Saturday, November 28, 2009

A Good, Good Night

I love when I get excited about something enough to want to write a blog post about it. It means whatever I have seen or experienced made the wheels inside my head start turning and that, my friends, is a what good theatre should do.

Ask and you shall receive. That’s the saying, right?! Well on Thursday I wrote a post asking for my theatre experiences to be a little less on the boring side and a little more on the entertaining side. And viola! I found myself smack in the midst of one of the most entertaining shows this year: The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood playing at the Waterfront Theatre from now until January 2, 2010.

I laughed until my eyes were watering. The Sheriff of Nottingham (Josue Laboucane) and Guy of Gisborne (Ryan Beil) were absolutely hysterical as the baddies. Robin Hood (Lawrence Haegert) and his merry men spent most of the play sword-fighting, shooting arrows and swinging on ropes. And the end…oh the end. There might be a little singing and dancing but I won’t give it away. Just go see it because trust me it will definitely be a “good, good night”.

This was fairy-tale storytelling shrek-style and it was pure fun! The best part is I could tell, as an audience member, everyone on stage was having fun too!

I’ve never been to a Carousel Theatre production before (I know, I know, my bad) but if this is the quality of show they put on you can be sure I’ll go back. Yes, it is a TYA theatre production, but this show is fun for all ages. The little kids were shrieking and laughing which makes my grown-up heart burst because if this is the type of theatre kids are being introduced too then we are definitely building an audience for the future. Teenagers will love all the pop-culture references, even if they pretend not to in order to look cool to their friends, and every adult in that theatre last night was walking around with a giant smile on their faces. They weren’t there just to give their kids a good time. They were having just as much fun as the kids.

And guess, what?! The house was packed!!!

I haven’t said too much on my blog about the cuts to arts funding but it makes me sick to my stomach to think that a theatre company like Carousel - who puts on shows of this quality and who are helping to build the audiences of our future - is having their ability to do this kind of work threatened.

So, please, go support them. Last night was the first preview. Tonight is their official Opening Night. You have 5 weeks to go see this show. GO SEE IT!!! Take your kids. Take your parents. Your grandparents. Just go see it.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Rock Concert or Musical Theatre

Somehow, a couple weekends ago, I ended up at the KISS concert and if that isn’t a form of theatre I don’t know what is. I mean, really, you’ve got 4 men on stage dressed up in these crazy costumes that range anywhere from a bat (oh, sorry, I mean “demon”) to a cat. Gene Simmons (aka The Demon) during his solo bit had fake blood gushing from his mouth and then flew like Peter Pan up into the rafters. At one point Paul Stanley (aka The Starchild) hopped on a trapeze-type thing and went flying through the air circus-style onto a revolving stage in the middle of the audience.

Only 2 hours previous to that concert I was at a matinee performance of another theatrical production and while I appreciated the performances given by the actors overall, and I’m sorry to say it, I was bored by the play and the subject matter. And, when I go to the theatre, I want to be more than appreciative of the performances. I also want to be entertained. Now the KISS concert on the other hand was more than entertaining. It was a visual and auditory assault and it was fabulous!

Now, I’m not saying, every time I go to the theatre I need to see men in platform shoes or a pyrotechnic show; but I do want to be entertained. At least a little. And, I’m not the only.

I would say the other major difference between KISS and the other production was the audience. I know, I know, I can already hear you saying “Oh, she’s back on that again” but I wouldn’t be saying it if there wasn’t an ounce of truth to it. GM place can hold approximately 18,000 people, so with 1/3 of the seats being blocked by the stage, there was, what, maybe 12,000 people there, give or take. Back at the other theatre, that can hold approx 150 people, I did a head count of the audience during the show and there was approximately 15 people in the audience.

My question is: how many people at KISS regularly go to the theatre? I don’t know but I think it is a fair assumption to say not all 12,000 of them. Maybe 5% and that is being VERY generous. Yet, 12,000 people paid on average approx $100 for what could be thought of as essentially a piece of musical theatre.

When you look at it that way it’s hard to come up with the justification that people in this city don’t want to spend money to go to the theatre now isn’t it?!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In the Slow Times

Hopefully if you are very lucky in your life as an artist you will never have a ‘slow time’ but for many of us that is sadly not the case. This year November is my ‘slow time’.

I’m not working on anything currently. The next costume design contract doesn’t start until the first week of December. Things for my own theatre company won’t really start to pick up again until the New Year. So, what do I do with my time?

Well to be honest I pretty much do nothing (hence the lack of interesting tweets). And, by that, I mean I kind of hermit myself especially if it is November and raining every single day. Then I take this ‘slow time’ as an opportunity to regroup and figure out what my goals are and the things I want to accomplish in the future…

No wait, that must be someone else, because most of the time I just end up watching tv on my computer. Don’t judge me, I mean I can’t sit around all day, staring into space and pondering the big life questions, can I?!

Ok, so seriously, what do I do then? I try to do all the admin work that I don’t have time for the rest of year. The boring stuff like filling out those government documents I need to complete for the CRA (Please don’t come and audit me. Thank you.) I hate it because it is a mind-boggling mind-field of language that even the most intelligent of us don’t understand. Trust me. I took these documents to my lawyer on Friday and both of us were a bit stumped with certain questions.

But, this is where watching tv on my computer comes in handy. I do a little bit of work, then I watch the next episode of Dexter and then I do a little more work. It’s a reward system. I’m five years old and after I’ve been a good girl and gotten some work done I give myself a gold star and watch tv.

Don’t make fun of me. It works.

Oh, and this year, I’ve been trying to organize the disaster area that I call my office. To me, I can find anything, anywhere, at any time. It’s my own organizational and filing system I like to call “Piles of Paper”. But, to other people, it looks like the photocopier threw up all over the place.

Ok, so now that I’ve let you in on a few of the more idiosyncratic, behind-the-scenes elements of my day-to-day, now it's your turn?

What do you do in your ‘slow time’?

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Monday, November 2, 2009

Status Quo

I am sick to death of hearing this phrase (or some version of it): “Oh, well, it’s Vancouver, it’s just the way it is”. If I hear one more person take a deep breath and sigh and begin a sentence with “Oh, well, it’s Vancouver…” and end it with any of the following statements – “they don’t go to theatre” or “they prefer musicals” or “it’s the summer and no one goes to the theatre” – I fear I might hurt someone. No joke.

Just because it is, doesn’t mean it should be.

To me when I hear those words come out of someone’s mouth they might as well have a sticker plastered across their forehead that says “I’ve given up”.

If everyone in society just accepted the status quo as though it were fact and something they can’t change then women wouldn’t be allowed to vote, Martin Luther King wouldn’t have uttered the words “I have a dream”, Rosa parks wouldn’t have refused to give up her seat on the bus, same-sex marriage wouldn’t be legal in Canada and Obama would not be President of the United States. I could go on and on but I won’t. You get the point.

Yes, these are all examples of huge social movements and I’m not suggesting we compare theatre to the civil rights movement; however, the point I am trying to make is that any change in society begins with one person (or two or a handful of people) saying “Yes, I can” rather than “No”, “Can’t” or “That’s impossible”.

It’s not impossible. If I had listened to everyone who had told me “No” or “That’s impossible” I wouldn’t be where I am today but maybe that is just me. When I hear someone utter those words my gut reaction is to say (not necessarily out loud) “oh, yeah, well I’ll show you” because in my world anything is possible.

Maybe Vancouver (or any other city in the world facing the same problems we are) isn’t going to change overnight but it will happen. All we have to do is stop thinking “Oh, well, it’s Vancouver (substitute name of your own city), it’s just the way it is”. We may not have all the answers and we may stumble along the way but we’ll get there because I, for one, don’t care about the status quo or “the way it is”. All I care about is the way it should be and how we're going to get there.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer