Thursday, March 29, 2012

Coffee Talk with Niko Koupantsis

Well, you've now met all four of the Bomb-itty boys except for one: Meet Niko Koupantsis. He is fairly new to Vancouver moving here from Saskatchewan where he performed in The Bomb-itty of Errors for the first time 6 years ago. This will be his Vancouver theatrical debut and all I can say is "Welcome to Vancouver Niko!" because he is a supremely talented, genuinely nice guy and we can never have too many of those in this city.

(Niko [on the left] arriving in Vancouver)

What is your favourite role to date and why?

I would have to say my favourite role was when I first took on The Bomb-itty of Errors 7 years ago. I had just finished my third year of University and was given the amazing opportunity to take on the challenge of such an epic piece. Not only was I faced with the task of developing multiple characters and learning how to rap (a daunting task to those completely foreign to it), but my fellow castmates and I were also responsible for making props and costumes, as well as contacting the local media and promoting the show. It was great training for learning how to run your own theatre company. I would say the only experience that tops that one is doing this show again now. I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with such a talented and lovely group of people. We spend so much time making each other laugh, and I can’t wait to share that with our audiences. 

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

I’m not sure exactly when I was bitten by the bug. I have had the personality of an entertainer since I was really young and learned that I could use humour to fit in, a technique I use everyday to varying degrees of success. I was always in a school play, with one of my first roles being that of a garbage man in a musical about recycling, and yes I still remember the song. Whatever the initial spark was, today I want to be an actor because I love to tell stories and show audiences things they didn’t know about themselves or maybe forgot. And I love love love to make people laugh. 

 (Niko trying to return buns to the grocery store!)

How many characters do you play in Bombitty and what’s your favourite one?

I play five characters in total, and my favorite character to play is Luciana. Maybe it’s because I get to wear an amazing dress and incredible wig and blondes really do have more fun, or maybe it’s because I get to rock dance moves that are meant for the ladies and which I excel at for some reason, or maybe it’s because she isn’t the smartest girl you’ve ever met and ignorance truly is bliss. If I was to get mushy about it, I would say it’s because she has a very innocent and bright outlook on life, and although she is a little slow she will do anything she can to help those she cares about. Whatever it is, she will always be dear to my heart. 

I'm not gonna lie. Luciana is probably my favourite character in the whole show. She cracks me up and her song is downright catchy! So other than to see Luciana, why should people come out to see the The Bomb-itty of Errors?

There are way too many reasons why people should come to see this show. The costumes are freaking amazing, thanks to the genius of Vanessa Imeson, and cannot be missed. The music is 100% original, from the stylings of Anami Vice, who isn’t only a very talented hip hop artist but also a gentleman and a scholar. We have DJ Oker Chen to mix the music live and keep things fresh. The whole thing was directed by the lovely and amazing Catriona Leger of whom I have become a big fan over these past few weeks. My fellow castmates are dangerously hilarious and intentionally talented, yes intentionally, that is a thing now, I just made that a thing, because I don’t know how else to describe how great they are to watch and work with. And while I would never condone reckless intoxication, there will be a bar and you can drink during the show. And last but certainly not least, people need to come see this show because of me and my wicked awesome dance moves. Also I am offering free hugs after each show. What else could you ask for? 

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?

My first piece of advice: work hard and be humble. They say that success as an actor is 20% talent and 80% hard work, and they are right. There isn’t really a measuring system for talent anyway, and it won’t be long before a director thinks you are just being lazy and your castmates think you are a jerk. You can never be too prepared. Make choices about your character before you rehearse and audition, and study the script well, good scripts hold all the answers. And make bold and interesting choices whenever possible, they are much more enjoyable for an audience to watch. My second piece of advice for the aspiring young actor would be not to allow yourself to be discouraged. There may be a million other actors auditioning for the same role, but you are the only one exactly like you. Always remember that you have something unique to offer that no one else does, so let that star shine. And if it doesn’t work out, you can always live in your parents basement. That has always been my fail safe. 

Great advice! Thanks for sharing Niko! Catch him and the rest of the Bomb-itty boys starting next Wednesday at Studio 16. More info:

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Monday, March 26, 2012

Coffee Talk with David Kaye

At the Bomb-itty fundraiser back in February, David got up on stage and out of nowhere just started rapping. And he killed it. So, as soon as I heard that, I thought to myself "oh, this Bomb-itty show is gonna be good!". His enthusiasm is infectious and from what I've seen he commits to every thing he's doing on stage 110%. He's doing backflips and beatboxing and he's pretty damn funny too!! One of my favourite parts of Bomb-itty is the reggae beat when David is playing Dr. Pinch, a rastafarian doctor. 

(David and his dog MJ)

What is your favourite role to date and why?

I have had many amazing opportunities over the years and I have a hard time just choosing one. In the realm of theatre, I’d have to say either Tybalt in Theatre at UBC’s Romeo and Juliet (also, coincidentally directed by Catriona Leger) or Matt (aka Pig-Pen) in Fighting Chance’s production of Dog Sees God. They were both such fun to play. They were both antagonists, and I just love being an asshole - but they each had a tragic personal reality that made them multi-faceted characters. For Tybalt, I also got to play with daggers and have all sorts of epic stage combat. We got to work through it with Nick Harrison, which is hands down the most fun I’ve had getting beat up. And for Matt, I got to say things and act in a way that is just unacceptable in real life. 

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

I was almost 4 years old when a film expo came to Vancouver. I went with my mother to see how films were made and to learn all about “Movie Magic”. While we were walking around an agent spotted me and approached my mother. She proceeded to tell us that I could be in movies, gave us her card and arranged a meeting with us for later. Shortly after, I went to my first audition for Legends of the Fall and booked it. I continued to work throughout elementary school as a child actor. When I hit the “tween phase” I broke into voice overs and although I looked too young to play a teenager, and too old to play a child on screen, I could do both for cartoons. By the time I looked old enough to get back in front of the camera, I decided that I wanted to actually learn how to act. So, I took myself off the market and I enrolled in UBC’s BFA Acting program. I graduated in April 2011, and am having a blast doing exactly what I want to do. 

 (That's David on Brad Pitt's shoulders!)

How many characters do you play in Bomb-itty and what’s your favourite one?

One primary, two secondary and two tertiary characters – Dromio of Syracuse, Dr. Pinch, Desdemona, a back-up singer, and a little surprise cameo from – well, if I told you, it wouldn’t be a surprise. 

Why should people come out to see the The Bomb-itty of Errors?

There are so many reasons to come and see this show. The costumes are vibrant, the set is fresh, the DJ is not only mixing live, but he’s kinda cute too. Not only is there a bar, but it is open throughout the show. We have a fantastic cast and a phenomenal crew. This is not a show to miss. 

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?

HAVE FUN! When you don’t have fun, it shows. Don’t be afraid to fail, and when you do, you have to be able to let it go. The Magic School Bus’ Ms. Frizzle said it best, “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” Don’t forget to enjoy the process. Sometimes you get bogged down with everything that you need to get done, instead of just focusing on what you need to do next. If you have fun and give yourself the freedom to fall flat on your face, you can pick yourself up, dust yourself off with a smile on your face and do anything. 

Today David and the rest of the Bomb-itty boys start their last week of rehearsals before we all move into the venue next week! Catch them all on stage starting next Wednesday!! More information at

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Coffee Talk with Catriona Leger

Meet Catriona Leger. She's the woman at the helm of The Bomb-itty of Errors. Prior to our first production meeting I had actually never met the director who was chosen to be the Twenty Something Theatre Spotlight director for 2012. I had heard great things about her from Brian and Jameson and had, of course, heard many great things about her production of Romeo & Juliet at UBC so I was sold; however, getting to see her in action these past few months has been an absolute pleasure. Plus, any women, who can rap a Shakespeare Sonnett, and kill it, is pretty damn awesome in my books.

So Catriona, what is your fondest directing experience and why?

Directing Romeo and Juliet at the Telus Theatre at UBC in 2010. With a cast of 22 actors and a dream production team, this was the largest production I had ever worked on. As the thesis production for my MFA in Directing, R&J was an opportunity to experiment, push boundaries and play with approaches I was testing out, all in an atmosphere that was both supportive and challenging. The show was performed in the round (another first for me) and drew inspiration heavily from Bouffon - a physical approach to theatre where performers adopt elements of grotesque forms and interact with the audience. The concepts I wanted to try out were foreign to a lot of people and made some folks nervous during the planning stage. Personally, I found the idea of directing a show that is so well known, with so many clich├ęs and connotations associated with it, to be extremely daunting – particularly given the number of people who rolled their eyes when I told them what show I was directing. However, everyone on the team was generous, brave and bold in a way that allowed me to honour such a timeless story while at the same time giving the production my own personal twist that, feedback tells me, was delightfully surprising to most audience goers. It’s a show that people still talk about when they meet me and it’s an absolute joy to see their eyes light up when they do. 

And, how did you get into directing?

In the mid-1990’s I earned a BFA in Acting and set out to carve my path as an actor. Back then I was particularly drawn to two forms of theatre – physical and classical – and dreamed of the day when I could somehow combine the two. Somewhere along the way I ended up in Ottawa, where I continue to work a fair bit. When I first arrived there, during a Y2K-induced stint living in a camper van, I took up work with a Company of Fools – a troupe that creates physically-based adaptations of the plays of Shakespeare in the interest of making theatre accessible to all ages and income brackets (my dream come true!). Much of the work I did with The Fools early on was collectively devised. Initially shy about speaking up with my opinions as an actor, through this troupe I began to find my voice as a leader and creator – something very necessary when battling it out with a bunch of loud-mouthed clowns! 

A few years later, in 2004, the Fools invited me to direct A Midsummer Night’s Dream for their “Torchlight Shakespeare” series – a program that tours 90-minute versions of Shakespearean plays with reduced casts around parks in the National Capital region during the summer. It’s an excellent program and a great way to expand audiences by bringing live theatre to suburban areas. This was my first foray into directing and it seemed a fairly safe transition into what at the time was an otherwise daunting task. I adapted the text myself and set out to direct 6 actors in all of the Midsummer’s roles with a very minimal set, simple costumes and a bit of physical comedy. I had no idea what I was doing – I’m pretty sure I just closed my eyes and randomly pointed to where people should go. When the show went up, I was pretty pleased with myself until the one review we had didn’t mention my direction at all and then later, at some point during the run, when a frienemy congratulated me on “such a valiant effort” – ouch! At the end of the summer, the show was the highest grossing production the Fools had ever had and overall the majority of people seemed pretty pleased. Despite that fact, I didn’t try to direct anything again until 2007… I guess the experience traumatized me! 

How would describe your directing style?

Physical. Playful. Cheeky. Alive. I love a spectacle as long as a good story is involved. I first got into theatre because I loved musical theatre as a kid. As a grown-up, I have always been drawn to classical theatre and the circus. Elements of one, two or all three usually manage to make their way into my productions. 

When it comes to rehearsals, I am thorough with my prep and am always ready to throw my pre-rehearsal work out the window in favour of actors’ offers. Actors are smart. I look at what they bring and then try to shape the sharpest, strongest, most specific choices possible. If they don’t know what to do, then I make suggestions based on what I know of the play, the actors’ own strengths, my instincts and personal preference. In addition, I think of the stage as the actors’ playground – I try to open up the actors’ imaginations and free them so that they can play within the structure of the story and ideally create an exciting, memorable theatrical experience. 

The guys in the Bomb-itty cast love to joke that I am a hard ass. For the most part, it’s true - I walk a line between being supportive of what an actor is offering and then pushing them to take their work as far as possible, usually calling them out when they get lazy or safe. There is also a fair amount of fun and games in my rehearsal hall so I don’t think I’m all that strict (but don’t tell the actors that). 

Also, coming from a physical theatre background, it is in my nature to love smooth transitions between scenes - they are always a key component to the shows I direct. I hate blackouts. I love magical moments when the stage transforms before the audience’s eyes. 

Why did you decide to direct Bomb-itty and why should people come out to see the show?

Brian Cochrane and I initially met doing our MFA in Directing degrees at UBC. We became fast friends and almost immediately started talking about collaborating on a project. The question remained… which one? Given our backgrounds, we also wondered which of us would be the actor and who would be the director. I assumed Brian would be the one doing the directing until early last year when Brian brought up the possibility of acting in and producing The Bomb-itty of Errors. He told me that he wanted me to direct. I love Shakespeare – I’ve worked a lot with adapting his works over the years. I also love rap and hip-hop. I was sold. 

(Catriona and Brian making funny faces)

Bomb-itty is an exciting show. A classic tale with a hip-hop flavour told by four very talented, handsome young actors playing 22 characters (with lightening quick changes). The designs are stunning - costumes by Vanessa Imeson, set by Jon Tsang, and original music by Anami Vice. Not to mention a live on stage DJ. The entire Bomb-itty team is made up of emerging artists who have the talent and passion to tear up the theatre scene. This is a team that is going to be around for a long while. Come see what we’re about! 

If you had one piece of advice for young theatre artists aspiring to be directors what would you tell them?

Provided you are working with a good script, all the answers you’ll ever need are right there in the text. Let the words of the play open up your imagination and then trust your instincts. (p.s. Learn the difference between your “instincts” and your “ideas”)

Big thanks to Catriona for sharing with us. Official Opening Night is in two weeks!!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Monday, March 19, 2012

Coffee Talk II with Jameson Parker

I first met Jameson back in 2010 when he showed up so early for his Prodigals audition that I hadn't even finish setting up yet. I think that right there should tell you something about Mr. Parker. There are not many people I've met in this industry with his amount of initiative, persistence and ambition so it doesn't surprise me one little bit that not even a year out of graduating with his BFA from UBC he has taken on the role of Producer and co-founded a company.

 (Jameson as Greg in our production of Prodigals last year)

Where did the idea come from to produce The Bomb-itty of Errors?  

About a year and a half ago Brian and I were trying to find a project to collaborate on together. We were both finishing up our respective degrees at UBC (his an MFA in directing and mine a BFA in Acting) and we wanted to have something to work on in case no one hired us. Brian brought this piece up because he had done it about 6 or 7 years earlier (with Niko Koupantsis) in Saskatchewan. What really drew me to The Bomb-itty was the fusion of hip-hop and Shakespeare because at the time I had just finished directing my 4th video for Anami Vice and hip-hop was my life outside of the theatre but my role would only ever be behind the camera in the hip-hop world and this play gave me the chance to get up on stage and be the rapper instead of the director. 

What’s it like trying to balance producing and acting?

The balancing hasn’t really been the tough bit about the whole process it actually just gives me another way to keep my head in the production outside of the rehearsal hall. The thing that has been weird is leaving that sense of ownership you feel as a producer at the door and giving complete control to the director. Luckily I don’t worry about the money too much (that’s why we have Sabrina!) so I don’t get stressed when Catriona starts telling us she wants to have a live lion and fire breathers on stilts. I just say yes.

Ha! Well at least we know Jameson can balance tubing and drinking a beer at the same time. That is a set of skills right there. And, moving on, what’s one thing you’ve learned about producing that you wish you would have known before you started?  

I wish I would have known how much space costs in Vancouver. IT’S A LOT!

So, why should people come to see Bomb-itty?  

The number one reason is that this is going to be an experience, not just a night at the theatre. It’s part play, part rap concert and part night out at the bar. We are transforming Studio 16 into its own boutique hip-hop nightclub, where you can get up during the show and grab a beer if you are feeling thirsty and you won’t disrupt the other audience members. But at the same time if you just want to sit and watch the play you can do that too as we have theatre seating as well, I think we have put something cool together there. 

Other than that the costumes are hilarious and awesome, the set is fantastic and the beats are unreal. We just had a rehearsal today where Anami Vice came and and tuned up the music and our rapping and it sounds AWESOME! He is damn good at what he does.

 (Jameson and Anami)

If you had one piece of advice for other young theatre artists who want to produce their own work what would you tell them?

Pick something you really love and give yourself a lot of time. You are going to be spending about a year with this project so if you don’t really love it you are going to get bored very fast. Also don’t try and put something up fast because everything takes a lot longer than you anticipate, give yourself time so you can plan things out properly and if something blows up in your face you have time to fix it. 

Good advice. Up next we're going to be chatting with the director, Catriona Leger, and I'm intrigued to hear from her what its been like working with the Bomb-itty boys up until this point. Something tells me never a dull moment.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Win Free Stuff!!!

Everyone likes to win free stuff, right?! So Twenty Something Theatre and Temporary Thing have decided to give you just that. A chance to win some free awesome stuff. How may you ask?! Well here's the deal:

Buy your tickets to see The Bomb-itty of Errors - which I know you're all planning to do anyways - for the first week of the show, April 5th - 8th (that's 4 nights of options available to you) and get your name entered to win tickets to:

-2 tickets to High Society at the Arts Club or;
-2 tickets to Blue Box at The Cultch or;
-A season's pass for 2 to Theatre at UBC for their 2012-2013 season;

That's three chances to win with the purchase of 1 Ticket PLUS on top of that awesome deal we've also got an EARLY BIRD Deal:

If you buy your tickets to the first week of the show, again Apr 5th - 8th, BEFORE March 29th then you're name will also be entered to win:

-2 tickets to the Saturday, May 19th Whitecaps vs. Seattle Sounders game.

How awesome is that?! Pre-Buy your tickets to see Bomb-itty - which we know you're going to end up doing anyways because this show is going to be a must see - and win free stuff!!

Sounds like a good deal to me, right?!

And, now you're asking, where might I buy those tickets? That's a very good question. All you have to do is click here: The Bomb-itty of Errors

Thanks for supporting live theatre and good luck!

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Coffee Talk with Brian Cochrane

Welcome back to our Coffee Talk series! The Bomb-itty of Errors is entering into its second week of rehearsal so I thought I'd kick things off by chatting with Co-Founder Brain Cochrane (and Actor 3) of Temporary Thing and talk about what it's like from both a producing and acting point of view. Most recently Brian graduated from UBC with a MFA in directing but Brian is actually no stranger to starting a theatre company having done so in Saskatoon where he earned a BFA in Acting from the University of Saskatchewan.

 (Brian [centre] in a promo shot for Wild Honey which was his directing thesis at UBC)

So, Brian, what made you want to produce The Bomb-itty of Errors?

Jameson came to me saying we should do a show together. I think we’d been talking about the importance of always having a pet project or something. We eventually agreed on this one. I was originally going to direct this, but fond memories (Niko and I were in the Canadian Premiere of this show in Saskatoon in 2005) led to me deciding I wanted to perform. Catriona’s name immediately sprang to mind as the perfect director. She’s much better suited to directing this piece than I am.

And, what's it like trying to balance producing and acting?

It’s a juggling act. We’re SO LUCKY to have Sabrina and Twenty Something presenting us. Sabrina has kept us on track every step of the way. [Please note: I did not pay him to say this]. This isn’t my first rodeo, I’ve produced five shows with my own company, Skinny Walrus (an obscure footnote of a footnote on Saskatoon theatre history), so I’ve done this dance before. I guess I just don’t learn from my mistakes. It’s great to have people to share the workload.

Speaking of mistakes... What’s one thing you’ve learned about producing that you wish you would have known before you started?

The first time I produced was when I was twenty and I was doing everything by myself. I wrote and performed a solo show called I’m Number Four in the 2004 Saskatoon Fringe Festival. It was about two teenagers who are abducted by aliens and the fallout thereof. A few years later a really crappy-looking movie called I Am Number Four about teenage aliens came out. I wish I’d learned to protect my intellectual property. I’m constantly learning that the most important thing is to just deal with things as they arise. Don’t put them off until later. Stay on top of things and you’ll save time in the long run.

Why should people come to see Bomb-itty?

In no particular order… 
1. Vanessa Imeson’s costume designs are incredible: wigs, dresses, mu-mus – it’s going to look amazing. 
2. Anami Vice’s original music will have every head nodding and every toe tapping. 
3. Catriona Leger’s direction is hilarious and assured. 
4. Jon Tsang has reimagined Studio 16 in a way that you’ve never seen it before. 
5. It features four young actors playing multiple roles and rocking some incredible drag. 
6. The bar will be in the theatre so you can keep your party going (booze, pop & chips, whatever) all night long. 
7. It’s one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays completely flipped on its head! Lots of the original text is still there, but it’s sprinkled with flavour crystals.

And, last, if you had one piece of advice for other young theatre artists who want to produce their own work what would you tell them?

Do what you want to do, not what you think people want to see. You’ll be happier and so will your audience.

 (Brian [2nd from left] rapping in Parked as part of Bridge Mix 2011)

Agreed. Check out the latest Vlog from the Bomb-itty boys here and stayed tuned for more coffee chats with Brian's partner in crime, Jameson Parker, and the director, Catriona Leger.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What Just Happened?! Part 2

So, I woke up this morning edited and posted the blog I wrote yesterday. I think its sufficient to say that I was in the Denial stage of the 5 stages of Grief. Now I’ve moved into Anger.

And, what I am about to say, may not make me popular, but I don’t care (maybe I’m having my own personal Jerry Maguire moment) but it needs to be said.

We, as a community, need to stop talking the talk and start walking the walk. Actions speak louder than words.

Tonight there is an event being planned, The Vancouver Playhouse Memorial/Rally (For more details please click here and it will take you the Facebook page). I received this invite early this morning and immediately went to look at the page. On the wall there were many people who had posted something along the lines of “Sorry, I have a show tonight, but I’ll be there in spirit”.

Which, as I took my morning walk around the seawall, started to make me angrier and angrier.

What the fuck [apologies] is wrong with us?!?! 

Regardless of whether this event is a “Memorial” or a “Rally” every single Artistic Director, General Manager, Arts Administrator, Actor, Director, Designer, etc, etc, etc should be at the Playhouse tonight. Full stop.

Every theatre company in this city could go dark tonight in solidarity with the Playhouse. It could happen. It could be done. If we really truly believed that the Playhouse closing actually mattered. Every theatre company could tell it’s patrons tonight, who clearly like theatre or wouldn’t have bought tickets, to instead go stand at the Playhouse tonight. We as a community could drop everything we’re doing and show up and stand in solidarity with Playhouse tonight. We could. So why aren’t we?!

How can we call ourselves a community if we’re not walking the walk? We all talk about how we should go out and see theatre and support each other. But, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it boggles my mind the amount of theatre artists who don’t even go to see theatre. Where is the community in that?!

This event, rally or memorial, is our chance to show ourselves, and each other, that we actually are a community. That we actually do support one another. We are being given a crucial moment that allows us, as a community to stop talking the talk, and actually show up.

It’s not enough to say “Oh, that’s so sad” and then turn around to our friends and say "So, where are we going to watch the game tonight?” (And, I love the Canucks as much as the next person). Words don’t matter. Actions do.

Because if we can’t even prove to ourselves that we are a community that shows up and supports each other why in the world should we expect anyone else to show up and support us?

Every single theatre company, artist and theatre patron should be at the Playhouse tonight. Because if we can’t rally for one night in support of a Canadian theatre institution that is part of our history and made us who were are today then we’re fucked [apologies]. And I don’t say that lightly.

I will be at the Playhouse tonight. I hope to see you there. I hope to see the entire community there. Could you imagine what it would say if indeed all the theatres in Vancouver did go dark and the thousands of theatre artists and theatre lovers in this community did show up?

That alone would be cause for celebration regardless of what ends up happening to the Playhouse in the end.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

What Just Happened?!?!

Yesterday I was reeling. I had a very hard time believing that it was actually real. That it was really happening. That the Vancouver Playhouse is going to be shutting its doors as of tonight.

The Vancouver Playhouse was the first professional theatre company in BC. It is a company that was put in place as part of the Canada Council’s regional theatre movement to establish professional theatre in major urban centres across the country. Canadian theatre as we know it today was built upon this foundation.

And yet, despite it’s clear significance and importance, it appears as though we are just going to allow one of the founding theatrical institutions of our country just close its doors. That’s it. End of story.

I’m sorry but did we just all collectively lose our minds?!?! 

Because the implications of this closure will have far more reaching effects than we can even begin to imagine right now.

The immediate consequence of this closure is that many staff and employees will lose their jobs. This is deeply saddening and my thoughts go out to each and every one of them. And, in the short term, this is going to impact many other companies who look to the Playhouse production centre to help costume their actors or furnish their sets. This will hurt many other organizations beyond just the Playhouse. And, in the long run, this is going to massively effect job opportunities and future development of our industry from here on out. All of this – and much, much more – is a tragic loss.

But, what has me more frightened than any of the above, is what the closure of the Playhouse says about us and our values and priorities as a whole. What does it say about the place and importance of arts & culture in our city and in our communities across the province and country? And, what does this demonstrate to a world that already devalues the importance of the arts & culture in our society? For years & years this conversation has been happening. It was happening far before I joined the conversation and I honestly hope that the conversation will continue to happen long after I’m gone.

But today if this closure happens - and this is what really scares me - we are basically telling all the naysayers and skeptics, all the people we’ve been trying to convince that theatre is important to the life of a community, that they were actually right all along. By allowing the closure of The Vancouver Playhouse to happen we are unintentionally confirming all their suspicions about arts & culture and giving them all the more reason to believe that theatre really is expendable after all. That what we do – creating theatre – isn’t important enough to save. That maybe it really doesn’t have any value and that, despite all our protests, it actually isn’t all that important after all.

Because if it was important - truly important - as a core value and a priority in our society, and if we truly believed in the importance of the arts & culture to the health and vitality of our lives, this closure would not be happening.

And, we can blame the government for lack of funding. Or, we can blame the economy and the recession. And, we can point the finger at the 2010 Olympics. Or, whatever excuse you want to use. And, whomever else you want to take the blame.

But the truth of the matter is that nothing – not one single thing - is going to change the fact that the closure of the Playhouse is just a symptom of a much, much larger problem. It’s not just about the current politics of our province and country or about the current state of our economy. These things are only factors or components of the larger zeitgeist of our times and whatever it is that is happening in the collective consciousness of our society right now.

And, what the closure of the Vancouver Playhouse - a major cultural institution of our city, province and country - says about the collective consciousness of our current society scares the fucking shit [apologies] out of me. It says that something absolutely fundamental is changing in the core values and priorities of our society. In the attitudes and psychological landscape of the people that make up our communities, cities and country.

If this is real. If this is really happening. (And, I still have a hard time believing it is). If, after tonight’s final performance of Hunchback, the Playhouse really does close it doors forever well then, my friends, these really and truly are frightening times we are living in.

 ~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bomb-itty Begins

Yesterday was the first rehearsal for The Bomb-itty of Errors and so to get this ball rolling let me introduce you to the Top 5 reasons (in no particular order) "Bomb-itty" should be on everyone's must-see list for this coming April. It is gonna be the most fun you've had at the theatre in a long time, trust me:

1. The set-up: This ain't no come in, sit down, and shut up production. This is a come down, drink from our bar THROUGH-OUT the entire show and sit around (or stand around) with your friends in your choice of traditional theatre seating, the small tables at the front or the high top tables at the back. Designed (by Set & Lighting Designer Jonathan Tsang) with a concert or live music venue-type atmosphere in mind we actually encourage you to "throw your hands in the air-ah and wave 'em like you just don't care-ah". (Did I just say that?!... Yeah, I did) And...moving on...

2. There will be men in drag: Yes, you heard me correctly. You will get to see Jameson Parker looking like this:

Along with Brian Cochrane, David A. Kaye and Niko Koupantsis who will all, at some point, come on stage wearing lady hip-hop Shakespeare garments (Designed by Vanessa Imeson) just like the ones pictured above. I cannot wait to see Luciana (played by Niko Koupantsis) strut her stuff. I nearly died from laughter at the scenes featuring Luciana at the read-through. And, she's even got her own song that is going to bring down the house. Speaking of...

3. The music: Every song or beat - (as they call 'em in the hip hop world [it's okay I'm not hip to the lingo either. Did I just say that?! Yeah, I did]) - is an original track created by local hip hop artist Anami Vice. For all you theatre people asking yourself, who the heck is Anami Vice?! Well this is Anami Vice:

And his "beats" for this show are un-freakin'-real. The music alone is enough of a reason to come to this show. Oh, and the fact you can drink THROUGH-OUT the entire show...

4. A live DJ: Well, now that we've got the music, we've got to have a DJ to scratch the beats. (Did I just say that?! Yeah I did). Meet DJ Oker Chen. He only met most of the Bomb-itty crew for the first time on Monday and he was right in there beat-boxing away. I think he's gonna fit in quite nicely AND he's gonna be wearin' his own set of hip hop pumpkin pants so that's awesome. And last but certainly not least is...

5. The direc-tah herself: Ms. Catriona Leger. I cannot wait to see what she does with the chase scene. And by chase scene. I mean literally a chase scene. The actors are running across stage as one character and then coming back in as another character and then running around and coming back on as yet another character. We have 4 dressers to make this happen and it is going to be a quickchange nightmare! So you need to be there just to witness this feat of achievement and what is sure to be a highlight of the show.

And, if that doesn't get you excited about Bomb-itty, nothing will (you might as well be dead. And yeah, I said it). I, for one, can't wait to see this show come together over the next month. Oh, oh, and did I mention there will be a bar and that you can drink THROUGH-OUT the ENTIRE show!!

Alright, you get the picture... But betwen now and then we'll have plenty of blog posts, including our usual coffee talk Q & A's, along with other fun updates to keep you occupied. You can also follow along with those crazy Bomb-itty boys throughout the rehearsal process on their Vlog (video blog) here. This is from Day 1:

April 4, 2012 it all goes down at Studio 16.

~Sabrina Evertt
Artistic Producer