her thesis: Serial Killing: A Forgivable Act. #frozen

And its our first two person scene. Agnetha is testing Ralph to see if his evil is sin or symptom. #frozen

Don’t know if you remember @travisbedard tweeting a line note a month ago that was full of the word fuck, but its from this scene.#Frozen

I always wonder if I would pass Agnetha’s serial killer tests. How many words can you name that start with “b”? #frozen

Ralph’s telling injury stories – turns out he’s had a lot of head injuries. For Agnetha that leads to serial killing. #Frozen

Nancy is pinning up Tibetan prayer flags to a clothes line which will momentarily be raised up to the ceiling, a symbol of hope. #Frozen

Ralph has a twisted sense of sexuality. He’s verbally attacking Agnetha. She argues it’s because his brain isn’t properly developed. #Frozen

Nancy is based on the true story of Marian Partington. This final scene before intermission is almost verbatim from Marian’s book. #Frozen

Agnetha is based on researcher Dorothy Lewis and the playwright was accused of plagiarizing her book. #Frozen

Ralph was based on the man described in Ray Wyre’s book “The Murder of Childhood.” Right down to the list of kiddie porn titles.#Frozen

INTERMISSION. Back in 15 with Act 2 of #Frozen

And we’re back. Lights are up on act 2 of #Frozen & once more we start with @shamelesshussy.

The audience had a lot to drink at intermission. We’ll see how that effects their response to act 2. #Frozen

Agnetha: “No, I haven’t met anyone…apart from serial killers. This one Brit killer made me an offer I could refuse…” #Frozen

In the script Ralph wraps the bodies in polythene sheeting. Set designer Lauchlin Johnston used polythene for the backdrop.#Frozen

To see a photo of the set, click on over here:  http://bit.ly/lleTN #Frozen

Ralph: The only thing I’m sorry about is that it’s not legal. Agnetha: What’s not legal? Ralph: Killing girls. #Frozen

Everyone always asks after the show how Nancy gets the paint on her face in this scene. Easy. She puts it on before entering.#Frozen magic

Agnetha concludes her thesis presentation with: “I find no evidence that people are born evil.” #Frozen

Nancy is meeting Ralph for the first time. And she says, “I want you to know. I forgive you for killing my daughter.” #Frozen

This whole scene is done over top of The Offspring’s “Killboy Powerhead” played at a high volume. #Frozen

Ralph: I am sorry. I am sorry that I murdered. I am sorry that I abused. I am sorry…Turn the fucking music…” #Frozen

Agnetha: “What you are feeling may be remorse and that would be very painful for you Ralph.” #Frozen

The moment that lead Dorothy Lewis to call plagiarism? Agnetha kisses Ralph’s cheek. Lewis kissed Ted Bundy. #Frozen

When it came to the scene where Ralph hangs himself it took some figuring to find a solution for our small theatre space. #Frozen

Final scene: Agnetha & Nancy are at Ralph’s funeral. N: Do you think he did it..the suicide…because I went to see him? A: Yes.#Frozen

Curtain call! That’s my cast up there doing their awesome thing.#Frozen

Heh. I brought up the houselights and the cast decided to come out for a second bow. No back button on this LX board. #Frozen

Thanks to all who followed tonight’s live-tweet of #Frozen. I’m off to go gather props, costumes, etc. Have a good night!

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/

What Critics Say: Frozen

frozen posterHere’s what the critics have to say about shameless hussy productions’ FROZEN, playing until Saturday at UBC’s Dorothy Sommerset Studio. (Click on the links after each quote to read the full review)

“Renee Iaci’s shameless hussy production is pretty sharp overall, with some strong design elements—especially Stephen Bulat’s original music—and very good acting, led by Anthony F. Ingram’s tour de force performance as the severely disturbed pedophile serial killer, Ralph.” – Jerry Wasserman, VancouverPlays.com

“Anthony F. Ingram delivers a performance of such chilling eccentricity that it’s worth the trip to UBC to see Frozen at the Dorothy Somerset Studio Theatre.” – Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

