But for now, let’s look back to 2012. This was my year of taking it easy. Twenty Something only co-produced one major production (and a mighty fine one at that) and was in development for another (to premiere this spring). I took a 6 month leave of absence – for the most part – from the every day nitty gritty of sitting in front of my computer writing grants, budgeting and fundraising to do some other things like go on a month long road trip from Vancouver to Phoenix travelling through 5 US States.
First stop was the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, through the redwoods of Northern California, to San Francisco and the wine soaked regions of Sonoma and Napa. After that, skirting the coastal highways of Big Sur and arriving at the bustle and excitement of the Santa Monica pier in the LA area. I visited friends in Laguna & Palm Desert and then drove white knuckle through the Mojave Desert just me and the road, and nothing and no one around for miles on end, arriving in the hot as hell desert heat of Las Vegas. The final leg of my journey I headed to the Grand Canyon and spent 4 awesome days in one of North America’s greatest National Parks. Then on down to Phoenix to visit more friends before heading back home again.
[That's me at the Grand Canyon!]
What a journey! I couldn’t have asked for a better way to spend my summer off. I’m so glad I did that. I had so much time to think about where I’ve been, where I currently am and where I’m going next. Coming back home to Vancouver in the fall I was able to concentrate on other projects and design work as well as think about where Twenty Something is going next. More on that in the next post.
And yet, despite taking it easy, I saw more theatre last year than I’ve ever seen for a total of 68 shows. That’s approx 1 show every 5 days for the entire year! Some weeks I saw nothing (like when I was out of town) and some weeks I saw 3-5 shows. Here is my own personal Top 5 list (with some Honourable Mentions) for 2012. And, this year I’ve ordered them because I actually have 6 and so I made #5 a tie [Note: It’s my blog and I’ll do what I like thank you very much]:
5) (Tie): Clybourne Park (Arts Club Theatre) and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Pacific Theatre) are tied because I just couldn’t leave one out. I was utterly surprised by how much I enjoyed Clybourne Park. It took some pretty heated issues and made us all laugh. And, I laughed hard. Sasa Brown was just fantastic as the deaf and pregnant Betsy. My cousin is deaf and I think she captured beautifully the heart and the humour. And, of course, I love Andrew Wheeler, his comedic timing is impeccable (more on that later). Then, on the other hand, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe utterly surprised me with its genuine heart. It reminded me of the magic of being a kid and Mackenzie Gordon & Kaitlin Williams brought all the characters to life in such a magical way. I know this is a remount of a 2009 production but I didn’t see it back then and I am so glad I saw it in its 2012 incarnation. It will be touring locally so go see it if you can.
4) Goodness (Volcano Theatre production co-presented by Firehall Arts Centre, Chutzpah Festival and Touchstone Theatre). I had a small window of time to see this production last year and am I ever glad I did. The simplicity of the story was told in a profound way. The movement, music and choice of specific action to convey the implications of genocide from Eastern Europe to Africa was outstanding.
3) Hunchback (Catalyst Theatre production co-presented by the Vancouver Playhouse and The Cultch). This is a no-brainer. Anyone who knows me, and who reads this blog, could have predicted I would put this in my Top 5. I love every single thing about Catalyst Theatre productions from the design to the direction to the movement. And, all my Canadian theatre dreams came true when I had the chance to chat with Bretta Gerecke on the phone and then meet her in person at the Opening. One of my top moments from 2012 without a doubt.
2) Craiglist Cantata (Arts Club Theatre in association with the PuSh Festival). The stars of this one are without a doubt Veda Hille and Bill Richardson who took the absurdity of the ads on Craigslist and turned them into a funny and heartfelt musical. I came out of the theatre just grinning from ear to ear and a smile in my heart.
And, the main reason I decided this year to put them in numerical order is because without a doubt this was the best production I saw last year…
1) All The Way Home (Electric Company). Where to start?!...I did very little blogging in my year of taking it easy but I did write about this show. You can read that here if you want to read about the full impact this production had on me. For the purposes of this post I will just say that All the Way Home had me full-on snotty, ugly crying. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (I'm like a broken record, I know) I could watch Meg Roe read the dictionary and be captivated. She is that good. This performance was no exception. Plus, the rest of the cast from Jonathon Young to Nicola Lipman to Alessandro Juliani to Gabrielle Rose, were all outstanding. The use of space, music and the intimate nature of this production: Kim Collier is a genius. A pure theatrical genius.
For the best date: granted I was on someone else’s date but boy was it ever fun. Blind Date (created by Rebecca Northan presented at the Cultch)
For the best damn ensemble: all the talent on stage singing, acting, dancing, playing musical instruments was insane. Chelsea Hotel (Firehall Arts Centre)
For the best drunk acting: Andrew Wheeler was drunk the entire show, not really drunk, drunk acting and boy was it entertaining. Gordon (Arts Club Theatre)
For the best damn emerging talent: there is a damn good reason Anton Lipovetsky won the Jessie and graced the cover of the Georgia Straight. Flop! (Delinquent Theatre)
For the best diva: Gina Chiarelli was Maria Callas, a phenomenal performance by one of Vancouver’s greatest actors. Master Class (Arts Club)
For the best damn show I saw twice: it was an exquisite hour I was more than happy to do over. Exquisite Hour (Relephant Theatre)
And, that my friends, is a look back at 2012.