Tag Archive: Pacific Theatre

Espresso – Final Week!

10247379_10152376814429113_5748058237409244516_n I did not see Espresso when it took to the Pacific Theatre stage 10 years ago. I was new to the lower mainland, having just begun my education at Trinity Western University and was not yet involved in theatre. When I joined the theatre program a year later, everyone was still talking about the show, and really liked to tell me what an amazing show I had missed.

We read the play during Canadian Drama in my final year and I’m pretty sure I failed the quiz on it. But I fell in love with the words.

With Lucia (Playwright & Actress), Sarah (Director) and Rob (Actor)

With Lucia (Playwright & Actress), Sarah (Director) and Rob (Actor) on opening night.

For the last six weeks I have had the great pleasure of living in that world with the team at Pacific Theatre. In a way it has been a bit of a return home after two and a half years working all over the world and it has been such a delight.

The other night at intermission, we were chatting in the green room about how lucky we are to be doing a great show with great people. Not every show is like this and I’m trying to savour every moment – every sold out crowd, every standing ovation, every show stopping bout of laughter or applause.


Rob & Lucia in Espresso

We’re in our final week of the run now – there are just five performances left and this one will be hard to let go of at the end of the run. I hear there are still tickets left, although it has been booking up so if you’ve been thinking about coming and haven’t yet bought a ticket yet, you should do that quickly. Me? I’m going to be savouring these last five performances like a five course Italian meal.


Espresso by Lucia Frangione runs until June 16 at Pacific Theatre (1440 W. 12th Avenue).
Directed by Sarah Rodgers
Featuring Robert Salvador & Lucia Frangione
Set & Lights: Stancil Campbell, Costumes: Naomi Sider, Sound: Jeff Tymoschuk, Props: Phil Miguel

Tickets available online  or by phone at 604.731.5518.

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: Hard Work

I am so blessed to make a living doing what I love with fantastic people all around me. 2011 was no exception.  I worked hard, and the hard work paid off. It was a year full of highlights, especially the world premiere of Horseshoes & Hand Grenades’ Re:Union by Sean Devine.  It was the most challenging piece I have ever worked on in pretty much every way: technically, thematically, and working in a time crunch. But we did it. And we did it without compromising the artistic vision that made the show what it was. The video below gives a small hint at what we pulled off, magically, in 2.5 weeks of rehearsal.

If the video doesn’t display properly, please click here to watch it on vimeo.

In chronological order my year was as follows:

1. Stage Manager – The Pillowman – Wild Geese Equity Co-op

Ashley O'Connell, Mike Wasko & Aaron Hursh in The Pillowman. Photo by Michael Sider

2. Sound Technician – Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train – Glass City Theatre

Rob Olguin as Angel Cruz. Photo by Itai Erdal.


3. BYOV Coordinator & Onsite Facilitator – Vancouver International Fringe Festival

Photoshoot for Melissa Aston's Duck Off as part of the Onsite program. Photo by Lois Dawson.

4. Box Office Manager – Prodigals – 20-Something Theatre

Brandyn Eddy, Timothy Johnston & Jameson Parker in Prodigals. Image provided.

5. Sound Designer – The Verona Project – Stones Throw Productions

Susie Coodin as Juliet and Maryanne Renzetti as the Nurse. Photo provided.


6. Stage Manager – Homegrown – A staged reading in support of SummerWorks

If the video doesn’t work, you can watch it HERE.

7. Stage Manager – ReUnion – Horseshoes and Hand Grenades & Pacific Theatre

Evan Frayne in ReUnion. Photo by Emily Cooper.

8. Stage Manager – After Jerusalem – Solo Collective

Andrew McNee and Deb Williams in After Jerusalem. Photo by Itai Erdal.

For additional Year in Review posts see:
Shows I Saw.

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.

Wow (The 2011 Jessie Awards)

Angela Konrad, me, & Sabrina Evertt with Glass City Theatre's Best Production Jessie. June 20, 2011

I had a pretty fantastic night last night.  I danced until my feet bled. I cheered until I lost my voice. I partied with the Vancouver Theatre community in recognition of a great year of theatre in Vancouver. And most of all, I celebrated with friends as they were nominated for and won awards. A huge congratulations is in order to Rob Olguin who took home the “Best Actor – Small Theatre” Jessie.  Also, Drew Facey (Set Design – Small Theatre – for Playland at PT), Ron Reed & the PT team (Significant Artistic Achievement – Small Theatre – Curation and Execution of an Outstanding Season), Evan Frayne (Sam Payne Award), and Cheryl Hutcherson (Mary Phillips Award for Behind the Scenes Involvement). I am so thrilled that I know all of you and get to create theatre with you.

The highlight for me  was the announcement of the “Outstanding Production – Small Theatre” Jessie being given to Glass City Theatre’s Jesus Hopped the ‘A’ Train.

A year ago I was in Chemainus looking at my computer and trying to figure out a budget that would allow us to hire the talented people we wanted to work with.  I am so proud to see what came of that.  I was sitting at a table with Sabrina Evertt, the costume designer for ‘A’ Train, and I think she just about fell out of her seat when they announced it.

Mike & Rob – I can’t wait to see what you do next.


For a list of all the winners, head over to the official Jessie Awards website. Or check out the live blog from Rebecca Bolwitt (Aka Miss604).  Can you find me in a photo on that post?

Stage Manager Needed: VERONA

I got the following e-mail today from a friend of mine who is looking for a stage manager. Please feel free to pass this info on to anyone who might be interested. It sounds like a really great possibility.

Hi, my name is Evan Frayne and I am a current apprentice at Pacific Theatre as well as a graduate of the UBC BFA in acting program. I am producing an abridged version of ROMEO AND JULIET which has the working title of VERONA at Pacific Theatre with the company’s emerging artist company, Stone’s Throw Productions. The play is a lean, pared down version of Romeo and Juliet which has been edited and re-arranged to focus both young lovers’ story, as well as some of the other characters’ stories in Shakespeare’s play. I have assembled a wonderful group of emerging actors as well as a great design team and I am in need of a Stage Manager who is looking for an opportunity to work in Pacific Theatre’s space as well as meet some of the people involved with the company and, of course, work with some of Vancouver’s best young talent.

I am looking for someone who has experience running a show and working a board as well as someone who is comfortable working with a cast of between 8 and 10 actors. Unfortunately I cannot offer any renumeration, but this is a great opportunity to get some real world experience in the theatre. We will start rehearsals the week of May 20th and the show goes up June 29. 30 July 1 and 2. Rehearsals will be 2 or 3 days during the week and on Sundays, and then we’ll rehearse as people’s schedules open up. I understand the need to make money so I know it may not be completely possible to make it to each and every rehearsal. That being said, I really need someone who can commit to being completely available the weeks of June 20 and 26. If this is something that you may be interested in, please feel free to contact me at: evanfrayne@gmail.com

Thanks so much, Evan

What the critics are saying: Refuge of Lies

“Playwright Reed also directs, and he gets some nice work out of his actors. Howard Siegel delivers a subtly passionate performance as Simon Katzman, the guy who tracks Rudi down, and Anthony F. Ingram offers detailed and distinct portraits of two different pastors. Anna Hagan is effectively understated as Rudi’s wife, Netty, and Terence Kelly is always emotionally credible as Rudi.”

– Colin Thomas, The Georgia Straight

“There is no question that playwright Reed makes his audience work, providing us with little in the way of answers to some pretty heady questions about good and evil, forgiveness and justice versus revenge.  And it is in forcing us to find the answers for ourselves that ultimately makes Refuge of Lies so successful.”

– Mark Robins, gayvancouver.net

“Refuge of Lies is the kind of play that makes theatre exciting for me.   It tells a great story, has strong characters struggling with profound life questions and has the power to engender intense discussions as well as individual explorations of  one’s personal sense of morality. Throw in a number of excellent performances and powerful staging under the direction of the playwright himself, and you have a riveting drama.”

– Gillian Lockitch, Review from the House

“Despite its flaws Refuge of Lies offers a topical and relevant story. Pacific Theatre should be commended for doing new work that tackles current issues. Something that is far too often missing from the Vancouver theatrical landscape. I would challenge the larger Vancouver theatre companies to do the same. We’re a smart group. We can take it.”

– Sebastian Archibald, Plank Magazine

“Both Kelly and Siegal gave incredibly strong performances, and I found myself switching from empathizing with the old man seeking forgiveness to the old man seeking justice for his families and all victims of the Holocaust. Mahoney, in particular, gave a heartfelt performance of a young Jewish woman, fresh out of university, trying to reconcile the traumatic past of her ancestors and her political beliefs on what constitutes true justice. I also really enjoyed Anthony F. Ingram’s performance as the Mennonite pastor, torn between shepherding his member, Vanderhaal, to the light and really helping him understand that the past is sometimes not past and that forgiveness doesn’t simply happen with just a prayer.”

Michelle Kim, miss604.com

Talkbacks; or, “How do you learn all those lines?”

Often when I remind the cast that we have a talkback coming up, I am greeting with a groan.  People begin questioning how many folks will stay and telling horror stories about that one talkback they did where there were more cast members than audience members. Soon they start placing bets on how quickly the audience will ask the most infamous question, “How do you learn ALL THOSE LINES?”

Kris Joseph wrote about his experience doing talkbacks after every performance of Doubt last year and one of his points was this:

2. I believe talkbacks are about the audience.  So is theatre in general, really. But in the world of the talkback I like to imagine that the play was 90 minutes of my character’s chance to speak; the post-show chat is the audience’s chance to speak…. It’s natural for some (if not all) audience members to be left with questions, but I don’t think the people on stage really have many more answers to offer than other audience members do.

In the last week I have moderated two talkbacks for Pacific Theatre’s production of Refuge of Lies. Refuge of Lies is about a man who has a dark history of wartime secrets which are hidden now by his religious conversation and subsequent immigration to Canada. He is confronted by a dutch journalist and his life begins to unravel. The play was inspired by the true story of Jacob Luitjens, a UBC professor whose history caught up to him in the early 1990’s.

The first talkback was on Wednesday night and was a special event for a school group that had attended the show, but we invited the rest of the audience to stay as well. That night 75% of the audience stayed to interact with the show. The question of how lines were learned never came up. But the students were very engaged with the story. There are places where the play leaves things open to interpretation and a couple of times they asked about those moments, and the cast always flipped it back to them: What did they think happened? And good discussion came out of it.

Last night was a very different story. Pacific Theatre does a talkback on the second Friday night of every run. Patrons choose to attend that evening so they can be a part of things. When I did a headcount during the talkback last night, I would say it is the largest that there has been in my 5 years working there – over 60 people stayed (out of our 90 person audience). We had members of the church Jacob Luitjen’s had attended, including one of the pastors. And the conversation became heated (more heated than the play where a father euthanized his daughter; more headed than the play where a convicted pedophile is released back into the community and begins hanging out with a young girl). What did it become so heated about? Ambiguity (which we all know, I love).

Very early into the talkback a man stood up. “”This play talks about mercy, but is it talking about mercy at the expense of justice? What did [Rudi] do?” the man asked, “I’m just so angry!” The cast began to pose questions back to the audience: “Does it matter what he’s done if we know he’s committed some sort of crime?” “What do you think he’s done?” “I’m glad you’re angry – that means we’ve done our job. I hope you came with someone so you can argue it out on the way home.”

But for this man it wasn’t enough. He was agitated and wanted black and white answers. The other audience members began to engage with him: “I think the point of art, of theatre, is to ask questions, not to answer them” and the man stood up and began to yell. All of the sudden the audience was not comfortable with this turn of events. The apprentices were starting to fidget in their seats.

I intervened.

“We need to move from this topic of discussion now, but you can continue your conversation in the lobby once this is over.”

“Or in the streets!” chimed in a patron.

Terrence Kelly, the man playing Rudi Vanderwaal looks at the audience and says, “Doesn’t anyone want to know how we learned all our lines!?!”

[For anyone wishing to follow along with the discussion, it is currently continuing in the comments section of Plank Magazine between the reviewer, the patron mentioned in this post & one of the cast members.]

4 Projects. 1 Short Day.

Today was one of those days when every project I’m working up ganged up on me.

Photo by flickr user DBarefoot. Used under creative commons licence.

Last night was closing for Hive 3.  I did the math: in a week and a half we did 70 performances of House/Home.  Three weeks ago the show didn’t exist and now it no longer exists, except as a text document outlining the movements & as a few photos.  This morning we packed up the last of our stuff out from the venue and it was sad to say good bye to the whole thing. But that’s the reality of the impermanence of theatre.


Today in Vancouver there was a series of panels called Backstage with Jackson where local theatre practicioners discuss what it’s like to make a life in the theatre. I sat in for the 1pm panel to do a live blog for the official World Theatre Day site.  One of my favourite comments was from Kenji Maeda who said,

“I think that using new media or projections or new techniques brings in new audiences which is very important. I think if we are not adapting to what the community – or younger audiences are seeing – if they think theatre is only Shakespeare or kids wearing flowers or being a clown, then they are going to be turned off of theatre. I think new media is one way of doing it. But I also think that marketing traditional theatre in a new way is another angle. Theatre is about reflecting what the community is at a specific time.”

It’s interesting at least in part because it ties into the whole conversation about theatre marketing that’s been happening over on Simon’s blog.


Glass City Theatre. That was another two hour meeting and a whole lot of brain food for the next week.  What are my skills? What responsibilities do I want to take on? Am I really ready for this? Does it matter? What have I gotten myself into? THIS IS GOING TO BE AWESOME.


Rehearsals for Refuge of Lies start tomorrow at Pacific Theatre. I’m almost ready.  I want to do some baking for first read tomorrow, and I have a little bit more paperwork to do. But I am feeling more confident about being ready for these rehearsals than I have before.  Of course, that usually means I’m totally forgetting about something, but I’m going to choose happy ignorance for the moment.

And now it’s 8:49pm and I’m sitting here wondering where today went and whether I should be doing something more useful than blogging & watching Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog. So far I can’t figure out anything more useful than Neil Patrick Harris & Joss Whedon singing a commentary to me while I bake, so I’m going to do that.