“There are scenes in Frozen that will chill you to the bone….It’s a personal best for Ingram that will make you shiver….For me the burning question lingers: what satisfaction is there in forgiveness if the “sinner” doesn’t believe there is anything to forgive or the “patient” doesn’t believe he is ill?” – Jo Ledingham, The Vancouver Courier

Want to stalk me at the Fringe?

fringe logoIt’s Fringe time again and the Island is already buzzing. Last night I had my first shift as a volunteer and had a great time running from venue to venue. My legs were actually quite sore this morning!  During the off time I put together my Fringing schedule, but before I share it a few disclaimers:

My schedule at the moment is crazy: between my rehearsal schedule for Frozen, Fringe Volunteering, & other commitments I only have a few slots left to see Fringe shows. My goal is to see 13 (and that’s how many are on the schedule below), however there were a lot more than that which I would have LIKED to see, but many of them simply did not have performances in time slots when I could see them.  Also, as a volunteer I have a rush pass, which means my entry depends on how many paid people show up. There may be shows on this list that I cannot get in to. With that said, here it goes:

Today (Saturday, 12th): 6:45pm – NGGRFG @ Waterfrong
8:30pm – Volunteer Shift (I’ll be around the Island)
12:30pm – Circus @ Carousel (Not really a fringe show, but still!)

Sunday, 13th: 1:00pm – Lavigna @ Arts Umbrella
2:55pm – Some Reckless Abandon @ Carousel
4:35pm – Afterlife @PTC
5:45pm – Heading off Island for church
8:30pm – Volunteer Shift on Island
8:50pm – Cableresque @ Performance Works

Tuesday, 15th: 11:00pm -Drinks With Friends @ Carousel

Wednesday, 16th: No Fringe – Night Off

Thursday, 16th: NO Fringe

Friday, 18th: 8:00pm – Kicked @ Pacific Theatre
9:30pm – Dog Sees God @ Pacific Theatre

Saturday, 19th: 12:00pm – Shotgun @ Pacific Theatre
3:00pm – The Saddest Girl in the World @ Carousel
5:35pm – Red Bastard @ Waterfront
5:50pm – Murder, Hope @ PTC  (If I can’t get in to Red Bastard since it’s been selling well already)
7:00pm – The Gast Heart @ Carousel

8:30pm – Volunteer Shift on Island

That’s my Fringe plan – Happy Fringing to you all, and hope to see you out and about!

(Updated Monday, Sept 14 at 2:13AM. All updates in BOLD)

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)

Shows I Saw: August

August was another one of those weird months where I was working out of town, or on vacation, and didn’t really get to see a lot of theatre.   When it reached mid-month and I had yet to see anything, I found myself getting a little bit depressed. Luckily, there was a solution: watch Orestes as done live in Austin, Texas from the comfort of my bedroom via the internet.  And now they’ve put the show online for anyone to watch at any time.

I did manage to check out School House Rock Live while I was at the Edmonton Fringe. My best friend and I decided that we felt like we were five years old that day. Of course, we also ate Kraft Dinner with hot dogs cut up in it for lunch.

Since arriving back in Vancouver on Thursday of last week, I have also managed to see Rent (Fighting Chance Productions) & Macbeth (Limbo Circus Theatre).  Seeing Macbeth was my first time inside the Little Mountain Studios, which was an experience in itself – the small venue, still under construction, is right in my new neighbourhood. I would love to see more shows that are happening there.

Rebecca Coleman wrote a post today for the Vancouver Musicals blog about whether or not bigger is better when it comes to musicals.  Having just seen Rent, I think I agree with her for the most part – when I see a “big” musical I want to see the big tricks pulled out. I was trying to imagine what a scaled down version of “Phantom” would look like, and I can’t quite imagine it without that chandelier.

August went out on a theatrical day: the first day of rehearsals for Frozen (my upcoming show with shameless hussy productions) and a volunteer orientation for the Fringe festival here in Vancouver this month.   And there’s a lot to see in September, so I’ll be back with that list tomorrow!