Sunday, September 27, 2009

Theatre For All Ages

Last night I went to see the North American premiere of True Love Lies by Brad Fraser at the Factory Theatre here in Toronto. It is a continuation of the David Macmillan saga. Well actually this one focuses on Kane, the 17-year old we first meet in Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love, and the effect David has on his life when he re-enters the picture 20 years later.

It was interesting to see the development of the playwright from the time he first wrote Human Remains in 1989 to now. It was a lot more focused than the sort of scattered nature of Human Remains but it still had all the classic Brad Fraser trademarks. The scenes move quickly, flowing from one into the next with the fast-pace, witty rhetoric we have all become accustomed to. And, I personally enjoy seeing the references to his earlier “David” plays especially to Human Remains. The rifle even makes a guest appearance. For those of you who know the play or who came to see our production of Human Remains you will know what I am talking about. If you don’t know what I am talking about I suggest you go out and read the play. It is part of the Canadian theatre canon. Or at least it should be.

In the director’s notes for the show Brad Fraser talks about the success of the original production at Manchester England’s Royal Exchange Theatre and that it is possibly slated to move to London’s West End at some point. A bunch of other productions are also slated to open in various other cities across America but no others in Canada yet. Brad Fraser says “I hope another theatre from Canada will also do the show eventually.”

Yes, I agree. But again this strikes me as odd. I mean, why hasn’t another Canadian city picked up this play yet? Moreover, why hasn’t a theatre in Vancouver picked it up? This is just another example of why I am so often frustrated by the Vancouver theatre scene. Because, in my opinion, this is EXACTLY the type of play Vancouver should be doing. My parents, who just happened to be passing through Toronto on their way to New York, came with me. And guess what?! They loved it!!!! So, it isn’t just because I am young and like the edgy, provocative stuff. My parents are in their 50’s & 60”s and they still want to see stuff that is current, relevant and edgy.

And maybe I am just making a huge leap here but I think this might just be representative of a larger Vancouver audience as well. Another example of why I believe this to be true is that it wasn’t just the young “twenty-something’s” who made our production of Human Remains such a huge success. I was genuinely surprised at the number of older audience members who came out to see it and loved it as well. So, maybe we should stop underestimating our audiences here in Vancouver?! They aren’t just a bunch of grey hairs that want to see another production of The Importance of Being Earnest. Maybe if we stop thinking of them that way we as a community might realize we can put on contemporary, edgy theatre and they will still come out to see it. Maybe they’ll even come out in flocks. Why are we so afraid to take a little risk?!

Last night at Factory Theatre all ages came out to see the North American premiere of Brad Fraser’s newest play True Love Lies and he is a playwright known for being controversial. We even bumped into one of my dad’s old buddies from when my parents lived in Toronto. He too has to be in his 60’s. Everyone, all ages, left that show talking about how much they enjoyed it.

I don’t know how much more evidence we need.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

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