Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Coffee Talk with Marlene Ginader

For close to a week now, Marlene Ginader has been sharing "Tina's" struggle with conflicting emotions and daunting responsibility onstage in Tough! at Studio 1398. This production marks Marlene's debut with Twenty-Something Theatre and we first introduced her in our Meet the Cast of Tough! posting.

Recently, Jerry Wasserman of The Province said, "Marlene Ginader is very good as Tina. Her solid, grounded performance makes clear how genuinely tough Tina’s choices are and how complicated her feelings about Bobby remain."

Here, Marlene shares some thoughts on Tough! and the world of theatre.

Tell me about a really memorable performance or show you saw that really stands out for you.

The two shows that come to mind are The Electric Company’s Tear the Curtain at the Arts Club last season and the staged reading of The Last Days of Judas Iscariot at Pacific Theatre a few years back. They both set a new standard in my mind in different ways.

Photo courtesy of Marlene Ginader.

What was your, “Aha! I want to be an actor” moment?

I don’t know exactly, I think I remember watching some movie on TV when I was around 8 and thinking, that looks pretty fun and it’s obviously really easy to do. Glad to tell you it’s still fun! It’s always been acting though, I’ve never really considered doing anything else.

Do you have any funny or embarrassing actor stories that have happened onstage?

Yes, yes I do.

How has the rehearsal process been for Tough!?

We have a really great team behind this piece so it’s been a pleasure to go to rehearsal each week and jump right in. And when I say “jump right in” I mean it! This show has no scenes in the script and really snowballs from one thing to the next. Personally, it’s been a huge challenge as this is the biggest part I’ve had to date. I’m proud of this show though and excited to get it up and running!

How do you feel you relate, or don’t relate to your character?

I don’t relate to Tina in most ways and that was one of the great challenges of working on Tough! While we both have strong values and a list of what we want, the things on that list are pretty opposite from me to Tina. She’s also very practical. I, on the other hand…

Photo courtesy of Marlene Ginader.

So why should people come and see Tough!?

It’s a high energy, 85 minute one act in real time. Once it starts it doesn’t stop so I think it’ll be really easy to go along for the ride. Plus it’s affordable theatre!

What advice would you have for any young actors starting out or thinking about becoming an actor?

If you think you can do it, do it. It’s difficult at times but a fun and rewarding career. That being said, the one big thing I would tell “high school Marlene” would be to pick up a trade! A key trick in the first few years of many people’s careers is to balance an erratic actor’s schedule with being financially secure, so, whether it’s hairstyling or welding, if your high school offers it, take it while it’s free. Good luck and have fun!

You can catch Marlene tonight at 8 pm for the 2-for-1 Talk-back night, and the rest of this week until Saturday, September 3rd at Studio 1398 on Granville Island. Tickets can be purchased in advance through Tickets Tonight, by calling 604.684.2787, or at the door.

~ Sarah MacKay

Associate Producer

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tough: Photos

(Katherine Gauthier as Jill)

(Marlene Ginader as Tina & Katherine Gauthier as Jill)

(Timothy Johnston as Bobby & Marlene Ginader as Tina)

(Marlene Ginader as Tina)

(Timothy Johnston as Bobby. All photography by David Cooper)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Coffee Talk with Katherine Gauthier

We first introduced Kat in our posting about the Cast of Tough! a couple of weeks ago. She plays “Jill”, bringing a huge heart and loads of hilarity to the role. Here she shares some of her experiences with the wonderful world of theatre.

Tell me about a really memorable performance or show you saw that really stands out for you.

One of my most memorable experiences was stumbling upon a one-man memoir type show at the Fringe in Ottawa in 2007. This remarkable piece of theatre entitled The Tricky Part, by Martin Moran essentially exposed a man’s struggle to come to terms with his past. Or was it about learning to grow up? Or was it about a loss of innocence? Truth be told, the plot did not even really matter. The play was about redemption. About trespassing. About being human, But most of all, It was about grace. Ah, grace. That irrevocably human theme that always seems to punch me in the gut (No surprise then that the other “memorable performance” that came to mind was Pacific Theatre’s Grace).

As an avid theatre lover, I have given many standing ovations to very deserving casts in my day. But I had never understood how much an audience sometimes needs to clap just to express; "Thank you". That is how I felt after Peter Hayes (who played Martin) so stunningly brought Moran’s story to life. Hayes generously gave himself to us in a truly cathartic and slightly dangerous way. He let us into Moran's remarkably human story and allowed us to breathe, cry, laugh, sigh, hurt with his character. It was a breathtaking and tour de force performance and one that will stick with me all of my life.

What was your, “Aha! I want to be an actor” moment?

I am not sure if I have ever experienced said moment and yet, at the same time, I also feel like I experience it 77 times a day every day. I have always possessed an invested and real inner life. I also have significant escapist tendencies. As a child, this combination often led me to create worlds or find solace in different identities. I lived out the fantasies and stories in my room and found great refuge in them. I always wanted to live a thousand disparate lives and share in a thousand people’s different stories. Theatre allows me to do that. Theatre allows me to truly step in the other’s shoes and live, eat, breathe, think, act as they do. I guess that is why I have decided to pursue it professionally (amongst many other reasons). You know, to share communally in the experience of being human. Although I may not have had the “Aha!” moment, I have always felt that there was something stunning and powerful about this art form. Something that makes me feel alive pries me off dead centre (in a good way).

Kat in one of her first shows, dressed up as a "firechild" - photo courtesy of Katherine Gauthier

What do you think of the theatre scene in Vancouver? The good, the bad, and the ugly.

I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of this theatre scene; its people are stunning and the work is lovely. I do think our major challenge is that we can’t seem to consistently get people into seats. In my opinion, the hardest part of doing theatre in Vancouver (and certainly is not unique to Vancouver) is that we live in a society of individualistic, comfortable people who each cater to their own lives. Thus, it does not appeal to the masses to pay (often too much) to sit in a dark room and turn off their cellphones, Twitters, minds, etc, enough to really immerse themselves in somebody else’s story. We no longer appear to long for those moments in which we, as human beings can sit in wonder, awe and admiration of something outside the self. Not to mention, that we, as a society, have seemingly lost the ability to be present. Because of the tragedy of needing money to produce theatre and needing people to give us money, I feel as if this city often is often forced to play it safe artistically. I wish that we had a platform to take more risks, move boldly, expand the medium, do more collaboration-pieces and really blow out of the water what we have been doing.

Do you have any funny or embarrassing actor stories that have happened onstage?

I was in a two-hander at the Havana called Matt and Ben. We had some pretty crazy costume changes that were not really called for in the script. So, while my cast-member was changing from Matt Damon to J.D. Salinger backstage (a pretty extensive costume change as you can imagine), I was left alone onstage to improvise in order to waste the time. Well, the Havana is a unique space all on its own. To start with, to get from one entrance to another, you have to go through the restaurant kitchen washroom, through the kitchen itself, down some stairs, into the lobby and then through two doors. Needless to say, these “improvisations” could felt like hours.

One particular run, my partner got locked out in the lobby. So, I was improvising away as per usual noticing that it was taking a lot longer than the norm. I end up doing the most ridiculous things (that seem normal at the time due to my adrenaline-charged mind). I don’t remember quite what I did but I do remember grabbing a blanket, turning it into a cape, running around screaming, wrestling a papier-mache rooster down and hitting myself in the head in the interim. Minutes later (and unscripted minutes on stage can seem like hours), my cast-member ends up coming in through the bedroom (which in terms of the story, makes no sense at all) and we continued. Oh, Live Theatre!

Photo courtesy of Katherine Gauthier

How has the rehearsal process been for Tough!?

I feel incredibly blessed to have been a part of this rehearsal process. Delving into the likes of Jill has been riveting, a terrifying challenge and wholly satisfying. Truly a revelation of the flaws, messiness and beauty of humankind, Tough! presents three characters who are all endearing due to their honesty, vulnerability and in their weird way, hope. Thus, rehearsals have provided me with the compelling journey to discover, plummet and expose Jill’s humanity. She wears her heart on her sleeve which is a trait that in this day and age is more of a rare find than a commonality.

Not to mention, working with these talented people. Annie (our magical SM) is unreal; so patient, thorough, and totally hilarious. Tamara (the director) is stunningly gracious and a joy to work with. Being an actor herself, she seems to truly understand when she needs to let us discover and when she needs to come in and “save us”. She also has a gift of verbal affirmation (which is always a good trait in a director). Marlene (who plays Tina) is a stunning human being and a wonderful Tina. I consider it an honour to play her best friend. There is so much that one can fall in love with when it comes to who Marlene/Tina is that it makes my characters’ job (as her best friend, protector, biggest fan) so easy. Tim (Bobby) is one of those rare finds – such a charming and wonderful individual and someone who brings so much heart, humour and chutzpah to the rehearsal process. It has been a pure joy seeing him explore this character and plummet into the vulnerability and depths of who Bobby is. So yeah, it’s been good.

How do you feel you relate, or don’t relate to your character?

I feel deeply connected to Jill. Jill is incredibly loyal and will fight to the end for what she believes. Jill wants to better herself and those around her. She loves fiercely, she believes strongly, she feels passionately and acts extremely. Although Jill is significantly damaged, her decision to not feel sorry for herself is compelling. Jill does not accept mediocrity in herself or anybody around her. In this manner, I feel that we have similar cores but she just has more guts, less self-imposed boundaries and significantly more courage than I do. Although I may not have the follow-through that Jill has, I do feel like we both are passionate fighters, protectors and lovers.

On the contrary, I am significantly more diplomatic and, for lack of a better term, kind than she is. I also, unfortunately, have a strong people-pleasing tendency which does not seem to course at all through Jill’s veins. Jill is not afraid to stand out and in fact, most of the time, is not even aware that she is doing so.

So why should people come and see Tough!?

It’s raw. It’s real. I don’t know. Just come. Let me know what you think.

What advice would you have for any young actors starting out or thinking about becoming an actor?

Man, I hate this question. I really believe that everyone must forge their own path and any advice I could give is either not heard or should not be heard. People come to this powerful art form for so many disparate reasons and I don’t feel equipped or frankly, even desire to spout out advice. That being said, if I were to talk to my sixteen year old self, I would say: “Risk more, fail boldly, tell the truth, and always remember to breathe.”

Thanks Kat! You can catch her, and the rest of the cast, tonight at the Opening Night of Tough! which runs until September 3rd at Studio 1398 on Granville Island. Tickets can be purchased from Tickets Tonight, by calling 604.684.2787, or at the door.

~ Sarah MacKay
Associate Producer

Monday, August 22, 2011

Coffee Talk II with Timothy Johnston

Tim is no stranger to Twenty-Something Theatre, having made his debut with the company six years ago, in its inaugural production of This Is Our Youth. An active member of the Vancouver theatre scene, he was most recently seen in The Gas Heart with the Neanderthal Arts Festival as well as a "little" production we put on back in May called, Prodigals, where he played "Wesley". Tim's also no stranger to our blog chats with him, and I wanted to think of some new questions. Here's what he had to say:

What have been some of your highs and lows over the years, as an actor?

Well, I think the obvious answer for any actor is that anytime you are not working is a low time! So…I’ll go with that too. No work equals low. As for high points, I have had many. With few exceptions, every opportunity to tackle a new character is its own high. Seriously, I’m not just saying that. But I guess…what immediately comes to mind, is the fact that in the last couple of years, I’ve been super fortunate, and have been able to work on several projects in a row that I have had deep personal connections to. Whether it was creating a role in an original work, or collaborating with my peers to produce a show we could be proud of; the opportunity to develop original, thoughtful material, with a varied pool of incredibly smart, stupidly funny, fiercely talented friends has been incredible.

Do you have any funny or embarrassing stories that have happened onstage?

No…I’m kidding. Hmm… I guess I could tell you about the time that I was performing in Aladdin and, while in the guise of “Prince Ali,” I gracefully leapt and subsequently not-so-gracefully tumbled over Princess Jasmine’s balcony, splitting open my face just above my left eye, therefore spending the rest of the play trying to A) Be Disney level romantic and heroic B) Not get blood all over my white satin costume C) Not let the audience notice I was bleeding profusely and D) Not die from loss of blood...I guess I could tell you about that?

Aladdin photo courtesy of Barbara Pedrick

You’re a bit of a veteran with Twenty-Something Theatre now. What have you noticed, or how has the company itself evolved, over the years?

Are you kidding me? This company is a machine now! In all seriousness, as someone who has produced their own theatre before, the rate of growth and maturity, pardon the pun, in Twenty-Something Theatre is incredible to me. It is HARD. To give you an example of the early days, and how hopeful and naive we were: I vividly remember, while doing their very first show, This Is Our Youth, at Presentation House in North Van – hanging out outside the Seabus terminal handing out flyers and hoping at least a few of those people would take a chance on our show. They didn’t. And it was rough. Now, the company is producing multiple high quality, exciting shows every year. They are nurturing and fostering young, sensational talent; be it actors, directors, writers or designers. They are featured in print media, digital media and are abuzz in the world of social media. They have come so far, and I am incredibly proud to be able to say that I have been a part of the journey. The best part is, it doesn’t feel like they’re done yet.

How do you feel you relate, or don’t relate, to your character “Bobby” in Tough!?

Bobby is…complex. But Bobby is also simple. He just wants to be understood. He just wants to do the right thing. I think we can all relate to that. Bobby also, unfortunately, has a hard time communicating to people what it is he’s thinking, and battles crippling insecurities about himself and his circumstances. I mean, we all go through that sometimes, but Bobby is ridiculous. That’s a challenge. I mean a REAL challenge. Come see the show, you’ll understand what I mean. Poor guy.

And finally, why should people come and see Tough!?

Come see great writing. Come see great design. Come see great acting. Come see great direction. Come to laugh. Come to be moved. Come to be uncomfortable. Come to support your friends. Come to support strangers. Come to support independent arts. Come to think. Come to not think for a while. Come and have a great time. And then tell your friends.

And you can come catch Tim this week in Tough!, running August 24th - September 3rd at Studio 1398 (formerly the PTC Studio) on Granville Island at 8 pm. Hope to see you there!

~ Sarah MacKay
Associate Producer

Friday, August 19, 2011

Tough: AP Message

In every program, I write up my little message as the Artistic Producer of Twenty Something Theatre. Sometimes I combine the message with my director's notes if I'm also directing the play and talk about the play and its relevance. Or if I'm just producing I might use this section of the program to talk about the company's accomplishments or use it to say all my "thank you's". Here is my "Message from the Artistic Producer" that will go in program for Tough!:

"Welcome to our 6th annual summer production and our 3rd & final show of the 2011 Season! I couldn’t be more thrilled to be ending our season with George F. Walker’s Tough! To me it is a seminal part of Canadian theatre history and belongs in the same category of as our 2009 production of Brad Fraser’s Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love: contemporary Canadian classics. To some it may seem like “contemporary” and “classic” are contradictory ideas because when we typically think of “classical” theatre we might think of Shakespeare or Chekov; but, as a country Canada is still quite young and we haven’t had the luxury of time. Canadian theatre history is maybe 100 years old, if that. The “classic” playwrights like Shakespeare changed the landscape of theatre history hundreds & hundreds of years ago. However, did Brad Fraser change the landscape of Canadian theatre with Unidentified Human Remains and the True Nature of Love? I think so. Did George F. Walker change the landscape of Canadian TYA (Theatre for Young Adults) with Tough?! Absolutely.

Tough! doesn't pander to a young audience. It is real. It is gritty and it treats the issues that young people deal with as something worthy of exploring. The lives of Tina, Bobby & Jill and the issues they deal with are very real to them in the moment and this trio of actors have given these characters a journey that is both hysterically funny and painfully real. And, honestly, what more could you ask for from a “classic” piece of theatre?!"

~Sabrina Evertt,
Artistic Producer

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pub Night FUNdraiser

It's been about five months since we last hosted a fun, slightly alcohol fueled, fundraising event and we at Twenty-Something Theatre feel it's high time for another! Come and join us this Tuesday, 16th for a drink (or two...or three...), silent auction, and karaoke - hosted by the fabulous Tim Johnston (our "Bobby" in Tough!).

All proceeds will be going directly towards our upcoming production, Tough!, running from August 24 - September 3.

Here's What you need to know:

Tuesday, August 16

7 pm - 'til late

Hell's Kitchen 2041 West 4th Avenue Click here for map.


1 FREE drink (practically the cost of your ticket right there!), entry for an awesome raffle prize, silent auction, and 50/50 draw. Hey, you could walk out of here with a profit!

What is the raffle prize for which you'll be entered? It's a $100 gift certificate to Peckinpah restaurant, located in the heart of Gastown!

Other Silent Auction items include:

Wild Whales whale watching adventure for 2 (retail value: $250 + HST)
Orling & Wu fine tableware (retail value: $168 + HST)
Sewell's Marina Eco-Safari Boat Tour for 2 (retail value: $146 + HST)

and more!

Great night! Great people! Great cause!

Please RSVP to our Associate Producer, Sarah, at:

Hope to see you there!!!

~ Sarah MacKay
Associate Producer

Friday, August 12, 2011

Tough: The Cast

Marlene hails from Brandon, Manitoba and is happy to be making her Twenty-Something Theatre debut. Recent credits include Pharaoh Serket and the Lost Stone of Fire (Carousel), Tiny Replicas (Zee Zee Theatre), Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Arts Club), Around the World in 80 Days (Gateway Theatre), The Vertical Hour (UP) and an upcoming episode of Fringe. Catch her next in Chelsea Hotel at The Firehall Arts Centre this winter.

Timothy is stoked be to back with team Twenty-Something, after previously appearing with them as Warren in their inaugural production, This Is Our Youth and as Wesley in the world premiere of Prodigals. Having trained at both Capilano U and the University of Victoria, Tim has a multitude of credits in both cities, including The Gas Heart (GasHeart), The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari (Somnambulist), Ride The Cyclone (Atomic Vaudeville), Silverwing and Disney's Aladdin Jr. (Kaleidoscope), Toothpaste & Cigars (VEC), Seussical The Musical (Random Entertainment) and more.

A Trinity Western University graduate, Katherine is honoured that Tamara and Sabrina invited her on this wild ride. Thanks to the wonderful cast (and Annie) for making the ride wilder. Selected credits: Hamlet (Honest Fishmongers Equity Co-op), Good Woman Of Setzuan (TWU), Matt and Ben (Fighting Chance Productions), Godspell and You Still Can’t (Pacific Theatre). Special thanks to Him, her parents, her siblings, in fact, all of her supportive family; especially, Nana, who makes it all possible.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tough: The Director



What a treat to direct this talented trio in Tough! Directing credits include Whistler Chairlift Revue (Whistler Live/2010 Paralympics), The Vertical Hour (United Players –selected by critic Jo Ledingham in her Top 10 Picks of 2009), Munsch Alley (Carousel Theatre –Jessie nomination for Outstanding Direction), and The Laundromat (Scarlet Satin). Tamara co-founded and was co-Artistic Director of Boca del Lupo Theatre until 2001. She has taught physical theatre at the Vancouver Film School and the Gros Morne Theatre Festival in Newfoundland. She is a 4-time Jessie Richardson Award nominee, Artistic Associate of BellaLuna, and proud mom to Lucas, who turns 1 on Sept. 2nd. Thanks always to Mike.


As I watch my 10 month old son discover the world and learn about cause and effect, I realize so much of what happens to us, and the choices we make, depend on and are intrinsically linked to the actions of others. While my son is having difficulty going down for his nap (likely because of his recent discovery of crawling), I am weighing my options: invest another half an hour in this nap venture, or go for a walk. Yet if he had gone to sleep, I would be considering a different set of choices… probably choosing to have a cup of tea and respond to email. In Tough! Tina is making her own choices, but they depend completely on the choices Bobby makes. I find this so fascinating right now; I think I believed we are mostly responsible for what happens to us by the choices we make, but I see now the set of choices we create for ourselves is entirely influenced by the actions of others.

The other thing that is different for me directing this show now than in an earlier time of my life, is my perspective on motherhood, having only been a witness up until a year ago. I am so grateful everyday that I have my husband to share in the parenting of Lucas. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to be a single mother. And to imagine being one at 19 years old is unfathomable. My heart breaks for Tina, and though one might make judgements about her, we cannot deny her bravery.

It has been a delectable treat to listen to Walker’s poetry brought to life in rehearsals by these tremendous young actors. Thank you for choosing live theatre.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

My Bad

Ok, ok, so sue me....I have only posted a grand total of 5 posts (+1 posted by Sarah) since Prodigals ended on May 14th. My bad.

It really has been the "Summer of Me". In June I went to the island for the weekend and got to spend some long overdue with Mr. Ogden and got to sample all the tasty cocktails he's slinging over there on the island after he left us high and dry on the mainland. And, I just got back from another long weekend in Vegas where I soaked up all the sun we've been missing here in rainy, cloudy Vancouver and then so generously brought the sun back with me. You're welcome.

That isn't to say I haven't been doing any work. I've just been doing a lot of the boring things no one wants to hear about like organizing our annual report and financial statements & filing our CRA tax return. But, I did guest direct the latest live show for the True Heroines at Guilt & Co. Check out the awesome photos here. Such a fun night!! Now, I'm in the process of organizing and figuring out our 2012 Season so that we can make the big announcement (hopefully soon).

Plus, I've started working on my next costume design contract doing Romeo & Juliet and am currently working on final designs as we speak.

Plus, plus, I have been trying to organize, pack and clean my condo so that I can put it up for sale. Which I'm telling you is pretty much the least fun thing I could ever think of. Just imagine trying to clean your ceiling and having toxic cleaning chemicals falling into your eyeballs. Yeah, its awesome.

But it's now 3 weeks until we move into the venue for Tough! so I'm going to kick my butt into gear and follow up on my promise to keep you updated with lots of news and stuff about our newest summer production. Coming soon (I promise): introductions to the director and cast.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer