Thursday, April 29, 2010

Coffee Talk with Jameson Parker

Jameson was the final addition to the Prodigals cast. After a last minute cast member pulled out we were worried that we were never going to find our “Greg” and that Peter, the director, was going to have to get up on stage. But luck was on our side when Jameson came to audition for us. Now I couldn’t imagine anyone else playing the role of Greg.

So, Jameson, what is your favourite role to date and why?

My favourite role was Romeo in a very wild, twisted and sexy version of Romeo and Juliet this past January with Theatre at UBC, for a myriad of reasons. One, was the pure excitement of taking such an iconic and overdone role and make it my own and bring what Romeo and I have in common to the floorboards of the Telus Studio. Two, I got to fight with 8 inch daggers everyday of rehearsal and then every night of the show along with working with the amazing fight choreographer Nick Harrison, and that was awesome. And three, I learned so much from my director Catriona that myself as an actor had such a journey and I feel that I grew so much just from working with her and my fellow actors. Ultimately though this is my favourite role because of the production itself. The world that we created was unlike anything anyone had ever seen and it was a brave new twist on a story that has been done many many many times. It is impossible to describe the feeling I had every night playing with the cast. Everything came together in a way that I was so proud of that had one of the best times of my life. Everyone in the cast was so much fun to work with and I love working with Shakespeare's words because they convey the characters as no one else could, it's addicting.

Tell us your “I wanna be an actor” story…

I find it funny that you've asked this of most of the cast and most of the responses have been a "I fell into it" story. Well here is another one... My mum was a model before I was born and it just so happened that while she was pregnant with me there was a need for pregnant models and subsequently when I was a toddler there was again a need for mother and child models. So since I was a child I have had an agent who started me out in print and modeling then I transitioned into some commercial work and eventually into Film and TV so I have been around the industry for my entire life. I do remember, though, when I was about 10 or 11 making the very firm decision that I wanted to do nothing else with my life but be an actor and I haven't let that resounding resolve dissolve.


(Photo courtesy of Jameson Parker)

How do you relate (or not) to your character, Greg, in the play?

Greg is... interesting haha. I have had a blast being with this character for the entire rehearsal process because he has allowed me to make some very outrageous and fun choices, I was able to take that clown part of myself who loves to entertain and just turn the knob up to 11. Even though he is the clown and loves to have a laugh (almost always at Nips' expense) he does it because he cares and that is what I can really relate too. He is the only one in the cast who sees things for what they really are and he has no problem telling his friends when they are being ridiculous or just flat out stupid, but he loves to keep things light and have a good time while doing it because comedy is his medium and lets be honest confrontation is a downer especially when you are trying to drink and have a good time like he is. The reason I love this character so much is because he is the most outrageous and over the top of them all, standing on booths, chugging beers, jumping over bars, but he is also the most grounded in reality and uses that outrageousness to make sure that his friends do well in life and succeed even if he doesn't.

Why should people come out to see Prodigals?

Because we just fired Tim Johnston and hired Robert Downey Jr. to play Wesley.


You’ve previously studied theatre at the British American Dramatic Academy and now are entering into your final year of the acting program at UBC. Can you tell us little bit about each program and how they’ve helped in your training as an actor…

Well, BADA was an amazing, life-changing experience for me, you get the chance to stay at Balliol College in Oxford with about 100 other actors and train with some of the best teachers that Britain and the US have to offer. I was taught Shakespeare by the head of graduate acting at NYU, I had the opportunity to work with professors and heads of departments at RADA, Julliard, Yale, Northwestern, Central School along with taking master classes with luminaries such as Fiona Shaw and Sir Derek Jacobi. Besides all that you are immersed in this culture that was nurtured on theatre. In England theatre is so much more respected than it is here and the caliber of production and the actors in them are inspiring to say the least, you really get a feel for great theatre and that makes you want to be a part of it so much more.

I would be lost without the BFA acting program at UBC. It is a three year intensive program that focuses on giving actors a classical theatre training. Before the program I got by simply on instinct and the only technique I had was that which I had developed myself, or picked up from those around me, this program gives you a huge workbox of tools to draw from and lets you pick and choose which ones work especially well for you while giving you the respect for all the other ways of approaching a text. Because just as every human is different so is every character and it takes different ways of approaching each character to really bring it to life. I think the best part about this program though is the fact that in your intermediate and final year you are given the opportunity to put those skills to use in the Mainstage shows of Theatre at UBC. You have the chance to work on full scale, professional productions in theatres and with roles that are top notch and huge challenges. Your not simply taught what acting is about but you actually get to put that knowledge to practice and that is the most important part.



Thanks Jameson! Tonight we have a talkback performance so if you want to ask any more questions of the actors come down to the Havana and see the show. Plus it’s a 2-for-1!

See you there!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Coffee Talk with Brandyn Eddy

Brandyn is a new face to Twenty-Something Theatre but many people will know him from the musical theatre scene here in Vancouver. Among his many credits he’s played Jon in Tick, Tick… Boom (for which he won an Ovation award) and Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors. I had the opportunity to see him in both; however, it was a little one-act play put on at the Havana written and directed by Prodigals director Peter Boychuk that really made me notice Brandyn. So, when the opportunity came up to re-cast the role of Nips back in October of last year I immediately thought of Brandyn. I talked to Peter who was, of course, on board and there we had our “Nips”.

Brandyn, as I’ve mentioned, you’ve done a lot of musical theatre, tell us what you like about doing straight (and by that I mean non-musicals) plays? Do you prefer one over the other?

Musicals, by nature, have got to be big and over the top; that’s what drives the characters to sing and dance. What I love about straight plays is the realism. The characters are much more true to life. You also get much more time to delve into them. In a musical it’s all song and dance, and by the time you’ve learnt those there’s very little time left for discovery. Also, I’m a very subtle person by nature, so it’s nice to be able to relax and not have to overact for a change. I don’t think I really prefer one over the other. My training is in Musical Theatre, so I definitely find that I do more musicals, and I do absolutely love getting caught up in the fantasy of it all, but if I didn’t get to sink my teeth into a good play every once in a while, I think I would go mad.

What is your favourite role to date and why?

It’s really tough to pick a “favourite”. I’ve had the fortune of playing a variety of exciting roles. I suppose if I had to pick one, I would pick Napoleon in the Man of Destiny... no... Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors. Yes, Seymour. I have a few “dream roles” that I absolutely need to play before I die, and Seymour is definitely one of them. It’s such a fun role, and a far more challenging one than I had first expected. While it was very easy to identify with him, as I’m sure it is for a lot of people, being surrounded by a cast of over-the-top characters, it’s can be very easy to get caught up in that excitement and thus lose the honesty of the role. It’s Seymour’s journey that drives the show and so he has to stay very grounded to keep him relatable, but at the same time, he can’t be boring either. So, it was a lot of fun trying to walk that fine line.

(Photo courtesy of Brandyn Eddy)

I don't know when, where or why this picture was taken but I had to include it. Ok, now tell us your “I wanna be an actor” story…

I think I may be the only person in this show who always knew he wanted to be an actor... My grandmother took me to see The Phantom of the Opera when I was 11 and I was completely spellbound. (Within the week I had memorized the entire soundtrack) When I got to high school I was cast in the role of Tiny Tim in A Christmas Carol and I fell in love with the whole process, from the first rehearsal to the last bow. I just couldn’t get over the fact that someone might pay me to do that one day.

How do you relate (or not) to your character, Nips, in the play?

I’ve been told I’m closer to Nips than I thought I was, though I do relate to aspects of him. Above all else, Nips wants to be loved and accepted, which is something I think we can all relate to. But, I think I had much more in common with him when I was 20 than I do now. Nips has a very contented feel to him. He has no great aspirations in life. He wants to get married, have kids, retire, and grow old. And, coming from a small town, that’s exactly how I was. But, since moving to Vancouver and going to theatre school, my goals have changed some. So, in trying to relate to Nips, I have had to tap into that younger version of me; which has actually been a lot of fun. I get a chance to see just how much one can grow and change in such a short time.

Why should people come out to see Prodigals?

Because it has something for everyone. Sean has done a fantastic job of writing six very different and completely developed characters. A lot of shows have one or two principal roles that the audience is meant to relate to, surrounded by a cast of characatures, but with Prodigals, each character has their own arc and their own journey. It also has a bit of everything in it. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be very, very awkward at times.... just like in real life.

If you had one piece of advice for aspiring young actors, those just starting a training program or going to their first audition, what would it be?

Stick with it. There really is nothing like it in the world. Performing can be one of the most exciting and rewarding things in the world, but it can also be one of the most difficult and discouraging. The road is not going to be easy, it’s probably not even going to be kind of easy, but what it is, is worth it. I’m gonna throw a quote on here that is much more eloquent than anything I could ever come up with, and we’ll see if it makes it to the blog…

The quote uncut:

"Actors are some of the most driven, courageous people on the face of the earth. They deal with more day-to-day rejection in one year than most people do in a lifetime. Every day, actors face the financial challenge of living a freelance lifestyle, the disrespect of people who think they should get “real” jobs, and their own fear that they’ll never work again. Every day, they have to ignore the possibility that the vision they have dedicated their lives to is a pipe dream. With every role, they stretch themselves, emotionally and physically, risking criticism and judgment. With every passing year, many of them watch as the other people their age achieve the predictable milestones of normal life - the car, the family, the house, the nest egg. But they stay true to their dream, in spite of the sacrifices. Why? Because actors are willing to give their entire lives to a moment - to that line, that laugh, that gesture, or that interpretation that will stir the audience’s soul. Actors are beings who have tasted life’s nectar in that crystal moment when they poured out their creative spirit and touched another’s heart. In that instant, they were as close to magic, God, and perfection as anyone could ever be. And in their own hearts they know that to dedicate oneself to that moment is worth a thousand lifetimes."
~David Ackert

Greate quote, Brandyn! Thanks for chatting with us. Our first Preview performance is tonight at the Havana. It’s $10 and starts at 8pm. Come down and check it out.

See you at the Havana!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Coffee Talk with Abby Renee Creek

Abby is one of the original actors (along with Aslam) who has been with Prodigals since the first table read over a year ago. She’s been invaluable in developing this play and she is as dedicated on stage as she is behind the scenes. Last year, after the scary firing business (read this) she jumped on board – even though she was extremely busy at the time – and became my Front of House manager. And, she’s an extremely talented actress. She recently finished touring Salt Water Moon with the Arts Club after it was picked up from Hoarse Raven last summer and she played Bee-Bee in our production of Suburbia two years ago.

A little story: A director I didn’t really know much about back then came to see Suburbia and was so impressed with Abby’s performance that he emailed me an audition notice to send out to the entire cast. So I did. Later I learned that one of the main reasons he sent me that audition notice was because he was specifically hoping that Abby would come to audition for him. She did. That director was Peter Boychuk.


Plus any actor that lets me put up a photo on my blog of them doing a monkey face is a-okay in my books!

Ok, back to Prodigals, Abby you’ve been with this script since the first reading. Can you tell us a little bit about how the script, and in particular your character of Nina, has developed and what the experience of workshopping a new play has been like?

It has been really amazing to watch this play develop over the past year! Nina's character has grown from this character who comes in and yells in one scene to a full person, and it has been pretty neat exploring her through the various versions. As a whole, I feel like every character has changed from outlines of characters, to fully developed people who could, is essence, have an entire play to themselves (if Sean ever felt the desire to write a sequel, ha ha).

Do you relate, at all, to your character, Nina, in the play?

To be completely honest, I had a hard time relating to her at the beginning of the workshop process, but over the past year I have realized that I have so much in common with her - I grew up in a small town, and witnessed a lot of small town hi-jinx!


Tell us your “I wanna be an actor” story…

I didn’t grow up wanting to be an actor actually - it wasn’t until my Grade Twelve year that I realized how much I loved performing and that it might be a legitimate option! Luckily, I have the most supportive parents in the world, and they have given me so much guidance (not to mention my late night calls asking for “rent donations”)

Ok, side bar, what is it with all these talented young actors who didn’t intend to be actors but somehow just fell into. It’s sort of bizarre!

Anyways, if you had one piece of advice for aspiring young actors, those just starting a training program or going to their first audition, what would it be?

Do some research on all of the different training programs out there (and there are a lot!). Talk to as many people as you can about their experiences, and make as many contacts as you can!

And finally, why should people come out to see Prodigals?

It’s a slice of life kind of story - guaranteed that everyone can relate to what these people are going through. Everyone has been through the “what am I doing with my life” stage, and if you haven’t then maybe this play will help you when you get there!

Many thanks to Abby, as always. They have their last rehearsal today before we move into the theatre tomorrow! Two days and counting…

See you at the Havana!

(photos courtesy of Abby Renee Creek)

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Friday, April 23, 2010

Coffee Talk with Tara Pratt

Tara is another familiar Twenty-Something face. Although I’ve known Tara for a few years we didn’t actually have the opportunity to work together until last summer when the original actress playing Jerri in Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love had to pull out. Consequently I asked Tara to come in and read for the role and was instantly blown away. I couldn’t be happier to have her back with us again and playing the role of Jen in Prodigals.

Tara, what is your favourite role to date and why?

At the risk of sounding a bit cliché, I found the opportunity to play Ophelia one of the most unexpectedly challenging undertakings so far. Our greatest, most satisfying challenges as actors, I think, come when we take our characters beyond the text, dive into the subtext and see what else might be there for us to portray. It's rather easy to play Ophelia as the hapless patsy (and, undeniably she often is!), but there's nothing interesting in playing only one dimension of a character. I was given the chance to explore the antithesis of what is usually understood to define her; I got to be angry, frustrated, and above all, human. I feel fortunate that I didn't have to fall into the trap of playing up her victimization, and that made it a very rewarding experience for me.

And, tell us your “I wanna be an actor” story…

You know, I don't have one "a ha!" moment to look back on. Instead, I remember entire evenings in my childhood spent dramatically falling back onto my bed, the unfortunate victim of a shotgun blast in my latest action flick. Or walking to school and pretending I was the fifth Ghostbuster. I was always unusually (disturbingly?) connected to movies I would watch, to the point where I would start incorporating them into my life. As I grew older I suppose I just started channeling that desire of wanting my life to BE a movie into wanting to MAKE movies and, thereafter, to just wanting to perform, to wrap myself up in another world, in somebody else's story. It's grown-up Tara's way of being that fifth Ghostbuster.

(photo courtesy of Tara Pratt)

How do you relate (or not) to your character, Jen, in the play?

If I've learned anything about myself in these years of coincidence and chaos, it's that I'm a strong person, but I have my moments of crippling sadness and helplessness, much like most of us poor human creatures I suppose. Jen, god love her, she's badass enough to punch out her boss, and yet she still answers to the ghost of a man who abandoned her years ago, and all of her self-development goes out the window when he returns. While I can't relate to that specifically (I've got a pretty awesome network of people in my life who give me so much love and support that I'm in danger of getting a swelled head, I think), I relate to her beautiful conflict, of fighting off the world and not taking any shit one moment, and the next being overwhelmed by the feeling that I don't quite fit in anywhere, and wondering if I ever will. And hating myself for even caring about that in that instant.


Why do you think people should come out to see Prodigals?

I think this is such a wonderful play because it just GOES. There's a beautiful mixture of humor and heartbreak, and god who can't relate to that? Sean has written a piece that universally appeals I think, and Peter and the entire production crew has helped to make that important transition from page to stage, taking the nuances of the writing and helping them find their voice in the theatre. This play is memorable, dammit. You'll laugh and you'll cry, you'll go through the gamut of our human experiences. And isn't that what theatre's about?


Finally, if you had one piece of advice for aspiring young actors, those just starting a training program or going to their first audition, what would it be?

Don't ever try to be someone else. Learn from your peers and your heroes for sure, but always remember that what makes this form of expression so wonderful is there is no right and wrong way to do it, you just have to root yourself in a place of honesty and bring yourself to the table. Breathe. When you're waiting to get into the room or do your scene for the class, throw away those paralyzing fears that you have to DO IT a certain way, and instead work from that place of love; for the art, for the other people creating it with you, for your place in it. Approach everything with the knowledge that you have something to contribute, and you also have something to learn. The people auditioning you and teaching you WANT you to succeed, it makes their jobs much easier. And if you don't get the part, remember: when they first started out the Beatles were rejected a lot, too. Perspective.


Thanks to Tara for sharing with us her perspective. We open in less than a week!!!

See you at the Havana!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Meet Eliot

My name is Aslam Husain - I’m playing Eliot in Twenty-Something Theatre’s production of Prodigals. I’m a graduate of UBC’s acting program and I’ve been working professionally for two years with companies like Green Thumb, Carousel and most recently with the Chemainus Theatre Festival.



Whenever I work with a new theatre company I like to familiarize myself with their mandate. Actors are ultimately the executors of that mandate (at least, on stage), so I feel it’s important to understand what you are advocating.

So, let’s take a look at Twenty-Something Theatre’s mandate: producing provocative, relevant, contemporary theatre for the next generation. This makes Twenty-Something theatre an integral part of Vancouver’s theatre ecology, not only because it provides a training ground where young professionals can hone their craft, but also because it seeks to foster a love of the theatre in a generation largely uninterested in the medium. Most of the twenty-somethings you see at the theatre are part of the community already: they are aspiring actors, directors, writers etc. The real battle lies with those who have yet to join the cause and fall in love with theatre. And, unfortunately, that’s the majority of the twenty-something demographic. But how can we hope to vie for their attention when we’re competing against the spectacular culture of instant entertainment and 3D movies?

The liveness of the theatre is the answer. Working for Green Thumb and Carousel I have seen the joy of a child’s first experience with live theatre: it is so wonderfully alien, exciting and unique to them. I think of Twenty-Something Theatre as the continuation of this joyful indoctrination process.

But we twenty-somethings are a hard crowd to win over. I know that I am less accessible than a six year old; I hide comfortably behind the cynical and critical wall of young adulthood. So how do you raze those defenses? By mounting a production that is relevant to the twenty-something experience - that is, a production that is reflective. Witnessing one’s own struggles played out by characters on a stage can reach even the most jaded of skeptics.

And that’s exactly what Sean Minogue’s play Prodigals achieves. It truly is a play for twenty-somethings by twenty-somethings about twenty-somethings.



Inhabiting Eliot’s character has been a difficult process for this very reason. Exploring the conflicts in his life have exacerbated those of my own: I’m no longer a teenager, I no longer have the shelter of school, no longer the potential of pursuing any career I want. I’ve made choices and I’m living with them. Many of them I regret. I want to start all over again, but I can’t. I feel forced to dismantle the illusions of my youth. I feel entitled to so much, and yet my dreams have failed to manifest themselves. I’m disillusioned and I’m angry about it.

If you, like me, are frustrated by life (and really, who isn’t?) then come see Prodigals for some validation and a little bit of hope. And bring along your non-theatre friends; we might just have them hooked by the end of the night.

(Photos courtesy of Aslam Husain)

~Aslam Husain
Eliot, Prodigals

Monday, April 19, 2010

Coffee Talk with Timothy Johnston

I first met Tim five years ago when I cast him in our inaugural production of This Is Our Youth where he played the character of Warren. At that time he was a recent graduate from the theatre program at Capilano University and after our show closed that summer he went off to the University of Victoria to continue his training. Since then – I still find it hard to believe it’s been 5 years – among his many credits he’s played Aladdin in Kaleidoscope’s production of the Disney musical and Hank in Atomic Vaudeville’s Ride The Cyclone.

I am thrilled to have him back on the Twenty-Something stage playing Wesley in Prodigals.

So, Tim, what is your favourite role to date and why?

There are several parts I have been fortunate enough to play that will always stick with me. One that springs to mind, and I realize in this context it seems a bit sentimental, but playing Warren in This Is Our Youth, was an unforgettable experience. To have the opportunity, at 20 years old, to tackle a complex, multifaceted character, who was the same age as I was, and who was relatable to people my age who came to see the show, was an invaluable lesson to me. He was damaged, and it’s so compelling to be able to discover, decipher and demonstrate another person’s flaws to an audience - that’s what makes it interesting to me.

(On the Right: Tim in This Is Our Youth. Photo courtesy of Twenty-Something Theatre)

And, I didn’t even have to pay him to say that!!! And just to give you a little context, this is what Jo Ledingham, of the Vancouver Courier, had to say about his performance in This Is Our Youth:
“Johnston's performance as Warren is really splendid; he paints a charming, credible picture of a young kid struggling to figure it all out. In Warren's relationship with Dennis, he puts up with being constantly bullied and insulted. Johnston takes all of this on the chin and encourages us to hope his character will come through it all. It's an interesting journey that Warren takes and Johnston leads us along with skill and sensitivity. He makes you want to take Warren home, give him a toasted cheese sandwich, hug him and tell him everything will be all right-although it probably will never be alright again. Johnston is off to UVic in the fall but I hope that doesn't mean we don't get to see him on stage again. Given the chance, he'd do a great job of the young lad in Equus as well as a lot of other plays requiring an intelligent young actor.”
That is high praise for a young actor in his first leading role in a straight play (and by that I mean non-musical). And, well deserved.

Ok, tell us your “I wanna be an actor” story.

To be perfectly honest, it was something I just sort of fell into. I wasn’t particularly involved with any sort of acting or performance when I was growing up. I did one show in high school, and when the time came to decide what to pursue on a post-secondary level, I made the decision to study something that seemed enjoyable; rather than float around, searching for that elusive spark that would hopefully tell me what to major in at university. I thought about it for awhile, and then remembered my high school Theatre experience. I decided acting would be a worthwhile pursuit, auditioned, and was accepted into the acting program at Capilano. The rest, as they say, is history.

(Photo courtesy of Timothy Johnston)

And, how do you relate (or not) to your character, Wesley, in the play?

Hmm. That’s interesting. I like Wesley because he’s complicated. Wesley is a guy who is constantly in motion - perpetually searching for the right challenge, for a reason to exist. I can definitely identify with that, as I’m sure a lot of people my age can. I also understand his need to always come across as composed, and in control. That’s familiar, and rings some bells for me. His ambivalence towards his friends is proving to be an interesting challenge for me to understand. But in the grand scheme of things, this is one of the characters that I’ve played so far that is closest to my own personality.

Why should people come out to see Prodigals?

Honestly? It’s a great script. I mean, there are a lot of reasons to see this show. The actors are extremely talented and give amazing performances. The production team is outstanding. Coming out and supporting local independent theatre is vital.

But in actuality? This is a great, heart-felt, funny, poignant, important script by a local playwright that will in some way affect everyone who sees it. That’s what it comes down to. Every audience member is going to find something to identify with in at least one of the characters, and in this story. That’s a sign of good writing. Sean has done a superb job with this, and his work deserves to be seen. And it’s his first play! Scary…

Last question, so if you had one piece of advice for aspiring young actors, those just starting a training program or going to their first audition, what would it be?

Do your homework! Both before and while you’re at school. Seriously. Before you choose a program, take your time, do your research and choose the school that suits your needs and desires. Talk to people who go there. Talk to people who don’t. Find out. And once you find the right school - work your ass off. Every training program is only as effective as you can make it. So take advantage of every opportunity, learn as much as you can, and work as hard as you can. It will serve you well in the long run.

If you’re going to your first audition? Good for you. Enjoy yourself. Have fun. Stick with it. It’s worth it. And breathe. Always remember to breathe…

Thanks to Tim for taking the time to chat with us during a busy time. Less than 10 days until we open!!!

See you at the Havana!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Director

Call me an unabashed romantic, but for me starting rehearsals is like
falling love. You’ve made your decision to be with this play, to let
it occupy your days and nights for the foreseeable future. You’ve
given up some of your freedom – you could be out with friends, or at
home catching up on the last season of "Lost". There are also other
projects out there you could be doing… did you choose the right one?

Then comes the first rehearsal. The awkward little speech you’ve
planned in your head to kick things off that never goes quite
according to plan. Everyone’s nervous and trying to impress each
other. Am I trying too hard? Do they think I’m a douchebag?

(Photo courtesy Peter Boychuk)

Then the work starts, and you start to feel at ease. You know this
road and it feels good to be driving again. You’ve forgotten how
energizing this all is. Feeding off each other’s ideas, engaging
creatively with talented people. The exhilaration when the room breaks into spontaneous laughter. The thrill at breaking open a problem section. Before you know, it’s time to go home. What, it’s over already?

The next rehearsal is even better than the first. It really starts to
cook when you get it on its feet. The blocking comes quickly and
naturally. Fuck these are good actors! Damn this is a great script.
You’ve read it a hundred times and your admiration for it continues to grow. You start to display truly dork-like excitement, which is always how you can tell it’s going well. During a break, you think: why would anyone choose to do anything else with their lives?

How lucky we are that we get to experience this over and over. This is the 13th show I’ve had the chance to direct and it never gets old. What an amazing life we get to lead.

~Peter Boychuk
Director, Prodigals

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tremors: Kismet One to One Hundred

Documentary-style theatre. Welcome to week two of Tremors. Rumble Productions biennial showcase for emerging artists.

And, what a wonderful welcome it is. Kismet One to One Hundred is profoundly engaging and is brought to us by Vancouver’s The Chop Theatre. The four creators and performers (Anita Rochon, Emmelia Symington Fedy, Daryl King and Hazel Venzon) have taken one hundred interviews, with people between the ages of one to one hundred, and turned it into 80 minutes where we get to experience what it means to be human. These stories of fate and destiny are woven together seamlessly through the use of audio, video and the clever use of a black grid and one hundred golf-sized white balls.

What I found especially intriguing is that they didn’t just interview one hundred random people but also included family and friends. They used their own personal experience, however painful, to illuminate the impact that this search for belief played in their own lives. So, while the performers do take on the voices of some of the people they interviewed, they basically perform as themselves. It was this open honesty that really made this piece so wonderful. There were no over-characterization of any of the people they interviewed rather the performers acted as a voice through which we heard the thoughts and beliefs of many.

Tying all these stories together were demonstrations of some interesting articles of research about free will and the way our brains work. This is especially true in the scene about free will because that really is the debate isn’t it?! Where does free will end and fate and destiny begin? How much of our life is decided for us and how much do we decide for ourselves?

For every person there is a different answer and this is another reason why this production works so well. The creators of Kismet One to One hundred give voice to everyone’s opinion from those who believe in nothing to those who think we are all at the mercy of fate and destiny. There is no judgement from the performers on the opinions of the people they interviewed just respect. To hear stories being told without an agenda - except to share - is decidedly refreshing.

This is a beautifully simple show and yet extremely layered. If you have a chance, head down to The Cultch to check it out. Kismet One to One Hundred will play all the rest of this week until Saturday April 17th with a 3pm matinee as well as an evening show. Evening performances begin at 7pm. You can get your tickets online or by phone at 604.251.1363.

(Photo courtesy of Ellie O'Day)

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Monday, April 12, 2010

Designers & Production Team

A little more about the people who are going to create for you the world of Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. Or… more like a bar in the Soo.

Heather Lamb – Production Manager & Lighting Designer


Heather has been a professional Production Manager for 15 years, 4 of which has been in Vancouver. Most recently she has been calling the beautiful new SFU Woodward's Performance Complex home. Heather has been with Twenty-Something for 4 years now, and continues to be thrilled by the work that is done, and the opportunities it creates for Vancouver Theatre Artists. Thanks to her husband Darryl for his continued support of Twenty-Something, and happy willingness to help wherever necessary.

Alexandra Routledge – Stage Manager


Allie has been a professional Stage Manager for 2 years and loves every minute of it. She is a graduate of Ryerson University’s Theatre Performance Production program, and most recently Allie has been working with Royal Caribbean International as Stage Staff, working with the performers and guest entertainers on the high seas. Past credits include: SubUrbia (Twenty Something Theatre), and Love Letters, staged reading & full production, (Fight Like a Girl Productions). Allie is thrilled to be working with Twenty Something Theatre again.

Jonathan Tsang – Set Designer


A native Vancouverite Jonathan has moved back to Vancouver recently having spent the last four years studying and working in Nova Scotia. Recent Lighting Design credits include Dog sees God (Delinquent Theatre); The Rakes Progress (Opera Nova Scotia); the Laramie Project, the Witch of Edmonton, Firefly (Dal Theatre). Recent Set Design credits include Orpheus in the Underworld (Dal Opera Workshop); Ferry Tales, Ivor Johnson's Neighbours (Ships Company Theatre).

Jane Sanden – Costume Designer


Jane is a designer and director who originally hails from Calgary. In 2008, she graduated with a BFA in theatre from the University of Victoria. To further explore design, Jane is currently pursuing a certificate in architecture and 3D space design at Emily Carr University. Jane is an instructor at The Bolton Academy of Spoken Arts where she is able to combine her love of children and theatre. Recent design credits include Alice in Wonderland (BASA Theatre), The Sound of Music (Hillhurst Theatre), God, the Universe and Annie Hall (SATCo), and assistant design for The Wind in the Willows (Phoenix Theatre). Look for Jane’s upcoming work with one of Vancouver’s newest theatre companies, Slam Ink, where she is the resident director.

Kevin McLardy – Sound Designer

Kevin is happy to be back working with Twenty Something Theatre! Past Sound Design and Composition credits include Suburbia (Twenty Something), Poor Superman and Hosanna (Saving Metropolis) Something in Between (BC Buds Festival) The Butler Did it (NVCP), Risk Everyhting (Fringe) and The City Green (Walking Fish). Kevin wants to thank the cast and crew for all their support.


You can check out their work on Prodigals from April 27 – May 2nd at Havana Theatre:

Tuesday, April 27th – Preview $10
Thursday, April 29th – 2-for-1 talkback with the playwright, director and cast. Moderated by Simon Ogden.

Under 35 & Over 65: $15
Regular: $20

Tickets available at the door or through Tickets Tonight.


See you at the show!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Want To Be A TD?

We are momentarily taking a short-break in our regularly scheduled Prodigals programming to tell you about an exciting new position (for us) within our organization.

This year Twenty-Something Theatre will be adding the position of Technical Director to our team. This person will work under the mentorship of Heather Lamb who has been the Production Manager for Twenty-Something Theatre for the past 4 years and is also the Manager of Production and Technical Services at the new SFU Woodward’s. The person hired will learn by doing and gain more experience as well as make invaluable connections within Vancouver’s theatre community.

Responsibilities:

Working with the Production Manager, the TD will help to oversee and assist with the production processes for all technical departments. The TD will assist with costing and budget breakdowns, construction drawings, build schedules, set construction, transportation coordination, venue logistics, and the supervision and management of the Install and Technical Rehearsals, as well as the Strike.

Qualifications:

Interest combined with some experience or knowledge in all areas of technical theatre (Set, Costumes, Lighting, Sound, and Stage Management), with some experience in leadership roles and a proven ability to work in a collaborative team environment. Must have a flexible schedule to be able to attend Production Meetings, some rehearsals, and be present for the Install dates of August 22nd to 24th and Strike on September 6th. Must possess a valid BC drivers license.

This year Twenty-Soemthing Theatre is celebrating our 5th year of production and are excited to be mounting the Vancouver premiere of Blue Surge by award-winning playwright Rebecca Gilman from August 24th – September 5, 2010 at Studio 16.

For more details you can check out our posting at Alliance for Arts & Culture. To apply send your resume and cover letter to:

Heather Lamb,
Production Manager
heather@twentysomethingtheatre.com

Deadline for application April 23rd, 2010.

Plus you can check out Heather's most recent work in our upcoming production of Prodigals where she is also the lighting designer.


~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Tremors: I'm So Close... & Cozy Catastrophe

Last night I was invited to attend the Tremors festival put on by Rumble Productions. Tremors is Rumble’s biennial showcase for emerging artists and Craig Hall in his Artistic Producer’s Statement says “We believe that the best way to develop the next generation of theatre patrons is to help the next generation of theatre artists to create their best work”. As, many of you know from reading my blog, this is something that I’ve been raving about for years and I think it is awesome that this is part of Rumble’s mandate.

The first show is I’m So Close… created by Why Not Theatre from Toronto and if you are interested in new ways of storytelling then this is the show for you. It’s a witty and clever look at the way technology has sped up the already fast pace of the 9-5 rat race. Particularly clever are some of the scenes where repetitive movement drives this idea home. Steve (played by Troels Hagen Findsen) goes through his morning routine at lighting speed, brushing his teeth, getting his coffee, talking on his cellphone, all in a matter of minutes. The same goes for his first day of work where the two other performers, Ravi Jain and Katrina Bugaj, take turns introducing him to various colleagues at his new job. This fast-paced, jet setting lifestyle takes him away from his wife (also played by Katrina Bugaj) and she becomes disconnected from him. A very funny scene has her entering into a dream sequence with Troels Hagen Findsen playing Max, her pet fish.


The second show is Cozy Catastrophe created by local group Theatre Melee. If you liked Evil Dead The Musical, or actually any B-Grade cult horror movie for that matter, than this is the show for you. After the world outside has been decimated by something mysterious four strangers seek refuge in what they refer to as a “wine cellar”. Four crazy and distinct characters played by, Andrew McNee (who could pass for a Seth Rogen double in this show), Erin Mathews, Michael Rinaldi and Juno Ruddell, hysterically try to figure out what to do now that their world has been destroyed and evil lurks outside the door. The setting, the basement in the old green house (former home of Green Thumb Theatre) next door, allows the creators of the show to put together an experience for the audience that allows them to enter the world of these characters. The lighting is just some rusty old fixtures hanging from the ceiling and for a good five minutes at the beginning it is completely dark except for a few matches. And, the sound (also created by Michael Rinaldi) comes reverberating from somewhere so that the audience actually feels the ground beneath them grumble.

Cozy Catastrophe continues until April 17th playing nightly at 9pm. Meet inside The Cultch they will escort you next door when the show is ready to begin. I’m So Close… is only here for a few more nights until Saturday, April 10th. It plays nightly at 7pm. Starting tomorrow Dusty Flowerpot Collective will be performing every 20 minutes in the basement of the Cultch between 8pm-10pm. So...you can go check out I’m So Close… at 7pm. It ends at approx 8pm. Then see the Dusty Flowerpot Collective (by donation) while you wait to get into Cozy Catastrophe at 9pm. Sounds like a good night of theatre to me. And, all for the price of approx $20. Single show tickets for Tremors are $10 or you can purchase the 3-show pass for $27. Tickets available at the Cultch Box Office, either online or by phone at 604.251.1363

(Photos: Top - Troels Hagen Findsen & Katrina Bugaj. Bottom - L - R - Andrew McNee, Juno Ruddell, Erin Mathews, Michael Rinaldi. Courtesy of Ellie O'Day)


~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The New Greg

FINALLY. And drum roll please....The new Greg is:

Jameson Parker

Jameson recently returned from The British American Dramatic Academy in Oxford, England where he studied under John Barton and Mark Wing-Davey, and he is entering the final year of his BFA in Acting at UBC. He is also currently the Executive Producer of the short film “Eye of the Beholder”. Past credits include: Captain Bluntschli in Arms & The Man (Mindy Parfitt), Romeo in Romeo & Juliet (Catriona Leger), The Laramie Project (Nicola Cavendish), Old Goriot (James Fagan Tait), and Lifetime Television’s The Party Never Stops (David Wu).


Happy Easter!!!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Boring Theatre

I have seen quite a few amazing shows this year but for every amazing production I have seen, at least double that amount have been boring theatre.

What do I mean by boring theatre? I mean those productions where I’m sitting there in the audience and I am literally thinking to myself “what is the point?” Yes, it may be beautifully designed. Yes, the acting may be superb. But, if by Act II, I’ve literally stopped listening because I’ve fallen asleep with my eyes open then my question remains “what is the point?”

Isn’t the point of theatre to engage the audience not just talk at them for 2 hours. Because this is what I feel like when I go to see boring theatre. I feel like I am being talked at rather than engaged with.

And maybe, I’m crazy. Maybe my idea of what constitutes good theatre is completely different than what most people think is good theatre. Because, when I go to see a production that made me want to leave at intermission because I was so bored yet the entire audience leapt to their feet giving the show a standing ovation, I think to myself I must be crazy. I mean, I must be totally off my rocker because I obviously didn’t see the same show that these people just saw.

And, I’m sorry but a great performance is not enough for a standing ovation. A cool set trick is not enough for a standing ovation. If I give a standing ovation I want it to be because I was so moved by the ENTIRE production that I was compelled to leap to my feet.

I am so tired of boring theatre. I find it frustrating and more than that I find it insulting as an audience member that I am being pandered to. I am being spoon fed what is supposedly good for me. It’s beyond frustrating and it makes me want to stop going to the theatre, if every time I go, I just end up bored and frustrated. And I Iove theatre. Could you imagine what a non-theatre-loving average joe that goes to hockey games and eats wings at the bar would think?

So, this is what has been rattling around in my head as of late, but I still wasn't able to quite articulate why these productions are so boring. Then I read this blog post today from Ken Davenport regarding a memo on writing by David Mamet:

“THE PROBLEM IS THIS: TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN DRAMA AND NON-DRAMA…

EVERYONE IN CREATION IS SCREAMING AT US TO MAKE THE SHOW CLEAR. WE ARE TASKED WITH, IT SEEMS, CRAMMING A SHITLOAD OF INFORMATION INTO A LITTLE BIT OF TIME.

OUR FRIENDS. THE PENGUINS, THINK THAT WE, THEREFORE, ARE EMPLOYED TO COMMUNICATE INFORMATION...

BUT NOTE: THE AUDIENCE WILL NOT TUNE IN TO WATCH INFORMATION. YOU WOULDN’T, I WOULDN’T. NO ONE WOULD OR WILL. THE AUDIENCE WILL ONLY TUNE IN AND STAY TUNED TO WATCH DRAMA”

And, this is when the light bulb went off in my head. Yes, in the post he’s talking about television but the same principles apply. These shows, this boring theatre, is doing exactly that. It is communicating information rather than drama. We are being talked at rather than engaged with. The actors are communicating information. There are no stakes. This is what makes boring theatre.

As the post goes on to say:

“ QUESTION: WHAT IS DRAMA? DRAMA, AGAIN, IS THE QUEST OF THE HERO TO OVERCOME THOSE THINGS WHICH PREVENT HIM FROM ACHIEVING A SPECIFIC, ACUTE GOAL.”

What do you always hear in theatre school: raise the stakes! So if there are no stakes, no drama, then why would I be interested?! I wouldn’t. And after about 30 minutes of information I tune out. I get bored.

I want drama. I want stakes. I want to be engaged. And, if this means that I’m crazy and I’m the one person in the audience who remains seated during an opening night standing ovation. Then so be it.

I’d rather be crazy then bored any day of the week.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer