Thursday, January 26, 2012

Bands for Bomb-itty

Well, February will be upon us next week (!) and with it comes an exciting event in support of our first show of the 2012 season, The Bomb-itty of Errors.

The young lads, Mr. Jameson Parker & Mr. Brian Cochrane, of Temporary Thing (a new small indie theatre company in town) have put together a great night of music with local Vancouver musician and solo artist Dominique Fricot and Victoria-based band Sunday Buckets. Sounds pretty great, huh?!

When is it?: THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2012 at 8pm

Where?!: ELECTRIC OWL (928 Main Street)

How much?! TICKETS $15. Call 778.686.3964. Or you can get them off any cast or crew member (Yes, that includes me). Or you will also be able to buy them at the door on the night.

Here's a little sampling of what you might expect to hear on the night:

Dominique Fricot - Seashore

Sunday Buckets - Don't Shoot

Awesome, right?! So come on out and share in some live music with the cast & crew and all proceeds going towards The Bomb-itty of Errors.

See you there!!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

PuSh 2012: Opening Gala (Live Blog)

Tonight is the night! It's the Opening Gala of the PuSh Festival here in Vancouver and we're taking over the Waldorf Hotel. According to the website it's going to be "a veritable buffet of creativity... and will be packed with live music, video projections, spontaneous performances, and surprise guests". Ooohhh, sounds exciting, so let's get this thing started...

9:58pm - Sitting in the Hideaway lounge. Nita Bowerman is dancing. This lounge is inspired by Dances for a Small Stage.

10:07pm - Now we've got Barbara Kozicki dancing with red lights.

10:18pm - We're having a Native Dance Lesson with Nyla Carpentier. I love the interaction feature. So much fun. It's packed in here. Come find me and say "hi!".

10:27pm - I'm now in the Cabaret room waiting for the Opening Speeches to start. Keri Adams from CTV is hosting.

10:33pm - Heather Deal, deputy Mayor, just finished speaking. Now Norman Armour is up.

10:39pm - The crazy is starting with Charlie Demers and Ryan Beil! Woohoo!

11:29pm - Okay, sorry took a drink break and it lasted almost an hour!! I got lost in the Tiki lounge!! But I'm back now and you can come make a button at the button making station in the Hideaway lounge:

And, while I was taking my drink break I was still being productive. Up in the Tiki lounge you can take fun photos at the Photobooth by Picstar:

11:47pm - Alright folks that's it for me but you can keep partying here until 2am at the Tiki Lounge:

Or The Cabaret:

Or The Hideaway:

Happy Opening Push Festival!! Thanks for all the fun.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sharing Our Stories

It has now been 24 hours and I think now I am ready to hopefully gather my words enough to write about The Electric Company’s incredibly beautiful production of All the Way Home. This production had a profound impact on me. And, for nearly 24 hours I’m not sure I could really figure out why. It was a very emotional experience and sometimes it takes me awhile to process those things.

We live in a precarious time. Over the past couple of weeks since I have been home I have seen two movies, "Young Adult" and "Shame", that have left me deeply unsettled. They are both movies whose characters are in their 30’s. These characters live lonely & isolated lives. Their world’s are empty and void. They have no sense of meaning or purpose. No sense of connection. Both characters struggle to reach out and yet never succeed.

If these are the stories of our lives and our world - and particularly my generation - I find this deeply disturbing. Is that really what we have become?! Are we really a generation of young people who are completely disconnected from each other and from ourselves?! Are we really so afraid to reach out to each other?! To share our stories?! To share our imperfections?! If this is true, it makes me profoundly sad.

And, to be quite frank, I am sick to death of these stories. I want to see and hear stories that celebrate life in all “it’s beauty… and all it’s sorrows” because “that’s simply what living is” (to quote Kim Collier in her director’s notes from the program). This is not to say that everything I see and hear has to be all rainbows and butterflies. No, life is filled with both love and loss as All the Way Home so magnificently shows us. You can’t have one without the other and together love and loss are the very things that make our stories great.

Yet, right now we seem to live in a world that prides itself on the ability to go it alone and a society that perpetuates fear. A fear of sharing our stories. Because if other people see our imperfections then what?! We won’t be seen as strong. As successful. As what?! I’m really very curious to know what we’re all so afraid of. Because every single person has a story to share. A story that makes them who they are. And, I think, it is high time we get back to the very basic human need of connection or, in other words, sharing our stories.

So, to come back to All the Way Home, I think this is why it had such a profound impact on me because it is a simple story of one family who goes through incredible loss but endures with love. And, we as the audience were given the opportunity to share this story with them. We were even invited in to sit amongst them, to feel their pain and to laugh along with them. When Jay Follett (Jonathan Young) sang and danced with his wife and son I could feel his joy and when Mary Follet (Meg Roe) crumbled to the ground with tears I could feel her pain. So could every other audience member and together we could collectively feel the love and loss that spread throughout the room connecting both actors and audience. When they laughed, we laughed with them and when they cried, we cried with them.

This is an incredible thing to experience at any time. But I feel it is particularly incredible at such a precarious time in our society when we seem so disconnected from each other. When the stories we are telling ourselves are stories of isolation. Of people struggling alone. These are not the stories we need to see and hear. We need stories and experiences like All the Way Home to remind us to reach out to each other. To let people in to share our burdens and to share our joys.

It was an experience I will never forget. And, it is without a doubt one of the best theatre experiences I have ever had. So, I just want to end this post, by saying thank you to the Electric Company for sharing All the Way Home with us and particularly thank you for reminding us what truly matters.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

PuSh 2012: Preview

And, now onwards with 2012! This year I’m back again doing some blogging for the PuSh Festival. And, since the PuSh Festival is described as an international festival this year – having just done some traveling myself – I thought we’d pull out the passport and see where the PuSh Festival is going to take us this year:

Let’s start here in Vancouver with Do You Want What I Have Got? A Craigslist Cantata starting January 19th at the Arts Club Revue Stage – I honestly can’t imagine anything more fun than taking some of the craziest ads you’ve ever seen on Craigslist and putting them to music. It originally debuted as part of Twenty-Minute Musicals during Club PuSh in 2009 and is back with an 80-minute premiere version. Written by Bill Richardson (local award-winning writer and broadcaster) and Veda Hille (indie singer-songwriter who wrote the music to Peter Panties that was part of the 2011 PuSh Festival) the production features songs with titles such as “300 Stuffed Penguins” and “Decapitated Dolls”. You really can get anything on Craigslist, can’t you?!

Then the next day, starting January 20th, out at the Frederic Wood Theatre you can travel to Russia with Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Idiot – The award winning team of James Fagan Tait and Joelysa Pankanea are back at it again after they brought Vancouver audiences Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment during the 2005 PuSh Festival. This time rather than exploring the plight of a young man who formulates and executes a plan to murder a miserable old pawnbroker Dostoyevsky is exploring the plight of young man who returns to society after being locked in the looney bin for 6 years and finds himself caught between a kept woman and a young ingénue. Oh, those Russians, so epic.

After that maybe you’d like to take a trip to Spain. The Chan Centre is presenting for one night only on January 21st Soledad Barrio and Noche Flamenca – Described as Spain’s most treasured flamenco group, they are hailed for their “raw and deeply emotional performances of virtuosic guitar, cathartic song and spectacular dance”. Check out this video:

Ole! is right!! Uh, yes please. Can I move to Spain now?!

Or, maybe you’d prefer Japan. Starting on January 26th you’ve got Hot Pepper, Air Conditioner, and the Farewell Speech at SFU Woodward’s – This show is described as a piece that explores the subtext of professional office etiquette, water cooler gossip and corporate culture using deadpan dialogue in combination with brilliant choreography. Each three scenes speak to the dark humour and despair of a generation that had been promised a brilliant future only to end up ensnared in fluorescent cubicles. Hmmm…I think that pretty much just described 90% of my generation.

Coming back to Canada on February 1st, and always a fun time, you can check out Dances for a Small Stage 25 at The Legion on the Drive – Canada’s hottest dance artists take on the signature ‘small’ 10-by-13 foot stage to create original works that “crackle with personality, individuality, and humour”.

Finally after all that traveling from Canada to Russia to Spain to Japan and back to Canada again, you’re going to be famished. So, starting on January 25th, you can end your PuSh Festival travels at Eat the Street taking place at various restaurants in Gastown and surrounding neighbourhoods – From what I gather from the description a group of kids in grades 5 and 6, after being educated by a professional chef on the art of dining, will make stops at several of the city’s most notable eateries and then be asked to give their “brutually honest, uncensored opinions on the food, the service, the décor, the state of the washrooms and the charm of the dishwasher”. All you have to do is show up, order some food and wait for the shenanigans to begin. Just a word of caution: you may blow your beverage through your nose if you laugh too hard whilst drinking.

This is just a small sample of what’s on offer at this year’s PuSh Festival. You can also travel to Amsterdam, Auckland, Beirut, London and Mexico City. All the details on specific productions and how to purchase your tickets or passes is available on their website:

And, I’ll be live blogging from the PuSh Opening Gala on January 17th so stayed tuned for all of that fun stuff.

Enjoy your travels!

~Sabrina Evertt,
Artistic Producer

(All images courtesy of the Push Festival)

Friday, January 6, 2012

2011: Year in Review

Happy New Year! I’ve slowly re-introduced myself back into the world of work and now after some adjustment (okay, a lot) I’m ready to get on with 2012. But, before I do that, I will take a look back to 2011. Every year since I started this blog I’ve written a summary of the shows that made an impact on me. It is a personal list. I obviously don’t see everything in this city (I’m no Lois Dawson) so my top theatre moments of 2011 are in no way definitive. I say this also because I’ve now had a chance to see what’s on everyone else’s “Top of 2011 list” and I can’t help but notice that mine are a little different than most but they’re mine nevertheless. So here we go (in no particular order):

Death of A Salesman at the Vancouver Playhouse – This was in my opinion by far one of the best production I saw last year from the large theatres in Vancouver. Tom McBeath’s performance as Willy Loman was incredible. And, the rest of the cast from Donna Belleville to Bob Frazer to Kevin James to the rest of the supporting cast were all equally as great. To leave the theatre feeling as though every actor on stage was performing to 110% of their capabilities is a rare and wonderful thing.

Jake’s Gift produced by Juno Productions at Pacific Theatre – I know I am slightly behind the times here because Jake’s Gift has been touring the country since 2007 but this was absolutely, without a doubt, a highlight of my theatre-going year. Julia Mackey’s one-woman performance about WWII and the 60th Anniversary of D-Day was astounding. It is very rare for me to be so moved by a performance that I find myself wiping away tears at the end. She made me laugh and broke my heart all at the same time.

Re:Union at Pacific Theatre co-production with Horseshoes & Handgrenades – Where do I even begin?! The script?! The acting?! The seamless integration of technology into the story and the design?! This was Sean Devine’s first play. I can’t even begin to fathom the amount of research and dedication that went into writing this play. Incredible. All 3 actors were phenomenal but I was particularly astounded by Andrew Wheeler and Evan Frayne (who once again demonstrated why he won the Sam Payne Award for Most Promising Newcomer at this year’s Jessie’s). Speaking of rare things, it is extremely rare to find technology, story and design so well integrated. Often the story will be sacrificed in the pursuit of new and interesting ways to integrate technology into theatrical productions but it makes me incredibly happy to see a production where both can be accomplished. And, accomplished well. Beyond well. Brilliantly, actually.

The Penelopiad at The Arts Club – I love going to the theatre and seeing a production that could never be anything else but theatre. This show was by every definition “theatrical”. The design, the direction, the music… This is why I go to the theatre. Meg Roe absolutely never fails to blow my mind. She was once again outstanding as Penelope, wife of Odysseus. Her quiet grace is mind-boggling. I could watch her read the dictionary. No joke. Add to that, the rest of the 11 amazing women who rounded out this cast. More rarities – it is without a doubt an incredibly rare thing to see a play written by a woman, directed by a woman with an all female cast of 12. Amazing.

Jesus Hopped the ‘A” Train produced by Glass City Theatre at Pacific Theatre – Ok, so normally I don’t even think to include shows that I have personally worked on. I just feel as though I have a certain bias or can’t be objective or something; however, this year I’m going to break my rule and include this production. Because clearly I’m not the only the one who thinks this was one of the best production last year since recently made it their #1 pick for 2011 and back in June it won the Jessie for Outstanding Production. It was absolutely by far one of the best production I saw in Vancouver this year if not in the last couple of years. And, it just so happens that it was also my honour and priviledge to have worked with all the crazy talented people on this production including Rob Olguin (who won the Jessie for Outstanding Performance by a Actor in a Lead Role), Carl Kennedy (who was nominated for the Jessie for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role), Evan Frayne (who I already mentioned won the Sam Payne Award for Most Promising Newcomer), Andrew McNee, Kerri Norris, Itai Erdal (who won the Jessie for Outstanding Lighting Design) and last-but-absolutely-and-certainly-not-least Angela Konrad (who was nominated for Outstanding Direction).

And, there you have it folks. The Top 5 theatre experiences that made the most impact on me. It was a great year. And, we are so blessed to have such great artists and theatre in this city. I can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store for us!!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer